The South Pacific is an area of mystery and allurement, popular for many years with those in search of sophisticated and exotic travel on a variety of island paradises. But the variety can be a problem in itself- with islands varying from Samoa to the Solomon Isles, Tonga to Tuvalu, how can the discerning holiday maker decide where to spend the trip of a lifetime?
The most important question, really, is what do you want? The huge range of islands in the area means that there is something to suit virtually every taste, whether you are looking for a luxury tourist destination, or unspoilt isolation.
Possibly the archetypal tropical paradise holiday, Fiji is an island country composed of over 300 islands. The facilities for any kind of visitor are exceptional with waterfront hotels and world class resorts, as well as back packer hostels, and even a home stay option if you want to really experience local life. Transport is easily available, with buses and hire cars to hand – or the option to hire a small boat, or even charter a plane if that suits your plans and your pocket. There’s a lot on offer in terms of activity too- whether surfing or parasailing, or just quietly enjoying the beaches.
If you thought Fiji’s 300 plus islands was impressive, the Solomon Islands puts that in the shade with over 900 islands making up the country. Again as you’d expect from a major tourism base the Solomons offer an incredible range of accommodation and activities. There is a focus on the local flora and fauna which is astounding with plants and animals unique to the Solomons, such as the impressive Solomon Eagle. This interest stretches to the underwater world with scuba diving and snorkelling a major draw to the country. For those who want to get away from the crowd a visit to the Western Province and the unpopulated island of Tetepare is a magical possibility. As part of a conservation project the island only allows 13 visitors at any one time at the lagoon side eco-lodge allowing you to luxuriate in the illusion of having your own private island. Be aware earthquakes aren’t unheard of so make sure your holiday insurance is in order.
At the opposite extreme, and for those who want something vastly different, Tuvulu is the fourth smallest country in the world, composed of only 9 islands. As a tiny country and with only the beginnings of a tourist industry, a holiday in a Tuvulu lodge would be the perfect choice for the individual traveller longing for something genuinely unspoilt and remote. The most popular way to tour the island is by motorbike, which are cheaply available for hire. Dance events and sports are popular with the locals; the must see local ball sport of te ano traditionally ends with the losing team performing a mockingly humorous song and dance at the winners.