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Moon Handbooks South Pacific is the ultimate overview for traveling on any of the island groups of the South Pacific. This 1091 paged book is full of detailed travel information but is still practical sized to tuck in a daypack for easy reference. Furthermore, this book has plenty of fairly detailed maps, complete with accurate distance scales, for easy travel planning or reference while you travel.

There are eighteen chapters in Moon Handbooks South Pacific: Introduction; Exploring the Islands; French Polynesia; Pitcairn Islands; Easter Islands; Cook Islands; Niue; Kingdom of Tonga; American Samoa; Samoa; Tokelau; Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu; Fiji Islands; New Caledonia; Vanuatu; Solomon Islands, and Resources. The introduction chapter contains an overview on the South Pacific area. This detailed information includes geology, climate, flora, fauna, history, economy, and the government of these islands. The next chapter, Exploring the Islands, contains general information on sports and recreation; entertainment; public holidays and festivals; arts and crafts; accommodations; and food as well as contacts for information and services; health; getting there; and getting around while in the south pacific. This chapter also includes a what to take section. The Resources chapter contains further information on suggested readings and internet resources.

The rest of the chapters in Moon Handbooks South Pacific focus on particular geographical regions, islands, or groups of islands within the South Pacific island groups. The first paragraph or page of each regional section describes a little about the region. After this overview, individual sights, recreation areas, special events, accommodations, food services, information services, and transportation services are depicted in detail. Depending on the size and general amount of facilities in a given region, there may be only one or two entries per category or over a dozen. Each entry contains the location, contacts, costs, and a short paragraph description of the facility or event featured. Several black and white maps and photographs accompany each section, clearly marked with the various facilities described in that particular section.

