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NEW CALEDONIA, COOK ISLANDS AND FRENCH POLYNESIA

This route "Around the World" is dedicated to dream islands lovers that will have the chance to tour some of the most amazing spots. Fist step will be the almost unknown New Caledonia with one of the largest and most beautiful lagoons of the Planet, an unspoilt natural beauty to be discovered with complete independence and freedom.
Then the Cook Islands, a more "english" and much less glam Polynesia compared to the well-known (and absolutely beautiful) French Polynesia that will be the final step of the journey.

Recommended period: the months of May - June and September - October are definitely the best for New Caledonia. July - August is the peak of winter, and can be a bit cooler. From December to March is rather more humid and rainy season (and occasional hurricanes)
Polynesia and the Cook Islands are fine from May to October when it is the dry season.

Departures: individual, daily scheduled flights of Qantas and other airlines that operate on the Pacific routes. 

1st-2nd day:  ITALY-SYDNEY
Departure from 'Italy in the afternoon with a scheduled flight Quantas / Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and subsequent coincidence to Sydney where you get in the morning of the 3rd day of travel.

3rd/5th day:  SYDNEY
Transfer to hotel and stay in Sydney for 3 nights. Since Sidney is the main hub for the South Pacific area, it is a must to visit this wonderful city, but this will be the only Australian leg of the journey (for obvious reasons of time). We can say Sidney iks the NYC of the antipodes: modern and cosmopolitan, inserted in a beautiful bay has countless attractions: the historic district of THE ROCKS, the OPERA HOUSE area with beautiful sight of' HARBOUR BRIDGE, its Aquarium, its beaches frequented by surfers like BONDI BEACH or MANLY. Do not miss a cruise in the bay maybe with a sunset dinner.

6th day:  SYDNEY-NOUMEA (New Caledonia)
Transfer to the airport and flight to Noumea, the capital of this archipelago a few hours from the Australian coast, just above the Tropic of Capricorn.

Arrival in Noumea and meeting with our correspondent, who will deliver original documents of the trip (vouchers and tickets) detailed itinerary, brochures of hotels and services booked, destination information, detailed roadbook for routes without driver and the Grande Terre tour, contact details for emergencies 24h.

Transfer to the hotel chosen and accommodation; Enjoy time at leisure.

7th day: NOUMEA
Breakfast at the hotel. Rest of the day free to enjoy the magical city lifestyle and visit the craft market, the botanical and zoological park, the cultural center Tijbaou.

Also interesting is a visit to the Maritime Museum, and the Aquarium. NOUMEA is beautiful. Bubbly, vacationer, relaxing, active, rich, interesting, a real surprise. A corner of Europe in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It stretches for just over 15 km on a peninsula, along the South West coast of the island of Grande Terre, from Anse Vata, the most beautiful beach of the city, in the south part, to the northern suburbs of Koutiou and Yahoue. The downtown area develops along Baie de la Moselle: the city port, that offers shelter to cruise ships, fishing boats and fleets of private yachts, is magnificent. His heart, Places des Cocotiers still preserves the old colonial buildings dating back to the 19th century, the market square and a wrought iron bandstand shaded by ancient flamboyant trees. Also downtown there is the Latin Quarter, clear tribute to the Parisian district. Further west lies down Nouville, where the first penal colony arose, currently connected to the mainland by landfill coming from nickel foundries. Worth a visit to the remains of the prisons and the secluded bay of Kuendu, the ideal place to swim and snorkel around the promontory. To the north thre's an industrial area, behind which there are residential neighborhoods and industrial buildings of little interest. On the eastern side of the peninsula, along the shore, there are the districts of Ste Marie and Ouemo, both not to be missed. To the east of the center is the Vallée des Colons, a lively district that now houses many Kanaky and Polynesian immigrants. But Noumea reveals its most interesting side along the bay and the magnificent beaches. The natural beauty of Anse Vata, Bai Des Citrons and Baie de l’Orphelinat forms an integral part of the city life. The activities related to the sea and the beach mark the daily rhythms of its 100,000 inhabitants and of the numerous guests throughout the year. And at night, the promenade comes alive with restaurants, entertainment, music and dancing. Noumea is the administrative center of the country and home to major cultural and tourist attractions. The Cultural Center of Jean-Marie Tjibaou, about 10 kilometers from downtown was designed by architect Renzo Piano and is designed with the aim to raise awareness of the close link between the Kanaks to their land,  This succeeds in merging harmoniously the modern architectural style and the native cultural beliefs. The Cultural Centre exhibits objects belonging inheritance Kanak and illustrates the various cultures of Oceania. The Bibliothèque Bernheim, in colonial style, is the main library of Noumea and is a perfect place to spend a little time to read a book. Although pleasant and quiet, the library is located close to city traffic, so if you really want to get away from the bustle of the street, go to Noumea Aquarium at Anse Vata. Here you can admire magnificent specimens of fauna and marine flora rather rare and unusual, from sponges to corals from turtles to sharks.

