The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising

The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea

When travelling by cruise line there are a few different scenarios when disembarking at port.  The easiest for the passenger is when the ship is docked at the wharf and you can just walk off the ship.  Another scenario is when the ship cannot dock at the wharf because the water is not deep enough or for any other number of reasons cannot pull up to a wharf.  This means that the passengers have to be transported to the shore by tender.  A ship’s tender is a boat used to transport people or supplies to and from the shore.  Smaller boats like yachts usually have tenders that are dinghies.  In the case of the Pacific Eden it was the lifeboats that were used to transport the passengers ashore.

Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden
Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden

The trip from ship to Kiriwina Island was no problem at all but when we got to the Conflict Islands the wind was so strong and water so choppy that it would have been dangerous to transport us to shore.  Therefore we spent around four hours being able to see the shore but no one was able to make it onto the island. Continue reading “The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising”

The Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

Kitava Island

The first of the Trobriand Islands the Pacific Eden visited was Kitava Island. It is one of the four major islands of the Trobriand group and one of the most untouched islands.

Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

The four major islands are Kitava, Kiriwina, Kaileuna and Vakuta. Kitava Island has one of the most intact island cultures in the world. Located in the Milne Bay province in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea Kitava is a unspoilt small island that welcomes visitors to explore its villages.

Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
Nuratu Island, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

Life is as it was thousands of years ago with very little influence from the outside world. The residents of this island and their diet have been studied by Staffan Lindeberg, a Swedish medical academic, and colleagues because of their excellent health and traditional diet and several papers have been published on the subject.  Kitavans are acne free and this is thought to be due to their diet consisting of fresh, natural foods such as tubers, fruit, fish and coconut. The consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol and dairy products is virtually nil.   Continue reading “The Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea”

Flashpacking in Fiji

A Hibiscus flower - one of the many beautiful flowers found in Fiji
A Hibiscus flower – one of the many beautiful flowers found in Fiji

There are many large hotels and resorts to stay at in Fiji but when your budget is a little thin try flashpacking!

I was lucky enough to stay for five nights in a Beach front Bure at Mango Bay Resort just out of Sigatoka on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji. The region is called the Coral Coast and it’s one of Viti Levu’s main tourism areas.  The Shangri-La and the Warwick resorts were just up the road.   Mango Bay Resort is what is known as a flashpacker’s resort.

What is flashpacking I hear you ask?  Well my definition of flashpacking is that it is similar to backpacking just with a slighter bigger budget and staying in single or double rooms instead of dorms.  It would be somewhere between backpacker dorms and resorts I guess.  In my case it was a reasonably priced bure on the beach with its own private outdoor bathroom.

The view from the door of my bure at Mango Bay Resort, Sigatoka, Fiji
The view from the door of my bure at Mango Bay Resort, Sigatoka, Fiji

I count myself very lucky to have been able to fall asleep each night with the sound of the waves against the shore and actually laying my head on the pillow and being able to see those waves coming in toward me.  It was absolute bliss!

There were quite a few activities available such as snorkelling, stand up paddling, kayaking, boating and swimming.  One day I went with a group to a school on one of the nearby islands.  It was a lovely day and the kids were just great.  They were quite impressed with my Aussie Rules Football kick.  They sang and danced for us too.

On another day I did a cooking class with one of the Fijian guys who worked at Mango Bay Resort.  We cooked fish in coconut milk which was delicious.  The Fijians call the coconut tree the tree of life because all parts are used.  The trunk is used to make furniture and houses and the coconuts are used to drink and for cooking.

One night I tried Kava which was an interesting experience!  Kava is a mildly narcotic drink which is made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant with water.  It just mainly made my throat a bit numb.  A couple of South Americans, myself and some local lads bonded while we drank from a communal bowl.  It is part of Fijian tradition and is an acquired taste.

The last thing I would like to mention about Fiji is the temperature of the water.  It is so warm!  If you live in a country where the sea temperature is cold you won’t believe how great it is to swim in the lovely warm water of Fiji.  So go ahead and plan your flashpacking holiday in Fiji.  You might just be surprised that you can afford that trip!

