Moon Handbooks South Pacific (Moon Handbooks) Paperback – 28 Jan 2005
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The latest in the batch of Moon Handbooks releases proves again that Moon is one of the finest travel series around. What sets Moon apart from most guidebooks is the attention to detail, and more importantly, a respect for the topic.
From lagoon swimming in the Cook Islands to witnessing the race of the banana bearers in the Heiva i Tahiti festival, travelers will find the best of the South Pacificboth popular and obscurein this guidebook. Moon Handbooks South Pacific provides in-depth coverage of outdoor recreation, with specifics on swimming, diving, yachting, kayaking, biking, hiking, camping, climbing, caving, and horseback riding. Complete with helpful maps, photographs and illustrations, as well as useful advice on practicalities such as food, entertainment, shopping, visas, money, health, packing, and inter-island travel, this guidebook offers the tools you need for a uniquely personal experience.See all Product description
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There are eighteen chapters in Moon Handbooks South Pacific: Introduction; Exploring the Islands; French Polynesia; Pitcairn Islands; Easter Islands; Cook Islands; Niue; Kingdom of Tonga; American Samoa; Samoa; Tokelau; Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu; Fiji Islands; New Caledonia; Vanuatu; Solomon Islands, and Resources. The introduction chapter contains an overview on the South Pacific area. This detailed information includes geology, climate, flora, fauna, history, economy, and the government of these islands. The next chapter, Exploring the Islands, contains general information on sports and recreation; entertainment; public holidays and festivals; arts and crafts; accommodations; and food as well as contacts for information and services; health; getting there; and getting around while in the south pacific. This chapter also includes a what to take section. The Resources chapter contains further information on suggested readings and internet resources.
The rest of the chapters in Moon Handbooks South Pacific focus on particular geographical regions, islands, or groups of islands within the South Pacific island groups. The first paragraph or page of each regional section describes a little about the region. After this overview, individual sights, recreation areas, special events, accommodations, food services, information services, and transportation services are depicted in detail. Depending on the size and general amount of facilities in a given region, there may be only one or two entries per category or over a dozen. Each entry contains the location, contacts, costs, and a short paragraph description of the facility or event featured. Several black and white maps and photographs accompany each section, clearly marked with the various facilities described in that particular section.
Moon Handbooks South Pacific is a helpful guide for anyone planning on traveling to any of the islands of the South Pacific island groups. Very complete key information is provided for easy reference while planning or while travel. However, this book may also be just as interesting for the armchair traveler as this book contains ample information about the natural environment, history, and culture on these beautiful islands.
That Oceania is a fascinating part of the world might be obvious to many. But you need a good writer to bring this message across in a down-to-earth and readable manner - David Stanley did this. In South Pacific Handbook you get the ups and downs of "paradise". While reading you notice the diversity of the islands and sense the adventure you can have. It would cost years to visit all the places included in this book. Not only the main islands, but also those without tourist facilities are described. There are excellent chapters on history (including recent developments), people, environment and more. All this, combined with good maps and many resources, makes South Pacific Handbook a great piece of reference.
From the practical chapters, you will understand that the Pacific can be affordable. I carried earlier editions on my two backpacking trips to the islands. Stanley advises on arrivals at strange airports and harbours, but also on staying with local people. His listings of cheap hostels often include critical commentary. When my family came over to Fiji for two weeks, we were able to find good middle class accommodation thanks to South Pacific Handbook. For those who can afford it, even thousand-dollar-a-night resorts are described.
David Stanley has more than 25 years of experience travelling in, and writing about these islands. For every new edition he makes new research trips. He tries to check tourist facilities anonymously to experience places as any other traveller would. Despite Stanley's hard work, you cannot expect everything to be correct - things change. If anything is wrong or missing from his guide, you can write him and he will seriously look at your comments.
I recommend South Pacific Handbook above other Pacific Island guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet. In South Pacific Handbook you get the most useful background and travel information, all through Stanley's years of experience and presented in a readable manner. With this guide it is also easier to avoid the backpacking hordes, if you wish. For those who are only going to Fiji, French Polynesia or the Cook Islands, I recommend Stanley's Fiji Handbook or Tahiti & Cooks Handbook. These guides are more detailed with more maps. Although I doubt you will be much safer from catching the Pacific Island madness.