Islands of the Pacific
Los Angeles - Tahiti - Cook Islands - New Zealand - Fiji - London
Organized by Kompas Holidays d.d., Slovenia
Duration: 18 days
Group size: 18
Tour guide: Aleš Fevžer
Photographs available here were taken with Samsung Digimax V4 digital camera, originally taken in 2272 x 1704 resolution and downsampled for this presentation to 1280 x 960. Original photos are also available on a CD version. Some photographs were digitally adjusted for color and contrast to compensate for exposure errors - I'm far for being a professional when it comes to photography, I'm sure you can tell. No tripod was used, and some of the photos shot in low light conditions may be blurry due to camera shake or fast movement. Still, images serve their purpose. There are a total of 318 photos in this gallery.
This photo gallery and travel summary focus on the trip itself, and were compiled in memory of good times on this journey, as a quick index for exchanging photographs with my fellow travelers, and as a reference to anybody interested in the Islands of the Pacific, perhaps planning to travel there some day themselves. I can only recommend it.
It goes without saying - click on a thumbnail for a larger picture.
The tour of Pacific Islands started by gathering at Ljubljana Airport in the early morning, following with flights to London and our first destination, Los Angeles, where we will spend a night and take a quick look around before continuing over to the Pacific Ocean.
Arriving in Los Angeles in late afternoon local time, a shuttle bus is waiting to take us on a quick tour of Los Angeles before checking in the Four Points Sheraton Hotel.
|Finding ourselves at Mexican festivities
in LA at one of the evening tour stops
After breakfast, we packed our luggage, checked out of the hotel and went on a bus for some real Los Angeles sightseeing, before being dropped of at LAX in late afternoon for a flight to Papettee, Tahiti.
|One of the LA marinas||Venice Beach walkway|
|Venice Beach in the morning||Lifeguard tower|
|Shooting some hoops
on Sunday morning
|Santa Monica Pier|
|Walk of Fame of Hollywood - Hollywood Boulevard
with bronze stars in the walkway
|The concrete in front of Chinese Theater
holds the hand and foot imprints of more
than 180 celebrities
|More imprints in front of Chinese Theater||Hollywood Boulevard|
|Entering Universal Studios Hollywood. Some really nice rides
and shows, don't miss the Back To The Future ride!
|Waterworld show. When they say
you might get wet, they mean it.
They throw buckets of water at
the audience. Literally.
|A finale of the Jurassic Park ride.
That raincoat they are selling for
$1 at the entrance - go for it...
|There's always a crowd||The last panoramic shot of the Universal Studio's
production halls, and we are on our way to the
LAX airport, boarding a B-767 for Tahiti.
After another lengthy flight, we arrive at French Polynesia, its main island Tahiti. A change of climate is evident the same moment you step out of the plane. As the hour is late already, we just clear the customs and go straight to our hotel, Sofitel Maeva Beach.
|A view from the hotel
room in the morning
|Maeva Beach by the hotel||After breakfast, a bus is waiting to take us around the Tahiti island.
We get to know the landscape and culture through the driver
who also serves as a local guide.
|Point Venus Lighthouse, Tahiti
This is where Captain Cook first made landfall in Tahiti,
and is the Northern-most point on the island of Tahiti
|A nearby bay||A breadplant|
|We were fascinated with all the flowers in the graveyard||Tahiti beach, with a famous blowhole nearby|
|An interesting place
for a tree to grow
|The next stop was a botanical garden...||Where were those French nuclear
tests being done again?
|These don't grow
as big back home
|Turtles||We visited the Paul Gauguin
Museum, and had a lunch before
turning back to Papettee
|Tahiti has a nice
The rest of the afternoon and evening was free for swimming and sunbathing.
The next day was reserved for a trip to Moorea, an island that is an hour away from Tahiti with a ferry.
|A ferry leaving Papettee
port for Moorea
|Clouds in the mountains
over Papettee city
|Arriving to Moorea.
That was one windy trip,
hang on to your hair...
|First glimpses of
|There are some very nice
resorts on Moorea, coral
reef visible at the back
|Moorea Sofitel Ia Ora||For the rest of the day on Moorea, we
went on a boat trip around Moorea island
|First stop - shark feeding!
Get your snorkeling gear and in
the water, behind the rope line.
|Black-tip reef sharks
are coming for lunch.
|These graceful, gentle creatures love to play and cuddle|
|Stingray hoping for a treat. We
have stopped on an island for a
lunch picnic ourselves, and learned
how to peel and break a coconut.
|Sheraton Moorea Lagoon
Resort, on a way back.
|Before returning to Tahiti island, there was
a short trip to the inland, showing landscape
and annanas plantations.
