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Going South (Pacific)
(CNN) -- Ah, the South Pacific...a travelers' dream. With an island for virtually every taste, the hardest part may be choosing which to visit.
In fact, tourism to this part of the world is booming. By the year 2000, the Pacific Asia Travel Association says, nearly 100 million travelers will visit the region. If you're a novice South Pacific visitor, here's a look at the "tried and true," as well as a peek at some lesser-known spots.
Tahiti's swaying palm trees and beautiful lagoons make for a romantic setting, as many wedding-bound couples will confirm. But to see the sights of the Pacific as it used to be, head for the remote island nation of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu gives tourists a glimpse of a culture where people live as they have for centuries. And if underwater adventures tickle your fancy, you can head to a northern island for a scuba dive to the President Coolidge. One of the world's most accessible shipwrecks, the President Coolidge offers a visible reminder of the important role these isles played during World War II.
If it's a metropolis you crave, why not join the crowd and head to sophisticated Sydney, Australia? It's one of the world's most beautiful cities and is in the spotlight as it prepares to host the Summer Olympics in the year 2000.
Just outside Sydney's city limits, beaches and a wine country similar to the U.S.' Napa Valley offer places to explore and relax. A dazzling mountain range also stretches behind the city, offering respite from its fast pace.
Right now is one of the best times for U.S. travelers who are planning a trip Down Under. Despite the distance from North America, tourism officials say a visit to Sydney is a bargain compared to major Asian and European capitals. The number of American visitors has skyrocketed over the last 10 years, and in 1995 alone, nearly 19 million stopped by.
But a trip to the South Pacific requires careful planning and a fair amount of time, especially if you want to visit a more out of the way destination. Tourism officials recommend allotting a week or 10 days in Australia, a week in New Zealand and a week in Polynesia.
While that may seem like an eternity to be traveling, the effort required to plan an extended trip will be worth a lifetime of memories.Weather: Sydney
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