MCUP UNTOUCHED PACIFIC ISLANDS TOUR

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Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Micronesia & Nauru

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

A comprehensive exploration of some of the smallest and most remote countries in the world - a 100% unique itinerary

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (see note below, if applicable) - All pricing reflects twin-sharing, per-person pricing for the TOUR AND INTERNAL FLIGHTS ONLY; however, we can book flights from your home airport to join the tour for an added cost. Contact us for a no obligation quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 05 Jun 2018Sun 24 Jun 2018 $9890 USD FULL: Wait-list Only
Tue 12 Jun 2018Sun 01 Jul 2018 $9890 USD FULL: Wait-list Only
Tue 19 Jun 2018Sun 08 Jul 2018 $9890 USD Last-minute Availability
Tue 11 Jun 2019Sun 30 Jun 2019 $9890 USD

Please Note: the 'Land Only' cost includes ALL internal flight costs & taxes (estimated value - $4500 USD / $5800 CAD)

Optional Single Supplement: $1930 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $965, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


When it comes to tourism, there are always those countries that get most of the fame. There are those destinations that top the list of the 'most visited countries' in the world year after year. Now it is time for us to share with you the less visited -- but no less interesting -- nations of the world. This is a chance to explore some remote, far flung areas where few travellers venture. On this tour we will visit some countries where even the arrival of tourists is a newsworthy mention. Each year the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) collects the number of international tourism arrivals that each country receives, and on this tour we will visit some of the least visited countries in the world based on these statistics. With the globalization of the modern day world, only a small handful of countries have managed to truly stay 'off the radar'. This tour offers you the chance to visit some of these unique destinations that are not promoted in glossy guidebooks… places where you will not find crowds of tourists and luxury lodges.

This is an ambitious itinerary and a true adventure! This is a tour for real travellers -- those who have passion for exploration and discovery -- those who seek an adventure that is off the 'tourist trail' to places where few have been before. Do not come looking for 5-star resorts and high-speed wifi. Just be sure to come with a true sense of adventure and a great travel spirit!

Regions visited: North America and Oceania And South Pacific
Countries visited: United States; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Kiribati; Fiji; Tuvalu; Nauru; New Zealand and Niue


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Honolulu, Hawaii**
Welcome to Hawaii!*

When it comes to tourism, there are always those countries that get most of the fame. There are those destinations that top the list of the 'most visited countries' in the world year after year. Now it is time for us to share with you the less visited -- but no less interesting -- nations of the world. This is a chance to explore some remote, far flung areas where few travellers venture. On this tour we will visit some countries where even the arrival of tourists is a newsworthy mention. Each year the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) collects the number of international tourism arrivals that each country receives, and on this tour we will visit some of the least visited countries in the world based on these statistics. With the globalization of the modern day world, only a small handful of countries have managed to truly stay 'off the radar'. This tour offers you the chance to visit some of these unique destinations that are not promoted in glossy guidebooks… places where you will not find crowds of tourists and luxury lodges.

This is an ambitious itinerary and a true adventure! This is a tour for real travellers -- those who have passion for exploration and discovery -- those who seek an adventure that is off the 'tourist trail' to places where few have been before. Do not come looking for 5-star resorts and high-speed wifi. Just be sure to come with a true sense of adventure and a great travel spirit!

Note: Some itinerary modifications may occur closer to the departure date due to flight routing and schedule changes. Flight schedule changes or adjustments may of course impact the itinerary. The order of islands visited may change, and the number of nights on each island may have to be adjusted. We may lose one night on one island and gain a night on another. Please pack light as some flights within this tour have a strict 18kg per person weight limit for checked luggage.

* This itinerary does not include any sightseeing or touring in Hawaii. If this is something that you are interested in then you may want to consider arranging some extra nights prior to the tour. Due to the early start on Day 2 we also strongly recommend booking an extra night if your arrival on Day 1 is late in the evening.

** This tour is unique for us in many ways, and one way causes our automated system headaches in terms of dates and days-of-the-week. Upon booking you will receive a version of this itinerary that shows the dates of each day of your trip in the day heading. On this tour, those dates/days may not be accurate as we hop back and forth over the International Date Line. Your Tour Leader will clarify which day/date it is as the tour progresses. Further notations on which day falls when are also included in the body of the text in this document. Apologies for any confusion!