8th day: NOUMEA-OUVEA

Transfer to the city airport of Magenta and departure to Lifou with domestic flight. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel and accommodation. Rest of the day free to explore the island and its beaches. 

9th day: OUVEA
Day dedicated to relax or to explore the island and the lagoon. OUVÈA is a real paradise: crystal clear waters, dazzling white beaches with soft sand. Magnificent and colorful the parrots that live there, unique in the world. The west coast has the largest beach on the islands of Lauyauté: 25 km of uninterrupted white sand bathed by the emerald green lagoon. An ancient legend tells of the origins of the island: Some fishermen from Wallis Island (Island of Polynesia) were building a canoe when one of the workers dropped inadvertently an ax that cut off the head of the chief. Panicked the group of workers sailed across the Pacific on fragile boats. Finally they reached an island they named Ouvéa in memory of their place of origin (Ouvéa is the Maori name for Wallis: Uvea). The island is made up of three provinces: Saint Joseph, Fayaoué and Mouli. Then there are two independent communities: Takedji and Gossanah. Some must-sees: Saint Joseph Church; the Anawa Blue Hole a cavity cut into the rock with sea water at the bottom and sweet water on the surface, real natural pools for local children games or ideal refuge for sea turtles; Fayaoue Beach: 25 km of magnificent uninterrupted beach; Mouli: an 8 km long island, a small road crosses it and leads to amazing beaches between rocks and coral; Pont Mouli: completed in 1984, connects the small island of Mouli to the main island; from the bridge you can see Lekini Bay and Fayawa Island, a protected fishing reserve where swimming is prohibited; Lekini cliffs studded with caves and gorges carved by the sea can be visited only with a guide.

10th day: OUVEA-NOUMEA-LIFOU

In the morning transfer to the airport and departure to Lifou with domestic flight (change planes in Noumea). Upon arrival, transfer to hotel .Resto of the day at leisure to explore the 'island and its beaches.

11th day:- LIFOU
LIFOU is the largest and most populated of the Loyalty Islands. You can find all the stereotypes of idyllic tropical paradises: magnificent cliffs overhanging  crystal clear water, beautiful uncrowded white beaches made of soft and impalpable sand on which counteracts the lush and wild vegetation. The pace of daily life here has remained unchanged: a few cars, many villages with traditional architecture, markets and everywhere the smiles and the colors of the local population that here still preserves culture and traditions.The best way to discover the island is by car or scooter, on your own, or even better guided by a local (still hard to to call them real guides, here where the "tourism" has just arrived. Of course they know the surroundings perfecly and will drive you around as a friend could do, with spontaneity and joy). Here are the must-sees of Lifou: the beaches of Chateaubriand, Luengoni e Peng; the vanilla plantation in Mucaweng; the chapel of Easo built by the first Catholic missionaries in 1898; the Bay of Santal, used by whalers in 1860; Jokin cliffs, spectacular and covered with extraordinary tropical vegetation, overlooking the crystal clear lagoon.

12th day: LIFOU/NOUMEA/ILE DES PINES

In the morning transfer to the airport and depart for Noumea (Magenta airport) with domestic flight. Upon arrival, coincidence for Ile des Pins (25 minute flight). Transfer to hotel and accommodation in the room reserved. Rest of the day free to explore the island that you can easily do both with local transport (bus) or renting a car.

13th day: ILE DES PINES
Free day to explore the island and the lagoon. ILE DES PINS, 60 kms south of NOUMEA is one of the most beautiful places in New Caledonia. You will meet intense colors, palms, orchids, ferns, banana trees, flowers, dazzling white beaches with fine grain sand, forests of rosewood and sandalwood that scent the air, deep green thick pine trees up to 60m high and with branches long up to 2 meters. An area of about 250 square kilometers surrounded by magnificent coasts. In the south west there are the two bays of KUTO and KANUMERA: magnificent beaches, lagoons with amazing colors, many motus (the small coral islets) of impressive beauty, fresh and relaxing palm groves and monkey puzzles trees, great for a walk enjoying the sunset. South there's a bunch of islets, alike crumbs of white coral crowned by pine trees that give the island its name and opaline waters. East, the coast seems perforated: magnificent bays and inlets dotted with fishermen villages where it is easy to spot the outrigger pirogues, typical of Melanesia. D’UPI Bay is the place where to take the usual pirogue tour. More North you meet BAIE D'ORO and its high Pine trees, an estuary that is distinguished by its sheltered position and the turquoise shallow water. Shoals of white sand and a natural barrier of the jagged rocks shelter the bay from the open sea and create an amazing natural aquarium explorable with flippers and mask (just a few minutes walking from the Hotel Le Meridien). The SAINT JOSEPH BAY includes the village of Vao. You can visit his church, built by local Kuniés with the help of the Missionaries, in 1860. The interior of the island is full of forests monkey puzzle trees, ancient and spectacular conifers, punctuated by small areas dedicated to the local cultivation. There are also many villages Kanak, you can visit asking for a appropriate permission. The lagoon all around the island is dotted with islets and sandbanks reminding peals nestled in the see full of crustaceans and shellfishes (Huge and tasty the “Porcelane” lobsters). Many islets can be visited in a dayly tour. We suggest the tour that includes Nokanhui and Brosse Islands, it's daily, under request (there a minimum number required) from the beach of Kuto (in front of the Oure Lodge).

