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Gems of the South Pacific

Take the road less travelled in the South Pacific and you’ll find friendly people, natural beauty and family fun galore.

SAMOA

Of the ten islands that make up Samoa, Upolu is the busiest, home to the international airport and the capital city of Apia. Savaii is the largest island and possibly the most beautiful with flora and fauna aplenty just waiting to be discovered by intrepid families.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS?

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
The Victorian author of such childhood classics as ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’ put Samoa on the map when he fell in love with the island at the turn of last century. Just outside Apia, he and his wife built the mansion, Villa Vailima, which is now the museum. They are both buried there.
Market shopping
Market shopping is always a great way to absorb the culture of a destination, and those in Samoa are especially bright and colourful. Especially worth visiting is the Apia Flea Markets which are a treasure trove of local handicrafts, or the Maketi Fou – the Central Market. Just be careful that any local products you purchase pass the stringent Australian Customs and Border Protection laws.
Papasee’a Sliding Rocks
Not far out of Apia is the best natural waterslide you could hope to come across. The constant flow has ironed the surface of the rocks, forming a completely smooth platform perfect for sliding down. Mother Nature has even been thoughtful enough to create slides of varying lengths suitable for all ages.

WHERE TO STAY?

Return to Paradise Resort and Spa
www.returntoparadise.com  
If you’re heading to Samoa after 1 February 2014, the newest resort to open on the island is located in beautiful Lefaga. It has a menu designed by world-class chef, Simon Gault, so you definitely won’t go hungry. The accommodation is airy and spacious, and if you really want to treat the family, book into the Royal Sunset Suite which offers two bedrooms with en suites, a designer kitchen and lounge, and extensive decking perfectly situated to take in those stunning views.

Sa’Moana Resort
www.samoanaresort.com  
To really get in touch with the relaxed Samoan lifestyle, you can’t go past Sa’Moana Resort. Fresh, bright and airy bungalows recline on the white sandy beach, dotted with palm trees and fringed by crystal clear water – the definition of tropical paradise. Free cultural days and FiaFia nights ensure families soak up the Samoan lifestyle, while beachside hammocks and babysitting provide parents with total relaxation. The kids will love hand-feeding the turtles and sliding down waterfalls. But at Sa’Moana, it is really about the surfing, so if that’s your thing, this is where you want to be.

Vanuatu

After Fiji, Vanuatu is possibly the most visited of the South Pacific gems, and is undeniably a family favourite. Smiling faces, a laid-back atmosphere and that gentle touch of French culture gives the family tropical holiday a European twist.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS? 

Yasur Volcano
Known as the Lighthouse of the Pacific, Yasur Volcano is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, but also one of the most accessible. This makes for a fascinating visit for older children, but extra activity throughout the end of 2013 might make it a little too fascinating for more cautious tourists.
Mele Cascades
These picturesque waterfalls are the perfect place to while away an afternoon. There are numerous swimming holes and the steep climb should not put you off as guides will often carry littlies on their back.

WHERE TO STAY? 

Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa
www.lelagonvanuatu.vu  
Located on the edge of the Erakor Lagoon in Port Vila, this South Pacific paradise is a regular winner on Holidays with Kids’ Readers’ Choice Awards, and took out first place this year. Kids will love their own pool, the Fun Factory Playground and all the cultural activities on offer, while mum and dad will appreciate the complimentary kids’ meals.

Iririki Island Resort
www.iririki.com  
It isn’t an accident that this Vanuatu resort took second place in our Readers’ Choice Awards this year. Iririki offers families deluxe accommodation, a free kids’ club and the Spa Frangipani, which is every bit as enticing as it sounds. Holiday Inn Vanuatu www.holidayinnresorts.com Another regular favourite in our Readers’ Choice awards, the Holiday Inn Vanuatu has two luxurious pools, lovely views from all the rooms, and no less than five dining areas so you won’t run out of choice.

New Caledonia

For the ultimate in South Pacific charm meets French sophistication, you really can't go past New Caledonia. The islands are bordered by the second largest coral reef in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and this, combined with the area's extensive lagoons, make the snorkelling and diving simply spectacular.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS? 

Noumea
The capital of New Caledonia is a bustling hive of the islands' unique French-fused culture. Here, the kids can learn about the local people at one of the city's museums, or you can simply relax and soak up the atmosphere in the Place des Cocotiers, the heart of the city.
Kuendu Beach
One of the best for families in New Cal. Its crystal-clear shallow waters make it the perfect place for swimming and splashing around, while the nearby marine reserve is a great place for kids to sample snorkelling.

WHERE TO STAY? 