Overnight in Honolulu (Waikiki).

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Hawaii - Majuro, Rep of the Marshall Islands
Early this morning we fly from Honolulu to the Marshall Islands. Our flight takes us across the International Date Line, and we therefore arrive on the island of Majuro the following day. Less than 5,000 tourists make their way to the Marshall Islands each year, and in 2016 this island nation was rated one of the top 5 'least visited' countries in the world! Today this is also considered to be one of the most 'endangered' countries in the world due to climate change and flooding. The Marshall Islands may actually disappear in our lifetime.

The island of Majuro appears as a delicate necklace of land draped around a turquoise lagoon - some of it barely wider than the airport runway! This is a nation of aquamarine atolls where we find a landscape sprinkled with coconuts, pandanus and breadfruit trees. Few other crops grow in the atoll’s salty sands, so the Marshallese long ago turned to the sea for their resources, and became expert fishers and navigators.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is one of the world's youngest nations, independent only since 1986. With a total land area of only 70 square miles (181 km2) the atolls, islands and islets are spread across a sea area of over 750,000 square miles in the central Pacific near the equator. Just west of the International Date Line, these islands are geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The population here is approximately 54,000, and about 1/2 of the total population live on Majuro, which contains the capital.

Micronesian colonists gradually settled the Marshall Islands during the 2nd millennium BC, with inter-island navigation made possible using traditional stick charts. The islands in the archipelago were first explored by Europeans in the 1520s, with Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar sighting an atoll in 1526. Today the islands derive their name from British explorer John Marshall, who visited in 1788.

For hundreds of years agricultural production has been concentrated on small farms, and small-scale industry is extremely limited. The concept of family and community are inextricably intertwined in Marshallese society. With few natural resources, the islands' wealth is based on a service economy, as well as some fishing and agriculture. Today aid from the United States represents a large percentage of the islands' gross domestic product.

Today we will visit the Alele Museum where we learn about Marshallese traditions and history. This small museum features authentic tools, artifacts, and some 19th century photographs. The Peace Park Memorial constructed by the Japanese government commemorates the soldiers who fought and died in the Pacific during WWII. At the WAM (Waan Aelon in Majol) canoe house we will learn about Marshallese canoe construction. Canoe building is a skill that even today receives the admiration of modern day sailors, and occasionally one can still find canoe builders hard at work. The WAM program is a vocational training program using traditional Marshallese skills for men and women, such as canoe building, traditional and contemporary boat building, sail-races and navigation, woodworking and weaving.

Copra production (the dried meat of coconuts) remains an important source of income for locals, and at the Tobolar Copra Processing Plant we can see copra being converted into coconut oil, soaps, body oil and ‘press cake’ (the solid remains after pressing out the liquid). It’s a hot, tiring job, but the making of copra is one of the few ways Marshallese on the outer islands can make money. Perhaps the best beach on Majuro is Laura Beach at the far end of the main island near the traditional small village of Laura.

Overnight in Majuro.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Majuro, Marshall Islands - Pohnpei, Fed. States of Micronesia
This morning we fly from the Marshall Islands to Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (not to be confused with ‘Micronesia’ - the sub-region of Oceania). There are only slightly more than 100,000 inhabitants here, and less than 35,000 tourists visit the islands each year. This is one of the most remote, peaceful and beautiful places on earth… encompassing nearly a million square miles (2,600,000 km2) of the Pacific Ocean north of the equator.

This independent sovereign island nation consists of four states (Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei – our destination) spread across the western Pacific Ocean. In total the states comprise around 607 islands that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km (1,678 mi). Economic activity here consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing. The potential for a tourism industry exists, but the remoteness of the location and a lack of adequate facilities hinder development.

Micronesian societies are made up of clan groupings, with descent traced through the mother. The head on each island can trace its lineage back to the island’s original settlers. The basic subsistence economy here is based on cultivation of tree crops (breadfruit, banana, coconut and citrus) and root crops (taro and yam) supplemented by fishing. Small scale agriculture and various traditional fishing practices continue today. Sharing and communal work are fundamental to the subsistence economic system and the culture of the island societies. Each state has its own culture and traditions, but there are also common cultural and economic bonds that are centuries old.