14°th day: ILE DES PINES-NOUMEA-RAROTONGA (Cook Islands)
In the morning tranfr to airport and flight to Noumea. Next flight for COOK ISLANDS(stopover and change of aircraft in Auckland, New Zeland). Arrival to Rarotonga, the main island, the day before the departure date since you have crossed the date change line close to Tonga and Samoa. Accomodation in Hotel.

13th day: RAROTONGA*
During the day, you can tour the island on your own (rent a scooter or a car) to discover the culture, traditions and history of these charming islands. COOK ISLANDS are a network of 15 coral islands in the heart of the South Pacific scattered in an area as big as India (2 millions of  skm) but with as little residents as a small town, about 14000 souls. In the Northern Cook, there are: Suwarrow, Nassau, Pukapuka, Manihiki, Rakahanga and Penrhyn. Part of Southern Cook are: Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke, Mangaia, Palmerston, Manaue and Takutea. Surely one of the most fascinating archipelagos, with a shining nature and a rich culture of ancient traditions that the Pacific, in its amazing immensity, is able to offer us. You will be pleased with the scent of millions of Tiaré flowers, that the natives learn to weave since their childhood into beautiful necklace, with the melodies of the frantic “tamurè”, the typical dance of the Southern Seas danced by the most beautiful and most talented dancers of the Pacific. You will enjoy the the beautiful scenery of the volcanic and the coral islands, transparent lagoons surrounded by white beaches and the most vivid and colorful reef. Last but not least you will meet wonderful people who always welcome each and one of you with a charming and friendly smile. That's why Cook Island are one of the last paradises on Earth!

Rarotonga is the heart of Cooks. Of volcanic origin, offers both sandy and rocky beaches. The interior of the island is a beautiful forest that you can also walk through to reach small waterfalls, meadows and rivers where take a cooling dip. The island is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs, which encloses a turquoise lagoon and many white sand beaches. Over the reef, the contrast of the ocean blue. On this island is the international airport, and is where most of the tourists stops, starting point for excursions to the islands and for the interior. We recommend renting a car or a scooter to roam freely in search of the most secret and hidden spots, both within the forest and along the coast. The main Town is Avarua, the commercial center of the Cook Islands. Here you can find a wide range of shops, bars banks and souvenirs. Among the activities, do not miss a lecture by the famous local character Piripurutu III on the virtues of coconut and how to build wreaths of flowers. Downtown there is the "Rarotonga's Visitor Centre" where tourists are welcome and where you can find all sorts of information, souvenirs, clothes and local guides for excursions.

14th day: RAROTONGA-AITUTAKITransfer to the airport and departure to Aitutaki with domestic flight AIR Rarotonga. Arrival and check into your hotel.

14th-17th day: AITUTAKIThe island of Aitutaki, located 220 km north of Rarotonga, less than an hour's flight, is partly volcanic and partly of coral origin, without major internal relief; it presents cliffs overlooking the sea in the less populated area and beautiful sandy beaches along the road leading to the town. Its large and crystal clear lagoon is considered one of the most beautiful in the Pacific. The heart of the island is characterized by banana plantations and tropical fruit, alternated with forests and coconut groves. The best way to get around the island is as always renting a scooter. Among the excursions you can't miss there are the mini-cruises on the nearby uninhabited islands that include lunch picnic on the beach; you can book them directly at the hotel. Accommodation and half board at the hotel.

18th day: AITUTAKI-RAROTONGA-PAPEETE
Transfer to the airport and flight to Rarotonga with subsequent coincidence for Tahiti, French Polynesia, that is just over two hours from the Cooks (depending on the season when you travel may be required again sleep in Rarotonga because of Flight Connections). Arrival in Papeete, meeting with the assistant of our local correspondent who will deliver the original documents (vouchers, tickets) and will give the first indications on the destination and subsequent transfer to the hotel.

