A SECLUDED AND AUTHENTIC ISLAND HOLIDAY
By Vasudha Soni
This article is first in a series on ‘underrated travel locations’. Whilst we stay safe in Australia, this blog explores unique experiences across the border each week. First in the series of ten underrated locations.
“Great for a secluded get away and immersing yourself in a community mindset.”
Due to climate change and increased global warming in this 25.9 square kilometre country as well as its unique narrowly formed landmass, the Tuvalu shoreline continues to recede. As a resut, this country may cease to exist in the future and the relocation of the Native Tuvaluans is a likely possibility. Known as the ‘Least-Visited Country in the World‘ as well as one that is likely to disappear, it’s worth paying a visit to the island. Not only is will the journey be lucrative but it also makes a great story for the great-great grandchildren down the line.
Tuvalu sits east of Indonesia and is a five and half hour flight from Sydney via the only airlines that makes a stop there – Fiji Airways.
Locals speak Tuvaluan, although English is also a common language amongst the eleven and a half thousand citizens. The local currency is the Tuvaluan dollar, but Australian dollars are also commonly used.
At any given point in your stay at Tuvalu, one can see both the inner-border and the outer border of the country. The unique ring shape of the country provides locals with an exquisite coastal view no matter which way you turn your head.
While visiting Tuvalu, there are many activities that can be done aside from the island tourist classics (e.g. snorkelling, visiting beaches and admiring the well-preserved nature in general). As Fiji Airways only flies to the local airport once every three days, it is converted into a makeshift soccer field on most evenings, drawing the young locals out to play and spectate, expressing the authentic and involved community that characterises the island.
Island hopping between the 4 major islands can be experienced through boat hire, or even hiring a motorbike to ride through during a beautiful seaside sunset. A visit to the local bakery is also recommended with fresh pastries and food for a treat after a long day of being in the water.
Due to the current economic nature of the island, there is a lack of tourist infrastructure in contrast to other famed island holiday sports such as Bali, Fiji and the Maldives. As a result, a traveller looking to relax and indulge in a luxe experience is likely not suited to the area, but rather someone willing to hike for a view and embrace the practical rather than luxury lifestyle.
Additionally, as the shoreline diminishes, locals become exasperated with the outside world choosing to largely ignore the impacts of climate change and global warming. Ultimately, as Tuvaluans’ invite you into their home, respect for the land is key and we recommended that travellers are empathetic and compassionate to locals and are self-sufficient (i.e. pick up after themselves).
Due to close proximity to the equator, most of the year Tuvalu stays quite sunny and warm, however, as to expect with tropical weather, storms and heavy rain fall is difficult to escape on the small landmass.
Overall, Tuvalu is an adventure traveller’s dream as it provides a mixture of both exploration opportunities as well as much potential to relax and enjoy the local, undiluted culture that treats you as family.
Find out more about Tuvalu on their website with lots of things to see and do: Timeless Tuvalu.