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Pacific Cook Islands Rarotonga 001 Rarotonga

Cook Islands, Pacific

Surrounded by a clear, turquoise blue lagoon, Rarotonga is 32 kilometres in circumference. The lagoon often extends more than a...

string(3032) "Surrounded by a clear, turquoise blue lagoon, Rarotonga is 32 kilometres in circumference. The lagoon often extends more than a hundred metres to the reef and then slopes steeply to deep water. The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and watersports, but to the southeast, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Agricultural terraces, flats, and swamps surround the central mountain area. Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Islands and caters to almost 90 percent of the country’s tourist accommodation and offers many activities. The population is approximately 13,000, mostly indigenous Cook Islands Maori and almost half living around Avarua on the north coast. The Maori ancestors landed on the Cook Islands in their magnificent, giant double-hulled canoes that are still proudly part of the traditional way of life. They were guided by their knowledge of the stars and the famous power of Polynesian navigation. Rarotonga is a small volcanic island with a landmass of only 26 square miles. It is dotted with pretty villages, a friendly atmosphere, lovely mountain views and hiking trails. It has a reputation for excellent snorkelling off the beaches that line most of the coast. Rarotonga enjoys a climate that is warm and sunny all year round. There is more rain and higher humidity between the summer months of December to March. The high season for tourism is during Christmas when New Zealanders and Australians visit during their summer school holidays. Tradition and a cultural heritage are trademarks of the island. Music is an integral part of the culture and part of the islander’s daily routine. Stunning chants and hymns emanate from the churches and local string bands use a combination of electronic and traditional ukuleles made from coconut shells to entertain. Visitors will often be invited to join with the hip-swaying dancers when the music begins. Fishing, paddling, sailing, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling and swimming are just some of the activities that abound in this tropical paradise. If you feel like more adventure, take a trip into the hinterland and experience the unique flora and fauna of the lush rainforests. Take time to listen to the legends of ancient wars and love affairs that stretch far back into an almost forgotten time. Getting around Rarotonga is easy. With no traffic lights to be seen, relax and meander on a bus around the island. Buses uniquely travel both clockwise and anticlockwise on the road that circles the island and obliging drivers will pick-up and drop-off at will. Scooters are also a popular mode of transport. While nurturing its culture and tradition with sensitivity and pride, Rarotonga is also very much part of the present and offers everything today’s visitors expect. Experience Rarotonga and you will not be disappointed. "
North Bali & Other Regions

Bali, Indonesia, Asia

Renowned for its variety of picturesque landscapes, lovely beaches and villages where traditional ways are preserved. There are...

string(2859) "Renowned for its variety of picturesque landscapes, lovely beaches and villages where traditional ways are preserved. There are a number of other regions on the island of Bali which are popular with travellers. On the northeastern coast lies the small village of Tulamben which has a friendly atmosphere and wonderful food. Tulamben is best known for spectacular dive spots including a drop-off and the sunken American ship, Liberty, torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942. Now encrusted with marine flora, it is home to thousands of tropical fish. The area boasts picturesque rice fields with massive black rivers of volcanic rubble from the 1963 eruption of Gunung Agung. As Bali’s highest and most revered volcano, it dominates the easternmost district of Karangasem which is not only renowned for its variety of scenic landscapes and lovely beaches but also for villages such as Manggis where traditional ways are preserved. The mountainous region of Kintamani is located in the northeast of Bali and centres around the spectacular caldera of Gunung Batur with its deep crater lake and hot springs. Kintamani has a range of accommodation but is easily accessible for day trips from Kuta. It is great for trekking, sightseeing and shopping. Gunung Batur is still active but much of the crater is farmed by villagers with water from Lake Danau Batur. Every three days, a colourful market is held where fresh produce and handmade clothing is sold. In the northwestern corner of Bali is Pemuteran, a small village untouched by tourism. Bordered by the Java Sea and jagged mountain ranges, the area is too dry for rice cultivation so the local people traditionally live off the sea. Following years of destructive fishing around the offshore coral reef, a conservation project has been instituted. This has resulted in greatly increased numbers of marine life, perfect for snorkelling and diving. Visitors to Pemuteran may also be interested in Menjangan Island just off the coast, the dramatic Pulaki Temple which is perched on the side of a cliff, the botanical gardens at Bedugul and Sing Sing waterfall. Natural wonders continue to be a drawcard in the west of the island. The Bali Barat National Park is renown for its dive sites, flora, fauna, great trekking and pristine, beautiful beaches. Off the east coast is Nusa Lembongan, a small island covered with coconut trees, mangrove forests and small farms. Most people visit Nusa Lembongan to enjoy its quiet beaches, surfing or diving on day cruises from Bali. The village of Jungutbatu is charming with quiet lanes and a few temples. A popular temple is Pura Segara, which has an enormous banyan tree within its complex. About four kilometres away is Lembongan Village where visitors can take a tour of the eerie underground house where a man excavated his cave with a spoon."
Suva

