Relaxing places in Australia and Pacific
A bus ride from Pago-Pago lies this crescent shaped sandy beach. Like everywhere else on Tutuila Island, there is a spectacular backdrop of jungle covered steep mountains. But what set this beach apart is the cafe, Tisa's Barefoot Bar, which is almost an institution in American Samoa. It has this beachcomber vibe and the view over the lagoon from the open deck is unbeatable.
Some people say this is the most beautiful lagoon in the world. Well, we haven't seen them all, but we will spare you for further superlatives. There fifteen tiny islet within the lagoon where most are inhabited, while the others can be visit for a short Robinson Crusoe experience on a lagoon trip. There is of course amazing snorkeling with heaps of corals and psychedelic colored fish. The flight from Rarotonga will offer some spectaculars views of the coral rimmed lagoon and its unreal turquoise water (sorry for the superlatives, we know we promised not to, but this is what honeymoon dreams are made of).
Rarotonga island is lined with paradise beaches. The whole shore is pretty much one long narrow white-sand beach with leaning palms and turquoise water protected by the outer reef. But the pearl above them all is Muri Beach. The beach is not prettier than the others, but the lagoon is jaw-dropping beautiful with its crystal-clear water that turns azure blue further out. It has excellent snorkeling and there are four palms fringed islands you can swim out to. It hardly gets any better than this.
Nacula is another very beautiful island among the Yasawas. The beach at Blue Lagoon is postcard perfect with fine sand and fringed by coconut palms. There is a reef right at the shore and though it's pretty with plenty of fish, it's not as good as the coral garden at Nanuya Balavu Island. But as Nacula Island is volcanic the inland hilly with several soft peaks. A trail follows the rugged ridge and offes amazing panoramic views of the island and some of the rest of the Yasawas. The trail ends high above the Nacula village, so you have to backtrack the same way you came.
Nanuya Balavu Island is just one among the many Yasawa Islands. There are of course picture-postcard palm fringed sandy beaches, which the Yasawa Islands are so famous for, but the snorkeling here is some of the best. Amazing coral garden, colourful reef fish and even reef sharks, all accessible right from the shore of the resort, no boat ride is necessary. The channel between Nanuya Balavu and neighbouring Drawaqa islands is famous for manta rays, which can be spotted between late May and early October. For something to do inbetween snorkelling, there is a narrow trail which follows the ridge of the hill. It's a short but steep hike. At low tide you can just walk back along the shore, else you have to hike back.
A lovely long, but narrow, stretch of golden sand with plenty of shady trees. The snorkelling should also be good here. The picture is taken right after a cyclone -
normally, the beach isn't littered with trash.
A whisk away with the ferry from Tahiti lies laid back island of Mo'orea. Nothing much is going on here, which is exactly the reason to come here. The main thing is chilling out in the shallow, crystal-clear water of the lagoon, which can easily be stretched to a snorkeling trip, and exploration of the island on bicycle or scooter. There are several exotic bays cutting into the island, creating fine photo opportunity with the jungle covered jagged mountains as backdrop. Stretches of small white beaches fringed with the mandatory coconut palms can be found all along the coast. The slow pace and the light development (compare to other French Polynesian islands) make Mo'orea a very mellow destination, and is probably what you expect Tahiti to be in the first place.
It might come as a surprise, but Samoa doesn't have an abundance of white sandy beaches, but the south coast of Upolu certainly has a handful. Beautiful palm fringed white sandy beaches on a backdrop of jungle covered cliffsides, you can hardly wish for more. Lalomanu Beach is particularly famous for its long narrow white sand beach and there are plenty of beach fales and resorts on this stretch. Though the water is picturesque turquoise, there can be strong current, so be safe.
Samoa and particularly Savai'i Island don't have that many sandy beaches, but there are a few. On Savai'i Island locals will always point out Lano Beach as their crown jewel. It's a slim sandy beach fringed with palm trees with brillant turquise waters. It's developed with beach fales every 10 metres or so. Locals also praise Siufaga Beach a bit south of Lano. Unfortunately, the picture is from a cloudy day.
A 10 minutes boat ride from Lalomanu lies gorgeous little Namua Island, a place dreams are made of. A small white sandy beach with leaning coconut palms will welcome you. The interier is a jungle covered hill with vertical walls on one side. There are open fales for rent and simple food and coconuts can be bought. At low tide it's possible to circumnavigate the island in sturdy sandals in less than a hour. Else there are a steep trail through the dense jungle to the top of the island, where you look over a colony of bats. At high tide you might be lucky to snorkle with seaturtles in front of the beach.