Volcanic activity millions of years ago brought forth these islands and atolls. Some are tips of mountain peaks thrust above the surface and now surrounded by fringing reefs. Others are atolls - islands that have sunk beneath the surface, leaving a ring of coral barrier reef and tiny island islets encircling a coral and sand lagoon. Others are mixtures of atolls and high-ridged islands within a lagoon.

This afternoon we will have a look around the coastal town of Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State. Kolonia's history is deeply marked by multiple foreign occupiers. Spain first built the town in 1887 as an administrative and military capital with a fort to protect the colonial government and garrison. In 1899, as a consequence of the Spanish–American War, Germany purchased Pohnpei from Spain along with the rest of the Caroline Islands. Roads and wharf's were built and buildings erected (a church bell tower and cemetery remain), but the town stayed relatively small as few German or other foreign settlers arrived to live on the island. Japan occupied Pohnpei in the first weeks of World War I as well as other German islands north of the equator. Unlike previous occupiers, the Japanese brought thousands of settlers to Micronesia, who outnumbered the indigenous population on some islands.

Overnight in Pohnpei.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Pohnpei Island Exploration
Roughly 22.5 km (14 miles) in diameter, Pohnpei Island is the peak of a 5 million-year-old extinct shield volcano. This is a place both rugged and brilliant green, with a dense rainforested interior and mountains as high as 2,600 feet. With over 300 inches of rain a year in the interior, Pohnpei ranks as one of the rainiest locations on Earth. All of that water results in scores of scenic waterfalls and some of the largest areas of intact upland rainforest in the Pacific. There are next to no beaches on Pohnpei as the coast is surrounded by mangrove swamps. Several smaller islets and atolls, many of them inhabited, lie nearby and are included in the State of Pohnpei.

Today we will drive around the island, and a highlight of our day will be a visit to Nan Madol, the ruins of an ancient city and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Micronesia. In 2016 this ceremonial centre was inscribed both on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Nan Madol is a series of more than 100 islets off the south-east coast of Pohnpei that were constructed with walls of basalt and coral boulders. These islets harbour the remains of stone palaces, temples, tombs and residential domains built between 1200 and 1500 CE. These ruins represent the ceremonial centre of the Saudeleur dynasty, a vibrant period in Pacific Island culture. The huge scale of the edifices, their technical sophistication and the concentration of megalithic structures bear testimony to complex social and religious practices of the island societies of the period.

Evidence of the earliest human activity here dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BC, and the construction of artificial islets probably started around the 8th or 9th century AD. However, construction of the megalithic structures began around the 12th century. The population of Nan Madol was probably more than 1000 at a time when whole population of Pohnpei barely reached 25,000. The origins and construction of Nan Madol is, like many other ancient ruins in the world, still shrouded in mystery. Some of the basalt rocks making up the base of the structures weigh upwards of 80-90 tons, yet they have been there for over 1000 years, piled neatly on top of each other. According to UNESCO, Nan Madol represents a “globally significant masterpiece of creative genius” because it exhibits the most perfectly preserved habitation, leadership and ceremonial plan of an architectural ensemble of the Pacific region.

Kepirohi Waterfalls are perhaps Pohnpei’s most famous, and they will make a nice stop after our visit to Nan Madol. The falls here cascade over a wide, sloped pyramid of basalt rock and fill a shallow pool before running down toward the coast.

Close to the north coast of Pohnpei is Sokehs Peninsula and Sokehs Rock, some of Micronesia's best-known geographic features. Here we find a long, mostly flat-topped ridge with a knoll-like summit near the middle. The mountain was a key location in the Japanese defense of Pohnpei during World War II, and today one still finds remnants scattered about the area. The ridge provides us with some nice scenic overlooks.

Overnight in Pohnpei.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Pohnpei, FSM - Tarawa, Kiribati
Early this morning we fly to Kiribati! Welcome to another true remote island paradise, and one of the worlds smallest island nations situated in the middle of the Pacific. Fewer than 6,000 visitors make it here each year (approximately 4,250 in 2015), making it the 4th least visited country in the world. This geographically isolated nation is ‘untouched’ thanks to how secluded and inaccessible the islands are.

The passing centuries have had little impact on Kiribati's outer islands, where people subsist on coconuts, giant prawns and fish. The country has a total land area of 800 sq km (310 sq mi) but, incredibly, it's 33 atolls and islands are spread over 3.5 million sq km (1,350,000 sq mi) of ocean. In fact, Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres, straddling the equator and extending into the eastern and western hemispheres! Today’s climate change projections predict that the ocean could swallow this country whole by the end of the century. In anticipation, the Kiribati government has purchased land in Fiji, where they can relocate their people.

