• FRESH TIPS - Fiji

    FRESH TIPS - Fiji

    Our Fijian locals Roq & Cav give us their fresh tips for when you're visiting Fiji! From Fiji Time, how to roll your R's like a local and more!

  • FRESH TIPS - Rarotonga

    FRESH TIPS - Rarotonga

    Local va'ines Kura Happ & Emma Kainuku-Walsh share some island tips to keep us safe while on the island! 

  • MARQUESAS ISLANDS - NUKU HIVA

    MARQUESAS ISLANDS - NUKU HIVA

    We take a tour of an important site on the island of Nuku Hiva. Kamuihei is the port of call for ancient Marquesans as they set out on journeys across the pacific in search of the treasured red feather. Aniata Kimitete leads us through the different areas of the Kamuihei site.

  • Fesui & Vito around Apia Samoa

    Fesui & Vito around Apia Samoa

    Our favourite wise cousins give us 5 fresh tips when traveling to the beautiful island of Samoa!

  • Captain Fresh in Marquesas Islands

    Captain Fresh in Marquesas Islands

    Captain Fresh takes us around French Polynesia to meet his "family" members! We board the imfamous Aranui 5, bus to the Art gallery and visit the cemetery in Captain Fresh's MY WORLD.

  • Josh & Nox's Island Tips - TONGA

    Josh & Nox's Island Tips - TONGA

    Are you planning a trip to the Island of Tonga? Not sure of what to expect? Well Josh & Nox are here to give us their island tips for when you visit Tonga! Be sure to take note.

  • SAMOA's BEST COCKTAILS

    SAMOA's BEST COCKTAILS

    Of the many flavours of the Pacific some of the most zingy for your tastebuds are the fruits, citrus and local mixes that make up Island cocktails - these are some of the most tempting from around Samoa where the organic local produce are the star ingredients! . TARO COCKTAIL - Taumeasina Island Resort  Taumeasina Taro cocktail brings the taste sensation of Samoa's favorite carb into liquid form which is suprinsglg delicious with a chilli aftermath. {{5159}} LALOMANU BANANA COLADA - Taufua Beach Fales  The classic pinancolada with fresh Misiluki bananas straight off the tree jext to the bar to be enjoyed on the powder white sand of one of the best beaches in the Pacific. {{5162}} SALETOGA TRENCH COCKTAIL - Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa Fresh niu and vodka with a niu ice block to keep the chill in this drink that you can also eat! Also from Saletoga a sasalapa sunset - fresh sasalapa blended with niu vodka for an organic fruity kick. {{5166}} GINGER MOJITO - Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa  One of Sinaleis range of cocktails utilising organic ingredients from their garden include this ginger mojito with white rum, fresh ginger, Samoan honey and mint. {{5169}} SASALAPA SURPRISE - Amoa Resort  An icy sasalapa surprise from Amoa Resort in Savai`i featuring the goodness of Sasalapa - one of the most powerful anti oxidant fruits, Bacardi and triple sec. {{5172}} TROPICAL SUNRISE - Le Lagoto Resort  A tropical sunrise from Le lagoto using a mix of local fruits, bacardi and grenadine. {{5174}} BANANA DAIQUIRI - Va i Moana Seaside Lodge  The classic creamy goodness of a daiquiri with sweet Misiluki bananas and the tang of fresh Samoan kipolos makes this the perfect drink to have in this beautiful garden bar in Savai`i. {{5177}}

  • SAVAI'I TRAVEL TIPS

    SAVAI'I TRAVEL TIPS

    Savai'i Travel Tips - from the secret waterfalls, to the best fale options, the freshest pagi popo to the richest Koko Samoa and the coldest sasalapa smoothie - we got you!! Savai'i is the raw island experience full of unknown treasures and local food delights, there is no where in the Pacific you might have a waterfall to yourself for the day, where you can have a bombing competitiion with the local kids at a village swimming hole, where you might stop to see the lava fields and end up eating hot ulu with some of the local women who bring you in from the hot sun.. First up - getting there: Check the ferry timetable via http://www.samoashipping.com/domesticsailing_schedule.htm Ring and book your car on the ferry in advance and turn up at least 1 hour before the ferry leaves to get in line for the boat.   {{3818}} Have a good squiz at a map of Savai'i before you go because she pretty big and lots of people don't realise the travelling times from one end of the island to the other (about 2 -3hours)   Check that your beach fale takes Credit Cards if that's what you are planning - check on phone as some info on the websites are out of date :) In Salelologa use the ANZ money machine - there is only one other machine in Tuasivi and its sometimes not working.   *Tip The store in Tuasivi has GREAT bakery food - buns, fresh bread, pagi popo's as well as a bit of everything you may need while on holiday.  It's the closest thing to a supermarket on Savai'i.  NB:  It's not open on Sunday!  {{3827}} There are petrol stations in Salelologa / Lalomalava / Saleaula / Manase / Asau and one on the East coast.  There have been times when the Manase gas station has run out so if you're heading up to Asau or round the island its probably safer to go back to Saleaula to fill up than try make it to Asau if you're running low on gas. {{3831}} The local experience in Savai'i is the best so dont be shy to get amongst it and ask for an ipu ava at the local makeki and play a game of Mu - this is like the local 'streetfighter' Samoan chess, hilarious and the local skills and slang with this is next level. The Makeki is hard to find!  No street sign but if you go left when you come out of the wharf, head for the sign that says 'Lusia's Lagoon Chalets' and follow the road just past it you will discover a great little oasis of colour, chaos. In amongst the Shasta and pepa Bongos you can find fresh niu, umu, panikeke, cheaper lavalava's and handicrafts than on Upolu and smiling seamstresses who can do your Puletasi alterations on the spot. Best day to check out the Makeki is Saturday.  Niu – Cold niu is normally found in town but often found in front of the Bluebird Lumber carpark opposite the wafu. Expect to pay $2 Tala for cold or $ 1.50 fresh. Once you get out on the road you can normally find niu at the small family market stalls on the road, just ask and they’ll cut it open for you and often a great show either with a large bush machete or by stragegically smacking 2 nius together to crack the shell open on 1 in normally less than 3 hits. {{3835}} Where the Food At?? There are no cafes and bars and restaurants open day and night, 7 days like Apia, most tourist food is found at the hotels or if you are keen to try a hand at local food you'll still have to drop into a hotel or beach fale. Lusias Lagoon – Fresh Sasalapa Smoothies, Lemongrass Tea, Hot Taro Chips, really good fresh tuna Oka, and fa'alifu kalo! You can go for a dive bomb of the deck into the beautiful deep ocean while you wait for your food! {{3839}} BBQ – Most of the BBQ outlets in Salelologa serve fresh BBQ and excel in giving generous portions of bbq chicken, kale, taro or bananas and salad and if your lucky mamoe or pi pi. Be warned though extra oil and fat is complimentary and often added like extra sauce once they have plated your dish! Savai'ian Hotel, Lalomalava – Islands Best Local Steaks (They have a dish called Savaiian steak) which is very popular. Most hotels import steak from NZ. Amoa Resort Savai'i, Faga – Island fusion at its best – the food here is seriously good -try twice cooked octopus, chicken popo skewers & delicious and fresh seared tuna with fa'alifu & luau plus excellent dessert menu with even more fusion. You can ask to have breakfast at the newly upgraded pier and watch the sunrise as you eat fresh fruit, niu and the hot goodness from the kitchen.  Amoa is flash and has fully pimped out Deluxe Villas with heaps of space and a beautiful garden setting, the pool with the swim up bar is beautiful and there's a huge treehouse and trampoline for kids. {{3843}} Asaga Coffee Garden – down the road from Amoa stumble across this little faleoloa that has a little garden with cakes and espresso coffee.  They also hire out motorcycles - great way to get around the island!  Bayview – Anything Pork or Beef as they have their own plantation and pa povi! These unique fales are on the lava fields and have a wild beach on the other side of them that makes it different to the other fales on Island. Le Lagoto – Cocktails & Lobster on the beach plus Sunday afternoon BBQ on the deck plus Fia Fia night on Thursdays (seasonal) These guys have fantastic service and are a great mid point to stop off at on Savaii, have an oka and a swim while you wait in the stunning lagoon - the deep bit is in front of the pool Leilina's Pizzeria – Opposite Le Lagoto.  Now this sounds weird but they possibly have the best pizza we've tasted, like ever! Thin crust wood fired pizza with real mozzeralla and loca fresh toppings. You can order one at Le Lagoto if you want and they will bring it across the road. *Try the ‘Diavolo’ with pepperoni, chilli and garlic for a kick! {{3856}}  The Manase strip - Tailua, Vacations, Reginas – Homestyle Island Food (Soul food) Reginas has a free to'ona'i for guests on Sundays. Tailua has little fale decks and raised beds as does Vacations if you feel the need to be off the floor. The legendary Tanu Beach fales have the most fales for big groups and big portion breakfast and dinners. What is a devastating sign of climate change is that the coast and beachfront has eroded so much in front of this legendary strip that there is now a seawall and stairs down to the beach. Tanu Beach fales also have accomodation across the road where there is a Tsunami safety area up the hill. {{3820}}  Vaisala Hotel –This old skool 'hotel' is pretty much a concrete block but has one of the best white sand beaches, exquisite lagoons and best snorkelling on the Island. Also there’s not a lot for lunch, BUT they do a next level island food buffet some nights with the fully laid on seafood –fai’ai fe’e, lobster, the works!  