Exotic Escapes

This is a blog about travel to the South Pacific. It will have travel tips, resort reviews, fun information, and travel stories.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Samoa Cont.

So we rode into Apia from Aggie Grey’s on the Lagoon. We went through many villages along the way. They were all nice and neat, and well landscaped. It looked like the people really took pride in what their village looked like. I found out that many of the villages have beautification contests. They compete against each other to find out which village looks the nicest. When we were going through the villages we saw all sorts of children walking on the side of the roads. They were on their way to school. Everyone had a uniform on. I could tell we were in a new village because the color of the uniform would change.

After about 45 minutes we reached Apia. I could tell we were in Apia because there were a few stop lights. We got off the bus in the harbour area. There were people out on a long boat rowing in the harbour. The boat was about 30-40 feet long and it looked like there were 30 men in the boat rowing. While we were watching the boat we heard music coming from behind us. Every morning at 7:45am the police marching band marches and plays their music from the police station to the government building, plays their national anthem, then marches back. It was quite an experience watching them.

There were many restauants, shops, bars, and hotels to check out in Apia. You should stay at least one night in Apia. Another thing you should not miss is the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. It was very interesting. They have many items that the Stenson family left. Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on the hill above the museum. You can hike to the top and check it out.

We stayed at Insel Fehrman Hotel. It is a very nice hotel located above Apia. It is a couple of minutes to get to from the harbour, or about a 7 tala taxi ride. They have very nicely appointed rooms, very comfortable beds, kitchens, a pool, restauant, and a great staff.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Things to do on Taveuni Island in Fiji

There are over 330 islands in the Fijian island chain. Taveuni Island, also known as the “Garden Island”, is the third largest island in Fiji. It covers 273 square miles. The island is volcanic in origin. Taveuni Island was once known for it’s Coconut plantations, but now Taveuni attracts people with world class diving, spectacular waterfalls, and a great selection of flora and fauna. Getting to Taveuni can be an adventure in itself. You can either fly from Nadi or Suva or travel by ferry from Suva. The flight from Nadi or Suva to Taveuni take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, and run a number of times a day. The ferry takes approximately 12 hours. The ferry is a fun way to get around the islands if you have the time.

There are many activities to choose from on Taveuni Island. There is the Bouma Forest park, Lavena coastal walk, the site of the International Dateline, a warrior burial cave, a natural waterslide, and bird watching to name a few of the points of interest on Taveuni. The Bouma Forest park covers about 58 square miles or about 20 percent of Taveuni Island. The park has several miles of bush walks that lead to beautiful waterfalls that have wonderful natural swimming pools. There are short hikes of 30 minutes to all day hikes. Lavena Coastal Walk is a gorgeous hike along the forest edge that ends up at Wainibau Falls. Lavena beach is good for both swimming and snorkeling. Many visitors like to end up at the International Dateline. This is where the 180th meridian runs through Taveuni. People can put one foot on one side of the line and a foot on the other and say they are standing in today and yesterday. Created by a lava tube, the Warrior Burial cave is about ¼ of a mile long and ends at the ocean’s edge. It was used in earlier times as a secret burial cave for warriors. They were buried here to hide their remains from enemies. There is a natural waterslide called Waitavala waterslide. It is approximately a 20 minute walk from Garden Island Resort. It is very beautiful there and many locals enjoy this spot. The bird watching on Taveuni is world class. A prime spot to view birds is Des Voeux Peak. You will have a chance to see Orange Breasted Doves, Silktails, Ferntails, and Parrots at this locale.

There are many things to do and see on the island of Taveuni. People will want to stay at least a week on Taveuni. That way they have time to experience many of the activities that are offered on the Island. I am sorry to say that in order to experience everything that Taveuni has to offer people will have to keep coming back to paradise.


Friday, May 26, 2006

I just returned from New Zealand. I had an amazing experience. My husband and I flew to Christchurch to begin our journey. Christchurch is the most English city in New Zealand with an influence in European architecture. We stayed in the Cathedral Square, at the Heritage Hotel in the heart of the city. It was a glorious sunny day with street performers, food vendors, and a giant size game of chess. The city trolley and buses provide sites of the town. The Avon River meanders through town. You can ride on a gondola which they call Punting.

The next morning we grabbed a taxi and went to the train station where we took the TranzAlpine Train through Arthur’s Pass to Greymouth. We passed through a beautiful gorge and nineteen tunnels of which one was 5 miles long.

On the way back we got off at Cass, where one remaining resident nicknamed Rambo, still lives. A representative of Grasmere Lodge met and drove us to the resort just a mile or so from the little red train station.

Grasmere Lodge is nestled among the mountains with beautiful lawns and magnificent scenery. That evening was a storm which created the first snow fall of the season.

The resident chef, Natalia, creates delectable delights not only pleasing to your eye but to your palate. The lamb chops are so tender they melt in your mouth. The entire 5 course meal is pure pleasure.

The lodge rooms are amazing! Try to book the Grasmere room if it is available. It has a gas fireplace, sitting room, king size bed, jetted bathtub, two sink vanity and a walk-in closet. The stocked refrigerator is complimentary as well as fresh fruit replenished daily.

I highly recommend this 5 star lodge for the beauty, experience and accommodation.

Exotic Escapes

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Waterfalls, villages, and Bad Billy’s; Samoa cont.

The beach at Aggie Grey’s on the Lagoon was wide, long, and had soft white sand. There were many shells on the beach. There were many sand dollars. I made it my mission to try to find one that was not broken. I found several sand dollars that were so close to being fully intact, but unfortunately I failed in my mission that morning. I did not find one that was totally complete. I walked down to the spa and gym. It is placed at the far end of the resort. The gym was great all new equipment, air conditioned, I actually worked out for 45 minutes.

