Valentine's in the South Pacific
Famous for their scenic beauty and seclusion, the Pacific Islands have always held a romantic mystique for everyone from lovers and explorers, to famous artists and authors such as Gaugin and Robert Louis Stevenson. They fell in love with the special magic of the South Pacific, the warm-hearted people and the gentle pace of life. With romance in the air this Valentine's, what better time to pack your bags and find your own secluded Pacific hideaway? Samoa
Samoa has a habit of seducing its visitors with its astonishing scenic beauty and gentle tranquility. Just a three-hour flight from New Zealand, this Polynesian nation became famous as the home of the great Scottish author and adventurer Robert Louis Stevenson, who penned such books as Treasure Island
and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
. Stevenson came to live here in the early 1890s with his family, and on his death, was buried at the top of Mount Vaea near Apia, overlooking the ocean and the land he loved. Samoans gave Stevenson the name 'Tusitala' – meaning teller of tales – and after the author died, Samoan chief Tu'imaleali'ifano said:
Talofa e i lo matou Tusitala. Ua tagi le fatu ma le 'ele'ele. Our beloved Tusitala.
The stones and the earth weep.
It's truly a romantic story, and today, Samoa continues to weave its own special tale of romance for the people who visit here. The two main islands of Upolu
are fringed by magnificent coral reefs and lagoons, overlooked by craggy bush-clad peaks. Inland, you can explore the rugged interior on trails that lead through lush rainforest to cascading waterfalls, volcanic craters and coconut plantations. Along the coast, tiny traditional villages and secluded beaches beckon to be explored, offering a taste of traditional Polynesian life. If you are near Apia
, remember to visit Stevenson's estate at Vailima. You can wander through the beautiful gardens, and inside the author's colonial mansion, you'll find many of his personal belongings and travel mementoes.
- daily tours with experienced guides to Samoa's attractions
- the only PADI dive centre on Savai'i.
- sailing excursions including romantic sunrise, sunset and full moon cruises.
- enjoy a glass of champagne on a sunset cruise.
For a touch of magic on Valentine's, the island of Aitutaki has a tranquil beauty that makes it especially memorable. Just an hour's flight from Rarotonga, this stunning island and its motu (islets) recently made a splash as the location for the TV series Survivor: Cook Islands. Fringed with a pristine reef and a spectacular turquoise lagoon, the island has a well deserved reputation as the Jewel of the Pacific. Back in the 40s and 50s, the glamorous TEAL flying boats made a refuelling stop here along the famous Coral Route, dropping off such illustrious passengers as John Wayne and Cary Grant for a leisurely swim in the lagoon before continuing on their way. These days, the lagoon remains Aitutaki's star attraction. Kick off your shoes, stroll along the soft white sand and find a favourite place to watch the sun set, or catch a water taxi to one of the islets for your own luxury castaway experience. The island's coral heads and marinelife offer superb diving and snorkelling, or relax on a romantic day cruise and enjoy a tropical picnic on tiny One Foot Island, with its dazzling white sand.
- luxury beachfront accommodation catering to every need.
- twice daily dive trips with Rarotonga's favourite diver operator.
- snorkelling and island hopping boat charters with Captain Pan.