Moon Handbooks South Pacific is a helpful guide for anyone planning on traveling to any of the islands of the South Pacific island groups. Very complete key information is provided for easy reference while planning or while travel. However, this book may also be just as interesting for the armchair traveler as this book contains ample information about the natural environment, history, and culture on these beautiful islands.
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on February 1, 2005
Everything you need to know about travelling around the South Pacific is in the 8th edition of the Moon guide to the South Pacific, yet another informative and comprehensive guidebook from the number one South Pacific expert. This edition covers all the islands of your dreams, from well-known holiday destinations such as French Polynesia to lesser-known places such as Pitcairn Island and Niue. It is full of thoroughly researched and practical information on travelling to and around the Pacific, covers everything from where to stay to where to eat, from background history to contemporary culture and traditions, and is a delight to read regardless of whether you are planning a trip to the South Pacific or not. It is the definitive guide for everyone, from the luxury traveller to the backpacker to the adventurer to the armchair dreamer.
Even though I travel often to the South Pacific, I can always rely on David Stanley's guidebooks to introduce me to some new area of interest, a different place to hang out, or an idea for an activity or excursion I hadn't previously thought about. It gives a whole new meaning to "don't leave home without it."
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on February 1, 2005
It was this book that triggered my Pacific Island madness. I got it to read more about Fiji, but I ended up with a fascination for the entire region. I should never have opened this eighth edition of South Pacific Handbook. Immediately my head was filled again with plans for my next trip: French Polynesia maybe, back to Fiji?
That Oceania is a fascinating part of the world might be obvious to many, but you need a good writer to bring this message across in a down-to-earth and readable manner - David Stanley did it. In South Pacific Handbook you get the ups and downs of "paradise". While reading you notice the diversity of the islands and sense the adventure you can have. It would cost you years to visit all the places included in this book. Not only the main islands, but also those without tourist facilities are described. There are excellent chapters on history (including recent developments), people, environment and more. All this, combined with good maps and many resources, makes South Pacific Handbook a fine piece of reference.
From the practical chapters, you will understand that the Pacific can be affordable. I carried earlier editions on my two backpacking trips to the islands. Stanley gives helpful advise on arriving at strange airports and harbours, about staying with local people and he names cheap hostels (often with critical commentary). When my family came over to Fiji for two weeks, we were able to find good middle class accommodation thanks to South Pacific Handbook. For those who can afford it, even thousand-dollar-a-night resorts are described.
David Stanley has more than 25 years of experience travelling in, and writing about these islands. For every new edition he makes new research trips. He tries to check tourist facilities anonymously to experience places as any other traveller would. Despite Stanley's hard work, you cannot expect everything to be correct - things change. If anything is wrong or missing from his guide, you can write Stanley and he will seriously look at your comments.
I recommend South Pacific Handbook above other Pacific Island guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet. In South Pacific Handbook you get the most useful background and travel information, all from Stanley's years of experience and presented in a readable manner. With this guide it is also easier to avoid the backpacking hordes, if you wish. For those who are only going to Fiji, French Polynesia or the Cook Islands, I recommend Stanley's Fiji Handbook or Tahiti & Cooks Handbook. These guides are more detailed with more maps. Although I doubt you will be much safer from catching the Pacific Island madness.
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on February 10, 2001
The seventh and latest edition (January 2000) of David Stanley's "South Pacific Handbook" is now available. Still packed with everything that you could possibly need to know about the South Pacific, but were afraid to ask. Inside, you'll find information on islands that you've probably heard of such as Fiji, the Solomon Islands or Tahiti and some that you probably haven't.
Have you ever thought of playing tropical cricket in the Tokelau Islands, or spelunking underground or underwater caverns on Niue island? Perhaps you might prefer island hopping in Tuvalu, or checking out some heads on Easter Island. New for this edition is the second home of the Pitcairn Islanders (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) - Norfolk Island.
Whatever your thing, if you like the sound of warm, tropical islands, beautidul beaches and azure blue seas sparsely populated with the world's friendliest people, then the South Pacific is for you. As guidebooks go, David Stanley's "South Pacific Handbook" is about as handy on the region as they get. It's not exactly pocket size or lightweight, but you'll never be short of information, or an opinion, on those far-flung Pacific destinations you've always dreamed of visiting.
At the very least, it makes an excellent emergency pillow if you find yourself sleeping on deck, under starry Southern skies, on a schooner bound for Samoa.
Garry Hawkins, Northampton. England. U.K.
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on August 2, 2000
About the best desciption for this 900+ page guidebook is exhaustive. I felt exhausted after going through all 900+ pages. And I am sure David Stanley was exhausted after visiting all these remote islands and compiling all this information. Being something of a seasoned island-hopper myself, I can appreciate the nature of what he has achieved with this book. Stanley has covered the vast South Pacific about as well as it could be covered. His coverage is candid, comprehensive and detailed. There probably aren't too many things that he's left out. The contents and arrangement of subjects make for a very usable book with tons of information on most any question a traveler would have about the South Pacific islands. The Introduction background material is both informative and essential for the first-time South Pacific traveler. The On the Road section provides important detail on getting there and getting around within the islands. Each island nation has its own section divided by main islands and/or groups. Each island section then has detail on the nuts and bolts of accommodations, food, transportation services, activities, tours, entertainment, events, etc. all the things a traveler needs to know. This pattern is followed for each island country and provides a perceptive and insightful view of each area. First-time South Pacific travelers will appreciate this book for its simple completeness. It has about everything one needs to know about this fascinating world of islands. Experienced island hoppers will also appreciate the fact that Stanley covers so much in so much depth. It is a credit to his resilience and work ethic as a writer and reporter. The last section of the book is Resources. This section has an extensive bibliography of South Pacific travel-related information plus a lengthy list of Internet resources. Like his companion guidebooks on Tahiti, Fiji and Tonga-Samoa, Stanley brings a sense of candid observation and perception to his task. This allows him to produce a book that is valuable and very user-friendly. If you're looking for a book that covers all the South Pacific islands in all its colorful diversity, look no further. This book will serve you well for either real island trekking and island-hopping or just serious arm-chair travel.
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on May 4, 2000
In the late 1970s, on my first trip to the South Pacific, someone showed me a copy of an early edition of the South Pacific Handbook. I fell in love with it and have purchased every edition since. This is not just a travel book: it is an adventure in itself.
It's a challenge to find adequate words to describe this book. It seems to me to be a scholarly or encyclopedic work because of its depth and scope, but the information is so well organized and clearly presented that everything falls comfortably in place. You can quickly find what you want to know.
I am writing this comment with the 7th edition of the South Pacific Handbook next to me. The first part of the book, through page 123, provides an extensive background to the South Pacific. Subjects covered include the formation of coral reefs, flora and fauna, the history of discovery, exploration, settlement, colonization by Europe and The Pacific today, government, economy, the people of the South Pacific, conduct and customs, health, food and drink, and much, much more.
David Stanley (the author) devotes the next 800 pages to the islands of Tahiti-Polynesia, the Pitcairn Islands, Easter Island, the Cook Islands, Niue, the Kingdom of Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, Tuvalu, Melanesia (Fiji), New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. Reading these pages, you will feel as though you are there. I don't think anything has been left out.
At the end of the book, under the general heading of Resources, is a list of all the information offices (including web sites and e-mail addresses) for all the island groups discussed in the book. There is an extensive Bibliography, including guidebooks, geography, natural science, history, Pacific issues, social science, literature, the arts, reference books, booksellers and publishers, map publishers, and periodicals. A Discography section listing noncommercial recordings of Pacific music follows. A section on the South Pacific on the internet - websites and e-mail addresses for everything you can imagine - is next. Finally, there is a Glossary section and an extensive Index.
In the 1980s, I went to Aitutaki (an atoll in the Cook Islands) after reading a seven-sentence description in the first edition of the South Pacific Handbook. Aitutaki was exactly as Mr.Stanley describes it and I owe my exciting experience there to him.
The next time you are in a bookstore, I suggest that you at least browse through this book. If you buy it, you might try reading it in bed at night. If you're like me, you may start to dream about Bora Bora (French Polynesia), Aitutaki, or some other jewel in the South Pacific.
Steve Schlein
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on September 9, 2013
My edition is now totally dog-eared and in rough condition, which means of course that it is a great book. I’ve used it since 2007 when we left on our sailing trip from Vancouver (currently in Australia).
This guide covers all the major topics as on overview for all of the South Pacific Islands with Pitcarin Islands being the most easterly and the Solomon Islands being the most westerly.