We returned to Tahiti late in the afternoon, and went for a dinner to the Papettee city center to conclude the day. Tomorrow, we are going to see Bora Bora.
|On Tahiti Airport once
again, boarding a local
flight to Bora Bora
|Arriving to Bora Bora,
this was our guide, and
we had yet another boat trip.
|Big cruisers are coming
to Bora Bora
|Bora Bora landscape from a passing boat|
|Bora Bora has nice resorts, too.||Following the boat||More landscape, crystal
|The rest of the Bora Bora trip consisted of a visit to
more swimming with the fishes, sharks included, and a lunch. The
roundtrip concluded back at the airport in the afternoon.
|Leaving Bora Bora on a plane back to Papettee,
I made some snapshots from the air
|Entry to the Bora Bora port||High above the clouds...||A Tahiti sunset|
|A goodbye dinner and a show in a neighboring resort.|
The plane for Rarotonga was leaving at 3 am in the morning, and we were homeless already, so most of us spent the last night on Tahiti drowsing in comfy chairs in the hotel lobby.
Arriving at Rarotonga, Cook Islands at 7 am, we had a free morning to catch on some sleep. In the afternoon, we are going to see the island with a bus.
|One of the best accommodations on the trip, a very
roomy beach-side apartment with glass patio door,
the sea being just a few steps away
|A nice sandy beach at the Pacific Resort, Rarotonga|
|A bus tour of the island,
|Take a guess what this
one is the God of...
|Cook Islands Parliament||Volcanic rocks|
|Landscape on the other side of the
island, at the black pearls shop
|Back just in time for
|The next morning, we
are visiting Aitutaki
Aitutaki is supposed to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific, and it lives up to this reputation. This was also the location where they were filming the well known The Blue Lagoon movie, starring Brooke Shields.
|Welcome to Aitutaki, we
got flowers and a
|Driving to our resort, we made a quick photo-stop at the local port||One of the nicest and best
arranged beaches we were on
|Equipment like canoes and snorkeling gear were free to borrow. Waters
are very shallow here though, except for the dug up trench right
at the beach. You could easily walk to the island across.
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort
|This is where I was
staying on Aitutaki
|As most Pacific islands,
Aitutaki is mostly volcanic
|There are some 500 locals living on
Aitutaki, and are extremely friendly.
We caught them at one of the greater
social events, a football match.
|What a hard time we are having at Aitutaki...|
|An evening show
by the dinner
|Waking up to a calm morning||Another day, another boat
trip around the island
|Aitutaki has lots of small, uninhabited islands, perfect if you want some piece and quiet.
We've made a few snorkeling stops on the way, and had a grill lunch on the boat.
|Of course, some local
songs come with a trip.
|Our destination, One Foot Island
on the edge corner of Aitutaki
|A few hours time off to explore the island, go swimming and snorkeling|
|Lots to see around worth taking a photo||Another coconut peeling
|Beautiful beaches on Aitutaki|
Late in the afternoon we were leaving Aitutaki by plane back to Rarotonga, where we would spend the last night on the Cook Islands. A picnic dinner was organized at one of the bungalows, featuring one of the most expensive hams in history, and early in the morning we would be reluctantly joining Air New Zealand once again on their flight to Auckland, New Zealand.
Arriving to the city of sails just before midday, a bus with our New Zealand driver and guide Maxine was waiting.
|Leaving the airport||Drive-through shots of Auckland suburbs
from the passing bus
|The first stop coming from the airport was
Mount Eden, a view point over Auckland.
|Mount Eden is in fact an old
volcano, one of many around
|A few more panoramic shots of Auckland...|
|...and a few more. Didn't have my camera out for almost a whole day.||Auckland city center, near
the Sky City Hotel
|The Auckland Marina, location of the America Cup 2003
race. These are the docks where teams were based at.
|We stopped at the Auckland Aquarium, too.
They are quite proud of their penguins.
|Not just a fish. Piranhas.||A couple more Auckland beachfront shots.|
The next morning after breakfast, we are going by bus to Rotorua, some 200 km south-east of Auckland, a center of geothermal activities in New Zealand.
|Landscape south of Auckland. Lots of green, lots of hills. Lots of sheep, too.||Arriving to Whakarewarewa
(short name, see the pict for
a full one) Thermal Reserve,
this was our guide.
|A hot mood pool, up
to 98 degrees Celsius.
|Hot geysers in action|
|Everything is smoldering...||There is a distinct smell in the air, something between ammoniac, sulfur and boiling water...|
|More geyser shots||Maori battle canoe||It's a bird.
