This was the first trip to the South Pacific visiting four countries.  It was primarily a trip to Australia and New Zealand with a stopover in French Polynesia on the way and a stopover in Fiji on the way back.  It was a 7.5 hour flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti where stayed for a couple of days.  Then it was a criss-cross with a 7.5 hour flight to Sydney, Australia; then four hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand; then back to Australia to Brisbane; and finally four hour flight to Fiji for a couple of days. 

French Polynesia - Moorea

Upon arrival at the international airport in Papeete, Tahiti, a ten minute flight was taken to Moorea.  The other option is one hour by ferry.  Moorea is the closest island to the main island of Tahiti.  It is one of the five main islands in the Society Islands group of French Polynesia along with Tahiti, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Huahine.  Moorea and Bora Bora are considered the most scenic and are also the most visited of the islands.  Like most of the islands in this group there are mountains in the middle sloping down to the coast where a road encircles the island.  

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New Zealand - Auckland; Rotorua

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand and is located on the North Island.  The North Island is mostly rolling hills while the South Island is mountainous.  A few days were spent in Auckland before going to Rotorua which is a few hours by bus southeast of Auckland.  Rotorua is located next to a lake and is home to hot springs and is considered a center for the Maori culture which are the original Polynesia migrants to New Zealand (similar to the Aborigines in Australia).

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Australia - Sydney; Toowoomba and Brisbane

Sydney is the second biggest city in Australia and is located on the coast in New South Wales state.  It is known for the Opera House building but there are also other attractions such as the harbor and beaches and also the Blue Mountains west of the city that are kind of a mini Grand Canyon.

Brisbane is located on the coast in the southeastern corner of Queensland state and is the biggest city in the state.  While not known for many attractions, it does have a river running through it along with a zoo where koalas and kangaroos can be seen.  South of Brisbane is the Gold Coast and Surfer' Paradise which are more tourist beach areas well known to Australians.

 

Toowoomba is a town located about 80 miles west of Brisbane.  It is at a higher elevation and so cooler especially in the winter.  It is a pleasant town not known for anything significant but does have a place called Picnic Point that is scenic.

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Fiji - Nadi; Mana Island

Nadi is where the international flights arrive in Fiji and is located on the west coast of the main island of Vitu Levu.  It is on the "drier" side of the island and although it still gets plenty of rainfall it is much less than on the other side of the island where the capital city Suva is located.  Nadi is not much of a town and is mainly used as a short term stay and as a gateway to the offshore islands.  Mana Island was the one visited on this trip.  At the time of this trip, Fiji had about 48% Indian population.  Indian arrived in Fiji in the early 1900's to work on the sugar plantations and over the years their numbers grew.

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