If you only take one book with you while in the South Pacific, this would be a good recommendation. As I love guide books and learning as much as possible about the islands we sailed to, I also got other “destination” guides to complement this Moon Handbook.

Diana Young- World Traveler – currently sailing in the South Pacific for six months and #1 Amazon Best-selling author of Financial Fitness for Beginners.
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on February 22, 2005
Brilliant. Over the last couple of years I have become a huge fan of David Stanley guides to the South Pacific. His books have been travelling companions to Fiji and the Cook Islands and this latest edition is informative, entertaining, affectionate and honest. David has an uncanny eye for detail as well as doing 'the hard yards' for in-depth research. I lived in Vanuatu for several years and I even found that section enlightening. I plan to travel to Samoa shortly and know that I will enjoy the in-flight reading because, on my essentials to pack list, the Moon Handbook South Pacific is up there with 'toothbrush' and 'sunscreen'.
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on June 12, 2003
This is by far the best South Pacific guide. Stanley has an engaging writing voice and it is clear that he feels very passionate about this special part of the world. You get the feeling that this book was actually written by a person, instead of by a committee (Lonely Planet). This book succeeds in being appropriate for a wide audience--from backpackers to honeymooners to yachties to scuba divers. Although the prices and some of the businesses are out-of-date (the book was published in 2000), it is still a great read, even if only for arm chair travellers.
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on July 20, 2001
This book is your bible to the South Pacific. If you have special (return)feelings about the South Pacific like we have, you must read this book. If you buy this book after your trip you will find out that every spot you have travelled to is described the way YOU would do it. Buy it before you travel and the South Pacific Handbook will guide you for the best holiday you have ever made. Thank you David Stanley!
Arthur Zeeuw and Jane Toredjo
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