Va-I-Moana – Ok this is possibly the best kept secret in the Pacific. A perfect little garden cove with wild turtles, pontoons and a pier to fish and dive off and a great accom set up. Highlights here are the suaesi and koko alaisa at breakfast, the lunch lobster salad and dinners by candlelight. Great local activities and a tour around the Koko Plantation next door. This is the heartland of Koko Samoa and has the best 'Creola' variety grown in Samoa. Also there are tasty juicy oranges and mandarin orchards down here - when in season they are all over the fruit stalls on the side of the road. *Tip - there is a fantastic big fresh water pool at the crossroads junction when you drive into Asau, perfect to jump into after the long drive and gossip with the locals. Don't be shy to have a swim, but prolly dont rock up in a bikini and don't jump in when the 'Sa' is on around 6pm :) On the East Coast - Satuiatua Beach Fales have a $30 To'onai on Sunday with Lobster – Must pre book 24 hours ahead. {{3862}}  Local Attractions:  Remember that in Savai'i everything is on customary land so you need to pay the small Tala fee to experience most of these things.  These entrance fees in most instances help to fund much of the village needs and some areas are heavily reliant on this as a source of income. Tip:  We recommend changing your Samoan Tala down to small denominations because most villages will not have change for large denominations.   Saleaula - the church at the lava fields and Virgins Grave. This is beautiful and an interesting stop off if only for a great photo opportunity in the ruins of the church which is full of lava and beautiful foliage. There is a good toilet! And a great group of women in the fale who can give you awesome information about the volcano and the impact on the region. They even fed us! And told us to put their photo on FB because one of them needed a husband lol. {{3871}} Matavai, Safune - Mata O le Alelo – the Sina and Tuna Pool   Possibly the most beautiful fresh water spring in the world. The locals there will tell you the legend of Sina and the Tuna if you have been living in a cave and don’t know it.   There is always a fee AND no swimming on Sunday. The big pool is supposedly for the men but the day we went the pool attendants told all the girls to jump in and try it. Has toilet! {{3874}} Safune Pools Just before the Mata O le Alelo pool there are another series of springs you can jump into – you can see them as you come down the hill into the Safune area. These are great to splash around in with the local expert bomber kids. {{3878}} The Lava tube – Pe’ape’a caves in A’opo Spooky and a bit weird, but interesting to have a look at if walking through lava tubes is your thing. Could be a great adventure hike like no other, we piked out as our torch died but the local guide had good torches on him to use. Has toilet! {{3881}}   Falealupo Tai Canopy Walk – you can walk in the treetops across these ‘Indiana Jones’ style bridges. The view from the top platform is awesome as you can see across the Falealupo region. The amazing thing about this walkway is that it’s completely Eco and there are no nails or damage to the trees that the bridges are tied to. {{3885}} The birthplace of Nafanua Falealupo Tai peninsula is a special place in Savai'i, steeped in legend and history and general spookiness. Nafanua the war goddess came from this region where they say the entrance to Pulotu the underworld lies. There is gathering of rocks that face the place where the sun falls into the ocean called the Fafa O Sau'ai, the ancestral place of the gathering of souls before they jump off to the next world.   There is a beautiful large rock pool in front of this which is said to have been the bathing place of matai. Also worth seeing is the Vai Sua Toto – the well of the rising blood, a cave mouth to a pool of reddish water that is said to be the place where the warrior Tupa’ilevaililigi threw the heads of his enemies.. Up the hill there is also a smaller star mound then Pulemelei that’s kinda cool with a circle of rocks and one that has a seat indent presumably from the many Samoans seatings throughout history. There are so many stories associated with this area, both mythical and more recent, one amazing book to read about Falealupo is ‘Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest’ by ethnobotanist Paul Cox who’s initiatives had a huge impact in the area in the 1990’s. https://www.amazon.com/Nafanua-Saving-Samoan-Rain-Forest/dp/0716731169 {{3900}}  Taga Alofaaga Blow Holes - Awesome and the subject of many music videos. The most powerful in the Southern hemisphere and when she blowin’ she BLOWIN’ so watch your distance.  You will get wet here no matter what the tides and prolly don’t pay the $40 tala to see the guy throw a coconut in for you – you can fully do this your own self for free if you're keen. Palauli Waterfalls & the Pulemelei Star Mound Located in the village of Vailoa, Palauli - Afu Aau Waterfall is a refreshing break from the heat.  It doesn't look very tall in the pictures but the waterfall would be at least 4 stories tall.  It's a beautiful fresh water swimming area and well sheltered.  A definite must see & do attraction when you're in Savai'i. Another less known waterfall is Mu Pagoa heading further east from the turnoff to Afu Aau.  It's in the village of Ga'utavai. Pulemelei Star Mound – The largest ancient rock structure in Polynesia.  Due to an ongoing land dispute, access is limited and you need to get one of the local guides to take you on a long hike to get there. There are several different theories on what this huge mound of rocks was used for – pigeon snaring and astrological markings are two of them, but the jury is still out on what our answer to the Pyramids was for. * Tip - If you're interested in Siapo there is a Siapo making demonstration place a couple of fales before you get to the turn off to the Afu Aau waterfall (coming from the Salelologa side) in Palauli  {{3904}} Aganoa Surf break – Aganoa Lodge – the most little known resort in Samoa aimed at the International surfing community. The Dwarf Caves in Paia just outside of Manase. We’ve heard great stories about these lava tubes and swimming in the pools in them. Apparently you need to stick to the right where they come to an end as the left hand side goes on forever and is where the dwarfs of legend may live. Take your own torch, good shoes and water.   {{3908}} These are our top Savai'i travel tips, fave things to see & do and places to eat and stay. Let us know any helpful tips or your own favourite parts of Savai'i that you love to visit.        

  • Top 5 Things to do in FIJI

    Top 5 Things to do in FIJI

    Fiji has been at the top of most New Zealand & Australian's South Pacific holiday wish lists for a minute now. With Fiji's wide range of beautiful hotels & resorts, stunning white sand beaches and the friendliest people greeting you with wide smiles and a BULA! it's not hard to see why. We asked Gordon Bayne - Scoopon Australia's Head of Travel - for his Top 5 Things to Do when he's holidaying in Fiji ...   1/ Always take the time to speak to a beautiful and friendly Fijian local. Talk to them about life!!   2/  I love to do things off the beaten track so make sure you go to the FIJI MUD POOLS aka Sabeto Hot Spring and Mud Pools   3/ Everyone must get down to CARDO’s in the Denarau Marina for a drink or 2 or 3 or 4    4/ Make sure you put on a snorkel and mask at some point and go and explore the reef.   5/ Take the time to enjoy some DECK CHAIR TIME – Peace and Quiet is good for the soul! If this list has got you feenin for a holiday in Fiji then check out the great deals Gordy has put together here on the Scoopon site

  • SAMOA ACCOMMODATION - OUR SAVAI'I PICKS

    SAMOA ACCOMMODATION - OUR SAVAI'I PICKS

    Samoa does many things well, and offers up a bounty of Pacific options in things to do, scenery, food and culture. You can rock up to a waterfall in Savai'i and pretty much have it all to yourself, you can crack open an ice cold niu from a village stall for 1 tala, you can swim in a lagoon with the giant clams and wash off in a cave pool in the same afternoon. But what Samoa hasn’t really had compared to other islands is a whole heap of different accommodation options .... until this year when suddenly a ton of new high and low end options have opened their doors, making Samoa more exciting then ever before to visit.   SAVAI'I We’ve chosen two accommodation options to look at from opposite ends of the Island. The high end newly refurbished Amoa Resort in the district of Amoa is handy in that its just 20 mins from Salelologa Wharf making it a handy option either to or from the ferry on your Savai'i travels. We love this resort for many reason but most of all the FOOD, food, food, food.  It's won a Trip Advisor Award of Excellence and a Lonely Planet Top Choice award in case you don’t believe us. Options include the best fe’e in Samoa – slow braised and tender, Raw fish done 3 ways, and an Umu pulled pork salad. Amoa has a great swimming pool with a pool bar beautifully lit up at night, but also great swimming in some of the bluest waters of Savai'i across the road. The Sunrises are the best! You can ask to have your breakfast delivered to the pier at sunrise and eat your fresh fruit, niu and organic eggs while the splendour of the day washes over you. The sun literally rises out of the sea in front of you and everything will be right in the world.   Amoa’s rooms are huge with those big fluffy type mattresses and bedding – this was the place with the least mozzie count in Samoa! Also special mention to the Siva Afi fire show from the ‘Sons of Savai'i’ – winners at the recent Teuila Fesitval these guys put on a killer show and was a cut above the usual tourist show.   TIPS & INFO  12 Villas around the pool in a beautiful garden setting Rate: $360 Tala to $600 Tala family room including breakfast. Great for kids – trampoline, safe swimming and huge big Treehouse. Activities: kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, village cultural tours. Ask for sunrise breakfast on the pier!   VA I MOANA  Located on the North West coast of Savai'i, Va I Moana Seaside Lodge has been around for a while but is still fairly unknown in its upgraded form, so we thought we would put it on the radar as one of the best places to stay in Savai'i.   In the village of Asau, this small resort has a great mix of simple fale accommodation and bigger air con suites. All the rooms are centered around a beautiful garden which wraps around a little cove, perfect for safe family swimming.   Its unique selling points are the enclosed picturesque location, the well designed multi level decks where they have dinner by candlelight, the bonfire nights on the beach, and the fresh organic food.   Special mention has to go to the wild turtles that swim around the pier, jumping off the pontoon for kids, the snorkeling out at Crab Island and great breakfast buffet.   The staff at Va I Moana are great and their local activities are really fun, informative and a cut above the rest: How to scrape and squeeze coconut milk, how to make an umu and a climb a coconut tree has never been more fun, there’s also a tour around the Koko Plantation next door that supplies the Koko beans for the famous Whittakers Koko Samoa chocolate.   TIPS & INFO  Traditional Fales, Family Suites with AirCon, Garden rooms with ceiling fan. Rates: Ranging from 90Tala – 400Tala includes breakfast and candlelight dinner on the deck. Great for Kids – local activities, snorkeling, kayak, fishing. Go up the road to the local village fresh water swimming hole and swim in the clear cold water.   Photo Credit:  Amoa pictures by The Samoan Photographer, Jordan Kwan Photography & Lisa Taouma.   Va I Moana pictures from their website and Lisa Taouma   

