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Introduction

Ta‘ū is the largest island in the Manu‘a Group and the easternmost volcanic island of the Samoan Islands. Ta‘ū is part of American Samoa. In the early 19th century, the island was sometimes called Opoun. Ta‘ū is well-known as the site where the American anthropologist Margaret Mead conducted her dissertation research in Samoa in the 1920s, where she published her findings in Coming of Age in Samoa.

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Geography

The island is the eroded remnant of a "hotspot" shield volcano with a caldera complex or collapse feature (Liu Bench) on the south face. The summit of the island, called Lata Mountain, is at an elevation of 931 metres, making it the highest point in American Samoa. The last known volcanic eruption in the Manu‘a Islands was in 1866, on the submarine ridge that extends westnorthwest towards nearby Ofu-Olosega.

All of the southeastern half of Ta‘ū - including all of the rainforest on top of Lata Mountain and within the caldera - and southern shoreline and associated coral reefs are part of the National Park of American Samoa. The park includes the ancient, sacred site of Saua, considered to be the birthplace of the Polynesian people.

Administratively, the island is divided into three counties: Faleasao County, Fitiuta County, and Ta'u County. Along with Ofu and Olosega islands, Tau Island comprises the Manua District of American Samoa. The land area of Tau Island is 44.31 square kilometres and it had a population of 873 persons as of the 2000 census and of 790 persons in the 2010 census.

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Sights and Activities

American Samoa National Park

The American Samoa National Park has a lot to offer for those travellers keen on the very best of nature in the world. The shorelines, reefs and rainforest are of outstanding beauty. The park actually is actually divided into three parks on four separate islands! Lata Mountain on Ta’u has wild and remote forests, free-flowing streams, and rugged coastline. It occupies 2,160 hectares of land with highlights including a spectacular escarpment along the southern side and cliffs up to 900 metres high. The the impressive Judds Crater tops things of. To add, the lowlands and rainforests are home to fruit bats and many native birds. Islands like Ofu and Olosega have are a bit different in that they have the most accessible coral reefs and also more and longer white-sanded beaches against a dramatic background. The fourth island, Tutuila even has forests accesible by car and also great wildlife and o course a scenic coastline. Basically, all four islands are actually extinct volcanoes heavily eroded to rugged peaks when the Pacific Plate moved and eruptions from within the earth together made this gift of nature.

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Events and Festivals

American Samoa Flag Day

Each April 17, the people of American Samoa celebrate the day the first United States flag was raised above their territory in 1900. Several homes and offices proudly fly both the Stars and Stripes and American Samoa’s own flag during this lively two-day celebration filled with feasts, parades, cricket matches, and traditional fautasi longboat races. Fagatogo hosts a fun traditional dance and music competition.

National Tourism Week

American Samoa now owes at least one-quarter of its gross domestic product to tourism, and during the first week in May, the territory celebrates this growing sector of its economy with this lower key equivalent to the Teuila Festival in neighboring Samoa. The festival’s highlight is undoubtedly the annual Miss American Samoa crowning on Utulei Beach, but locals and tourists also enjoy parades, canoe races, fireworks, and barbecues throughout the week.

Manu’a Cession Day

On July 16, the three tiny Manu’a islands celebrate their 1904 addition to the United States territory of American Samoa with this festival filled with flag raising, church choirs, and traditional Samoan entertainment. Although Olosega, Ofu, and Ta’u can only be reached by boat or air and there is only one major hotel on all three Manu’a islands, those able to make the trip can celebrate among some of American Samoa’s most beautiful coral reefs.

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Weather

Ta'u has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures hoover around 30 °C throughout the year and never drop much lower than 23 °C or 24 °C at night. Temperatures are slightly higher during the wetter November to March period and slightly lower between April and October. This last period is the best season to visit as it rains less (but still significantly) and there is almost no chance of hurricanes, which can strike from December to March.

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Getting There

The largest airport in the Manu‘a Islands is on the northeast corner of Ta‘ū at Fiti‘uta. There is also a private airport. A boat harbor is located at Faleāsao at the northwestern corner of the island.

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Getting Around

A roadway along the north coast connects all of the several inhabited villages between Ta‘ū on the west and Fiti‘uta.

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Ta'u Travel Helpers

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This is version 4. Last edited at 12:27 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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