If the Orient and the islands of the Pacific entice you, consider these offbeat ways to see them. From a New Zealand marathon to a canoe trip into the interior of Papua New Guinea, the tours blend sightseeing with an inviting taste of adventure:
*Bicycle French Polynesia: This 15-day, small-group guided tour takes in five of the Society Islands: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Huahine. The roads are quiet, the pace relaxed, the hotels "first-class" and the scenery spectacular. Cost: $1,375 per person (double occupancy), including lodging, breakfast, dinners and ferry passage between islands. Air fare is extra. Departures: March 1, April 12. Contact: Off the Deep End Travels, P.O. Box 7511, Jackson, Wyo. 83001, (800) 223-6833.
*Trek the Hawaiian Islands: See the beaches, pools and waterfalls hidden to most tourists on three-night/four-day camping excursions on either Kauai or Maui. Campers are transported by van between campsites and then explore a number of trails. Cost: $390 per person (double occupancy), which includes airport pickup, all meals and use of tent. Air fare and sleeping bag rental are extra. Departures: On Kauai, every Thursday, returning Sunday; on Maui, every Monday, returning Thursday. Contact: Island Odysseys, 677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 801, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, (800) 367-5696.
*Cross the Pacific on a freighter: Passenger-carrying freighters still sail the globe, and many offer fine facilities, including all outside cabins with large picture windows. Among the departures: The Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. has sailings scheduled from San Francisco to Honolulu, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Okinawa, Korea and Japan on March 14, April 4 and April 25. Cost: $3,800 per person (double occupancy) for a 38-day round trip. Contact: Freighter World Cruises Inc., 180 South Lake Ave., Suite 335, Pasadena, Calif. 91101, (818) 449-3106.
*Run a New Zealand marathon: The principal feature of this two-week tour is, of course, the annual "four-loop" Auckland race on Nov. 16 -- run one or all four loops. Also on the itinerary: a week of New Zealand touring and a week in Australia, including two days on Heron Island, a resort on the Great Barrier Reef. Frequent training runs throughout the trip. Cost: About $2,300 per person (double occupancy), including lodging and round-trip air fare from the East Coast. Meals are extra. Departure: November. Contact: Marathon Tours Inc., 1430 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. 02138, (617) 492-3088.
*Take a canoe into Papua New Guinea: Venture up the Sepik River into the interior of Papua New Guinea aboard a motorized dugout canoe, traveling about 25 miles a day. It's a nine-day trip from Port Moresby, including five nights of camping. The villagers of the upper Sepik region are noted for their wood carvings. Cost: $1,280 per person (double occupancy) from Port Moresby, which includes lodging, meals and other land costs. Air fare to Port Moresby is extra. Departure: April 19, or as arranged. Contact: Sobek Expeditions, 1 Sobek Tower, Angels Camp, Calif. 95222, (209) 736-4524.
*Go trail riding through Australia's Snowy Mountains: Relive the folklore of Australia's pioneering days in the picturesque Snowy Mountains on a weeklong trip from Canberra that includes four days on the trail. Super views, fishing streams, swimming holes and tents around the campfire make up this wilderness adventure. Cost: $445 per person (double occupancy) from Canberra, for horse, tent, meals. Air fare to Canberra is extra. Departures from Canberra: Feb. 2 and 9, March 9 and 28, April 6. Contact: Sobek Expeditions, 1 Sobek Tower, Angels Camp, Calif. 95222, (209) 736-4524.
*Bicycle from yurt to yurt in Inner Mongolia: The 24-day guided cycling tour begins with a flight to Peking and a train ride north to Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia. Several days are allotted for sightseeing in both cities. For 12 days, participants cycle a segment of an ancient inner Asia caravan route called the "Winding Road." The cycling portion covers about 300 miles through what is described as "some of the world's most pristine natural wilderness." Nights are spent in rustic yurts in countryside villages. Cost: $2,350 per person (double occupancy), which includes lodging, meals and transportation within China. Air fare to Peking and bicycle rental are extra. Departures: May 22, Aug. 14, Sept. 4. Contact: China Passage, 302 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10001, (212) 564-4099.