Melanesia in the South Pacific Islands

melanesia islands

The Melanesian Islands are made up of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia along with the Fiji Islands in the east (although much of Fiji was later colonised by the Polynesians venturing from the north and east). The islands of Melanesia are typified as being high volcanic islands with dense tropical rainforest. The Melanesian people are intensely triba and there are believed to be over 1,300 languages. With the excpetion of Fiji and New Caledonia, the unifying language of the islands is the modern day "pidgin" a very simplistic version of English unified with local words. Melanesian people tend to be shorter, stouter and darker than their Polynesian neighbours, generally with tight curly hair and have a common ancestry with Papuans and Austronesians.

Detailed reviews and accommodation for Vanuatu Travel Guide

Detailed reviews and accommodation for New Caledonia Travel Guide

Detailed reviews and accommodation for Fiji Islands Travel Guide

map of melanesia

Melanesia Islands Travel Guide

The Melanesian Islands make a great destination for adventure as well as having the best scuba diving reefs in the world. The northern islands of Papua New Guinea (Papua is the southern section of New Guinea island whilst Indonesian owned Irian Jaya is the northern section), The Solomon Islands and parts of Vanuatu have intense year-round tropical heat compounded by high humidity and these islands can be prone to malaria. These three islands are the best to visit to interact with the local kastom villages and find out about tribal dances and craft which are both vibrant and thriving.

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New Caledonia remains today a French colony and its culture has been heavily diluted and has a far higher socio-economic wealth resulting in a more "westernised" take on life. New Caledonia has a beautiful cosmopolitan city in Noumea with waterfront cafes and lots of water activities on offer as well as having the largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and which surrounds the main island of Grand Terre. Fiji Islands is the hub of the South Pacific being the meeting point of Melanesia and Polynesia and tourism here is the most prolific in the region with a great variety of small island resorts, large international hotels and remote boutique resorts dedicated to scuba diving and nature.