Noumea…an undiscovered paradise!

Tahiti + Bora Bora!

(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip has a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels plus lots of miles and points!)

All I knew about Tahiti and Bora Bora was what I saw in pictures and it certainly lived up to my expectations in that regard. Tahiti is the largest of 118 islands known as French Polynesia, and one of the “Society Island” groups, with Bora Bora being another of the five in the group.

We flew into Papeete, the “water basket” and stayed at the IHG using points two different nights. It’s a very large and busy resort, but it never felt crowded…more on it later.

The next morning, we flew one hour to Bora Bora, originally Pora Pora, but Captain Cook misunderstood the pronunciation, hence Bora Bora! We used points to stay at IHG Le Moana, but requested an upgrade and were able to pay a nominal fee to score an overwater bungalow! What a TREAT! We arrived via boat and here are some pictures of it all!

Bora Bora has been referred to as “an artist’s palette of blues and greens,” and I would certainly agree! The lagoon is an indescribable color and pictures just don’t do it justice.

One night we saw a Polynesian show and dancers, fun times!

Another day, we took a boat to visit the IHG Thalasso Spa, where EVERY room is an overwater bungalow. We spent the day at the pool, ate lunch, and enjoyed the magnificent view of Mt. Otemanu! The manager told us people book one year in advance and have booked rooms for TWO weeks using points! And these rooms are not cheap! I hope the photos show how quiet and peaceful this resort was. The picture below is a Tahitian iPhone, I was told!

We flew back to Tahiti and stayed again at the IHG, again on points, and here are more photos.

I LOVED Tahiti and Bora Bora, and it really is a honeymoon destination. But beware, everything is VERY expensive and it would pay to strategize how to spend your money, unless of course, you have unlimited funds!  (:  We ate big breakfasts, snacks from home for lunch, and an early dinner, which helped lots.

Next up, an island in NZ you’ve probably never heard of…

Amazing Aitutaki!

dsc06537(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home! This summer trip has a value of $33,996 and we paid $3,996 for all these flights/hotels!)

What can I say about Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific? It was incredibly beautiful, the very best beach destination I’ve ever visited!  It’s not easy to get to; we flew into Rarotonga, spent one night, then flew into Aitutaki.dsc06521

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We stayed at Aitutaki Village, on the lagoon side, which was phenomenal! It’s a small, locally owned operation, with 12 garden bungalows, just steps from the beach. But beware, wifi is expensive and sporadic, but this is definitely a place to “unplug.”dsc06571

 Aitutaki is a small island, about seven square miles, with a population of 2,000, and eight villages. It is protected by a barrier reef, which makes the turquoise water of the lagoon spectacular!  I’m going to let the pictures do the talking…dsc06535

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We rented a car for a day and drove all over the island, ending our day with a hike to the highest point, a hill called Maunga Pu.dsc06832dsc06833dsc06816dsc06821

dsc06854dsc06859dsc06850dsc06861One thing about a small island is you see the same people over and over again. We would see the same tourists (there aren’t that many and mostly from NZ or Australia) every day and/or night! We ate twice at Café Tupuna – excellent food in a family run restaurant.dsc06573

 One day we took a boat tour to an uninhabited island, One Foot Island, which was absolutely amazing! You could walk all the way to the island from this sandbank. Here are the pictures…dsc06706

dsc06659dsc06719dsc06728dsc06730dsc06766dsc06768dsc06779dsc06789dsc06745dsc06749dsc06752dsc06743dsc06792dsc06748dsc06752Goodbye, Aitutaki! It’s so fun to relive this trip on a cold December day!  (: dsc06902dsc06916dsc06918dsc06921

Next up, Tahiti and Bora Bora!

Singapore!

dsc06448(This is part of a trip report to the South Pacific, flying Singapore Airlines and Etihad first class and Lufthansa business class home)!

You can’t talk about Singapore without mentioning the airport! Changi Airport in Singapore is unbelievable – here are just a few of the amenities you can find: free rest areas with beds, free tours to Singapore, butterfly garden, cactus garden, enchanted garden, children’s playground, multimedia entertainment, internet stations, and a clinic if you are not feeling well! Here are some pictures to show it off.dsc06369dsc06371dsc06365dsc06366dsc06367dsc06370

 

We stayed at the Intercontinental using points and were able to get early check-in. We did upgrade for a small fee, so we could use the lounge club for afternoon tea, snacks, and breakfast. And the next day we had late check out, which was perfect for flying out in the evening.dsc06431dsc06372dsc06377dsc06379dsc06380dsc06381dsc06382dsc06383dsc06384dsc06386dsc06389dsc06391dsc06393

 

dsc06433dsc06436dsc06430What can I say about Singapore? Singapore, the “Lion City,” is the world’s only island city-state. It’s very progressive, modern, and a financial and transportation hub. And it’s against the law to chew gum, which is strictly enforced! It’s a tiny country, but also very tidy, with most people speaking English.dsc06396

 

dsc06397dsc06400dsc06408dsc06407dsc06412dsc06411dsc06413dsc06476We went to the Ritz to see the art work, specifically work by Chihuly!dsc06480dsc06481

 

Chinatown in Singapore…dsc06414dsc06415

 

Raffles Hotel is a very famous landmark and represents colonial style luxury! dsc06418

 

dsc06420dsc06421dsc06422dsc06423dsc06424We didn’t go on the Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest ferris wheel! And the Marina Bay Sands is three towers, with what looks like a cruise ship on top, which is the Skywalk, which we just saw from afar.dsc06401

 

dsc06403dsc06440Gardens by the Bay was my favorite…we stayed until the Supertree Grove lit up and did the Skywalk among the trees! dsc06438dsc06439dsc06442dsc06453dsc06450dsc06449dsc06461dsc06466dsc06454dsc06472dsc06467dsc06468

 

The next day we started our long journey to the South Pacific. We flew via Singapore Airlines business class to Auckland, then on to Rarotonga, and at last Aitutaki ~ the most beautiful island destination I’ve ever seen! And it’s next…