FUNAFUTI

TUVALU

           

Tuvalu's capital Funafuti is a tiny coral atoll; the width is only about 20 meters at the narrowest parts, and about 300-400 meters at the widest areas of the island. It has an estimated population of 4,000 and is a low key place. There is a cluster of administrative buildings near the air terminal along with a beautiful Church (The Church of Tuvalu). The local village is a ten minute walk to the north with a deep water wharf, a further ten minute walk north of the village. The greatest attraction on Funafuti is the enormous and inviting Funafuti lagoon which is fourteen kilometres wide and about eighteen kilometres long and is excellent for swimming and snorkelling.

 
Funafuti lagoon, Tuvalu
 
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Map of Tuvalu
 
 
Aerial view of Funafuti Island, Tuvalu, May 2002
Photo: Bob Girdo

Beach scene, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Approaching Funafuti Airport, 2000

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Click on the map above for a more detailed map

Funafuti International Airport, Tuvalu, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

The International Airport is located on Funafuti Island and facilities include a VIP lounge, bank, restaurant, snack bars, bars, chemist, Post Office and shops. There is a regular bus service and taxis are also available. There is a pick-up service to the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. There is no internal air service.

TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION GUIDE
FUNAFUTI, TUVALU

Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, the Hideaway Guesthouse and Filamona Lodge are three of the comfortable accommodation places on Funafuti. Check out the Funafuti Accommodation and Travel Guide, Tuvalu for more details.

Vaiaku Lagi Hotel and jetty, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000

Entrance to Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000

Left: Entrance to Vaiaku Lagi Hotel
Right: Vaiaku Lagi Hotel facing the lagoon, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

Reception, Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu

The Hideaway Guesthouse and Filamona Lodge, Funafuti, Tuvalu, May 2002
 Photos: Bob Girdo

There are also fortnightly discos at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel in addition to traditional island dancing (fatele) for visitors.

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Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu

A short distance from the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel is the Women's Handicraft Centre where locally crafted goods are for sale. Also worth visiting are the Philatelic Bureau, which provides stamps to collectors all over the world, and the University of the South Pacific Centre, which sells a range of books relating to Tuvalu and the surrounding region. Another point of interest is the spot which made Tuvalu the focus of international scientific attention more than 100 years ago, when an expedition was sent from London and Australia to drill far into the ground to prove Charles Darwin's theory on the formation of coral atolls.

Excellent Tuvalu handicraft are available from
Tuvalu Women's Craft Centre, Funafuti, May 2002
 
 
Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau buildings, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

The islands of Tuvalu are served by a passenger and cargo vessel, the M.V. Nivaga II, based at Funafuti, which occasionally calls at Suva, Fiji. Shipping services operate from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand calling at the main port of Funafuti.

In addition, the inter-island service is now provided by the recently acquired multi-purpose fishing, cargo and passenger vessel Manufolau which is shown in the photographs below.

Tuvalu inter-island ferry, Manufolau, May 2002
 
 
Taxi (one of 4) and motorbikes for hire, Funafuti, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

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Airport facilities and shops, Funafuti

Left: Volleyball game, airstrip, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000 Right: Funafuti airstrip, August 2000

 International Airport and runway, Funafuti, Tuvalu, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

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Some of the Sights
(Past and Present)

During World War 2, the United States military used Funafuti as a base to counter Japanese advances into the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati). The wrecks of several United States landing craft and B-24 bombers can still be seen on the island.

Left: A Liberator burns up after a Japanese attack on Funafuti, about 4 a.m. on the morning after the big American raid on Nauru. Another destroyed U.S. Liberator is at the left of the picture. Right: The wreck of a Liberator on Funafuti after the Japanese attack.

Left: Wounded Americans are prepared for air evacuation to the nearest hospital. Some of them
were wounded in the U.S. attack on Nauru, others by the Japanese attack on Funafuti.
Right: The rudder of a Liberator shot away in the battle over Nauru.
Other planes had flat tyres, perforated tanks, and punctured hydraulic systems.

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 World War 2 wrecks at Funafuti, May 2002

 

Left: The Church of Tuvalu, Funafuti
Right: Young Tuvaluan ladies on their way to church, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

Main street, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000

Street scenes, Funafuti, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

Young lady dancers, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Young male dancers, Funafuti, Tuvalu

 Ladies outside the office of the Auditor-General, 2000

 The headquarters of tuvalu.tv, Tuvalu ISP, May 2002

Left: Soccer game played at the end of the runway (stadium!), May 2002
Right: Sunset over the Funafuti lagoon, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo.

 

Left: Toddy. Right: Funafuti lagoon

Beach road, Funafuti

Sunset over the Funafuti lagoon

FUNAFALA

There is a lot to do including observing the unique Tuvaluan culture and lifestyle. It is also possible to charter a boat or travel on the Council's catamaran to Funafala Islet three times a week for a stop of two hours. Funafala Islet at the south end of the Funafuti lagoon is the second most populated islet in the atoll. There are no shops whatsoever in Funafala, so visitors should take their own provisions. Traditional building with thatched roofs can be seen virtually everywhere on the beautiful islet.  

One of the enchanting coral islets of Funafuti

Funafuti Island has many enchanting islets apart from Funafala. These islets are based on coral outcrops and most can be reached by boat or yachts from Funafuti. They are ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling and simply getting away from it all.

(For further information about Funafuti, please click on Myths and Legends, Tuvalu, Tuvaluan Genealogy
and Tuvalu 2000 for Contemporary Images of Tuvalu 2000 and for Funafuti, Tuvalu, May 2002)

Funafuti

Click on the map above for a detailed map

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Tuvalu 2000

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 (E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 3rd December 2012)