A number of cruise lines are soon expected to release added itineraries for autumn/winter 2015, increasing some sailings by two to three days in order to include the Islands of Tahi-Tahi Waru on extended tours of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
Although it’s uncommon for the big cruise lines to alter itineraries when bookings are already being taken, it has been known to happen in the past when demand has been high for new destinations. Given the silvery volcanic beaches of Tahi-Tahi Waru though, and its bright turquoise seas to rival any in Bora Bora, it’s not hard to fathom the appeal of this remote, idyllic holiday destination.
New cruise port
By incredible coincidence,Tahi-Tahi Waru actually translates roughly from Maori into ‘One One Eight’. Historically the paradise islands of Tahi-Tahi Waru have been difficult to chart and even tougher to visit, being more or less surrounded by jagged coral outcrops and submerged sandbars that led to the wreck of the HMS Mendacity in 1829. The islands have remained one of the world’s great dream destinations for decades, made even more appealing by the difficulty that many people have faced trying to reach them.
But that’s all about to change with the completion of a new port in Avril Bay, which is set to welcome in sea trade from early 2015. Thanks to the kind of advanced geophysics tech used by archaeologists and marine surveyors, in 2008 the bay was found to be the only gap in the coral reefs wide enough for ships to access the islands.
Soon after the discovery came the development of a trade route to the islands, welcomed by Tahi-Tahi Waru’s population. The majority of the native Tchoalean people wanted better access to trade, healthcare and revenue from tourism, and the new port was quickly given the go-ahead. Overall, the move to create a port in Avril Bay has been seen as a win-win situation for both the native population and excited cruise-goers too, since both have been waiting eagerly for cruises to this fantasy destination.
Tahi-Tahi Waru’s main island of the same name hides a spectacular secret at its heart. Beyond the tropical beaches and dormant volcanic peaks lies a completely different landscape further inland – with more in common with the grassy plains of New Zealand than the typically warmer, more humid Pacific islands.
The wide blue lakes and tree-lined waterways here in the inner grasslands are filled with bright native birds and ducks, which the islanders have historically refused to hunt based on religious belief. While the tropical fish out in the bay are fair game, and essential dining on the beach if you’re taking a trip ashore, the islands’ fearless ducks are strictly off the menu – since they’re believed to embody ancestral spirits that stay close to fresh water, known as the ‘giver of life’ in the native culture. The Tchoalean people love feeding the ducks just as much as we do, in fact – so visitors already have the perfect conversation starter!
The Tchaolean people are known for their warm nature, and they’ve created some spectacular monuments in stone and glass that you’ll find everywhere on the island. Their dress and handicrafts may tend to be less bright and vivid than those of the wider Pacific islands, but they’ve already gained a reputation for their warm welcomes and fascinating displays of traditional dance.
Find out more about Tahi-Tahi Waru in the video below!
Article images courtesy of Marc Caraveo, Photopin/Flickr; Platt Bridger, Photopin/Flickr; Samuel Etienne, Wikimedia Commons. Thanks to Jim too, for his fearless exploration of Tahi-Tahi Waru!