Hotel Le Lagon
www.lelagon.nc/en  
Family-run and operated for over 40 years, this resort is welcoming, relaxing and the perfect place to soak up the best of both worlds in New Caledonia - the city and the beach. It also has a L'Occitane Spa to ensure mum and dad get some well-deserved down-time!

Sheraton's New Caledonia Deva Resort & Spa
www.starwoodhotels.com  
Keep your eyes peeled for the opening of this new resort, scheduled for July 2014. It's by Sheraton, so you know it will have all the ingredients to make a perfectly luxurious family holiday.

Cook Islands

There are 15 islands that make up this South Pacific paradise, but the main island of Rarotonga is possibly best suited to a family break. The jagged landscape was formed by an ancient volcanic explosion. This has left behind a plethora of sharp pinnacles and lush agricultural terraces forming some spectacular landscapes just begging to be explored.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS? 

Muri Beach
Nestled in the south-east corner of Rarotonga, this shallow beach is the perfect place for children to explore some wonderful underwater-life. It is a particularly notable stretch of talcum sand and smooth glassy waters on an island filled with lovely spots.
Aitutaki Lagoon
Often described as the world's most beautiful lagoon, this luminous body of water lies in the island of the same name, which is the second most visited Cook Island. The spectacular colour of the lagoon's water has made it a poster-child for the Cook Islands and should not be missed.

WHERE TO STAY? 

Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa
www.therarotongan.com  
Moko's Kids' Club is one of the biggest drawcards in this brilliant family resort. It offers a variety of engaging and educational activities to keep the kids happy, while the new Banana Beach Playland Creche is there for families with zero to four year olds. Great accommodation, delicious dining and the SpaPolynesia rounds out this resort's appeal for the entire family.

Edgewater Resort and Spa
www.edgewater.co.ck  
A central location, spacious accommodation, two delicious restaurants, twice-weekly Island Feast and performance, and the free Coconut Kids' Club is all it takes to put the Edgewater at the top of the list for family-friendliness on Rarotonga. The amazing pampering at the resort's Edgewater Health Spa and Salon put it high on the list for mums and dads too.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia, home to popular island destinations such as Tahiti and Bora Bora, is often considered paradise for honeymooners, but that’s not the only reason to visit. The lush tropical paradise, comprised of around 130 islands, offers more than just beachside play. The intriguing culture will fascinate kids, while the friendly nature of the South Pacific locals is famous for making the whole family more than welcome.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS? 

Le Marché
As with many islands in the South Pacific, the markets in Tahiti are a bustling hive of colour and culture. It’s a great place to meet some locals, polish up on your French, and pick up great local souvenirs like the versatile pareu, the Tahitian version of a sarong.
Lush landscape 
The perfect way to explore the beautiful island is on a Jeep safari, especially when you’re with little ones with little legs.
The Arahoho Blowhole 
This Tahitian sight is sure to entertain, with black sands, vibrant blue waters and a blow hole that loves to show off for the kids.

WHERE TO STAY?

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
www.fourseasons.com/borabora
With iconic overwater bungalows, and just an hour flight from Tahiti, this luxury resort lives up to its brand with facilities you’ll adore. For kids there’s the Four Seasons Kids’ Club, a Kids for All Seasons program, children’s splash pad, and Chill Islands for young adults to make sure everyone indulges. Now that’s a holiday.

Niue

The world’s smallest independent nation, one of the major drawcards of Niue is that it is relatively unexplored, but developed enough to provide families with all the comforts they need for a relaxing break away. And it’s got a cute name.

WHY TAKE THE KIDS?

Hio Beach
Tackling the cliff-side wooden stairway that leads down to this beach is definitely worth the effort and those brave enough are rewarded with the longest stretch of sand on the island and, when the tide is out, one of the best snorkelling spots for families in the entire South Pacific.
Avaiki Cave
Easy to access, these caves used to be exclusively for the use of Niue royalty, and it is not hard to see why. Their fascinating history and the stunning seawater pool inside the caves are enough to entice visitors of any age.

WHERE TO STAY? 

Matavai
www.matavainiue.com
With a choice of resort, motel or villa accommodation, Matavai offers the perfect stay for any type of family on any budget. Friendly and laid-back service, perfect waterside positioning and spacious rooms, many with views of the ocean and its passing inhabitants such as spinner dolphins, make Matavai a great family choice.

Namukulu Cottages and Spa
www.namukulu-cottages.nu
If you’d rather a self-catering option, Namukulu’s cottages are spacious, have panoramic sea views, and decks complete with barbecues. The kids can splash up a storm in the fresh water pool and there’s a Day Spa to keep the parents happy!   

 

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