When you think of the South Pacific, you probably think of beach holidays — but it’s a massive place. TripSavvy describes the South Pacific as “incredibly vast and blue, covering 11 million square miles stretching from the top of Australia to the Hawaiian Islands.”
As a result, the South Pacific makes a great place for island hopping. Mentioned below are some islands that are especially worth visiting — and some tips that can help you make the most of your time in these territories.
Fiji is one of the best-known South Pacific nations, and comprises 333 islands. The main one is Viti Levu, from which tourists can easily travel to the Vanua Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca islands.
Fiji is especially well-known for its diving opportunities as well as its private-island resorts, but Wanderlust says reassuringly that “advance bookings are rarely necessary — visitors will always find somewhere to stay.”
You could therefore stay long enough to catch a commuter flight from Vita Levu to Taveuni island, where scuba diving activities await.
Having been a French colony since 1853, New Caledonia now unsurprisingly feels, well, French. Even just its capital, Noumea, is reminiscent of a southern French town — as you will be able to see for yourself when you catch sight of its neo-Gothic church set into the hillside.
From Noumea, you can journey by plane or ferry to the Loyalty Islands, which are east of New Caledonia’s mountainous main island, Grande Terre.
Vanuatu, a Y-shaped chain of 83 islands, has some lingering French influence of its own — as evidenced on Efate island’s Port Vila, which was the Anglo-French New Hebrides Condominium’s capital from 1906 to 1980 and still has some colonial buildings left over from that period.
Vanuatu also has several active volcanoes — including Yasur on the island of Tanna. Here, a road extends nearly as far as the crater rim — and Tanna is also worth checking out for its custom villages, where traditions dating from before Vanuatu’s contact with Europeans are kept alive.
There are numerous P&O cruises that each stop at Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. Nuku’alofa is situated on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, and is where the country’s reigning king — His Majesty King Tupou VI — resides.
Rural Tongatapu is well worth exploring due to the ancient stone megaliths and pyramid tombs located here, while Vava’u island is appealing as a yachting destination. If you will be at Vava’u between July and October, watch out for the sight of humpback whales!
You might be able to book a cruise that would not only stop at Nuku’alofa but also take you to Apia, the capital of Samoa, which lies north of Tonga.
It would be hard to argue against the case for Apia being among the South Pacific’s most picturesque towns, given the abundance of scenic features in Apia — including the old wooden buildings that face Beach Road and have been turned into restaurants and bars.
In total, Samoa consists of nine islands — the main one being Upolu.