Island Hopping the Pacific
Why the Pacific ?
The Pacific Ocean is 165 million square kilometers and takes up approximately one- third of the earth’s surface. There are over 25 000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, most of which you will find south of the Equator. When I was 7 years old I took my first trip over the Pacific. We flew to Hawaii, then to New Zealand and finally landed in Brisabane. I spent a month touring the local area and meeting family members for the first time! On our return we spent 4 days in Honolulu. I was HOOKED on traveling. And something about the Pacific stayed with me.
As a teen I traveled down the West Coast of the United States and up the West Coast of Canada. I travelled to the Pacific Rim countries of Singapore and Malaysia with my high school and also visited the Pacific side of Mexico. A few more trips to Hawaii ensued as well as a trip to the Cook Islands.
On our Honeymoon, Raimo and I visited French Polynesia and island hopped from Tahiti, to Moorea, to Bora Bora. We experienced amazing overwater bungalows, swam in the clearest water imaginable and swam with sharks and sting rays.
There is just something about the Pacific. Everyone has their “place” and I think I will stay awhile and try and discover a few more of the 25 000 islands that are located in the Pacific Ocean.
Where do we plan to go?
Our tentative plan is to fly from Vancouver into Oahu and secure a month long rental. That gives us plenty of downtime that we crave, mornings to play at the beach and afternoons to walk or spend some time at the pool and evenings to relax or experience the evening entertainement along Kalakawa. We have family in Punnaluu and plan to visit often (after rush hour that is). We would like to visit the North Shore and watch the surfing competitions, visit Kuoloa Ranch and take the “movie” tour (we are movie junkies) and see the Dole Plantation. While Pearl Harbor is a “must-see,” we have seen it before and the boys are a little too young to sit for the movie and visit a “quiet” place. We will visit Oahu again I am sure, and there will be a right time to visit.
From Oahu we want to island hop to a few of the other islands. The Big Island of Hawaii for sure as I want to spend some time at the Hawaii Volcano’s National Park and hopefully see Kilauea’s eruptions. I have never been to any of the other islands but we want to spend some time having an authentic Hawaiian experience, not just a typical tourist experience. I will be looking for small towns on the less touristy islands to see what we can find! You will have to wait and see what our adventures uncover!
From Oahu to ……
Well we don’t have a lot of choice from Oahu to head into the South Pacific. There are a few major hubs we could go back to, such as LAX in Las Angeles (which would make a nice week to see Disneyland) but im not sure I want to head back to the mainland so quickly. We have found that we can get to Tahiti quite cheaply and that is our planned destination. Check out this post on google flights to get great tips on how to find the best routes and the best prices for your travel!
We visited French Polynesia in 2007 on our honeymoon. We did the typical tourist thing and stayed in beautiful resorts: Intercontinental Tahiti, Sofitel Moorea and Softel Bora Bora. We were treated to overwater bungalos on the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora and experienced luxury beyond our wildest dreams!
While i do not expect a family holiday to be the same, I would love to teach my kids to swim in the beautiful clear shallow waters that are found all over French Polynesia. I have also found that they offer a “local” experience called “pensions” which often involves a home stay with a local family. We would love to see what the real people of French Polynesia do for work if they are not employed in the tourism industry. While it costs a lot in French Polynesia it would be a great chance to brush up on my French and spend more time acting like a local, and not like a honeymooner.
We plan to head to Aukland from Tahiti because again our “island hopping” options are limited. My mum is from New Zealand and we hope we can connect with some family and spend a little time sightseeing. It is one of those countries on my “must see” list but we do not have specific itinerary in mind.
I have visited the cook islands as a teenager and feel in love. Not with a man, but with a lifestyle: the laid back culture, the friendliness, the beauty of the region. I vowed to return and cant wait to share it with my family. I would like to island hop here once we arrive and would love to do a one month stay at least!
Then what ….
Well that takes us into the spring (if we were in North America) and the Fall/Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. There are so many other islands to discover and only New Zealand is a new place for me. I intend to see Samoa and Fiji and as many others as we can. We are limited by flight options, as that is the most expensive part. We don’t want to keep going back to a “hub” over and over just to get out to another island. I would like to go to Brisbane and again visit some family but we don’t know if the costs will allow us. Perhaps we will stop for a short time and then head into SE Asia, where our dollar goes so much farther on food and lodging.
We are not rich, we do not have a huge savings for this trip (currently we do not have any savings at all). But we are determined to live our live OUR way and seize these moments before they pass us by!
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