Kiribati has been inhabited by Micronesians speaking the same Oceanic language since perhaps as far back as 3000 BC. Throughout history arrivals from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji have impacted the 'cultural landscape'. Intermarriage tended to blur cultural differences and resulted in a significant degree of cultural homogenization. Within these islands a Micronesian culture developed, and it was also infused with elements from Polynesian and Melanesian societies. Chance visits by European ships occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries, as these ships attempted circumnavigation of the world or sought sailing routes from the south to north Pacific Ocean. Kiribati became independent from the United Kingdom in 1979, and today Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and became a full member of the United Nations in 1999.

The permanent population here is just over 100,000, half of whom live on Tarawa Atoll. This is one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, and has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence, and today copra and fish represent the bulk of production and exports. In one form or another, Kiribati gets a large portion of its income from abroad (fishing licenses, development assistance, worker remittances, and tourism).

1889 saw the arrival of one notable visitor -- Robert Louis Stevenson. Setting sail for the Pacific islands, after spending time in Hawaii and Tahiti, he spent time on the Kiribati atolls of Abemama and Butaritari (in the Gilbert group). This was prior to heading to Samoa in 1890, where Stevenson spent the last of his days.

This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the island. On the south side of the island we will see some of the WWII relics and memorials, and along the north we will learn about the unique culture of the region and experience a little slice of local life in a traditional Kiribati village.

Overnight in Tarawa, Kiribati.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Tarawa, Kiribati - Nadi, Fiji - Suva
Today we fly from Tarawa to Nadi, Fiji. The town of Nadi was established in 1947 as a "Government Station" on the higher grounds of Nadi, and established itself as Fiji’s tourist hub in the 1960s. For most travellers Nadi is a transit point for other destinations in Fiji. Our overnight on Fiji is a necessary one in order to connect with tomorrow’s flight to Tuvalu.

Upon our arrival in Nadi in the afternoon we then commence with a drive along the southern coast to Suva on the east coast. Viti Levu is Fiji's largest island and home to 70% of the population (about 600,000). This is the hub of the entire Fijian archipelago! At 146 kilometers long and 106 kilometers wide, the island is comparable in size to the Big Island of Hawaii. In the realm of Pacific islands, it is exceeded in size only by New Caledonia.

Overnight in Suva, Fiji.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 7 Suva, Fiji - Tuvalu / Island Exploration
Early this morning we fly from Fiji to the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, one of the smallest and most remote countries in the world. Extremely inaccessible and far off the travellers path, this tiny nation is one of the least visited countries in the world. Situated midway between Hawaii and Australia, on average fewer than 1,000 visitors make it here each year (and just a small percentage of those are true 'tourists'). It has often been said that if you want to disappear for a while, head to Tuvalu! Due to the country's remoteness, tourism here is not significant. This is one of the least populous states in the world (after the Vatican City and Nauru), and the second smallest country in the world in terms of population size, having only around 11,000 people in its entire population. This is an unspoiled corner of the South Pacific, but many believe that time is running out for Tuvalu due to rising sea levels!

Funafuti is Tuvalu's capital and the location of its international airport. Approximately 4,000 people make up the entire population here, and life is ‘easy going’ and laid back. Only some small manufacturing facilities remind visitors of the modern world lingering beyond the horizon. Although Tuvalu literally means ‘cluster of eight’, there are 9 islands in the nation (six true atolls and three reef islands).

The ancestors of Tuvaluan people are believed to have arrived on the islands about 2,000 years ago. Initial settlement took place as Polynesians spread out from Samoa and Tonga, and Tuvalu provided a stepping-stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia and Micronesia. A referendum was held in 1974 to determine whether the Gilbert Islands and Ellice Islands should each have their own administration. As a consequence of the referendum, the colony ceased to exist on the 1st of January 1976, and the separate British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on the 1st of October 1978.

Because of the low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones and by the threat of rising sea levels. The highest elevation is 4.6 meters (15 ft) above sea level, which gives Tuvalu the second-lowest maximum elevation of any country (after the Maldives). Tuvalu is also affected by perigean spring tide events that raise the sea level higher than a normal high tide.

