Explore Papua New Guinea Through The Lens Of A Photographer

Looking to improve your photography skills while exploring one of the world’s most beautiful countries?

Asia Transpacific Journeys
recently launched a new photo excursion tour of Papua New Guinea, led by renowned photographer Michele Westmoreland. Called “Papua New Guinea Through The Lens,” the 12-day adventure journeys from Port Moresby to Mount Hagen, Kumul, Nondugi, Karawari, Kundiman and Tufi. Highlights of the trip include a cruise along the Sepik River; sea kayaking in coastal Tufi and an excursion to the Wahgi Sing-Sing Festival, which showcases traditional cultural performances from the Wahgi Valley.

Westmoreland’s tour will not just be an introduction to Papua New Guinea; it will also be an introduction to photography for both veterans and newbies, with expert advice on lighting, composition and editing.

The package costs $10,695, and the next one kicks off in June 2013. For a sample of what’s in store, check out the photo gallery below.

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[Photo Credit: Michele Westmoreland via Asia Transpacific Journeys]

Overseas France: Or Where You Can Find France Outside Of France

The days of colonial empires may be long over, though the United States, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Denmark continue each to administer a smattering of overseas territories.

Among these, France has arguably the most interesting and wide-ranging set of territories. Overseas France includes tiny St. Pierre and Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland (population around 6,000), the Caribbean overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the smaller Caribbean “overseas collectivities” of St. Martin and St. Barts, the South American overseas department of French Guiana, the Indian Ocean overseas departments of Réunion and Mayotte, and French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis & Futuna in the South Pacific.

Officially, overseas France is divided into “overseas departments” (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion), “overseas collectivities” (French Polynesia, St. Barts, St. Martin, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), and New Caledonia, which has a special status unto itself.

There are also two uninhabited French territories – a vast, noncontiguous territory with the grand name of Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, inhabited only by researchers, and, most curious of all, the uninhabited island of Clipperton, which sits off Mexico and is administered directly by the Minister of Overseas France.

Tourism is a huge economic driver in many of these territories. St. Martin, St. Barts, and French Polynesia are particularly well known to Americans. Francophone tourists are also familiar with the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, New Caledonia, and Réunion.

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[Flickr image via Rayced]

Paradise Flooded: Fiji Closes To Tourists

fiji floodsTropical storms have battered Fiji in recent days, causing flash floods that have stranded tourists, forced mass evacuations and caused upwards of three deaths. Now, the Pacific island nation braces itself as a tropical cyclone approaches the main island of Viti Levu with forecasted gusts of 68 miles per hour and the certainty of even more damage. Already, the government has declared a state of emergency. Sometimes, you just can’t catch a break.

Apart from causing widespread destruction, floods in the main tourist towns of Suva and Nadi have also wreaked havoc on Fiji’s tourism industry. Thousands of visitors were forced to remain in their hotels with limited resources until the waters receded and the air embargo was lifted on Monday. They now face chaos at the Nadi International Airport trying to secure flights back home. Australian and New Zealand news sources describe frantic scenes straight from a natural disaster flick.

The photo gallery below offers a glimpse at the current scene on the ground.

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Video of the Day: Guam, where America’s day begins

Each year, more than a million people visit the Pacific island of Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States located in Micronesia. This video shows why: breathtaking sunsets, beautiful beaches, fantastic diving, a vibrant tourist district, tropical flora and fauna, and a unique culture influenced by Spanish colonization, Japanese occupation, and now American control.

I’m also biased; as a native Chamorro who was raised in Guam, I am well familiar with everything my home island has to offer.

Despite the fact that tourism is Guam’s largest industry, not too many people outside of the main tourist markets of Japan and East Asia are familiar with the island. In the United States, most people I encounter know that Guam is home to major American military bases, but not much else. This video, combined with the photo gallery below, provide a brief introduction.

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Enter to win a trip to New Zealand’s Rhythm & Vines Music Festival

STA Travel is hosting their Ultimate Break Sweepstakes which gives travelers the chance to win a trip for two to New Zealand to ring in the new year at the three-day Rhythm & Vines Music Festival. The winner will receive round-trip airfare, luxury campervan rental, grounds pass, and tickets to the festival.

To enter, click here to enter your information. Want to learn more about the music festival? Check out this 2011 line-up announcement video: