Friday, September 16, 2011

4 Essential South Pacific Experiences

The beautiful South Pacific. Whether you’re planning a Fiji holiday or a fishing expedition off the Cook Islands, there’s something truly enchanting about this incredibly stretch of ocean and islands. With so much to see and do, (and so many sunsets to witness) fitting it all in can be a mission. Here, we share four experiences that most encapsulate the spirit and vibe of the tropical paradise that awaits you.

Tongan Village

Many nations of the South Pacific are unique in that although they follow contemporary systems of parliament, many of the more rural areas still adhere to traditional customs, such as having a tribal structure. Tonga is one such place. Tonga is a kingdom, with a functioning royal family, and smaller villages are organised through a tribal structure. The chief of a Tongan village is still afforded much respect and plays a real role in its governance, which means that visiting a Tongan village can be an incredible cultural and educational experience. Tonga earned the nickname of ‘The Friendly Isles’ when Captain James Cook first explored the islands and received a hearty welcome. This nickname still rings true, with families and villagers only too happy to welcome visitors into their world. Share a meal with locals and learn about the customs and traditions of that region—you’ll never forget the experience.

Samoan Rugby Match

For some contemporary Pacific Islands culture, try to take in a rugby match in Samoa. A love of football has long swept the island, both in regards to American Football (American Samoa) and the more popular Rugby. Samoans not only have a raging passion for the sport, but the body mass and skills to make them formidable players. Many Samoan players are signed to Australian and New Zealand rugby teams, but the national team doesn’t do too badly either! Get swept up in the passion and watch the traditional battle dance before the match commences (this is much like the Maori ‘Haka’).

Fishing off the Cook Islands

Ethnically Maori, the people of the Cook Islands have a love affair with the sea that stretches back millennia. The relatively unspoiled islands that make up the Cook Islands are perched amid some of the best fishing spots anywhere in the world, which means a fishing tour with a local is almost certain to yield fruit. Cook your fish in the sand in a traditional Hangi once you return, and relish the taste of fresh seafood eaten the way nature intended it.

Snorkeling in Fiji

The waters around the Fijian islands are teeming with life, and if you fancy a look at some truly beautiful coral reefs and underwater eco-systems, there are few places better than Fiji in which to do it. Swim alongside sea turtles and see if you can find Nemo—but remember to bring that underwater camera!

Weather you’re testing the waters on a Fiji cruise or simply island hopping through the South Pacific, there are activities and sights everywhere that’ll make it incredibly hard to leave.

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