Thanks to the internet and ever-improving travel possibilities, the world is smaller than it used to be. Places that would have been unthinkable for our grandparents to visit on vacation are now open to us. We don’t have to “make do” with the same old vacations every year when the whole world is on our doorstep, so we can all afford to change things up a bit and go off the beaten track from time to time. With this in mind, the Polynesian Islands are well worth your consideration so long as you have the time and money.
The Polynesian Triangle is an area we all know to exist, but most people know very little about it. What little we do know about it tends to be limited to stereotypes. We associate the Polynesian Islands with Tiki culture, but what most of us know about Tiki culture comes either from bars or online slots websites. We don’t mean that as a dig against either the bars or the online slots websites. The whole purpose of a theme is to attract visitors and money, and the Tiki theme is exciting and attractive. That’s why so many of the more popular online slots at OnlineSlotsUK.com use it. You can only get a tiny hint of the culture from playing those slots, though. If you really want to experience the Polynesian culture, you have to go out and find it – and these are the best islands to find it on!
A lot of people think of New Zealand as an extension of Australia. That’s neither fair nor true. New Zealand is an independent state with a culture of its own, and that culture is far more Polynesian than it is western. If you’re a little nervous about stepping outside your usual cultural expectations, New Zealand is probably the best choice. It’s still Polynesian, but it’s Polynesian with western influences. English is the most commonly spoken language, and you’ll find all of the amenities that you’re used to waiting for you when you arrive. The island is small, but it contains some of the most outstanding natural beauty sites in the world. That’s why the producers of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movie franchises came here to film. It’s a real-life fantasy land, and it’s yours to explore. As a top tip, head to the Waitomo Caves and check out the glow worms. They’re a sight like nothing else on Earth.
Here’s another fact that might surprise the less well-travelled among you. Samoa is not an island. It is, in fact, a group of islands. Upolu is one of those islands and is independent of the more westernised American Samoa. The legendary explorer Robert Louis Stevenson loved Upolu so much that he chose to be buried here. He was a man who’d travelled everywhere and seen everything during his time, so that’s about as strong a recommendation as you’ll ever hear. Some of the features that drew him here include To-Sua – a stunning natural swimming pool in the middle of a lava field full of clean, sparkling blue-green water. It’s also one of the best places in the world to come for surfing and fishing if either activity appeals to you. Just beware of the tiny spiders, which are no bigger than a freckle on your skin but can get everywhere if you’re not paying attention!
Kauai is one of the Hawaiian islands but doesn’t enjoy the fame of the “Big Island” or Oahu. That’s through no fault of its own. If people were paying proper attention, Kauai would be the most popular island of them all. This smaller, more rugged and rural island is yet to be “spoiled” by western influences in the same way that Honolulu has, and so it’s perfect for sampling Polynesian hospitality without having your immersion interrupted by the sight of a McDonald’s. If walking and hiking sound like the perfect vacation activities for you, Kauai should be close to the top of your list. Na Pali National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world and offers photo opportunities that will rival anything you’ll find anywhere else.
We know how famous Easter Island is. We know that it’s more of an “obvious” vacation suggestion than Kauai or Upolu. We still think we should include it in our article anyway because it’s somewhere that everybody should visit at least once. Famous for its enormous stone head sculptures (which actually have bodies buried beneath the surface), Easter Island is technically a Chilean overseas territory. People who visit it speak of having a spiritual experience even if they’re not of a spiritual nature and a sense of connection with the ancient world. Spend a night or two camping under the stars in Rapa Nui National Park if you want to get back in touch with nature. This is a mysterious place with a strong individual identity and thousands of years of history to explore.
What if you didn’t want to check out a Polynesian island that’s been influenced by Americans? What if you wanted something with a more European flavour instead? If so, you should head to Bora Bora. This is part of French Polynesia, and the French connection is more than just a name. That’s not to say there isn’t an American connection as well, though – there’s a defunct American military base on the island which is open to visitors. James Cooke, another old-world explorer of note, once described Bora Bora as “the pearl of the Pacific.” James Michener went even further, calling it “the world’s most beautiful island.” We won’t get drawn into the debate of saying that one of these stunning islands is any more beautiful than the other, but we’ll happily say that he has a point. Where else can you stay in accommodation on top of a dormant volcano?
Is this a full list of every Polynesian island worth visiting? Of course it isn’t. There are many more, but the purpose of this article is to get you started. Once you’ve done that, you might find that you can’t stop. Use these islands as a starting point, and then go wherever your heart takes you!
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