Indonesia is a country of staggering diversity and complexity. Yet the historical and cultural differences of Australia’s nearest neighbour are vast, among the widest of any pair of adjoining countries. Indonesians are unusual in so far as they include water within the boundaries of their territory, calling their country Tanah Air Kita – Our Land and Water. The extremities of this 6400 kilometre stretch of islands are as far as Perth is from Wellington, New Zealand. The archipelago is a natural link between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, with more than 13000 islands containing an astounding human diversity of over 350 different ethnic groups.
Indonesia is a subtle blend of every culture that has invaded it since neolithic times – Chinese, Indian, Melanesian, Portugese, Polynesian, Arabian, English and Dutch; its history is a story of wave after wave of human migration who either absorbed earlier arrivals, eliminated them or drove them into less favorable regions such as deep forests, high mountains, or remote islands (where they can still be found to this day).
Indonesia is, in many respects, Australia’s most important overall relationship. Strong relationships are based on mutual knowledge and understanding and travel plays an important role. So it’s a good time to visit one of the most interesting societies in the world, accompanied by an authorative, highly qualified leader whose knowledge and enthusiasm will enlarge your Indonesian awareness and contribute to a worthwhile travel experience.