19th day: PAPEETE
Usually in Tahiti, and thus in its capital Papeete, people passes only to make a change in flight or at most they spend one night because "forced" by Flight Connections. But it's hard to think of having reached the other side of the world without having had any real contact with the local population, with its history and its culture. A few suggestions: a tour of the city of Papeete in private car or minibus with other visitors (you can book it at the desk of the hotel). The first stop is the Papeete Market, in the very center of the city. There you can find everything from fresh fish, magnificent floral displays, local handicrafts and beautiful sarongs as well as those little gifts that you'll want to take home to friends and family. Il tour prosegue con il museo delle perle: l’unique opportunity to discover the techniques used for the cultivation of black pearls, its different colors and all the historical part related to its industry. Another hint is to explore the whole island to see its lush nature: the famous waterfalls on the east coast, a coast that can not be compared to any other in the country. Huge waves arrive on the coast not protected by coral reefs, a coast known by the more experienced surfers with the name of Papenoo Valley. The falls are reached after a walk of about 15 minutes through the lush vegetation. You can reach the highest part of the Maroto island by an off road vehicle, have lunch on site and after about a couple of hours trekking on the mountain will take you to the places formerly inhabited by the local population. Not to be missed! A tip for a cultural day: visit to the "Museum of Tahiti" where you will learn much about the various islands, the culture and the local population; then continue to the Gaugin Museum where you will discover a lot about the life of the famous artist in these places. Near the museum there is also the Gaugin Restaurant, a great place for lunch. On the way back to the hotel, call at Punaauia the most beautiful "marae" (holy place) of the island.

20th day: PAPEETE-BORA BORA
At the agreed time transfer from the airport by minibus to coincide with the Air Tahiti flight to Bora Bora. Upon arrival at the airport meeting with our local correspondent who will carry out the transfer to the hotel (most likely by boat if the hotel is located in one of the beautiful "moutu" - islets - that line the lagoon). In Bora Bora, both for practical reasons (often hotels are detached and away from other structures, and for economic benefits (Deals for the spouses) is recommended to stay with half board formula (breakfast and dinner).

20th-23th day: BORA BORA
Whole days available to relax. BORA BORA is with good reason the symbol of the Polynesian dream: peaceful beaches lapped by crystal clear water that is unparalleled in any other Society Islands of French Polynesia, lush forests that cover the mountain slopes, indoor waterfalls and water courses where you can stop for a swim. Even in Bora Bora, the best way to move is to rent a scooter or a car and drive along the coast road, stopping at many beaches and reaching the various villages to go shopping. Bora Bora offers mostly water activities, from simple snorkelling to scuba diving, parasailing up to deep-sea fishing.

For horse riding lovers there are centers that organize tours along the beaches. For those who get bored on the beach, an interesting and not dangerous experience is the feeding of sharks and rays, usually associated with a guided tour of the island, or the off-road tour that includes stops at the artifacts of the Second World War : guns, trenches and other left by the Americans.

Of course, there's a visit to the pearls farm. Is recommended to spend at least one night in the famous "overwater bungalow", that are the stilt houses in the lagoon that give a unique perspective on what is really the main attraction of the island: its magical lagoon.

24th day: BORA BORA - TIKEHAU

Transfer to airport and flight from Bora Bora to Tikehau with scheduled flight Air Tahiti. Upon arrival transfer to the resort.

24th-26th day: TIKEHAU
Days at leasure to relax. TIKEHAU, along with Rangiroa is one of the largest coral atolls of the Pacific, its shape is classic ring "motu" with a beautiful interior lagoon where even Jacques Cousteau was charmed by the amount of fish and the variety of corals.

In fact it can be considered a paradise for fishermen and diving lovers: the spectacle of dancing manta rays is gorgeous, alternating with parades of tuna shoals and barracudas, or with the generally lonely presence of gray sharks. Tikehau also gives shelter to rare species of birds, like the red-footed booby and dark noddies.

Several opportunities for recreation: you can reach by boat the atoll of Motu Ohohi with its pink beach, or Motu Puarua and œœ with their nests of sea birds. Many marine parks and pearl cultivation.There is only one resort of good level: the beautiful Pearl Beach where we suggests staying with the half board  formula.

 

27th/28th day: TIKEHAU-TAHITI-LOS ANGELES-ITALIA
Transfer to airport and flight Air Tahiti to Papeete. Then night fligh to Los Angeles. Arrival in the morning in the American metropolis (you can make a stop of 1-2 nights to better deal with the long trip). Connection with flight for Europe and Italy. Arrival at destination two days after the departure from Polynesia because of the 22 hours of actual flight and the 12-hour time difference gained flying eastward.