Get to know Samoa - and its fabulous third-gender performers!
17:30 AEST Sat Oct 6 2012
Catriona Rowntree visited the Independent State of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa). Savai'i and Upolu are the main islands in the archipelago of 10. It's a place of natural beauty with volcanic mountain peaks covered in rainforest, vast valleys of towering banyan trees, cascading waterfalls dropping into rivers, sheer cliffs and a stunning white-sand-edged coastline. Villages have meeting houses, churches and open fale
(homes) encircling the village green.
Australia has many connections with Samoa, including an Australian-funded police station.
The capital Apia is on Upolu's north-east coast and is home to around 40,000 people. It is the only place you'll find traffic lights! It's easy to explore by foot and mass tourism hasn't arrived to take away its relaxed charm.