Upon arrival we will head to the local Community Hall (Falekaupule), which is located just nearby the airport. The traditional island meeting hall is where most important matters are discussed, and is often used for wedding celebrations and community activities. Here we are welcomed with a traditional dance, and we can enjoy a light snack before heading to our hotel.

After checking in and taking some time to refresh we will head out for a short afternoon tour of the island.

Overnight in Tuvalu.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Tuvalu / Amatuku
After breakfast we will head north along the island road and then take a short ferry ride to the islet of Amatuku, a tiny island about 1 km in length and a maximum of approximately 200 meters wide. Amatuku is the location of the Maritime School, and during our time here we hope to have a chance to meet with some of the Martime Officers and trainees. The Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI) provides accommodation and training to marine cadets each year, giving them the basic skills necessary for employment as seafarers on merchant shipping.

A number of Tuvaluans are employed as merchant seamen on cargo ships, and the Asian Development Bank estimates that, as of 2011, there were 800 Tuvaluan men trained, certified and active as seafarers. At any one time a large percent of the adult male population works abroad as seafarers, and money sent home by seamen is a major source of revenue for Tuvalu.

We will enjoy lunch here before heading back to the capital island. You will then have some free time this afternoon to explore on your own.

Overnight in Tuvalu.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Tuvalu - Suva, Fiji - Nadi
Today we depart from Tuvalu and fly back to Suva, Fiji – on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu. Suva is the capital and the second most populated municipality of Fiji. Suva is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the South Pacific, and over the years has become an important regional center.

Upon arrival into Suva we will proceed to drive to Nadi on the west side of the island. An overnight here is required in order to connect with our flight to Nauru tomorrow.

Overnight in Nadi, Fiji.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 10 Nadi, Fiji - Nauru
Today we fly to Nauru, the least visited country in the world! Plunked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this tiny island nation covers less than 21 square kilometers (8 square miles) and is home to less than 10,000 inhabitants. Only one airline serves Nauru, and flights are few and far between. Nauru sees only around 160 tourists per year, making this is the perfect destination for the true adventurous traveller.

This is the smallest country in the world without a true 'capital', although Yaren - the largest village - acts like one. Formerly known as Pleasant Island, the Republic of Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and the third smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco!!!

Located just south of the Equator, Nauru is surrounded by a coral reef, with a narrow fertile coastal strip just inland from the beach. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although channels in the reef allow small boats access to the island. Coral cliffs surround Nauru's central plateau, and the highest point of the plateau is just 71 m (233 ft) above sea level. Coconut palms flourish along the narrow coastal belt.

Nauru was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the late 19th century. After World War I, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate administered by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. During World War II, Nauru was occupied by Japanese troops, who were bypassed by the Allied advance across the Pacific. After the war ended, the country entered into UN trusteeship. Nauru gained its independence in 1968.

This was once the ‘rich kid’ of the Pacific, wealthy through phosphates, but today Nauru’s future is in the balance. The economy peaked in the early 1980s when Nauru was one of the great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean. The phosphate reserves are now almost entirely depleted, and phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged limestone pinnacles. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, the trust that had been established to manage the island's wealth diminished in value. By 2005 Nauru was a failing state with an uncertain future, dependent on injections of cash from other countries to keep afloat. Freight deliveries are rare and employment is scarce. Today’s situation is a far cry from the glory days of the 1970s and '80s.

This destination is by no means easy to visit, and access is subject to the whims of transport and weather. Hospitality services such as hotels and restaurants are minimal. Most visitors are diplomats, politicians, development workers and contractors. But, in spite of the present economic situation, the island still offers glimpses of its former past. For WWII buffs there are remnants of the Japanese occupation scattered around the island, and the enormous skeletal remains of mining infrastructure are truly remarkable.

This afternoon we will commence with some touring of the island. Please note that he ‘Nauru experience’ is pretty much the exact opposite of all the typical South Pacific Island cliches. If you are looking for pretty much anything that is tourist-oriented then you are out of luck. The amount of time spent on Nauru is 100% dictated by airline schedules.

Overnight in Nauru.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Nauru
This morning we will continue with our exploration of Nauru! Yaren is the largest settled area, and here we find the Parliament House and a few other government buildings as well as the remains of WWII relics. We will enjoy a stop at the small tropical white sandy beach of Anibare Bay… probably the most beautiful beach on the island.