Fiji, Pacific

Welcome to Fiji’s capital and the largest and most populated city in the South Pacific. Unlike its more far-flung islands, Suva ...

string(3726) "Welcome to Fiji’s capital and the largest and most populated city in the South Pacific. Unlike its more far-flung islands, Suva offers a buzzing cosmopolitan atmosphere, brimming with colonial buildings, modern shopping plazas, a plethora of restaurants, farmers markets and entertainment, culminating in a truly exotic urban metropolis. Delve into the rich and diverse cultural influences that thrive here; a wonderful blend of Indian, Fijian, Chinese and Japanese culture. Full of history, Suva is well worth a visit when you land in Nadi before moving onto the other islands, to find out more about the island nation itself; from its remnants of colourful colonial architecture to the Fiji Museum showcasing the archaeological, linguistic, political and cultural history of the Fijian archipelago. For the foodies, Suva offers an eclectic range of dining spaces, from affordable cafes and hangouts, to fine dining restaurants. As the day turns to night, Suva boasts an admirable selection of bars and clubs, with the O’Reillys bar reigning as a popular spot amongst locals and visitors. For exploring the city, the Tropic Towers Apartments couldn’t be more convenient and affordable; great for families, business travellers, tour groups or holidaymakers, this is the perfect base from which to soak up all of the cultural, historical and cosmopolitan experiences you’re sure to have here. Convenience is the name of the game here, and Holiday Inn in Suva not only boasts harbour views, but is just steps away from the best of the city’s attractions. For those looking for an added grand touch, the captivating Grand Pacific Hotel gives guests a taste of colonial grandeur and impeccable service and is widely recognised as a gem of the South Pacific, delivering the wonder of old-world charm. There’s something for everyone in Suva.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, Suva began as a late Victorian village with frame houses and stores along the beachfront. Much of its past still survives, for there are many small, quaint wooden bungalows in the old section 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 1000 strong 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. There are tours to landmarks such as the Thurston Gardens next to Government House, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Fiji. The Fiji Museum is recognised as one of the best of its type in the South Pacific which 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 markets near the waterfront that comes to life on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you’ll find an assortment of artifacts and handicrafts for sale, made by Fijians throughout the Island group. 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."
South Vietnam

Vietnam, Asia

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s most dynamic city. With a population of 8.6 million, its streets are br...

string(2163) "Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s most dynamic city. With a population of 8.6 million, its streets are brimming with shops, stalls and busy vendors with their wares spread out on sidewalks. Popular sights include the Doc Lap Palace, the War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral, built in neo-Romanesque style. The central Ben Thanh Market is the best for souvenir bargains and delicious street foods. You can also visit Giac Lam Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in the city, and the spectacular Chinese-style Emperor of Jade Pagoda. The flat but lusciously green Mekong River Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam and is an attractive patchwork of rice paddies, swamps and canals. The Cai Rang floating markets are the hub of the Mekong River Delta’s fishing and farming trades. These markets appear frantic but tourists should not be discouraged. Everything on sale usually hangs off the front of each boat, and bargaining is encouraged. A sampan boat is the perfect way to watch the Mekong River come alive, and tourists can expect to find everything from fish to jack fruit. The riverbank is dotted with stilted, wooden houses that are built right on the water’s edge. My Tho is a quiet city, a day trip from Saigon, with an interesting central market. Take a boat trip to explore local canals and nearby islands including Tan Long, where longan orchards are found. Further into the Delta lies the colourful town of Can Tho, the biggest city in the Mekong River Delta, with rice the most important industry. Can Tho has an array of delicious, local cuisine and photogenic floating markets nearby, and is close to the Cambodian border. Here you can also find the lively river city of Chau Doc, with beautiful sunset views from the top of Sam Mountain. Off the far southwest coast of Vietnam Phu Quoc Island has beautiful white sandy beaches and a choice of resortstyle hotels. It is famous for its black pepper and nuoc mam, or fish sauce, as well as its pearl factories. While it is not considered a prime nightlife destination, for peace, tranquility and relaxation, it is the perfect holiday spot."
Nadi

