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Fiji, Pacific

Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a beautiful harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. The city is perched on...

string(2552) "Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a beautiful harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea. The city is perched on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour in the southeast corner of Viti Levu. The mountains north and west catch the southeast trade winds, producing moist conditions year-round. An exciting multi-racial city, the Fijian capital was moved from Levuka to Suva in 1882 for its large, protected deepwater harbour and extensive space to grow. Much of its past still survives, for there are many small, quaint wooden bungalows and colonial administrative buildings that sit in juxtaposition to the modern offices and shopping plazas. On Sundays it’s well worth attending church to hear the choral singing that is magnificent. Most churches have services in English, but none compare with the Fijian service at Centenary Methodist Church on Stewart Street. A vital centre, Suva offers a great selection of restaurants including Chinese, Indian, traditional Fijian and European cuisine. It’s also worth visiting the Thurston Gardens next to Government House, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Fiji. Within Thurston Gardens, the Fiji Museum - recognised as one of the best of its type in the South Pacific - holds a remarkable collection of archaeological material dating back 3,700 years and cultural objects representing both Fiji’s indigenous inhabitants and the other communities that have settled in the island group over the past 200 years. Not to be missed is the sprawling complex of municipal food and handicraft markets near the Kings Wharf that comes to life on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you’ll find an assortment of artefacts and handicrafts for sale, made by Fijians throughout the Island group. The city is home to a large stadium that hosts top level rugby games and the University of the South Pacific campus – a tertiary educational hub for the Pacific. Suva is best known for shopping, restaurants and nightlife at reasonable local prices compared to some of the tourism centric regions. It is an economic, educational and regional hub for UN agencies and embassies as well as the seat of the Fijian government. For those who like history, there’s Albert Park where Charles Kingsford-Smith landed his plane Southern Cross on his trans-Pacific flight in 1928. Across the road from the Park is the Grand Pacific Hotel, one of Fiji’s oldest hotels, that has hosted various members of the British Royal Family in the past. "
Mamanuca And Yasawa Island

Fiji, Pacific

The Mamanuca Islands lie in a majestic arc only a short distance from the coast of Nadi, curving northwest, and almost touching th...

string(2799) "The Mamanuca Islands lie in a majestic arc only a short distance from the coast of Nadi, curving northwest, and almost touching the Yasawa chain of islands. There are 20 islands and they all share in common pristine white sandy beaches, waving palms, crystal blue waters and, at night, the cooling influence of the trade winds. The Mamanuca Islands (pronounced Mah-mahnoo-tha) are essentially volcanic outcrops pushed up from the ocean floor in a gigantic earthquake thousands of years ago. Some are especially significant in Fijian folklore. Most islands in the Mamanuca group have resorts. Malolo hosts a handful but so does Mana and Tokoriki and smaller satellite islands like Matamanoa, Castaway, Namotu and Tavarua. Each offers bure accommodation, a relaxing holiday atmosphere and a range of water activities. There are boat excursions, fishing trips, and watersports including surfing, SUP, jet ski safaris, parsailing, kiteboarding, kayaking and coral viewing for the kids. The islands of Malolo are the centre for most tourism to and from the Mamanucas. Because of their proximity to Nadi and plethora of watersport activities, the Mamanucas have become a day tripping hub. There is safe anchorage at Vunabaka Marina and the Musket Cove Marina, a cosmopolitan community and an airstrip. The movie Castaway was also shot on Monuriki Island in the Mamanucas. At the southern end of the chain, Cloudbreak is a world-class wave that hosts the WSL Fiji Pro International Surf Competition. Nearby off Malolo Island, on stunning RoRo Reef, there are two floating bars – Cloud 9 and Seventh Heaven. The Yasawa Islands have a different ambience and are dotted with small resorts and backpackers’ accommodation. They are a chain of 16 volcanic islands and dozens of tiny islets stretching 80 kilometres in a northeast direction off the west coast of Viti Levu. They are special because their beautiful, isolated beaches, cliffs, bays and reefs and are less commercialised than the neighbouring Mamanuca Islands. Islands in the group include Waya, the highest with amazing scenery and Tavewa, a strikingly beautiful, small island that is about two kilometres long. In 1972 Richard Evanson bought Turtle Island while others in the group include Sawa-i- Lau Island with ancient limestone caves and Yasawa Island that has small villages and a five-star resort. Naviti is the largest island while Viwa is the most remote, sitting alone 25 kilometres northwest of Waya. The Blue Lagoon movie was filmed in the Yasawas. The limestone caves of Sawa-i-Lau is a very popular day trip as are diving with manta rays and snorkelling with sharks. There are also multi-day island-hopping small ship cruises to the Mamanucas and Yasawas with three- and seven-day itineraries. "
Outer Islands