It's a kiwi.
|Replicas of traditional Maori
homes, a food chamber
on the left
|Maori Crafts Institute, open
for tourists to watch
|Supposedly the most beautiful
house in New Zealand
|Agrodome presentation - all
the sheep of New Zealand
|Shepherd dogs at work|
|Arriving back to Auckland
in the afternoon
The next bus trip is in the other direction, Paihia, Bay of Islands, the northern tip of New Zealand, where we will be spending the night before heading back the next day.
|Morning traffic jam
|Drive-through landscape||Waitangi, the place where the treaty was
signed between native Maori and conquesting
English, making New Zealand British.
|Treaty House, as originally
owned by James Busby
|A Maori temple, a gathering place and
history keeper for the whole village
|Nicely arranged flowers
on the premises
|Replicas of war canoes|
|A trunk of a large kauri
tree, used to make one
of the canoes.
|Arriving to Paihia||The evening was free, and a three of us
went on a dinner cruise up the river
with Darryl and Jenny.
|Landscape by the river|
|Our destination for the
|Dinner time. Enjoying Darryl's prime steak or fish, fresh from the grill,
and a beautiful sunset landscape while slowly floating back towards the sea.
|The next day, we are heading back to Auckland tracking by the west side
of the Northern Island. Golf is a popular game in New Zealand.
|One of the smaller towns
we were passing through.
|Sandy dunes on the way to
Waipoua Forest, a home
of kauri trees.
|More sandy dunes||Tane Mahuta, God of the Forest. The largest kauri tree in New Zealand.
It is hard to see from the photos how large it really is,
nearly 14 meters all around it.
|On the way back, we stopped at a local winery to
try out New Zealand's wines. Weren't impressed.
|Most known beach in Auckland,
it will be full in a month or two
|Our bus, taking us
around New Zealand
|Auckland landscape from the Sky Tower, visited on late afternoon after returning from Paihia.||Unique view from the tower
through a glass floor
|Leaving Auckland for the airport in the afternoon
next day, after having a day off for shopping
and individual sightseeing.
|A B-767 waiting to take us
back to the warm islands,
this time to Fiji.
We came to Nadi, Fiji in the evening, and were transported to our hotel, Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarou Island. Fiji was planned to be easier on our schedule, giving us some more R&R time on the beach for the end of the trip.
|Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarou Island||Fiji is no exception, another beautiful sandy beach|
|Everything needed to
get some sunshine
|Shells on the beach|
|A view from
|Even the birds
|Lighting up torches
in the evening
|The sun is going down,
|After dinner, a presentation of local songs and dances|
The next day was reserved for a catamaran trip to the Beachcomber Island, very well equipped for a remote island, where we can enjoy the day swimming and sunbathing until late afternoon.
|About to board the catamaran,
the right one was ours.
|They are going to the
|Beachcomber Island. There is no notable coral reef or lagoon
around Beachcomber for a change, waves were notable.
|Some of the activities at Beachcomber.||Our own little house
|As the catamarans are too
big to come to the beach, we
were transported to and from
the beach using these
|Going back to
|Shadows are getting long back at the hotel beach,
the Sun is about to set, and torches
on the beach get lit
|A sunset at Fiji|
The last day at Fiji. The morning is reserved for one last swim in the Pacific Ocean, then we have to empty our rooms and go on the bus tour around Fiji.
|Leaving the Sheraton
|A Hindu temple||Fiji landscape, lots
of sugarcane fields
|A narrow-track railway,
transporting its sugarcane
load to the processing
|Entering the Viseisei
village, where the house
of Fijian president is
|Chief's main house||Viseisei village||Breadplant fruit|
|The last stop was at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a 50-acre orchid range.
Lots of flowers to photograph.
We returned from the trip in late afternoon, and had the goodbye dinner at the local golf club. In the evening transport to Nadi airport for the first leg on the way home, a flight to Los Angeles.
After two long flights, 9 hours from Nadi, Fiji to Los Angeles on B-767, and additional 10 hours from Los Angeles to London on B-747, we arrived at Heathrow Airport in late morning, local time. As our connecting flight home wasn't due till late in the evening, a bus was arranged to store our luggage for the day, and take us around London on sightseeing.
|London, Trafalgar Square||Nelson's Column||Tower Bridge||Tower of London|
|London Eye||Big Ben||The National Gallery||Buckingham Palace. George Bush Jr.
was coming to town that day...
|A Thames River view||Royal Observatory, Greenwich||The Prime Meridian, located at the
Greenwich Observatory. This red line
was responsible for our shifting clocks
all the time in the last 18 days.
|London at dusk. The bus is waiting to
take us to the Gatwick airport, and
in a few hours, we'll be home.