Independent Review by Beautiful Pacific
Malaita is the largest island of the Malaita Province in the Solomon Islands. A tropical and mountainous island, Malaita's pristine river systems and tropical forests are virtually unexploited. Malaita is the most populous island of the Solomon Islands, with more than a third of the entire national population living here. The largest city and provincial capital is Auki on the northwest coast, which is serviced by daily flights by Solomon Airlines and Western Pacific Air Services from Honiara; fast boats from Honiara also operate weekly and only take about three hours each way.
Remote Highland Villages
Motorised Canoe Tour
Man-made Islands of Auki
Surfing Breaks in Lau Lagoon
Places to Visit
Malaita Holidays Overview
Malaita's climate is extremely wet and located in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (the "doldrums") with its fickle weather patterns. The sun is at zenith over Malaita, and the effect is most strongly pronounced in November and February. Trade winds sweep by the island during the southern hemisphere's winter, and from about April to August they blow from the southeast fairly steadily. The surfing is excellent here, with long period ground swells pulsing consistently from the North Pacific. The famous swells that hit the north shore of Hawaii reach the Solomons a few days later, and break on perfect coral reef passes. These coasts are remote areas with little tourist facilities and irregular and often difficult transport. A fun adventure if you're in the mood to try something new is the Solwata ('salt water people') Surf Camp, located in the spectacular Lau Lagoon amidst unique and ancient man made islands and stilted villages, and fringed by a massive reef system on one side and spectacular mountains on the other.
The Malaitans Pan Pipers are famous for their music and dance, which are sometimes associated with their ancient rituals. A one-hour motorized canoe ride from Auki will take you back in time to see and experience the century-old cultures of the seafaring people of the Langa Langa Lagoon. Here, on small man-made coral islands, little has changed over the centuries and the locals still worship sharks as their deity. A three-hour motorized canoe ride from Auki will take you to Lau Lagoon, where another tribe of seafaring people lives as they have for centuries. Like the Langa Langa, the Lau also live on artificial islands built from coral blocks gathered from the reefs hundreds of years ago.
Watch the local people make their traditional Malaitan shell-money, manufactured in the Langa Langa lagoon. This traditional currency was once used throughout the Solomon Islands; it can still be used as payment for bride-price, funeral feasts, and other compensation, as well as for a cash equivalent. It is also worn as an adornment and serves as a type of local status symbol.
There are a couple of nice motels in Auki where you can stay while exploring this fascinating island. There are also homestay accommodations in Langa Langa, with stilted bungalows right on the water.
Malaita Travel Information
Getting around Malaita is also easy - There is an abundant supply of taxis in Auki along with buses (and trucks) operating to the various road accessible villages, as well as motorized canoes available at the wharf. Malaita has the longest remote road network in Solomon Islands, though sometimes the going can be slow. There are airstrips at Auki and Asimana on the west coast and another on Maramasike. There are a few basic lodges and guesthouses in Auki; visitors wishing to explore the interior and stay in kastom villages can really experience the local way of life by staying in one of these villages. There are a number of kastom villages to choose from, but it is important to understand that arrangements to visit or stay must be made in advance.