  • SAMOA ACCOMMODATION - OUR UPOLU PICKS

    SAMOA ACCOMMODATION - OUR UPOLU PICKS

    Whats new and where's different to stay on Upolu? For kiwi Islanders that may be heading to Samoa anytime soon you will be spoilt for choice for places to stay on Upolu, which is fast becoming a bustling hive of activity with accom options for every budget. Here are some of our pics for where to stay from the new and extravagant, to the truly adventurous. For the eco traveller Samoa offers probably the most options of any of the Pacific Islands. Beach fales abound in every shape and form, and are the best bang for buck for the budget traveller along nearly all the coastlines of Samoa. Now there are lava field fales, river fales, mangrove fales and tree top fales to add to those dotted around the classic sandy white beaches. One of the great things about most Samoan accommodation is that much of it is locally owned and operated, but here's a glimpse into the new interesting options now on the market.    . VAI VILLAS  In the village of Lotofaga on the South West coast of the Island you can find Vai Villas - four large airy fales surrounding a beautiful natural spring and mangrove waterways.Each fale is self contained and can sleep up to five people with a balcony area out the front that overlooks the mangroves. The point of difference to the usual beach fale is that to get to the beach you kayak or paopao through the mangroves downstream to the mouth of the river, a journey that takes you into a whole new world of birdlife and beauty.Owner of Muliaga Lua Tafau says "I wanted to do something different and nobody has ever built on the wetlands before, so the village was a bit skeptical of the whole project but I persisted and wanted to prove them wrong.  I wanted to utilise the natural environment and I knew there was a mangrove area there where the waterways flows to the sea and I wanted the tourists to experience this beautiful environment.  We've utilised the land too - taro, bananas, breadfruit all grown here that we use in the kitchen.  Any over supply of produce my family can then sell at the markets"Exploring the mangroves has to be one of the best little known activities on the Island, its like you enter a whole different world thats green and verdant with crystal clear water that begs you to deliberately tip over. There are fish,eels, ducks, dragon horses and even turtles that sometimes swim up the waterways, making it an eco adventure maze teeming with wildlife.  The food at Vai Villas is a high point with all the produce grown locally on the grounds - the watercress snipped from the waters edge and the taro pulled from the surrounding plantation of taro, banana and kava plants.The day we went they had a fresh healthy local Samoan lunch with sapa sui, local chicken, fresh fish, salads and fa'aflifu with freshly baked Koko Samoa cupcakes for dessert. Nuff said. Some days they have a lunchtime umu. The rooms are big and spacious and built using local timber and recycled materials from the Christchurch earthquake, they are comfortable and cool and much more peaceful to sleep in then beach fales tend to be, with birdsong rather then crashing surf outside.We loved the beautiful construction of the big entertainment fale with recycled stained glass features and verdant gardens out front. There are heaps of local activities to do - horseback plantation tours, lavalava printing, weaving and umu making as well as other village activities.  . LALOTALIE Heading further around the West coast in the village of Faleaseéla is another off the beaten track treasure - Lalotalie River and Waterfall Retreat. This is at the end of one of the most beautiful coastal drives in Samoa, past the extraordinary and slightly freaky giant clam sanctuary to a rainforest garden that borders a river and a cascade of waterfalls.There are six small fales in the garden full of chickens and organic produce and $100 an adult gets you a nights accommodation with a local organic breakfast and dinner.  Jane Va'afusuaga who owns the retreat with her husband Olsen explains the concept of the retreat.  "Lalotalie is the name of the land, so it's 'under the Talie tree' and ECAT stands for Eco Cultural Adventure Tourism.  We've got this beautiful river (Liua le vai o Sina River) the rainforest, the coast and we do a lot of conservation that is funded so it's kind of tying in the eco-tourism and the conservation.  It's finding the right balance where we have eco-tourism and there's enough of it that there's an income for the village to benefit them but we have to make sure there is not much impact on the environment.  We have a minimum number on our tours.  We don't like to take more than 10 in a group, we don't run tours every day, we don't bring bus loads in - people mainly hear about us through word of mouth and then they come and experience it."  The feature of this one-of-a-kind property is the hike through the banks of the Liua le Vai o Sina River, which is kind of like an Indiana Jones style adventure climbing up, over and around different sized waterfalls.Its definitely on the intrepid end of things, and the waterfalls are all part of a chain of beautiful pools you can easily jump into and splash out in the middle of the bush. The Lalotalie experience includes some pretty awesome local knowledge of the natural environment including the legend of Sina FatuLua - Sina of the Two Hearts, who is the goddess of the river and where it can flow. They only take small group of people to sustain the good ecology of the property and make for a more private bespoke experience in the river rainforest.    . SALETOGA SANDS RESORT & SPA and SALETOGA BEACH BUNGALOWS & HOTEL  This 4 star family resort at the Southern end of the Island (Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa) has been around for a couple of years now but has a new wing component to it that opens up its accommodation to much wider price range options - Saletoga Beach Bungalows & Hotel.Its a popular choice of family style resort on this coast where there are many honeymoon style resorts with a no kids allowed policy and Saletoga does many things well.  The pool area is well designed amongst the villas, the beach is great with good snorkelling spots and lots of well maintained water sports facilities.It also does a great fiafia night and buffet.  The younger staff put on a killa floorshow - one of the better ones on the island with an awesome female MC and a young fire dancer who raise the bar above the usual tourist tatt.The breakfast buffet is worth a mention for its range of fresh fruit and yogurt parfait fingys and some of the BEST light fluffy panipopos to be had in Samoa - And them's fighting words on an Island known for its stodgy baking. Light and fluffy also has to be said about the amazing cloud like beds in the villas, which are all spacious and feature outdoor showers in a rock garden. The premium experience has to be the Matai Suite - which has its own privacy at the far end of the resort, and boasts a huge pool-like rock bath in your own private bathing garden of eden.These suites also hit the jackpot with it own nespresso machine making for a sublime caffeine kick in a land of instant coffee. But with such amazing koko samoa why would you need it?Food recommends here are the lobster - tell them to undercook it, and the pizza - throw in extra toppings. And the Marqeritas have a kick - throw in extra kipolo. Over the newly opened hotel side, there are some great budget rates for the same resort facilities, and the brand spanking new rooms are clean and spacious pretty much on the waterfront. This is a big property so while the resort side may sometimes feel congested the hotel side is well spaced out with a well designed bar and pier area.  . TAUMEASINA ISLAND RESORT  This sparkly oasis of light and sea freshens up the hotel experience in Samoa, and let's you have a resort style taste of Upolu without traveling across the other side of the Island. The new kid on the block in Samoa, Taumeasina Island Resort changes the game for hotel options in Apia and there are many delights to the platter it offers up.From the cold welcome towels and drink on arrival, to the awesome accoustic singing duo and Monday night guest cocktails there are many little touches to appreciate.   The staff are smiles aplenty and all seem happy to be there which always helps, and the manager guy is big on the mix and mingling which makes for an open and welcoming vibe.Hows the stunning lobby design with the giant steel ceiling fans and woven white wall features? And theres beautiful tatau cutouts in the walls and a fully flash sort of deconstructed chapel structure for weddings or sunset drinks.   One of the best and unexpected features is the pristine beachfront and clear ocean waters so close to town. There's great live coral and fish for snorkelling and you can have a beautiful sunrise kayak experience around the east facing lagoon front. Its pretty spesh in the middle of Apia and you may come across a local fautasi paddling crew having their morning practise - meeting locals in the ocean at dawn is a thing.  Special mention to the $10 tala cocktail happy hour and the innovative 'taro cocktail' (better then it sounds) and also the very good expresso coffee.The rooms are well positioned to either capture the sunset side of the Island or the stunning mountain view side overlooking the lagoon, everywhere there is glass and windows to maximise the view all round. In the villas there are washing machines and dryers - a godsend for family groups and also a great spill from the outside deck stairs that graduate into the gardens meaning heaps more chillax space in nature then the confines of a hotel room. The Sunday to'ona'i is one of the best on the Island - a seafood lovers delight including lobster, crabs, prawns and faiai fe'e amongst all the other food for $65 tala. We love that they do a $40 local day rate redeemable on food and beverages that allows you a day at the resort using all the facilities. Also there's an awesome babysitting service here. Look out for them Xmas specials :)   Click HERE for full details

  • 5 Fresh things to do in Samoa

    5 Fresh things to do in Samoa

    Credits Camera:     Hayden Aull Sound:       Wilhelm Voigt Director/Editor:  Tuki Laumea  Thank you to Taumeasina Island Resort Samoa Tourism

  • Teine Tips with Maryjane Mckibbin-Schwenke

    Teine Tips with Maryjane Mckibbin-Schwenke

    Maryjane gives us some fresh tips on how to be a Teine Samoa! Stay tuned for some awesome tips!

  • Funky Fashion in Samoa

    Funky Fashion in Samoa

    Moemoana Schwenke checks out the fashion hot spots of Samoa! Special thank you to Mena, Mahealani's & Rimani Samoa Shop Rimani Samoa here Check out Mahealani's here

  • Island Tips: How to find a beach spot

    Island Tips: How to find a beach spot

    Here's some tips on finding the perfect beach spot the next time you and the whole family decide to go for a swim/eat/relax! Just remember - those are not undies, they're togs!  

  • Island Tips: The Right Beachwear for the Islands

    Island Tips: The Right Beachwear for the Islands

    Check out the do's and don'ts for what to wear the next time you hit the beach in the Islands - just make sure you leave your speedos at home! Because if you wear them in the islands, you might just get more than just weird looks from the locals!

  • 6 Things you need to know about life in Niue

    6 Things you need to know about life in Niue

    By Shanny Matterson After 7 months of living in Niue, I can confidently and proudly call this island paradise my adopted home. Creating a life here has been one of the most challenging, eye-opening and life-changing experiences my partner and I have ever faced, both together as a couple and as individuals. There have been times when we’ve made mistakes and stumbled blindly through island life, but they have been few and far between. The best advice I could give anyone who wants to come here? Be willing to observe, participate, listen and learn. And don’t try to change anything about this place; just love it for what it is. To me, everyone here in Niue is a teacher: a giver of knowledge, a gateway to understanding. From friends and family, students and strangers, I’ve discovered so much about life on this amazing little island that I felt compelled to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt about how to live happily in Niue: 1 / LEARNING THE LANGUAGE IS HARD BUT WORTHWHILE Vagahau Niue is a beautiful Polynesian language that consists of distinctive and stressed long and short vowel sounds, no consonant blends, and contains only 16 letters from the traditional Anglo-Saxon alphabet.  It also has some complicated rules. For example, if a ‘t’ is followed by an ‘e’ or an ‘i’ in a word, it makes an ‘s’ sound. Therefore, the village of ‘Avatele’ is pronounced ‘Ah-va-sel-e’. Confused? Yeah, me too. The ‘g’ sound in words is actually pronounced like an ‘ng’ sound, like in the word ‘strong’. Niue’s native coconut crab species is called the ‘uga’ but is actually pronounced ‘oo-nga’. Also, there are no Niuean words that start with the letter ‘r’. I find this interesting. Needless to say, learning this language is not just hard, but also confusing at times. I mean, just saying hello – fakaalofa lahi atu – requires my brain to take several seconds to process where to place emphasis on the sounds [and where not to], leaving me looking somewhat perplexed whenever someone greets me. It’s a work in progress. But for all the confusion and funny looks I receive, learning the basics of this language has made my time here in Niue that much richer. I’m not content with speaking to people in English only; in fact, I think it is the height of rudeness to live in a foreign country and not make the effort to learn and speak the native language, as difficult and uncomfortable as it may be for you at times. You wouldn’t move to Paris and not learn a little bit of French, would you? I spend my days attentively listening to my friends, students and co-workers speak in Niuean – which let me tell you, they speak hard and fast – trying to follow along with the conversation, picking up words here and there and asking questions. It is a testament to the patience of these people that they are always willing to explain meanings of words and to gently correct me when I mispronounce them. Or to laugh with delight when I do engage in a conversation using my limited Niuean vocabulary. Or when I [accidentally] say a curse word. Here are some of my favourite words in my ever-expanding Niuean dictionary: fakaaue lahi : thank you i tupi tupi : no worries fifine : girl i fi : none/nothing fakamolemole : please monuina : luck/blessings taane : boy tau fanau : children/students mitaki lahi : very good   2 / LEARN TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX Most westerners are blessed with the ease of solving simple everyday problems. Run out of milk? Go to the 7/11. Have a craving for cheeseburgers at 1am? McDonalds is always open. Bored on a Wednesday night? Go to the movies. Need a new pair of pants for work tomorrow? Head to one of the hundreds of shops in your city and choose a pair from thousands of designs on offer. But in a country where there are no fast food outlets, shopping centers, cinemas, nightclubs or convenience stores, and the post only arrives once a week via plane? Well, you need to learn to solve common problems in other ways. Or, you learn to simply go without. Living in isolation out here requires you to be creative and to think outside the box. Every day I’m met with some kind of challenge and I’m forced to figure out a way to solve it with the limited means available to me. You’d be amazed at what you can come up with when you use your imagination and a little bit of ingenuity. Living here has also made me realise just how little you need to be truly happy in your life. To move to Niue, my partner and I sold everything we owned [even our towels and cutlery] and we each arrived in this country with only a suitcase and a dive bag. Our home here is simple but comfortable. We traded in a whole bunch of materialistic crap in Australia for ocean views, tropical breezes and a hammock. In Niue, less really is more. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss shopping – and when I go back to Australia for a visit you can bet I’ll be maxing out my credit card on some serious splurges – but for the meantime, I’m perfectly content with making shit work with what I’ve got. 3 / YOU GOTTA MASTER THE ART OF CRACKING A COCONUT You know those big cartons of coconut water you buy at the supermarket for $10 or those fancy coconut chips you buy for $30 a kilo? Well, I now know firsthand how much work goes into making those suckers, and I can tell you, it ain’t easy. First you gotta husk it, which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Those are some bloody tough coconuts. Then you have to pull off all the pulu [the grassy-like substance surrounding the actual coconut on the inside], which requires superhuman-like strength and patience. Once you’ve cleaned off that baby, you strike it along the natural lines that run down the coconut with a traditional he [a thick wooden stick] and hope to God that you don’t break your hand in the process. The reward? Some of the sweetest coconut you’ll ever taste in your life, so I guess the hard work is worth it. But I swear I’ll never take another store-bought coconut product for granted again. 4 / PATIENCE IS THE KEY I gotta confess: I’m not naturally the world’s most patient person. I’m more of an I-want-it-now kinda human. So you can imagine how living on an island in the South Pacific that is geographically isolated from any major landmass has tested my patience. But in Niue, patience is the name of the game. Fresh fruit, vegetable and dairy supplies come via plane once a week [if we are lucky], with the rest of our supplies coming via boat once a month. If the shops sell out of something in the meantime? Well, that’s tough luck. If I order something online or if someone has sent me some post, I have to wait up to three months for it to arrive. This absolutely killsme, but it’s like Christmas morning when it lands in my hot little hands. My beautiful students are bi- or tri-lingual [with English being their second or even third language] and did not start learning the curriculum in English until Year 4, which makes teaching sometimes very difficult – especially with my thick Aussie accent and lack of Niuean language skills. It takes a lot of patience to explain concepts to kids when you have to factor in language and cultural differences. However, the effort and enthusiasm they put in to learning astounds me. They never give up. Time is a very flexible concept here. If an event is supposed to start at 6pm, you can take that to mean that people will arrive somewhere between 6:30 and the next morning. Things get changed at the last minute; messages get lost; plans get chucked out. No one rushes in Niue. Here, the notion of ‘Island Time’ isn’t a cute, touristy gimmick; it’s an actuality. And you better get used to it. So instead of chucking a tantrum or hating on it, I’ve just learnt to go with it. I’ve learnt to take my time and to be more understanding. More compassionate. Easy going. Flexible. And I’ve definitely come to love that about this country. 5 / BEING CALLED A ‘PALAGI’ IS NOT OFFENSIVE Palagi [pah-lung-ee] is a Polynesian term for Caucasian foreigners [i.e. white folks] or anything that is not part of Polynesian culture. It is how the locals describe non-Niueans to each other and differentiate between people. Example: When I first arrived on the island, the immigration official at the airport enquired about the purpose of my visit to Niue. When I explained that I was commencing a two-year teaching contract, he smiled and exclaimed with a laugh, “Oh, so you’re the new palagi teacher! We’ve been waiting for you!” This still cracks me up. Whilst some people would think it is racist to be labelled by the colour of one’s skin like this, I do not. Niueans aren’t designed like that. They don’t use the term in a derogatory way or as a means to spread hate or intolerance. They don’t hurl abuse at or denigrate white people. ‘Palagi’ is simply a term used to describe someone who is not from around here. And given that I am a minority in Niue, I’m cool with that. Anyone who thinks that they may take offence to this should probably reconsider if Niue is the right place for them and leave the rest of us palagis out of it.   6 / THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A ‘DIET’ There are three things that I know to be true about Niueans: They are the kindest, warmest and most generous people on the planet They LOVE to throw a party and any excuse for a celebration is welcomed with enthusiasm They can eat like no other culture on earth. In Niue – as I’ve come to learn and love – food is a means to sharing and connecting with the people you love and your community. It’s a way to spread your wealth and to show others that you care for them. Meals are about generosity, friendship, and authenticity. Sharing food with Niueans is one of the most unpretentious representations of care, goodwill and spirit that I’ve ever encountered in all my travels. And boy, can they cook! Nothing makes you feel more welcome and accepted than eating lovingly prepared umu food around the fire, laughing and drinking with your Niuean family. Just be aware of slipping peacefully into a food coma afterwards. Of course, all this feasting can present a problem for self-conscious white girls like me who come from a society where beauty is commonly associated with being thin. After a few months of living and eating like this, I confessed to my closest Niuean girlfriends that I’d put on too much weight and that it was time for me to go on a diet. They just looked at me like I’d just announced that I was a transvestite alien from another planet. Apparently, there is no such thing as a ‘diet’ in Niue. Sure, the people here exercise and work hard – life in Niue can be surprisingly strenuous – but they also don’t allow themselves to get caught up in the marketing and celebrity bullshit that mainland people do. Out here, there are no billboards, no magazines, no advertising; no photoshopped or airbrushed images to body shame women into an eating depression. In Niue, no one gives a damn what people look like because to them, true beauty is all about happiness and generosity and living a wonderful life. It has nothing to do with the size of your hips. In Niue, you work hard, play hard and eat hard. It’s that simple. Now, every time I hear that voice whisper ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ inside my head, I smile and tell it to piss off. Kate Moss may be a supermodel, but she doesn’t know shit about how wonderful sharing a delicious meal with Niueans can be. I feel sorry for her. How to get there: Air New Zealand flies directly to Niue from Auckland twice a week during peak season [May-October] and once a week during the low/shoulder season [November – April]. Keep an eye out for regularly advertised sale airfares to Niue. Photography by Shanny Matterson & Dan Fitzgerald Blog Author Shanny Matterson - Creator/Travel Writer R E B E L + R O A M

