Destinations

The Best Islands of the South Pacific

Reading time: 3 minutes

Dreaming of an overseas holiday? These heavenly islands are easy to get to and destined to please anyone looking for a little fun in the sun.

New Caledonia

Isle of Pines, the southernmost island of French-speaking New Caledonia, is worth visiting for its natural beauty alone. One look at its palm tree and pine-ringed beaches and turquoise waters and you’ll never want to leave. Oro natural pool provides an idyllic introduction. Separated from the ocean by a coral reef, you’ll find yourself returning here for a swim or snorkel more than once during your stay. Isle of Pines offers the best diving in New Caledonia, with 15 underwater sites well worth exploring. Be sure too to walk through the rainforest to Queen Hortense’s Cave and trek to the highest point of the island (262 metres) for 360-degree views. Worked up an appetite? Dare you to feast on a dish of the local delicacy – snails. These tasty morsels are farmed in forests by locals and served up in the island’s restaurants.

Vanuatu

Port Vila, on Vanuatu’s Efate island, is a quick flight from Australia (3.5 hours from Sydney) and a popular stop on cruise ship itineraries. Browse the handicrafts at Port Vila’s local markets for wood carvings, woven baskets and beaded jewellery before kicking back at one of the portside restaurants with a coconut, cold beer or cocktail. When you’re ready to see what else the island has to offer, take a tour or taxi to Blue Lagoon on the east coast for a swim and rope swing over the blue water. Seeing the island from every angle via zipline, snorkel and kayak will reveal its many natural wonders, and there are plenty of secluded bays and beaches to while away the hours. A visit to Ekasup Cultural Village, 10 minutes from Port Vila, is a good chance to learn about Vanuatu’s traditions and history.

Fiji

You can count on Fiji to offer you a warm welcome, and that’s no bula. There are 333 islands for you to choose from, but the 80km Coral Coast on Viti Levu is popular among visitors for its palm-fringed beaches, amazing resorts, and variety of things to do. Couples and singles love the Coral Coast for its snorkelling, diving and surfing, while families flock here for kid-friendly beaches, kids’ clubs and unbeatable babysitting (Fijians love little ones!). If you can tear yourself away from your resort, take an electric bike ride along the old sugar cane railway (you can pedal or not) to Frangipani Beach. Families will want to set aside a day at KULA WILD Adventure Park (think wildlife, waterslides and nature walks), golfers will marvel at the dramatic backdrops at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course (keep your eye on the ball!), hikers will be drawn to the tracks winding through Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, and just about everyone will want to visit the markets of Sigatoka – get there early to see the full array of fruits, herbs and seafood.

Lord Howe Island

With just 400 visitors allowed entry at any one time, Lord Howe Island is as serene as it is beautiful. Peaceful it may be, but there’s plenty to do, and the island’s World-Heritage-listed natural surrounds can be explored in all manner of ways. Take a glass-bottom boat tour to see the turtles, hand feed the fish at Ned’s Beach, or snorkel the world’s southernmost reef. If diving’s more your thing, the clear waters around Ball’s Pyramid (the world’s tallest sea stack) is the place to do it. Break up all that water play with a hike through subtropical forests. At 875 metres, Mt Gower is the island’s tallest peak and spectacular views await hikers willing to climb to the top. Lord Howe Island is a two-hour flight from Sydney. Easy!

Bora Bora

This postcard-perfect French Polynesian island is a magnet for honeymooners dreaming of lazy days in paradise. Bora Bora’s powder-soft beaches and turquoise waters set the scene for romance, and the scent of wild gardenia wafting about is sure to make an already memorable stay magical. Stay in an overwater bungalow (room service arrives via outrigger canoe) or book a cruise to the island and use the ship as your base. Go shopping at Vaitape, the main village, indulge at a local restaurant (Bora Bora’s cuisine is influenced by French, Asian and Tahitian flavours), or treat yourself to a massage. Dive or snorkel the coral reef, try stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing or jet skiing, or see the island from above with a paragliding or skydiving experience. Getting out of your comfort zone has never been so much fun.

Travel Insurance

One of the best parts of an island hopping getaway is fun in the water. Travel Insurance Direct can offer cover for many of your favourite water sports, from snorkelling to jet skiing and more in between (the flags).   Cover may include:

This is a brief summary of cover only and does not include the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. Read the PDS before purchasing.


Author

I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

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