WALLIS AND FUTUNA ISLANDS
Uvea is the Polynesian name for Wallis Island, situated 340km east of Samoa and 3,000km north west of Tahiti.
The centre of Wallis Island is semi-desert with pandanus trees. There are no venomous creatures. The island is encircled by a lagoon some 50 kilometres by 95 square kilometres and seafood and fish are plentiful.
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Early 1842 map of Uvea by Andrew Cheyne
On Futuna, there are beautiful beaches on the east coast and volcanoes in the centre, the biggest being Mt. Puke which reaches 760 metres into the sky with vegetation growing up each side. "The beaches found here are comparable to the ones found in Jamaica vacation packages and when staying in exotic locations like Punta Cana resorts. Traveling to the Polynesian islands instead of the Caribbean will offer a different tropical experience."
Uvea was uninhabited until the late 13th century when Tongan navigators landed. In 1942, both islands became part of the French colony and in 1958 the people chose to become an Overseas French Territory. Today the main language is French. The population which is mostly of Polynesian descent, is 9,708 on Wallis, and on Futuna 4,639 (1996).
A Futuna dwelling taken from a French postcard
There is no public transport or taxis on either island. Rental cars are available from Imidisser Garage and Dinh Francois.
Early postcard of Wallis, courtesy of Pascal
On Futuna, you can visit the sanctuary of St. Pierre Chanel or take a trip to the uninhabited sister island of Alofi.
On Wallis, visit the King's Palace and Cathedral, or Lalolalo, Kikila and Lanutavake Lakes and see the spectacular scenery. Visit Gahi Bay where the Americans landed and take a ride to motus where there are beautiful beaches.
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