  • Hawaii Travel Tips

    Hawaii Travel Tips

    Take a trip over to the island of Oahu in Hawaii! We look at the spots to get the good food as Hawaiians call it-'Local Kain Grinds'. Check out the shopping spots and things to do, dont miss the local music scene and the best places to kick it for a Sunday sesh Special Thanks to: Misa Tupou Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Hawaii Tourism Authority

  • Le Lagoto Resort and Spa

    Le Lagoto Resort and Spa

    Le Lagoto Resort & Spa is located on the big island of Savai'i in Samoa on a secluded white sand beach fringed by coconut palms and crystal clear waters. They are a boutique resort with only 10 bungalow rooms and 2 family rooms which offer the modern conveniences of a large resort in an intimate, idyllic setting! Video courtesy of Le Lagoto Resort and Spa. Check them out on http://www.lelagoto.ws/ and on facebook!

  • Tonga Travel Tips 3

    Tonga Travel Tips 3

    Travel Tips in Tonga Part III -  Kai Tunu, Shell fishing and Sunday Feasting. It’s been well said that nobody puts on a royal feast like Tongans.  We go island hopping for a Beach BBQ Kai Tunu style in the Haapai island group, we go shell fishing which only women have done for hundreds of years, and we even go to a Ha'apai Social.  Fittingly church is on the next day, and of course Sunday Kai Pola!  • Special thanks to Pila Laumanu and family • Ana Mafile’o  • Hihifo Wesleyan Church  • Vea and Paul Finau • Suliana Vea and Family • Sione Fekau and all the Mafile’o family in Ha’apai • Tonga Visitors Bureau • Ministry of Commerce • Tourism and Labour • The Kingdom of Tonga • BCG2 • Directed by Vea Mafile’o  • Camera by Jeremiah Tauamiti, Vea Mafile’o and Emily Mafile’o • Edited by Sasha Childers and Jeremiah Tauamiti

  • Tonga Travel Tips 2 (Medicine)

