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Old 16-03-2013, 10:12   #1
tph
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What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

My wife and I home school our two children (7 & 11) and we want to spend a month on an island in the S. Pacific. I will confess that I am not a boat owner at the moment. The live aboard dream is still several years away. So we will be renting a house or apartment while we are there. The idea is to expose our children to another culture in a safe, friendly environment somewhere in the S. Pacific. I knew the live aboard community would be the place to go to get the best advice.

This will be for the March - April time frame and I understand this is the rainy season for many of the islands.

I would sincerely appreciate some recommendations on places to consider and ones we should rule out.

Thanks!
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Old 16-03-2013, 10:24   #2
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Two questions come to mind:

Do you have any language desires/requirements? i.e. are the French speaking islands in or out?

How remote? i.e. do you pretty much want to be able to fly in, or would you consider flying to a central island and then taking local transit to someplace more remote?
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Old 16-03-2013, 10:27   #3
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Do you have any idea what you hope to experience? You want to rent an apartment so your looking for someplace with modern amenities, correct? Do you understand any French? Are you looking for a small city/town atmosphere or are you wanting to be away from it all? Are you wanting most of your activities on land or are you and your family into water activiities, ie: diving, snorkeling etc.?
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Old 16-03-2013, 10:31   #4
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Maybe not exactly what you were thinking of, but how about New Zealand?
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Old 16-03-2013, 10:32   #5
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

If you speak French, my favorite south pacific islands are: Tahiti, Moorea and Rangiroa. Tahiti is not "remote", as it provides everything a western modern country provides. Moorea, is just across the bay from Tahiti, would be considered semi-remote and would be my preferred choice for a month of fun. Moorea is a feast for the eyes; unbelievably beautiful, albeit very pricey. Enjoy! Mauritz
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Old 16-03-2013, 10:34   #6
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

I would consider Tonga, specifically Vavau. Caveat... it's been 20 years! But people were very friendly. Not sure how to find a rental though!
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Old 16-03-2013, 11:28   #7
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Wow! Thank you for the very quick response. Instead of replying individually I will answer the questions below:

- We only speak English. (Quick joke: A person who speaks two languages is Bilingual. A person who speaks three languages is Trilingual. What do you call a person who only speaks one language? - An American). I am not opposed to going to a French speaking island. I could see that as adding to the adventure. However, I do not have any experience to know if this would be too much of a barrier. I would welcome feedback on this issue.

- I am completely open to a remote location. No problem on the travel required to get there. As this is primarily a learning experience for the kids we would like to be able to find some place that would give us the possibility of getting to know some local families. The only issue is that being out of touch (email) for a month might be a problem. Maybe part of the time remote and part of the time less remote.

- New Zealand. I am happy to say that we just returned from two amazing months in NZ. We loved it. One of the highlights of the trip we a day that we spent on a commercial crabbing boat. We helped pull and bait pots and sort crabs. It was very interesting and educational. To answer another question, we love the water. It might be interesting to find a fishing village somewhere?

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 16-03-2013, 11:35   #8
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

One other thing that I forgot. Is it a problem if we are there in March - April time frame?
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Old 16-03-2013, 11:39   #9
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

New Zealand and Moorea come to mind. Since you done one, that leaves the other. Not sure about how to get a rental and it would not be cheap. Easter Island would be another. Beyond the statues it is quite a beautiful spot, again not cheap. Pitcairn might be the ultimate but you can't go there for a month. The way the supply ship works you can get 10 days or three months.
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Old 16-03-2013, 11:55   #10
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Having given it some thought I think I would recommend Niue, the worlds smallest nation and the largest raised atol island in the world.
If its about culture and kids I think this would be a good choice. There is lots to see but its all natural and the people are extremely friendly and open. There are lots of children that your children could easily mix with(you may even get them into school for some of the time) English is spoken. There are some lovely places to stay at and the costs are low. Niue is not visted that much so you can expect everything to be at a very personal level. Its a unique place, off the beaten path that does not opperate like most island tourist destinations. If you can entertain yourself and your outgoing I think you and your family would have a wonderful time. Cheers
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Old 16-03-2013, 12:00   #11
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tph View Post
One other thing that I forgot. Is it a problem if we are there in March - April time frame?
Depending on where in the South Pacific you end up, hurricane season may be an issue. This is normally from November 1 through April 30. Usually the western SoPac gets hit the worst, Tahiti and the Tuamotus not so much, and the Marquesas hardly ever.

In most of French Polynesia, speaking only English isn't a critical problem. I've spent a little time there and the only French I know is "Bonjour" and "Merci beaucoups". There is usually someone around who speaks English, and if not a smile goes a long way.
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Old 16-03-2013, 12:05   #12
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Re: What island(s) in the S. Pacific are the most family friendly?

Moorea, French Polynesia...<Mo-o-reh-ah>...knowing basic french is very helpful. You can rent an unoccupied house that belongs to an owner who lives in France; nothing is cheap in "La Polynesie Francaise". Usually, these rental homes are right on the ocean, are fully furnished and overlook towering verdant mountainous landscape. Your kids, after mingling with the locals for a month, will most likely be able to speak Tahitian more so than French. The French culture is much more liberal than its US counterpart. Practically speaking, the island is safe and its mores are ultra liberal. You'll need a small car to get around and see the sights; book a car from the US for a better rate, or use the house owner's car for an additional fee. ATM's dole out about $100 USD max, per visit/day; the South Pacific Franc is still in use. Banks have weird hours, and you should expect very long lines. US dollars and the Euro are widely accepted, so are AMEX traveler's checks. Internet is available in most cities and is reasonably priced, but not found in the very remote places. Sharks (requins) are found everywhere while swimming; no worries if sharks are under 4 feet in length. Tahiti is in the Southern Hemisphere; our Spring, is their Fall. Sail away! Mauritz
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