Best South Pacific Island Guide For Every Activity
The South Pacific offers palm tree covered sands, blue seas, white sands and an array of activities, experiences and adventures. Not sure which island paradise to visit? Read this guide to which island is best for you to visit; from honeymoons to beach bums, there is something for everyone.
Best island for luxury: Laucala Island, Fiji
Step off the private plane that whisks you to Fiji’s Laucala Island, one of three small islands off the coast of Taveuni. Settle into one of 25 palatial residences on this 12-square-kilometer island, and get ready to decide which of the five world-class restaurants to visit.
Lounge on the beach, hang by the pool, there is also an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, sailing and diving. Visit the state of the art submarine on which guests sip cocktails while cruising 150 meters below sea level.
Prices start from $4,200 per night plus taxes and include all meals, drinks and some activities.
Or you might want to rent the entire island, from $150,000 a night.
Swimming with whales: Vava’u Islands, Tonga
The Kingdom of Tonga is one of few places in the world where people can swim with humpback whales. These majestic and massive creatures ake their way up from the waters of Antarctica in June to give birth in the warmer, sheltered waters of the Vava’u island group before returning south in November.
Tribal culture: Pentecost, Vanuatu
If you’ve ever fantasized about seeing the wondrous rituals, colors and cultures of indigenous South Pacific tribes, Vanuatu has a lot to offer.
The island of Pentecost is where you’ll find the country’s famous land divers, whom inspired bungee jump inventor AJ Hackett. The men of the island spend weeks building special towers and then they climb to the top, attach strong and springy vines to their ankles and jump, coming within centimeters of the ground.
Locals believe this terrifying ritual, which takes place from April to June, will bring a successful harvest.
Want something less nerve-racking? Head south on the Vanuatu island of Tanna there are many rural tribes, each with their own unique cultural dances.
Every three years– Tanna’s Nekowiar celebrations light up the island. It’s a three-day festival of music, dancing and eating to mark the arranging of marriages by village elders.
Romance: Bora Bora/Cook Islands
Bora Bora is the quintessential honeymoon destination. For some it’s a tropical theme park. There is so much beauty and a variety of top quality resort accommodations is unrivaled in the South Pacific.
Although it is geared toward couples but you can shape a trip to suit your needs.
Visitors can snorkel in the lagoon, sleep in one of the hugely popular over-water villas, down sunset cocktails or kayak to a secluded beach.
The views from Bora Bora’s peaks are unforgettable, though hiring a guide is recommended to navigate the jungle paths.
Diving with sharks: Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu, Fiji
Fiji’s Shark Reef Marine Park is one of the few spots in the world where you can dive cage-free alongside two of the so-called “demoadly three” man-eating sharks.
Divers get a rare chance to see bull and occasionally tiger sharks from just meters away.
Gone are the cages and instead the dive outfits have conditioned the sharks to respond to human routines.
Divers make two trips per day to the dedicated area. Behind the relative safety of a small coral wall, divers watch as three or four experts feed fishy scraps to the sea life. The water is a kaleidoscope of marine life , with visits from lemon, black tip, white tip and silvertip sharks as well as giant trevally, eagle rays, moray eels and hundreds of smaller tropical fish.
Volcanic activity: Tanna or Ambrym, Vanuatu
Mount Yasur on Vanuatu’s Tanna Island is probably the most accessible volcano in the world.
A jeep can get you to within 150 meters of the crater rim, though it’s possible to take a long walk through the jungle and ash plain first.
It’s worth spending some time wandering Mount Yasur’s vast ash plain — the lunar landscape is beautiful and offers great views (and photo opportunities) of the volcano.
Ambrym’s twin peaks of Mount Marum and Mount Benbow are only for the strong and the brave. You need to be fit, have an excellent guide, robust walking shoes and considerable determination to conquer them.
For professional surfers or those who love of watching them in action the tiny village of Teahupoo, Tahiti, is the place to be. This is also the home to Billabong Pro Surf competition and the waves here can reach 23 feet!
For amateurs, the waves in Papara can offer milder conditions. There’s a large black sand beach and restaurant to reboot after a wipe out. Tahiti gets its best waves in the winter — roughly May to August.
History buffs: Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands offer a doorway back to some of World War II’s bitterest battles.
Remnant’s of Japan’s occupation and fierce fighting can be found everywhere — the main island of Guadalcanal is where the allies launched their first major offensive in the South Pacific.
Visitors can take a tour of key relics and memorial sites in the capital of Honiara.
The islands of Samoa are covered in rainforest and volcanoes. Hiking is excellent in the coastal rainforest of O Le Pupu-Pue National Park, where you can walk through the rainforest to the Togitogiga Falls, and inland to Peapea Cave, an old lava tube. Guides are recommended as trails can be easily lost.