Traveling the Pacific Islands
Replies: 32 - Last Post: Mar 18, 2011 6:09 PM Last Post By: Laszlo
Dec 12, 2010 7:37 AM
Traveling the Pacific IslandsHi there guys,
Just wanted a little bit of advice from any of you guys who have done the Pacific before. I have been searching it up but it seems a lot more difficult to sort a route out that in previous countries i have visited.
Basically is the plan is below:
We are currently working in Australia but want to take a quick trip out to visit New Caledonia and Vanuatu and get out of the country for a while. Then come back and work a bit more to travel the rest of the islands again.
We were thinking of flying into Fiji and then head onto Tonga, Nuie, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Tahiti. I really want to go to Easter Island but think it may be to expensive, Then onto Samoa, Wallis & Futuna, maybe Tuvalu and Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Fed States of Micronesia, down to the Solomons and then into Puapa New Guinea.
We have no real time limit on what we want to do but we are keep divers so want to fit in as much of that as possible - mainly all the WW2 wrecks.
Any suggestions would be most appreciated
Dec 12, 2010 9:55 AM
1Assuming that you are not a troll and that you are independently wealthy to afford a ton of expensive flights on different air carriers, please see http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1991371 regarding logistical difficulties of traveling around the Pacific. In particular, you cannot get to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau (which isn't on your list but should be if you are divers) without passing through Guam and taking the expensive Continental flight. When you list FSM, I assume you are interested in Chuuk, which involves the expensive Continental Island Hopper flight.
Dec 12, 2010 12:44 PM
2Yes, given that OP needs to work in AU and thus apparently isn't a millionaire, a reality check is needed here. Even if he can afford to get to all the countries listed, the itinerary outlined is a totally illogical way of connecting them. Why one would go from west to east, back to west, up north and then back down southwest kind of mystifies me.
I'd suggest studying airlines' route maps, especially those of Air Pacific, Pacific Blue, Air Tahiti Nui and Continental as well as Air New Zealand and Air Niugini first.
tilos, one could also reach the FSM from the South Pacific by flying from Kiribati to the Marshalls (not cheap either, but there is a direct flight on Air Marshall Islands) and then moving westwards from there on Continental.
Dec 12, 2010 1:16 PM
3Laszlo: I am constantly learning new things on this board. Which airline connects Kiribati to the Marshall Islands? I think I'll post to the FAQ a list of airlines and where in the Pacific they go.
I'm surprised there is no Fiji-Guam link. That would be the obvious way to connect many of the islands.
ETA: Are you sure you aren't thinking of the now defunct Air Nauru flight?
Edited by: tilos
Dec 12, 2010 3:08 PM
4The South Pacific islands are connected in discrete groups by different airlines and the hardest part is connectng the groups. For example, Air New Zealand connects Tonga and Samoa. Air New Zealand also flies to the Cooks, but you can't connect the Cooks to Tonga or Samoa on Air New Zealand without flying all the way to LA and back. Doing a circular trip around the islands will typically require you to stop in LA, Honolulu and/or Auckland. It is possible to fly Air New Zealand from Auckland to the Cooks, then fly Air Rarotonga to Tahiti and back, then continue on Air New Zealand to LA, then ANZ down to Samoa and Tonga and back to Auckland. While in Samoa you can do a side trip to American Samoa, and from there you can get to Niue and back. That's a lot of flights, and a lot of money.
If you want a central hub as a base to fly out to the islands in 'spokes' Air Pacific based in Fiji offers the best option. Air Pacific will allow you to visit many melanesian islands.
To get to the North Pacific from the South Pacific, you can use Inter Island Air (which is based in Pago Pago, AS) to get from Tonga to Niue and American Samoa. You could then do a side trip to independent Samoa and then fly Hawaiian air from Pago Pago to Honolulu and catch the Continental flight to FSM. This would be a very expensive way to island hop to the North Pacific.
An alternative is to fly from Fiji to Papua New Guinea to Manila and out to FSM from there.
Dec 12, 2010 3:16 PM
Dec 12, 2010 3:41 PM
Dec 12, 2010 4:19 PM
Thanks for the info, even if it is a little blunt! Why are you calling me a troll tho?!? I only wanted a little advice... :/
Right so I can see where you guys are coming from with this. I have had a look at the map again and i was thinking of it in the way I usually travel which is over borders so was just looking for the simplest route from A - B. After looking at it again i am thinking it may be better to do things in a number of smaller trips and work inbetween.
So this is what I am now thinking:
Trip 1 (From Australia): Fiji > Tonga > Niue > American Samoa > Wallis & Futuna > Fiji
Trip 2 (From NZ): Cook Islands > French Polynesia (Tahiti)
I would love to get over to Easter Island but as I said in my first post i think it would just be far to expensive.
Trip 3 (From Australia or NZ): New Caledonia > Vanuatu > Solomon Islands > Puapa New Guinea
This trip above would be our final trip from Australia or New Zealand after all our Visas have expired. The plan after we get to Puapa New Guinea is to travel back along all the Indonesian islands, through East Timor to Sumatra, Then hop over the straight of Malaka and fly out of either Singapore or KL to Borneo. From there onto the Phillipines where i think it would be best to do the rest like this:
Trip 3 (From Phillipines): Guam > Federated States of Micronesia > Marshall Islands > Palau
I still have to check that all the flights etc wil allow me to do this and where all the dive spots are exactly located that we want to do.
