The Independent State of Samoa covers the western part of the Samoan Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. The group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as the "Navigators Islands" prior to the 20th century because of the locals' seafaring skills.
Savaii and Upolu are the two large islands, and lying between them is the small, sheltered island of Manono. The tranquil haven has just four fishing villages with traditional fale homes. There are no cars or dogs, so peace reigns. Just enjoy lapping waves and millions of stars and wander along the footpath that follows the coast. It's a leisurely two-hour walk and on the way there are several palm-fringed beaches with good snorkelling.
Inland trails lead to interesting archaeological sites including an ancient star mounted on top of Mt Tulimanuiva, the little island's highest point at 110m.
Manono's greatest attribute is its simple lifestyle and the chance to interact with locals and learn about their life of planting, weaving, fishing and relaxing.
Vaotuua Beach Fales sit on a small secluded beach facing Upolu. The over-water fales are elegant and have private verandahs, mosquito netting and steps leading into the turquoise lagoon. At high tide, you can hear the waves gently splashing beneath you. The lagoon provides wonderful swimming and the views are stunning.
Each of the traditional Samoan dwellings is finely crafted. They are built on a stone platform or timber floors and have no fixed walls blinds are let down for privacy.
Fale Tele is round with a thatched, vaulted roof, open sides and floors of laid pebbles. Fale Afolau is similar but oblong in shape. Fale Oo is a small living house and Fale Umu is the cooking house.
All meals are provided and your hosts use fresh food and fruits from their large tropical garden. Staying there is like being in a traditional Samoan home, and if you wish, you can chip in and give Tauvela a hand with the cooking but that's not compulsory.
If it's relaxation you want, this is the place. Not a lot happens and on Sundays very little is permitted except for attending church, after which everyone enjoys a large lunch cooked under hot, volcanic rocks.
Manono Island in Samoa.
Vaotuua Beach Fales on Manono Island are around $100 a double a night, including breakfast, dinner and boat transfers from Apia.
Virgin Blue has fares to Apia.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney and Brisbane $349
- Melbourne and Adelaide
On sale until midnight, November 23, 2008 and for travel between January 19 and April 6, 2009.
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way, booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at November 21, 2008 and are subject to change.
Prices correct at November 20, 2008.
For further information
Vaotuua Beach Fales
Ph: +685 46077
Samoa Tourism Authority
PO Box 2272
Ph: +685 63500
Fax: +685 20886
Samoa Tourism Authority Office
PO Box 611
Ph/fax: (02) 4627 5926
Ph: 136 789
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