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Fiji and New Caledonia Islands - wheelchair access

Cambridge, Uk
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5 posts
7 reviews
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Fiji and New Caledonia Islands - wheelchair access

We're going to be visiting a number of island destinations including Dravuni Island and Lautoka in Fiji and Noumeu, lle de Pins and Lifou in New Caledonia in November. I'm an active, full-time wheelchair user and am interested in hearing from anyone who has been to any of these desinations for information on accessible attractions/ things to do. Also keen to know about good swimming/snorkling spots without rocks and gentle currents/waves. I don't have a beach wheelchair so we can't travel too far on soft sand unless we can find some 'helpers'. I can transfer into cars/taxis for excursions/tours. Grateful for any info.

Carbondale...
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1. Re: Fiji and New Caledonia Islands - wheelchair access

Did you make the trip?? I have a lot of the same questions now, in 2012, and don't know where to start.

Cambridge, Uk
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5 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Fiji and New Caledonia Islands - wheelchair access

Yes we did the cruise and went on to tour New Zealand, Australia and Singapore! Mainly had a great time, but I didn't get ashore at any of the tender ports - the special lift that should have made this possible was broken throughout our cruise. Overall we were not impressed with Holland America and will never cruise with that company again.

In Fiji, we booked a private tour through Pooja Natasha at Tour Managers and had a guide and driver for the day. They were both excellent and we learnt so much about the island and its people. Both were also very good at getting me to otherwise inaccessible locations - we went to some villages/crafts, visited overlooks and viewpoints as well as the orchid gardens of the sleeping giant. Terrain not good for w'chair but area around reception is ok and we had a mini tour with an orchid expert. Had a beechfront/lagoon lunch at a very nice hotel.

In Pago Pago (American Samoa) we had an excellent day with Rory West from North Shore Tours. We booked a private tour and went all over the island, including the museum, national park and some lovely secluded beaches. We sampled local fruits and leant a lot about the history of the island. Rory is so knowledgible about the island and is a wealth of information and a genuinely nice guy. We all had a meal together at the end of the tour.

In Hawaii we just hired cars for each of the islands and managed to get to all the places the official tours went to but we went at our own pace and it was vastly cheaper too - made the cost of the private tours affordable as we saved so much by hiring cars.

In Noumea we just went to the town, but there were plenty of vans with drivers touting for business. I didn't get ashore at Ile de Pins and Lifou, but my partner did and he enjoyed snorkling and swimming. He also said access was nowhere near as bad as the picture given by the ports of call presentation on the ship. There were lots of locals who would have willingly helped had I been able to get off the ship!

If you are on a cruise, join the roll-call on www.cruisecritic.com - that way you might be able to join up with other people on your cruise. The site is also good for getting info about ports of call. I usually email the tourist board for each place and ask if they have an access guide or similar info for wheelchair users and that is usually a fruitful line of enquiry. If you can transfer to a vehicle then there are many options to explore for private shore excursions. On other cruises we have joined up with other couples and thats been a successful way of having an enjoyable day and spreading the costs.

Good luck on your planning and I hope you have a wonderful time.

3. Re: Fiji and New Caledonia Islands - wheelchair access

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