 

Sailing in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Aboard The Phantom
Aboard The Phantom

The Bay of Islands is in the far north part of the North Island of New Zealand.  The area is sub tropical and is very laid back in attitude.  There are 144 islands, some being very small and others a little larger.  This is a great spot to sail because there are so many places you can stop, have lunch, swim a little and relax.  The weather was great when I was there – not too hot and certainly not cold.  The biggest town in the area is Kerikeri, followed by Pahia which is where I stayed.  You can catch a ferry across to Russell which has a wild history as a 19th century whaling port. Also in the area is Waitangi where you can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is New Zealand’s most important historic site where in 1840 New Zealand’s founding document was signed: the Treaty of Waitangi.  There are so many activities you can do in the Bay of Islands area such as swimming, sea kayaking, whale spotting, shopping and sailing.

Yachts in the Bay of Islands
Yachts in the Bay of Islands

I paid for a commercial trip on a boat since I didn’t have any contacts in that part of the world but didn’t check it out too much beforehand.  I thought I was going to be spending a couple of hours on a yacht sailing out, around and back again to Russell.  It turned out to be my favourite day in New Zealand.  We spent six hours out on the water with a stop at one of the islands for lunch.  There were only two passengers – myself and a young lady from Switzerland.  The owners, Rick and Robin were two very interesting people with colourful backgrounds.

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand

You can do day trips to Cape Reinga, which is the north westernmost tip of the North Island of New Zealand. I found this exhilarating as we drove along the beach (something I had never done before). There is a nifty lighthouse there, Cape Reinga Lighthouse, and you can see where two bodies of water meet – the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  In Maori mythology this is where the spirits of the dead leap off to the afterlife.

Getting back to the sailing, I would say to definitely wear sunscreen even if the day looks a little overcast.  The reflections off the water usually make sunburn a little worse.  Take a bottle of water too to keep hydrated.  Lunch was supplied and was very nice indeed so you don’t need to worry about that.  The conversation was interesting as we learnt about Rick and Robin’s travels and adventures.  They were a very welcoming and warm couple who were also interested in their passengers.   I absolutely love sailing but even if it was your first time you would it hard to not enjoy yourself.

Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia
Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia

If you want to feel like you’re the only person on this planet for a short while at least; if you want to be at one with nature; if you want to witness a pristine part of earth before it disappears, then Wineglass Bay should be on your list to visit.

Located on the Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania is Wineglass Bay.  The beach has been consistently voted in the top ten beaches in the world and this is what drew me to it in the first place.

Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania
Wineglass Bay, East Tasmania

This is a beautiful pristine part of the world.  If you love walking you will be in heaven. Pink granite mountains, clear water and untouched beaches made me feel like I was in the last piece of wilderness in Australia.  From the carpark you need to hike to the beach but on the way the views from the lookout are stunning.  There were so few people around that for most of the walk I was alone.  It was a strange feeling because how often are we totally alone? I kept looking over my shoulder.  Once down at the beach there were friendly wallabies who came up to me.  One had a joey (baby) in her pouch.  They were just gorgeous!  I loved it.

The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
The wallabies were surprisingly tame and curious.
A wallaby and her baby
A wallaby and her baby

 

Another one of my favourite activities was when I flew over the peninsula in a Cessna.  There were acres and acres of national park (the park is 169 square kilometres or 65.3 square miles), spectacular cliffs, deserted beaches, rugged coastline, azure water and, of course, the beautiful Wineglass Bay.  This was a definite highlight of my trip.

Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania
Deserted beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula, East Tasmania

I stayed in one of the environmentally friendly cabins at the Freycinet Lodge which overlooks Great Oyster Bay.  While not cheap the cabins aren’t as expensive as the nearby luxury Saffire Lodge.  I would have loved to stay there but it was quite out of my budget!  There is also camping by ballot available at the Freycinet National Park, however, this option is only available over the warmer months as it can get quite cold in Tasmania.  The nearest small town is Coles Bay so you can grab supplies there and find more accommodation choices.  Whatever you do, don’t miss this very special part of Australia.

Jetty at Great Oyster Bay
Jetty at Great Oyster Bay

 

Hello and welcome!

 

Fitzroy Island view

Hi, while I’m not a jetsetting, 20 something, traveller who roams the world whenever I wish. I do like to explore and explore I will. I’m going to take you on a journey that encompasses the familiar and the exotic.  So come along and enjoy yourselves as we explore the world together. Watch this space…