    Tonga Travel Tips 2 (Medicine)

    Travel Tips in Tonga Part II - Natural Medicine Ever been to the islands and worried about the local food or forgot to pack the tablets for the embarrassing runs?  Well don’t be a victim of the Royal Rumble in Tonga, because we’ve got you covered with natural medicines straight from the Nonu Tree, Paw Paw tree and we even show you how to make your own body scrub from beautiful plants in the kingdom. Io, keeping it all nat-u-ral!    . • Special thanks to Vea and Paula Finau and family • Tonga Visitors Bureau • Ministry of Commerce • Tourism and Labour • The Kingdom of Tonga • BCG2 • Suliana Vea and family • Sione Fekau and all the Mafile’o family in Ha’apai . Directed by Vea Mafile’o  Camera by Jeremiah Tauamiti and Vea Mafile’o

  • Tonga Travel Tips

    Tonga Travel Tips

    Tonga Travel Tips Pt. 1 Vea Mafile’o checks out the Kingdom of the ‘Friendly Islands’ Tonga. Cruise the islands, on the back of a truck - Tonga style! From the Royal rocks at  Ha’amonga, to a fresh swim at Ana Hulu, we show you where to escape on a Sunday where everything in Tonga is locked down!   Special Thanks to Simi Motu’apoaka  Tonga Visitors Bureau Jenny and Paula Ma’u  Tuki Kavaliku Directed by Vea Mafile’o  Camera by Jeremiah Tauamiti, and Vea Mafile’o and Emily Mafile’o  Edited by Sasha Childers  

  • Rarotonga Travel Tips

    Rarotonga Travel Tips

    Kia Orana and welcome to beautiful Rarotonga!  Many would say if you ain't been to Rarotonga, you ain't been to paradise!  So make sure this year is your year to visit the beautiful island!! From make-up to what kinda guy you should be checkin' for, here's some Coco-tips with local chica Antonina for your next Raro visit!! Send us your own tips on visiting Rarotonga Director: Shimpal Lelisi Camera Op: Jake Farani Sound Op: Marcus Lawson Thank you: Cherrelle Chan-Sherwin & Barefoot Bar

  • Stevensons at Manase

    Stevensons at Manase

    Feel like an island getaway? Check out the beautiful Stevensons at Manase! Their villas, suites and beach fales are just steps to the ocean’s edge and the restaurant, bar and function fale are situated within the tropical garden on the inland side of our property. With so many options, you're sure to find something that meets your needs and budget. Stevenson’s is the ideal spot for honeymooners and those seeking peace and quiet – swim or snorkel in the cool, clear blue water or simply relax on the beautiful white sandy beach and listen to the gently lapping waves. For more information, visit http://www.stevensonsatmanase.com/

  • Travel Tips: Niue

    Travel Tips: Niue

    2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand and a part of the triangle formed by the Kingdom of Tonga to the west, the Samoa’s to the north and the Cook Islands to the east, sits Niue Island... Niu ē translates to mean “Behold the coconut”  but the land has been known by a few names in her time; Like the one Captain James Cook coined in 1774, “Savage Island”.  Legend has it; the natives that "greeted" him were painted in what appeared to Cook and his crew to be blood.  It turns out that the suspicious substance on their teeth was from the harmless hulahula, a native red banana- But Cook wasn’t so keen to stick around and find that out- so the name “Savage Island “ stuck for a couple of centuries. Niue is also affectionately known as “The Rock of Polynesia” due to the fact that it’s one of the world’s largest coral Islands. The landscape is made up of steep limestone cliffs that rise out of the ocean to impressive heights of up to 60 meters. And to our coconet.tv travel guide Shimpal Lelisi – Niue is simply called- Home. So who better to give you a guided tour? Jump in with Shim and take in the sights and sounds of this truly unique pacific Island. CREDITS Director/ Presenter:  Shimpal Lelisi Camera Op: Jake Farani-Faga Second Camera: Jerry Tauamiti, Vea Mafileo Local Fixer: Maree Webster

  • Aga Reef Resort Samoa!

    Aga Reef Resort Samoa!

    Check out this stunning panoramic snapped by Coconet traveller Cecilia! Hi Guys, so this photo was taken at Aga Reef Resort when we stayed there during September of 2013. This is a recently built Resort and oh my, the view of everything there is just amazing, it's one of those times you've got to see to believe. Pictures do not do it  justice. I did take it on my phone, heaps fia professional photographer.

  • Travel Tips-Suva Fiji

    Travel Tips-Suva Fiji

    Suva is a bustling, cosmopolitan and diverse city- full of food, music and energy! And its home to Edward Soro a talented dancer with the VOU Cultural dance company. Eddie took some time out from the stage to give you a one on one tour - and to share his top tips for exploring Fiji’s Capital City. Bring your appetite!  Vinaka Vakelevu Eddie!  

  • Travel Tips: Samoa Part 2

    Travel Tips: Samoa Part 2

    From Auckland to Apia and from Beyonce to the bush, Mario takes you on an intrepid journey around his home Island Upolu, Samoa. This two part travel guide will school you on some wicked places to check out when visiting the heart of Polynesia. Part 2 brings us more sights and sounds of Apia/Upolu, kickin’ it off with the local favourite ‘Papase’ea Sliding Rocks’.  We visit the beautiful waters of To Sua and finally the hot spots in Apia city with cool places to hang, have a boogie or a nice cold Vailima after a long day of laxin’

  • Travel Tips Samoa- Part 1

    Travel Tips Samoa- Part 1

    From Auckland to Apia and from Beyonce to the bush, Mario takes us on an intrepid journey around his home Island Upolu, Samoa. This two part travel guide will school on some wicked places to check out when visiting the heart of Polynesia. In Part I, Mario shows you ‘the must haves’ when packing your survival kit. We check out one the Island’s freshest water cave pools and some awesome beach fales to stay for the ultimate Samoan Experience. And lastly we check out the hot spots and the famous Makeki in Apia.