Fiji, Pacific

Nadi is the gateway to Fiji and sits on the western side of Viti Levu. Nadi has a population of more than 42,000. Because of it...

string(2951) "Nadi is the gateway to Fiji and sits on the western side of Viti Levu. Nadi has a population of more than 42,000. Because of its proximity to the international airport, it essentially caters for tourists. Facilities include accommodation, restaurants, nightlife, duty free shopping, sightseeing tours and interisland cruises. Nadi town itself is small in comparison to the capital, Suva, but is still a bustling centre of business with around 20 hotels dotted along its undulating coastal fringe, providing holidaymakers with everything they desire. It also acts as a gateway to other Fijian destinations. The starting point for many scenic tours and sporting activities, Nadi is close to Viseisei Village, regarded by most Fijians as the ‘foundation village’ of Fijian heritage and culture. Also close by are mud pools, zip-lining, Aviva Farm and Fiji’s largest privately owned gardens, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Twenty kilometres north of Nadi Airport is the city of Lautoka, which is a major commercial and administrative centre. It is an important seaport and home of Fiji’s Sugar Corporation, the largest sugar mill and the South Pacific’s largest distilleries. Trekking tours can be arranged to the nearby Koroyanitu National Park with great scenic views along the way. Driving north past fields of sugarcane and the occasional glimps of an offshore island, are the towns of Ba and Tavua. In Ba, you can visit the local markets, pick up some handicrafts and fresh seasonal vegetables, go river rafting or take a trip to the picturesque Navala village in the Nausori Highland, the only village in Fiji where the majority of houses are still bures. The Suncoast is a strikingly beautiful stretch of countryside along Viti Levu’s western and northern coast with a cluster of resorts on the peninsula. This land of abundant sunshine, azure skies and dramatic grass-covered peaks is chequered with sugar-cane fields, rural villages and quaint market towns. The offshore islands of Nananu-ira offer great hiking, diving, kiteboarding and windsailing. From Nadi you can visit Momi gun site, bunkers and gun emplacements installed to repel a World War II invasion by the Japanese that never eventuated. Or take a trip to Mt Victoria, Fiji’s highest peak with three native reserves and breathe the clean, still air which is found only above sea level. There are day cruises to both island and jungle locations and cruise boats will pick you up from Port Denarau Marina and take you down the Nadi River and on to the Mamanucas Islands. If scuba diving is one of your hobbies, why not join one of the schooners departing from the Denarau Marina at 9.30 am daily. You can choose between one- or two-day dive programs. Non-divers are catered for with snorkelling equipment. Nadi has one of two international standard 18–hole golf courses in Fiji. It lies within easy reach of the town’s hotel belt. "
Micronesia Chuuk Beach Hotels Resorts Chuuk

Micronesia, Pacific

Chuuk Atoll, located in the Caroline Islands has one of the largest lagoons in the world. Beneath the blue waters of the lagoon...

string(1424) "Chuuk Atoll, located in the Caroline Islands has one of the largest lagoons in the world. Beneath the blue waters of the lagoon encrusted with coral, are more than 60 sunken ships from the Japanese WWII fleet. Lashed to the decks of freighters are the rusty remains of fighter planes and trucks. The lagoon has been declared a monument, with the salvage and taking of relics prohibited by law. Divers must obtain a permit before diving around the ships. One of the two top scuba diving locations in the world. Chuuk’s water temperatures are 29ºC and incredibly calm between December and May. Average temperature above water is 30ºC. The main island of Weno is the capital and commercial centre and Chuuk’s State Centre is where visitors can experience a taste of island life by visiting the local stores jammed with everything from kerosene stoves to ladies wear and handicrafts. For an outstanding view of Weno and the lagoon, climb into the old lighthouse built during Japanese occupation and visit the Blue Lagoon Resort for a stroll in the coconut palm grounds with splendid views across the water to Dublon Island, formerly the Japanese military headquarters. American dollars are used while travellers cheques and currency can be changed at banks and at some hotels. When visiting traditional areas, respect local customs and note that the locals frown upon mini skirts and short shorts. "

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