The pool at the resort was really nice. It had little alcoves where couples could hang out, two smaller pools for kids or adults, and a swim up bar. The pool is right on the beach so you have awesome views. I also walked to the other end of the resort near where the wharf is to put up the ferry that goes to Savaii. The activities/diving fale is at this end. They had sea kayaks, spy boards, hobie cats, and a water trampoline! Every one was so nice and helpful at Aggie Grey’s on the Lagoon. The staff members would sit and talk with you ask you about what you do at home, what you want to do while in Samoa, and advise about the activities you should not miss. They are building a new restaurant/disco which looks exciting. In front of the resort they are building a golf course.

I wanted to go to Apia to check things out. We hopped into the bus and took off for town.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Waterfalls, Villages and Bad Billy's; Notes from Samoa

It was 1:00am when our plane touched down at Faleolo International airport. We had been on the plane for over 9 and one half hours and we were ready to start our adventure. Getting through the airport was very easy, we got checked into Samoa by customs, grabbed our bags, changed our money, got our bags x-rayed and out the doors to the world beyond. Easy! As soon as we got out of the airport we were inundated by the heat (even at 2:00am it is hot when you come from a state that still has 40-50 degree weather), so getting into Aggie Grey’s on the Lagoon’s air conditioned bus was wonderful.

It took about 10 minutes to get to the resort. It was dark so we could not see anything as we drove, but the driver told us we were driving through an old coconut plantation and a golf course that was being built. We drove up the circular driveway to Aggie Grey’s on the Lagoon and parked right in front of the double doors which are etched with the Aggie Grey’s logo. We piled out of the bus, checked into the resort and went to our rooms. The rooms are nice hotel style rooms with a queen bed and twin, a writing desk, chairs, mini bar, closet, large bathroom, and a balcony (we were on the second floor). We took a quick nap then watched the sun come up over the water. This was the official start to our first day in Samoa!

More to come…

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Exotic Escapes

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Honeymoon Registries pay off for couples!

More and more brides and grooms are planning destination weddings and extensive honeymoons. There is a way to help finance these plans; Honeymoon Registries. We use Honeymoon Wishes for our honeymoon registry.
Honeymoon registries provide a service which allows you to register your entire honeymoon online. You also get a free wedding website, announcement cards, bridal shower games and gift cards through these registries! Through Honeymoon Wishes, your guests can give you portions of your honeymoon experience as a wedding gift. Instead of a "place setting for the table", you could receive a "couples massage" or help with an "upgrade to a honeymoon suite" as a wedding gift. There are no set up fees to use this honeymoon registry.

By using a honeymoon registry you can pre plan what you want to do on your honeymoon and it is much more personal than asking your guests for cash contributions. You can register early and have gift money to help with the initial costs of your honeymoon. It is extremely easy to sign up, it takes about 15 minutes and it is free to the bride and groom. There is a list of honeymoon ideas you can choose from or you can create your own. The registry saves your guests time and gas with the comfort and convenience of purchasing their gift from their home or office. Also, there is no hassle or embarrassment of returning or exchanging unwanted gifts.

Can you use more money on your destination wedding or honeymoon? Would you rather have the honeymoon you have always dreamed of rather than a toaster? Sign up for your honeymoon registry click here http://www.eevacations.com/romance/registry.php

For more information please contact;

Exotic Escapes

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Paradise Found

Matangi is a unique private island resort in Fiji. Set on a 240 acre island in the Northern section of Fiji Matangi Private Island Resort is adventurous, exclusive, and romantic. Matangi has gorgeous white sand beaches, tropical rain forests, and world class diving. Matangi’s horseshoe bay is listed in the 1000 places to see before you die by Patricia Schultz, with its crystal clear, turquoise blue water surrounded by sugar fine white sand beaches you can easily see why it is in this book.

Matangi Private Island Resort is owned and operated by the Douglas family who have called Matangi home for five generations. They invite you to share their island home and experience the Fijian way of life.
Matangi offers some of the most unique accommodations in Fiji. There are eleven beachfront bures (Fijian style bungalows) and three Treeshouse bures. Each bure is built from natural local materials including bamboo, local hardwoods, and coconut palm thatch. The bures have been designed for complete comfort. They have king sized beds, day bed, ceiling fans, mini bar, couch and chairs, and indoor/outdoor showers. The Treehouse bures also offer larger accommodations, extra privacy and seclusion, and Jacuzzi tubs on their private enclosed decks.
You will not run out of things to do at Matangi. There are a wide variety of activities available. You can snorkel with the tropical fish, kayak over teeming reefs, windsurf or sail on the clear blue water, try to catch a yellow fin tuna, walk the beach with your sweetie, hike to the top of the island and catch breathtaking views of Taveuni, Qamea, and Horseshoe Bay, or have a romantic picnic on a secluded beach. What ever you would like to do even if it is just some old fashioned hammock testing, it is available to you at Matangi.
Above all else, Matangi Island offers exceptional service in a friendly down-to-earth atmosphere – it is the ultimate resort to meet like-minded holiday-makers escaping the hectic life they live every day and unwind, slow down, put your feet up, and relax.

Matangi is currently building a new pool and restaurant. They are offering a great improving on paradise special Stay 5 nights and pay for only 4 or Stay 7 nights and pay for only 5. This special is good for the Beachfront bures and is good for travel between May 1, 2006 and September 30, 2006.
The rate for Matangi making use of the special is $2,988.00 per person. This includes; international air from Los Angeles, all transfers, all meals and snacks, 7 nights accommodation in a beachfront bure, and most non motorized water activities.

For more information please contact:

Exotic Escapes