Travel News


Written By : PETER LOMAS. A new flight to Honolulu brings new opportunities for Fiji travellers from next week. Air Pacific’s Boeing 737-700 will take off from Nadi on Tuesday
12 Jun 2010 12:00

image Written By : PETER LOMAS. A new flight to Honolulu brings new opportunities for Fiji travellers from next week.
Air Pacific’s Boeing 737-700 will take off from Nadi on Tuesday nights bound for Honolulu via Cassidy International Airport on Kiritimati, or Christmas Island.
This relaunching of weekly return flights to Honolulu via this eastern part of the sprawling Kiribati islands means two things for travellers from Fiji:
*For those going through to Honolulu, a convenient 10.35am arrival time in the Hawaiian capital.
* For those going to Christmas Island, an interesting new leisure option handy to Fiji for anyone who fancies sport fishing, diving, surfing or birdwatching.
Christmas is a 322-square-kilometre coral atoll just north of the equator, with a big lagoon.
It has by far the largest land area of the islands and atolls of Kiribati.
It is also world famous for its bonefish, a fighting gamefish which thrives in its inshore tropical waters.
These bonefish – and trevally which also abound – attract fly fishers from around the world to Christmas Island.
Explains a Kiribati national tourism office brochure: “This fishing destination is spectacular because it combines all the elements critical to fly-fishing success.
“Consistent year-round weather, endless hard sand flats, and magnificent numbers of cruising bonefish and trevally- making it ideal for the serious angler.
“What makes the fishing so special and extraordinary is the natural and raw power of the bonefish – it can fight so hard with so much strength that it makes the anglers work twice as hard.
“The knowledge of local guides always produces a big difference in fishing as they know their own flats, tides, reefs, waters, and fish.
“Their eagle eyes can spot the fish in any kind of weather condition.”
Of course, being remote as it is and big in the context of other atolls, Christmas offers a lot more than just a fishing destination.
Accommodation establishments on the atoll list activities visitors can try
their hand at, in addition to fishing.
Captain Cook Hotel, the largest hotel, offers scuba diving, surfing, snorkeling, bird watching and cultural tours, as well as offshore game fishing.
The hotel is named after the famous English navigator who saw the island on Christmas Eve of 1777.
Thus the name of the hotel and the island!
Some parts of Christmas are actually declared protected reserves. They are nestling grounds for the many species of seabirds.
The Phoenix Petrel for instance is almost endemic only to Kiritimati.
Locals call them Te Ruru and they tend to forage offshore for fish and crustaceans.
Mini Kiritimati Hotel, owned by Eritaia and Agnes Reiti, says it is located “only five minutes walk from one of the best surf sites on Christmas Island.”
Henry, who owns KPC Christmas Island Homestay with his wife Teretia, described himself as a retired marine biologist and “avid surfer.”
“The surf is excellent and un-crowded from November through May,” Henry and Teretia explain on
“Deep sea game fish are a short boat ride away.
And we have literally millions of breeding seabirds to check out and photograph.”
Eight hotels and motels are listed by the island’s tourism office.
Some offer air-conditioned self-contained rooms while one, Moumou Guest House offers its guests the opportunity to live in local leaf houses called ‘tebuia.’
Meals are cooked on open fire.
During the 1950s, Christmas was temporary home British and other Commonwealth troops, including Fijians. It was the operations headquarters for the British nuclear testing programme in the Pacific Islands.
Remains of their base can still be seen, and the names of places are still in use.
Which is why the local tourism office says you can visit London, Paris and Poland all in one day on Christmas.
Air Pacific is resuming its flights after improvements to the Cassidy International Airport runway.
The airline stopped flights there in 2008 because of concerns about the runway. The runway has now been upgraded by the Kiribati Government.
Said Air Pacific managing director/chief executive officer Dave Pflieger: “There is significant interest in the resumption of flights to Christmas Island amongst fishing, bird watching and diving enthusiasts the world over.
“Air Pacific is looking forward to opening this important air route to make Christmas Island accessible from North America, the South Pacific and Asia.”
Said Kiribati Secretary of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development Teekoa Iuta Ietaake: “The recommencement of Air Pacific services is eagerly anticipated as it promises opportunities to Christmas Island and Kiribati as a whole.”
There’s only one complaint about this Air Pacific return to Christmas: It’s easy to become so hooked on the atoll’s attractions it’s hard to leave!
lSource: with information supplied by the Air Pacific Media Office.

Getting there
Air Pacific’s flight schedule through Christmas Island starting on Tuesday week, 22 June:
Nadi – Christmas Island FJ822 Departs 11:59pm Tuesdays Arrives 6:35am Wednesdays
Christmas Island – Honolulu FJ822 Departs 7:35am Wednesday Arrives 10:35am Tuesdays
Honolulu – Christmas Island FJ823 Departs 12:00pm Tuesdays Arrives 3:00pm Wednesdays
Christmas Island – Nadi FJ823 Departs 4:00pm Wednesdays Arrives 6:40pm Wednesdays
l The northbound schedule will provide connections from Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Tarawa, Tonga and Suva. The southbound flights will provide easy connections from Honolulu and Christmas Island back to Suva and next day connections to Tarawa, thereby linking the two principal centres of Kiribati.

Advertise with us

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.

Rewa Diwali Promo Banner
For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition