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The Islands of the Pacific

Stretching from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Australia to the Americas, the Pacific Ocean is one of the planet's most dramatic features. Islands large and small dot the seas, representing a myriad cultures and traditions. Nowhere on earth is there such a variety. Japan, New Zealand and Australia are significant world powers with populations in the millions while some tiny island nations are facing extinction as the seas rise with global warming. Easter Island, one of the most remote of the Pacific Islands, is the fascinating home of giant statues built by a vanished civilization.

But when most people think of this ocean, they think of palm-fringed islands in the South Pacific. Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel, 2002: 8) discusses those brochure covers displaying 'a row of palm trees, many of them growing at an angle, on a sandy beach fringed by a turquoise sea, set against a background of hills where I imagined there to be waterfalls and relief from the heat in the shade of sweet-smelling fruit trees.'

He is reminded of 'the paintings of Tahiti that William Hodges had brought back from his journey with Captain Cook, showing a typical lagoon in soft evening light, where smiling local girls cavorted carefree (and barefoot) through luxuriant foliage ... that continued to provide a model for subsequent depictions of tropical idylls...'

Fiji has settled down after inter-racial conflict, and is increasing in popularity. Less well-known are the islands of Samoa, emerging as a new travel destination between Hawaii and New Zealand.

Articles:

Fiji - Backpackers and Billionaires
A Hiking Guide to Easter Island
Samoa a South Pacific Travel Sensation
The Story Behind Japan's Notorious Ninja
The Story Behind Japan's Famous "Bullet Trains"
The Influence of 'Characters' On Japanís Culture
Fifth Night Free at Luxurious Kapalua Bay Hotel
New Zealand - No Snakes Here, Mate! Just Crazy Keas and Bubbling Mud
Top Highlights of New Zealand
Australia Travel in Winter - Darwin and Kakadu National Park
Australian Tourism Still Suffering
Tasmania


Lonely Planet Tasmania
by Brett Atkinson
  Comprehensive guide to Tasmania's national parks, historic Aboriginal and Convict sites. Plus travel, accommodation and places to eat. More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


Moon Tahiti
by David Stanley
  South Pacific expert David Stanley knows the best way to vacation in Tahiti, from browsing the Papeete market to snorkeling off the island of Moorea. David also includes unique trip ideas like The Best of French Polynesia and Underwater in the Tuamotu Islands. Complete with details on taking lagoon tours and jeep safaris, lounging in Polynesian spas, and partaking in lavish seafood buffets, Moon Tahiti gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
by Andrew Doughty, Harriett Friedman
  The finest guidebook ever written for Maui and the only one written by Maui residents who anonymously review the island. They visit every beach, restaurant, activity and trail on the island. The result is this comprehensive, humorous and easy-to-read full color guide that will lead you to more adventures than any other book. A must for travelers.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros

Lonely Planet: New Zealand
by Paul Harding, Carolyn Bain, Neal Bedford
  Boiling mud pools, eerie volcanic landscapes, giant 1500 year-old trees, mighty glaciers, whale watching and swimming with dolphins, fantastic beaches, wineries, plus some of the finest bush walking in the world! - coverage of popular adventure sports including bungee jumping, the luge, year-round skiing and snowboarding - special focus on Maori culture and the country's outstanding flora and fauna - accommodation options from low cost to luxury
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


Lonely Planet Australia
Charles Rawlings-Way, Meg Worby
  This guide to Australia covers the vast continent in comprehensive detail. It provides details of various types of accommodation, from budget to five star; places to eat; different activities, such as ballooning over the Blue Mountains and surfing in Sydney; and a section on Aboriginal Australia.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island
by Wayne Bernhardson
  Detailed guide in the usual Lonely Planet style - includes 86 maps. More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


Hawaii the Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
by Andrew Doughty, Harriett Friedman
  Claims to be the most comprehensive yet easy to use guidebook ever written for the Big Island. This island is so big and diverse that many visitors never realize all that it has to offer. This book unlocks its secrets. The third edition has more useful information, the most up to date maps, and scores of hidden gems listed nowhere else. This book and a rental car are all you need to discover what makes the Big Island so exciting.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros


The Art of Travel
by Alain de Botton
  Aside from love, few actvities seem to promise us as much happiness as going traveling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel, few people seem to talk about why we should go and how we can become more fulfilled by doing so. In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton, author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, explores what the point of travel might be and modestly suggets how we can learn to be a little happier in our travels.
  More information and prices from:
Amazon.com - US dollars
Amazon.ca - Canadian dollars
Amazon.co.uk - British pounds
Amazon.de - Euros
Amazon.fr - Euros

Tasmania

Photographers rave about it - a certain quality of the light in Tasmania. Craggy mountains loom closer, seas carve out a deeper coastline drama along wild beaches, blue sky has a wider reach.

The island has the cleanest air in the world, so natureís palette shows through without the contamination of urban pollution. And for colour, nothing beats Tasmania in spring.

For more information go to: Tasmania

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