Vanuatu, Pacific

With diverse terrains and a plethora of natural wonders, the islands of Vanuatu are small pockets of beauty and adventure. An e...

string(2288) "With diverse terrains and a plethora of natural wonders, the islands of Vanuatu are small pockets of beauty and adventure. An exploration of the outermost of the nation’s 83 islands will reveal famous volcanoes, magnificent coral reefs, historic shipwrecks and traditional villages. The southernmost inhabited island of Vanuatu is Aneityum Island. The northernmost islands of Vanuatu are the Banks and Torres Islands, volcanic in origin and home to active volcanoes on Gaua and Vanua Lava islands. Tanna Island Tanna Island is famous for its volcano, Mt Yasur, its wild horses, its custom villages and the cargo cults that have grown up there. It is possible to take a day trip to Tanna however there is plenty to see and do, so visitors who wish to truly experience this extraordinary island should arrange a stay of at least two nights in order to see the island’s many attractions. A night trip to the crater edge of mighty Yasur Volcano is a great experience. Also visit the White Grass Plains, home of the wild horses, and go to a Kastom village to experience the age-old village culture, where people still dress and live in the traditional ways. Espiritu Santo The largest and oldest island in the group, with a wide range of natural sights, Espiritu Santo is a truly romantic island and a great place for diving. You can visit the SS President Coolidge, the largest intact shipwreck accessible to scuba divers in the world, the destroyer USS Tucker lying outside the channel and Million Dollar Point, the place where war surplus equipment was dumped after WWII. See a large experimental plantation and farm, stay in Melanesian-style bungalows, refresh yourself in a natural pool, and go to famous Champagne Beach in the north. Pentecost Only on Pentecost Island can you see the mind-boggling land dives of Naghol. There is minimal accommodation for visitors, so you can either do a weekend package or a day trip. As many as 25 jumps may be performed in a day from one tower and as the height of the jumps increases, so does the tempo of the traditionally-dressed men and women dancing and chanting alongside. It’s an experience you’ll always remember. This annual event occurs during April, May and June on every Saturday and some other weekdays. "
papua new guinea port moresby Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea, Pacific

Port Moresby is home to 200,000 people, with 700 diverse languages and cultures. The town consists of a complex traditional soc...

string(2296) "Port Moresby is home to 200,000 people, with 700 diverse languages and cultures. The town consists of a complex traditional society formed by historical bonds between the traditional land owners, the coastal Motuans and the inland Koitabu. Port Moresby fluctuates from the hustle of commercialisation to the serenity of a country town. Downtown at the waterside is the nostalgic Port Moresby. At the entrance of Fairfax Harbour are Lolorua and Daugo (Fishermen’s) Islands, favourite picnic areas for sailors. Beautiful views from Paga Point overlook Ela Beach and Koki Point. Juxtaposed to the metropolis is the partly stilt-based Hanuabada Village. Burnt down after WWII, the big village was rebuilt by the Australian Administration. Despite cosmetic changes, the character of the village is still there and is renowned for elaborate ceremonies. Koki market on the waterfront is a favourite for trade in fresh seafood and has a colourful fruit and vegetable market. Be sure to visit PNG Arts and Beyond Art, to see PNG’s largest collection of tribal artefacts. The National Parliament, a symbol of modern architecture, contrasts with the dignity of traditional design at The National Museum and Art Gallery. The first permanent display of local artefacts was established here in 1978 and is well worth a visit. Located on the slopes of Independence Hill at Waigani, it’s open weekdays and Sunday afternoons. In September join in the celebrations of the Hiri Moale Festival to commemorate the historical trade between villagers around the Gulf Province and the Motuans and Koitabuans of Central Province. The festival features canoe races, processions, choirs, string bands, sing-sings and the Hiri Queen contest.The Sogeri Plateau (46 kilometres from Port Moresby) is where the Kokoda Trail became the centre of war between Japanese and Allied Troops during WWII. Variarata National Park is a spectacular mountain region, with views over Port Moresby and the coastline. If you get up early enough, you can catch the mist blanketing the ranges. Westbound from Port Moresby is the Hiritano Highway, connecting the city with Bereina, home of the Kairuku and Mekeo people. The Mekeos are renowned for their strong chieftain system and grand traditional costumes. "

Solomon Islands, Pacific

Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, which is situated on Guadalcanal, has a population of around 130,200 and is located o...

string(1895) "Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, which is situated on Guadalcanal, has a population of around 130,200 and is located on a coastal stretch overlooking Iron Bottom Sound. The town centre has a shopping plaza, cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops and, of course, the Central Markets. Major meeting places can be found in private clubs that welcome visitors. The Mataniko Falls, a two-hour walk from Honiara, has pools for swimming and an impressive stalagmite-covered cave which is home to vast numbers of swallows. Climb Mount Austin, passing Solomon Peace Memorial Park, for sweeping views of the northern coastal plains. Other historic sites include the Red Beach on the coastal plain. East of Tenaru is the Tenaru Falls, an impressive 60-metre waterfall. And situated in a westerly direction from Honiara town is Bonegi Beach, five kilometres west of Poha. At the eastern end of Guadalcanal is Marau Sound, a coral paradise. Here there are huge reefs of coral in unique and beautiful shapes which are home to a teeming array of tropical fish and fascinating sea life. There are also giant clams and some of the world’s rarest sea shells. About 250 kilometres south of Guadalcanal is Rennell Island. On the south side of the island, the large Lake Tengano contains some 200 tiny coral atolls and is home to a prolific bird population. Access to the lake is by tractor, canoe and jungle walk. The Florida Islands are the closest island group to Guadalcanal and was the pre-war Solomon capital of Tulagi. It was turned into a navy shipbuilding and repair facility during the war. Savo Island is a cloud-shrouded place, and its waters house the graves of at least four ships that were sunk during the Battle of Savo. Today it is an ideal picnic spot and a divers’ paradise with its sunken ships, sleepy villages and magnificent crystal-clear waters. "
The Marianas

Micronesia, Pacific

The Marianas are a crescent-shaped chain of islands in the western Pacific, a tropical paradise offering white and black sand beac...

string(4107) "The Marianas are a crescent-shaped chain of islands in the western Pacific, a tropical paradise offering white and black sand beaches, crystal clear waters, as well as award-winning dive sites, oceanfront golf course, luxury shopping, and much more. A commonwealth of the United States, The Marianas are an archipelago of 14 islands - including Saipan, Tinian, and Rota - in the sub-tropical Western Pacific. The Marianas are home to indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people, as well as over 20 different ethnicities from around the world who live and work in this harmonious tropical paradise. Ancient latte stone limestone monoliths, traditional nature-based ocean navigation not reliant on modern technology, and a culture seasoned by East and West influences are just a few of the experiences found in The Marianas, where pristine sea, sand, and skies are only a 3–4-hour direct flight from major Asian gateway cities. Inter-island flights connecting Saipan to Rota, Tinian and Guam operate daily. Saipan The largest and most populated of the Northern Mariana Islands, the capital island of Saipan boasts gentle beaches and a wide lagoon on the western and southern coasts, a rugged and rocky eastern coast, a hilly interior, and dramatic cliffs in the largely undeveloped north. Plunge into a variety of water sports at any time of the year, including swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, banana boat rides, parasailing, kiteboarding and windsurfing. Discover underwater wonders with a wide selection of shore, boat, wreck, and cavern dives. The Grotto, with passages to the open sea, has been rated as one of the top cavern dives in the World. In the heart of a marine conservation area, the tiny Managaha island is a short boat ride away, where the crystal waters of the lagoon offer award-winning snorkelling. Hope on a sailing canoe in the lagoon and learn about the indigenous skill of open ocean navigation using only natural phenomena like stars, the sun and moon, and ocean currents. Several professionally designed golf courses offer sit along cliff lines, offering a memorable round of stunning ocean views. The CNMI Museum of History and Culture is a good starting point for first time visitors to grasp the expanse of this island’s 4,000-year history. American Memorial Park offers a look at the island’s World War II history. Don’t miss a stop at the Last Command Post of the Japanese Imperial Army or the other historic and natural wonders of the Marpi area. Tinian Tinian is the closest island to Saipan and is easily accessible by air via a 10-minute flight. History abounds on Tinian, from Taga Stones, huge prehistoric monoliths quarried and transported by unknown methods by the ancient Chamorros. Explore the very runways and loading docks that put atom bombs aboard the Enola Gay to stop WWII. Tinian is all that and more with temple ruins in the jungle, natural trails, and quaint, boutique hotels to accommodate your visit. Tinian boasts numerous clean and quiet white sand beaches. The pristine water, colourful marine life and coral reefs surrounding the island offer an ideal environment for snorkelling, scuba diving, and bountiful fishing. Rota Known as ‘the friendly island’, beautiful Rota possesses a unique character and charm that wins over just about everyone that goes there, starting with the customary wave among drives on the island’s roads. On the western side of the island, take a refreshing dip in the cool, clear water at Rota’s famous Swimming Hole. Take some great photos at Tweksberry Park with its perfectly lined rows of coconut palms. Continue east along beautiful Sasanhaya Bay and get a great view of Wedding Cake Mountain. See two well-preserved Japanese swivelling cannons and other interesting sights in an awe-inspiring back road driving tour. No trip is complete with sampling local delicacies, from in-season ayuyu (coconut crab) to kadun pika (hot spicy beef soup), the choices abound and are served best in the company of newfound friends in this friendly community. "


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