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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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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 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 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 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 January 31, 2002
I used this book recently in my travels to the South Pacific. Although alot of the prices are outdated(which is difficult to keep up with as travel books are concerned , 4 stars insted of 5)it still makes an excellent REFERENCE. I recommend this travel book over the Lonely Planet version.
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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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on February 11, 2001
Hi--- I live on Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands.
I think David Stanley's chapter on the Cooks is excellent. If you are planning to visit here, I suggest you get his guidebook.
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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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