Cities and Towns in Australia and Pacific
Gritty looking Pago-Pago is beautiful located at the bottom of a protected bay surrounded by lush green mountains. It's spread out along the waterfront. As busy as the harbour is, as quiet is the rest of the town. As American Samoa is American territory there are expats and the US navy is also present.
No traveller likes Nadi. It's not because it's horrible, far from, but it's just a place you eventually will spend way more time in than anticipated while travelling in Fiji. Downtown Nadi is small. The main street is full of souvenir shops and touts, but the nice covered market has a bustle with friendly vendors. However, most budget travellers stay down at New Town Beach, where there are plenty of hostels. The sparkling new area of Denarau, where the ferry terminal is, tries to be posh with many upscale resorts, but it's beyond us why anyone who goes to Fiji will stay for longer periods at one of Fiji's most crap beaches, when paradisaic Mamanuca and Yasawa islands are literally right at the doorstep.
With a "soaring" population of almost 170,000, Suva is not only Fiji's capital, but also the largest city in the South Pacific. It's a real port town with a busy harbour and bustling downtown. But it doesn't feel big as few buildings over five floors and spread out over lush hills with lots of shady trees. There are still a handful of gracious colonial buildings, but there is nothing Pacific beauty over Suva, but nevertheless it's a pleasant encounter. There are plenty of markets, parks and great eateries to keep any visitor busy for a day.
Not much can be said about Hagåtña, as it's hardly a town of its own, but merely a part of the development that runs along the west coast of Guam. The musuem is recommended and so is boat bassin, where you also find the Staute of Liberty and the commercial Chamorro Village.
It was in Umatac Bay the first (known) European, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, sat foot in 1521 (though some drawings from the navigator's diary suggest that it might have been Tumon). Later during the Spanish colonization, Umatac became an important port for the Pacific trade. When the Spanish eased their Pacific crossings, Umatac golden era came to a halt. Today, the small town is just a nice stop with photo opportunities of the beautiful bay, the bridge and the fort up on the hill, Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.
Though it doesn't say very much, Bairiki is Kiribati second biggest settlement after Betio. There are plenty of (Chinese owned) shops and it's a traffic hub for minibuses.
Betio (pronounced "Besio") is the last settlement on South Tarawa. It's a busy (in Pacific terms) port town with a grim history. It was here the US invaded the Japanese occupied atoll with great loses on both sides. There are still some rusting relics from WWII including guns, tanks and bunkers. It's also one of the more polluted places in Kiribati, with every single beach covered in trash and parts from shipwrecks. Until 1985 a ferry was used, but today you can drive to Betio over the causeway.
Majuro is the capital island of the Marshall Islands and lies within the Majuro Atoll. The island is just a sliver of atoll land with only one main road going from end to end, 50 km in total. Majuro is a very laid-back place, but since everything happens here along the road, it can become surprisingly bustling. It's relatively developed with different shops (many run by Chinese), government buildings and a few hotels, which mostly cater to business travellers (as RMI only receive about 1200 tourists per year). Shared taxis constantly roam up and down the main road.
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is made up of four island states; Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap. The capital of the state of Yap is Colonia, a low-key settlement with just over 3000 people. Though it's located at the shore, there are no beaches, but plenty of sea views. There are all the things to keep a town going, like bank, police, fire department, court, some hotels, churches and an open-air museum (picture), but else it's a very quiet place.
Palikir is a strange place. It's hardly a town and even less a capital, but officially Palikir is the capital of FSM. It's a very spread out place with Pohnpei's only college and a few residents, but it also contains every official office in Pohnpei. From parliament, president office, high court, post office, they are all here, in similar looking buildings.