Inland, the phosphate fields, created by years of strip mining, have left the island with an almost lunar beauty. This part of the island is also known as ‘topside’, and here one can also see the infamous Australian offshore detention center (Regional Processing Center). The picturesque Buada Lagoon is the only body of water on the island. This slightly brackish, freshwater lake is surrounded on all sides by dense vegetation and groves of palm trees, bananas, pineapples, pandanus trees and a few indigenous hardwoods such as the tomano tree.

This afternoon will be free.

Overnight in Nauru.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Nauru - Nadi, Fiji
This morning is yours free to relax or explore on your own. This afternoon we will fly from Nauru back to Nadi, Fiji where we overnight.

Overnight in Fiji.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13 Nadi, Fiji - Auckland, New Zealand
This morning we fly from Fiji to Auckland, New Zealand.

Located in the northern part of New Zealand, the cosmopolitan city of Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in the country. The geographical location of Auckland is such that it lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the southeast, the Manukau Harbour to the southwest, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and northwest. The region is also the site of Auckland Volcanic Field, comprising of around 50 volcanoes. This vibrant and bustling city is also the biggest Polynesian city in the world, a cultural influence reflected in many different aspects of city life.

This afternoon we will enjoy an orientation tour of Auckland. Travelling via Auckland's 'Golden Mile' (Queen Street), our tour takes us through the university grounds past many of Auckland's historical buildings. We will pass by Parnell Village, the Central Business District, the Mission Bay area, Tamaki Drive, and the Harbour Bridge before our visit to the Auckland Museum. Here we find three expansive levels that tell the story of New Zealand's history, from emergence as a nation through the loss and suffering of war, to their uniquely ancient natural history and priceless Maori and Pacific treasures.

Overnight in Auckland.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Auckland: At Leisure
Today is yours free to enjoy Auckland. You may select to simply spend the day enjoying this wonderful city and its picturesque setting. Or, perhaps you may want to take part in one of the many half-day or full-day trips available to regions surrounding and outside of the city.

A great local experience is a Fullers Harbour Cruise, allowing you the chance to explore the sparkling waters of Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour as you learn about the city's best-loved landmarks. Perhaps you may want to explore the Bay of Islands on a full day trip, and discover the historic sites of Waitangi and Russell. For a full day out you could travel from Auckland to Waitomo and Rotorua on a guided day trip. Here you can take a boat ride through cavernous chambers to view glowworms and stalactites suspended from the ceiling, and stroll past the geothermal mud pools and geysers of Rotorua at Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve.

Overnight in Auckland.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Auckland, New Zealand - Niue
Today* we fly from New Zealand to the island of Niue -- one of the smallest and most surprising countries on earth! This diverse rugged coral atoll in the South Pacific -- 'The Rock of Polynesia' -- is only 269 sq kms (100sq miles). This is a true hidden gem like no other island in the Pacific.

Niue may be one of the biggest coral atoll islands in the world, but it is also one of the smallest countries in the world with around 1200 inhabitants scattered throughout 14 villages. With less than 9,000 visitors a year, this is the sort of place where you find a laid back atmosphere keeping with the islander way of life. This Polynesian island is situated 2400 kms (1500 miles) northeast of New Zealand and just east of Tonga. Here the natural beauty is still largely intact, with spectacular steep limestone cliffs along the coast and a central plateau.

The highest point on the island is only 226 ft above sea level, and a ring-road around the entire island takes us through lush forests and reveals dramatic coastal views. The capital Alofi has less than 1,000 inhabitants, and here the economy is small with most economic activity revolving around the government. Cultural values are well-preserved today, and many traditions have been handed down from generation to generation. Religion here is strong, and the church plays a large part in the community.

A coral reef surrounds the island, and the only major break in the reef is along the central western coast, close to Alofi. Two large bays indent the western coast, with Alofi Bay in the center and Avatele Bay in the south. Most of the population resides close to the west coast, around the capital, and in the northwest.

Originally settled by Polynesians from Samoa around 900 AD, further settlers arrived on Niue from Tonga in the 16th century. The first European to sight Niue was Captain James Cook in 1774. He made three attempts to land but was refused permission to do so by the inhabitants. The next notable European visitors were from the London Missionary Society, which arrived in 1846 on the "Messenger of Peace".