Do you guys think that this is a better way of piecing it all together and off the top of your heads is there anything that you feel i have missed out in getting the ultimate South Pacific experience.
Thanks again for all your help :)
Dec 12, 2010 4:26 PM
8PS - I havent put either Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati or Nauru onto the list as tbh i just dont know enough about them. I have heard of Kiribati as a cool place to go. Would you guys recomend taking the time out to check those places aswell and would you maybe drop any of the others i have listed to go there if cash was tight?
Dec 12, 2010 4:38 PM
9Samfaction: You are probably a troll, because you are proposing a trip involving non-existent routes, on a budget, having done no research.
If you are real, kindly read FAQ 29 (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=726510&messageID=17903558#17903558) and observe how many of the air links you are imagining do not exist (i.e. Tonga to Nuie, American Samoa to Wallis). Then check how ridiculously expensive all these flights are.
Dec 12, 2010 4:44 PM
10Our "side trip" to American Samoa in the Samoan archipelago was the best choice we made. We found the rain forest hike on the forum. Unbelievable. Fours day of activity, experience and education. With great night life and karaoke. Cheap food and lots of it.
Dec 12, 2010 4:51 PM
11Your idea of splitting the travel into three trips makes mores sense to me. The routes look OK, although I would make sure that Inter Island Air is actually flying to Niue, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna. They say those flights will begin in 2010, but they haven't updated the website recently. The new flights to Wallis and Futuna were announced in a recent press release but they haven't started them yet and i doubt they will be available for at least a year. They still show a flight from Tutuila to Ofu Island (one of the most beautiful in the South Pacific), but that was discontinued a year ago.
If you want to get to Ofu, you fly Inter Island Air to Ta'u and then take a fishing boat across a short stretch of open sea to Ofu. Ofu is my favorite island in all the south pacific.
I don't know much about Kiribati, Tuvalu or Tokelau.
When you go to Tonga, make sure you spend a day at the blow holes on Nuku'alofa and I highly recommend Hapa'ai islands, especially if you can time the trip to snorkel with the migrating humpbacks.
In Papua New Guinea, I can highly recommend Tsoi Lik guesthouse in New Ireland Province.
The Solomon Islands are my second favorite place in the South Pacific. Tons to explore there! The diving around Uepi Island is breathtaking.
Dec 12, 2010 8:55 PM
12@Tilos - Surely thats what the forum is for to ask all these things? But nevermind I wasnt trying to be a troll, just get some useful information. I didnt even think that there would be no flights to some places. I thought as reasonably big tourist destinations they would all be pretty well linked. I am researching using your FAQ at the moment and thank you for pointing me in that direction.
@Miketelemark - Big thanks for your help mate, looking into some different routes now :) The Inter Island site hasnt been updated in ages so i am going to see if I can ring them and get a proper idea of all the routes they are doing. I will try my best to post the info I find out here.
After spending all afternoon at work looking through various things I think you can do something that would work out quite well - what do you guys think?
Fiji > Tonga > Samoa (Air Pacific)
These 3 legs of the trip seem to be available using the Air Pacific Bula Pass: http://www.airpacific.com/Pacific-Destinations/Pacific-Bula-Pass
However I need to ring them I think to confirm what is actually possible with the pass.
From there I am hoping to get over to the Cook Islands although I cant see anything available for that route at the moment so from here its up in the air. With the Bula Pass I could get up to Kiribati as well probably for a buit cheaper as its part of the pass but ideally I would like to get out to the cooks and Tahiti etc.
So the plan would be either:
Australia/NZ > Fiji > Tonga > Samoa & American Samoa > Cook Islands > Tahiti > Australia/NZ
Australia/NZ > > Fiji > Tonga > Samoa & American Samoa > Kiribati > Fiji > Australia/NZ
@Tilos - You may also want to update your little FAQ a little bit to mention that the Aircalin flight from Fiji to Wallis no longer seems to operate. You can now only fly to Wallis from the capital of New Caledonia I think. I was looking into it as an option to just get a return flight from Fiji. I am working on some possible other routes at the moment as well so will post them all up in the hope of aiding someone else in my position.
Dec 13, 2010 2:14 AM
13Sam, If you want to travel to the Melanesian islands, you would be wiser to do it from Australia rather than New Zealand, as they are much closer to Australia. New Zealand is part of Polynesia, and closer to those countries.
There are 7 x3-hour flights a week, between Brisbane and Honiara (4 Solomon Airlines, 2 Pacific Blue and 1 Our Airline.) Solomon Islands is famous for its WWII wreck dives.
Dec 13, 2010 6:45 AM
14Sam, I do apologize. It is clear from all of your posts and research that you have a legitimate interest in planning a N/S Pacific trip. There have been several first-time posters on this board with posts along the lines of "I want to visit 10 island-countries in 3 weeks" in the troll category.
It is probably worth a FAQ in itself, but the reason direct connections don't exist is because tourism is an afterthought for many of these islands, and they have no way of attracting a major carrier to the island (and can't afford their own national carrier). Also, if you think about where the locals are traveling, it's to places where their relatives immigrated, such as Australia and New Zealand, or places with education opportunities (Fiji and Guam). Even then, these flights are too expensive for many locals.
Others don't share my pessimism, but I would personally do the Continental leg of your trip sooner rather than later. Who knows what will happen once Continental is fully integrated with United?
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