If you have small people in your life, you’re probably already familiar with Samoa’s Alofaaga Blowholes, as they provided the inspiration for an iconic scene in the recent Disney movie, Moana. Located close to the village of Taga on the island of Savaii, they’re a natural phenomenon that is made possible by strong wave surges being forced through lava tubes to erupt, geyser-like, metres into the air, and they’re just one of many photogenic features of this laid-back South Pacific nation.
Situated roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and comprising the two main islands of Savai’i and Upolu (where the nation’s capital, Apia, is located) and eight smaller islands, Samoa is about a five-hour flight from Sydney and Melbourne. Once you’re there, you can rent a car and explore at your own pace, or for a true taste of local life, take the bus. There are no designated stops as you travel around the island, so simply flag one down and pull the cord when you want to get off.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing family holiday or a romantic getaway, Samoa’s laidback atmosphere and breath-taking scenery means it has plenty to offer. Kids of all sizes will love the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, just fifteen minutes or so from Apia: a series of naturally formed rock slides that end in a deep pool. If you’re looking for a unique swimming experience on Savai’i, To Sua Ocean Trench is an absolute must. Twenty-metre high rock walls surround a pool of clear blue water, but there’s a wooden ladder to provide access.
There’s also plenty of accommodation options, ranging from luxury resorts with all the amenities you could wish for, to the classic Samoan open-sided fales, which offer a completely different but authentically Samoan holiday experience: what you lose in facilities, you more than make up in location and hospitality.
A little over a hundred years ago, a six-year long eruption from Mt Matavanu destroyed villages and covered 100 square kilometres of Savai’i in lava. Although the volcano is now dormant, a visit to the lava fields of Saleaula, where the remains of a church make for a great photo opportunity, is a must for anyone who’s fascinated by the power of the Earth’s creative and destructive forces.
Be sure to take part in a Fiafia night during your stay: this celebration of Samoan culture, which translates as “happy get-together” offers the opportunity to try traditional Samoan food and be entertained with music and dance. Whether you prefer the grace and beauty of the women’s Siva dance, or the drama and spectacle of the fire knife dance, it’s a great insight into 3,000 years of Fa’a Samoa (“the Samoan Way”).
If Samoa has intrigued you and you’re inspired to find out more, contact your local personal travel manager here.