Agriculture is very important to the lifestyle of Niueans and to the overall economy. Most families grow their own food crops for subsistence and some goods are exported to family members in New Zealand. Nearly all households have plantations of taro, which is an island staple food. Tapioca and yams also grow very well, as do different varieties of bananas. Copra, passionfruit and limes dominated exports in the 1970s, but by 2008 vanilla and taro had become the main export crops.

Following a plea from British missionaries and island leaders, Niue became a British Protectorate at the turn of the 20th century. Shortly thereafter, New Zealand took over responsibility in 1901. The island remained a territory of New Zealand until 1974 when it adopted self-rule, but continues to retain New Zealand citizenship. Today Niue is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand, and Niueans are New Zealand citizens. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state in her capacity as Queen of New Zealand, and approximately 90% of Niuean people live in New Zealand. Niue is not a member of the United Nations, but UN organizations have accepted its status as a freely-associated state as equivalent to independence for the purposes of international law. As such, Niue is a full member of some UN specialized agencies such as UNESCO and the WHO.

* As you can see above, we cross the Date Line once again and go back one calendar day.

Overnight in Niue.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Niue: Island Touring
Over the next 2 days we will explore the island of Niue. Niue’s coastline is adorned with unique geological landmarks, spectacular limestone formations and extensive cave systems. Avaiki Cave is where Niue's first settlers landed. Here a narrow gorge leads to a coastal cavern cradling a heavenly rock pool. Located south of Tuapa village along the North West coast of the island is Palaha Cave, notable for its stalactites and stalagmites in varying shades of green and red. The waterline is marked by a number of traditional canoe-landing spots, including Opaahi Landing, the place where Captain Cook made an unsuccessful attempt to come ashore in 1744.

In the main town of Alofi is the Niue Tourism office / Information Center. If we are lucky, one of the tourism staff will give us a brief talk about the local culture and life on the island.

We will enjoy a walk to the Limu pools, located in northwest Niue. Accessible via a footpath leading down to the Pacific Ocean, here we find a series of natural pools, protected from the fury of the Pacific Ocean through an ‘arm’ of rock that breaks the waves. Noted for its expansive cliff face and historical importance as a reserved bathing place for Niue's traditional kings, Matapa Chasm is reached by a track which branches off from the main road at the foot of Hikutavake Hill. Located just beyond the reach of the churning Pacific Ocean, the tranquil Matapa Chasm is set amid stunning limestone cliffs. As well as the Matapa Chasm we will also see the Togo Chasm.

Avatele beach is a village on the southwest coast of Niue. Here we find the largest and most well known beach on the island. Prior to the construction of the Sir Robert Rex Wharf and International Airport in Alofi, Avatele Beach was the principal landing place for many visitors to the island. During our time here we will also see the Hikulagi Sculpture Park -- established in 1996 by members of the then Tahiono Arts Collective.

Overnight in Niue.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Niue: Island Touring
Today we will continue with our island touring and exploration, and then you will have some free time this afternoon.

We will see the Niue National Museum at it’s temporary location, and enjoy a plantation tour as well as a rainforest walk. Today we also plan to visit one of the local villages. During our island touring we will also make stops at the beaches of Utuko and Tamakautoga.

Overnight in Niue.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 18 Niue - Auckland, New Zealand
This morning is yours free to enjoy and explore, and later today we will fly from Niue back to Auckland, crossing the Date Line one last time, arriving the next calendar day and in time for our last night and farewell dinner.

Overnight in Auckland, New Zealand.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 19 * Technical Note *
Because our database generates tour dates automatically based on the number of days in an itinerary, this is a "blank" day that we must insert in order to compensate for crossing the International Date Line while on tour and to ensure that our documents and website show the correct tour end date. Our tour is actually 19 days if the loss of time crossing the date line is taken into account.

Day 20 (Actually Day 19) Departure
Departure from Auckland (on the departure date published for your chosen departure).

BON VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Royal Hawaiian

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Honolulu
Country: United States

The Royal Hawaiian opened in 1927. With its rich history, strong ambassador loyalty, and connection to Hawaiian culture, this historic
... hotel is spectacularly located on the famed Waikiki Beach. Situated in the heart of Waikiki, the hotel offers cultural activities, gold standard signature concierge service, doctors-on-call, currency exchange service, laundry, dining service and world-class restaurants and bars, wireless internet access in rooms and all public areas, business center, and beach and pool services.


