Located halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa consists of two tropical islands – Upolu and Savaii. A mere six and a half hours from Sydney, Samoa offers plenty to do for those who would prefer to explore and tap into their adventurous side than relax by the pool. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading.
RIDE: The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
Consider these a natural waterslide, waiting just for you. Located a 15-minute drive from Apia on Upolu, the rocks have been formed by thousands of years of fresh flowing water. The longest slide is five metres long, but you can continue past the stairs to the smaller ones if it’s too daunting. Our tip: Make sure you bring some shoes for the water – it will really hurt your feet if you’re barefoot!
EXPLORE: The Sua Trench
Every trip to Samoa has got to include a day trip to Sua. The aquamarine swimming pool is absolutely breathtaking and you should allow yourself half a day to truly enjoy your time there. Jump off the ladder, snorkel, swim or simply float as you take in the surrounds. When you’re there, you’ll see that there’s an underwater tunnel that leads to the other side of the cliff. While it’s tempting to pop your head in, it’s best to do this with a local guide as there is only one air pocket in the tunnel. Safety first, people! Our tip: When you’re heading there, you’ll probably miss the turnoff (like 99% of people) because the sign is completely faded. So, look out for a faded sign with a little boy on it – that’s the spot!
CLIMB: Mt Vaea
Robert Louis Stevenson – the author of the ultimate adventure novel, Treasure Island – spent his final years in Samoa and his home has been preserved as a museum. You can visit his local grave at the top of Mt Vaea, along a trail that the locals call ‘The Road of the Loving Heart’. But just a heads up: it’s a bloody tough walk! Locals will tell you it’s easy and that it takes just 30 minutes — but in reality, it’s 45 minutes of sweating, heavy breathing and more than a few swear words. But, it’s well worth it once you reach the top, as there is no better view of Upolu. It basically looks like a scene from Jurassic Park — all dense forest, stunning beaches and low fog.
SWIM: The Afu Aau Waterfalls
BYO 4WD for this one! The lush Afu Aau Waterfall can only be accessed by a dirt road in south-eastern Savaii. The freshwater comes from high up in the mountain ranges and plunges down a volcanic cliff face into a clear, natural pool. It’s the perfect place to have a quick dip after a day of exploring Savaii.
BIKE: The Upolu Mountain Bike day trip
Explore the village and mountain trails of the Upolu village on two wheels on this unmissable day trip. The area has an incredibly rich history, being the original home of the lost art of lapita pottery. Now, it is a major village plantation area with cocoa, papaya, taro, banana, breadfruit and a range of leafy vegetables. The areas are connected by an intersecting mix of roads and trails, so you can explore on the gentler tracks, or combine history with a good downhill challenge. Book here
KAYAK: To a deserted island
Reach your only little private slice of paradise via kayak with this day trip to Nuusafee Island. The uninhabited tropical island is known for its pristine white sand, sparkling lagoon and the many turtles that can be seen in the area. After spending some time on the island, you’ll continue at a gentle pace along the Samoa coastline to Tarafta– or more experienced kayakers can opt to paddle to the spectacular black sand beaches of Aganoa. Book here
HIKE: The Lalomanu Crater Walk
If you like your hikes short and efficient, you can’t miss the Lalomanu Crater Walk. The hike is only 10 to 15 minutes long but is pretty damn steep! You’ll trek through the jungle overgrowth to the extinct Lalomanu volcano crater. It’s a tough one, but we promise the area’s large flying fox population and magnificent ocean views will make it well worthwhile.
– Spend Sundays chillin’: Samoa is a religious country, so most shops, restaurants and other businesses are closed on a Sunday. A perfect excuse to spend the day lying on the beach — after all, you’ll need some R&R after all these active adventures!
-Sleep in a fale: You’ll find that Samoa is beginning to pick up as a tourist destination, so resorts are popping up everywhere. Avoid the other tourists and tacky resorts and instead, opt for a beach fale owned by a local family. While very basic – usually just a mattress and mosquito net inside the hut – it kind of feels like you’re camping. Plus, waking up to the view of the beach is pretty magical.
-Getting around: The most convenient way to travel around both islands is to hire a car. To get from one side of the island to the other takes a good two hours, which can be very expensive in a taxi. So hiring a car is the cheapest and easiest option. Plus, what’s more adventurous than getting lost in the jungle? Pick up the car at the airport when you arrive and drop it off when you head back home. You’re also able to take it across on the boat with you to Savaii — just ask about it when you hire the car.