Location

Tuvalu lies west of the International dateline and 1000km north of Fiji in the central Pacific just below the equator and is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in the same zone as Fiji.

The six atolls and three islands that make up Tuvalu together total only 25 square km in land area, curving northwest-southeast in a chain 676 km long on the outer western edge of Polynesia

History

The ancestors of Tuvaluan people are believed to have arrived on the islands about 2000 years ago. Under the leadership of chiefs, known as 'Aliki', traditional Tuvaluan society continued for hundreds of years before it underwent significant changes with the arrival of European traders in the 1820's.

Even greater changes took places when the Samoan Pastor of the London Missionaries Society arrived in the 1860's. Tuvaluans soon embraced the new faith and virtually all of the people are now Christians, mostly Protestants. Religion plays an important part in everyday life, although much of the previous culture and traditions are retained.

Tuvalu (then known as the Ellice Islands) first came under British jurisdiction in 1877. In 1892 Tuvalu became as a colony. In 1975, following over-whelming support for separation in accordance to referendum held the previous year, the country became an independent constitutional monarchy and the 38th member of the commonwealth on October 1, 1978.

Tuvalu is classified by the United Nations as one of the world's peaceful least developed countries. Tuvalu has recently been accepted and elected as the 189th Member State of the United Nations for the New Millennium

Currency

The National Bank of Tuvalu (NBT) opens from 10:00am to 2:00pm Mondays to Thursday and 9:00am to 1:00pm Fridays. Tuvalu uses Australian currency. CREDIT CARD services are not available anywhere in Tuvalu so visitors are advised to travel with travellers cheques. Overseas payment amounts of over $2000 need exchange control approval.

Climate

Tuvalu has a pleasant tropical climate, usually with little variation day or night from about 30 degrees Celsius. Average rainfall varies considerably, but is usually more than 3000mm annually.

Communication Services

International and local telephone services are available at the Telecommunications as well as access through the Internet.

Customs

Visitors over 18 years of age are each allowed duty free on arrival a litre of spirit or wine and 200 cigarettes.

Departure Tax

AUD$30.00 per person

Dress

Dress is normally very casual. However, there is a sensitivity about the way women dress. Therefore wearing brief clothing such as swimming suits in villages is not advisable.

Emergency Services

A general Hospital exists on Funafuti, full medical and dental services are available.

Dining out

There are several restaurants inTuvalu offering a variety of local and foreign dishes.  A few also have licensed bars.

Local Economy

Import is high, as there is very little manufacturing on the island due to the lack of resources and water. Some marine resources and coconut products are exported but much of people's income is derived from Seamen through remittances sent to their families. In addition, the people fish and engage in agricultural activities for their daily use.

Local Handicrafts

Tuvalu fans, mats, baskets, necklaces, woodcarvings and fishhooks are famous throughout the Pacific. These can be purchased at the Women's Handicraft Center at the airport and on each of the outer islands.

Languages Spoken

Tuvalu and English

Population

Tuvalu has a population of 9,561 people (2002 Census). 4,492 of these people resided on Funafuti, the Capital of Tuvalu

Postal Service

Full international postal services are available. The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau provides some of the most sought-after stamps in the world

Water Supply

There are no rivers or lakes. The Country relies on rainwater stored in tanks for its water supply so please use water sparingly.

Air Travel

The Fijian domestic carrier, Air Fiji, operates between Suva and Funafuti twice a week (Tuesdays & Fridays).

Air Fiji
185 Victoria Parade
Suva, Fiji
Phone: (679) 3315055
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Air Fiji flight schedule to Tuvalu    
DAY FROM TO DEPART ARRIVE AIRCRAFT
Tuesday Suva Funafuti 1145 1415 CONVAIR
Tuesday Funafuti Suva 1500 1730 CONVAIR
Friday Suva Funafuti 1000 1215 CONVAIR
Friday Funafuti Suva 1315 1545 CONVAIR


Getting around by Taxi

Taxis are available for hire at $6.00 from Main wharf of the shopping center.

Contact Mee Tausi, Togoland, phone: (688) 20674

Hiring Motorbikes

Asivai Motor Bike Hire is located in Funafuti on Fakaifou Side. Hiring a bike is the most popular way to explore the island

Phone: (688) 20053

Motorbikes are available for hire at around $10.00 per day. Please contact them directly for the latest rates