Read More.

Robert Reimers Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Majuro
Country: Marshall Islands

The Hotel Robert Reimers is family owned and operated with a traditional Marshallese flavor. All our rooms are equipped
... standard to modern amenities to ensure that our guests have the most comfortable stay when visiting the Marshall Islands.
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George Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Tarawa
Country: Kiribati

Offering a restaurant, a 24/7 front desk and a bar, The George Hotel Kiribati is located in Betio. Each air-conditioned
... offers a TV and a DVD player. Free parking is available on site.

All rooms include a wardrobe, a refrigerator and tea/coffee making facilities. Each room includes a private bathroom with a shower and guest toiletries.

Kiribati George Hotel is 15 minutes' walk from Betio Wharf. It is 5 minutes' drive from Bairiki. Bonriki International Airport is 30 minutes' drive away.

The on-site restaurant offers local and international cuisine. There are shops and other dining options within 10 minutes' walk.

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Gateway Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Nadi
Country: Fiji

Stay at the ideally located Fiji Gateway Hotel and enjoy the privacy and comfort of your fully air-conditioned deluxe room
... suite.
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M Social Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Auckland
Country: New Zealand

A contemporary hotel for the curious, the explorers and those who thrive on new experiences. Functionally chic, this contemporary hotel
... rooms designed for all travellers, overlooking the vibrant Prince's Wharf that is home to a stunning array of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences.
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Scenic Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Niue
Country: Niue

The Resort itself is located on the Niue’s South West coastline and is set amongst the local flora and fauna
... Niue. The resort offers a fantastic vantage point from which guests can watch sea life such as Humpback Whales, Spinner Dolphins and Turtles plus much more.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner or lunch daily (hotels and local restaurants). All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Special mention should be made re the internal flights (and taxes) that occur within the tour - we include these in the "Land" price of the trip, a significant proportion of the overall tour cost.

Exclusions

International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

As this tour covers a large and diverse piece of geography, special attention has been paid to visiting all of the places covered at, or close to, the best time in terms of weather than one can typically expect. Overall, you can expect warm, tropical conditions throughout. Though our intention is to avoid rainy periods, but one can expect tropical showers at any time.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport is provided by private a/c coaches, the size of which will vary according to ultimate group size and location. Larger touring buses may be used in some locations. Due to the more remote locations and limited infrastructure of most islands, we will have smaller vehicles of 16-25 seats.

Access to these rarely visited islands is extremely difficult, and restricted by infrequent flight schedules. The amount of time spent on each island will be entirely dictated and determined by the available flight schedules at the time of operation of the tour. The current itinerary has been designed and built around existing flight schedules, which may change at any time. Itinerary modifications may occur closer to the departure date due to possible flight routing and schedule changes. Any flight schedule change may have a direct impact on the proposed itinerary; as a result, the order of islands visited may change, and the number of nights on each island may have to be adjusted. We may lose one night on one island and gain a night on another. For this tour we strongly encourage all travellers to pack as light as possible and purchase travel insurance that would cover you in the event of changes resulting in out-of-pocket expenses.

We rate this tour a "level 2," as, though it is not strenuous per se, this tour is ambitious, covering a huge area and involving many flights, some of which are long and possibly at inconvenient times. On the ground, activities are leisurely and not tremendously active; however, that said, the real consideration is the HEAT and humidity, which can sap your strength and cause fatigue.

Accommodation

Our accommodation styles and rating will vary quite widely on this tour; on most of the islands we will be staying in the 'best available' hotels (excluding our stays on Fiji and in Auckland). Some hotel rooms are well-equipped and will likely include hairdryers, minibar fridge and TV. Other hotels on less developed islands will be clean and comfy, but may not provide the same amenities. Most are air-conditioned. Some hotels provide complimentary purified drinking water or bottles of water. Some bathrooms have shower only, and on some islands hot water may not be available 24-hours a day. Many hotels have swimming pools.

A mandatory single supplement may apply to this tour if you select our share program and we are unable to pair you. Due to the high cost of single accommodation in the region, the mandatory supplement is 50% of the regular supplement.

Maximum 5 single supplements. Please note that due to extremely limited accommodation, singles will likely be "forced" to share (same sex) in Nauru.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout; local guides, drivers.

Group Size

Maximum 15 (plus Tour Leader)