Planning your Holiday to the South Pacific Islands

picture of kids kayaking on a family holiday in the south pacific islands

Some South Pacific holiday regions are ideal for solitude and nature, others are perfect for families whilst several fun places even beckon for a hen or bachelor party. We have travelled around the islands for the past thirty years and on the back of out intimate knowledge of each destination we've created a chart to help you quickly and easily discover which are the best islands to visit for your holiday in the South Pacific.

See our South Pacific holiday comparison chart

South Pacific Holidays : which island?

The Fiji Islands is the most popular of the South Pacific Islands to visit, and deservedly so. It's easy to reach being the regional transport hub, and has the best tourist infrastructure with a great selection of large international brand hotels, all-inclusive family orientated resorts, small boutique properties aimed at excapists, luxury villas for the high-end exclusive market and budget beach huts for travellers. It's a great all-rounder, with beach holidays, weddings and honeymoons, adventure, backpacking, diving and surfing, all amongst its major draws.

Although a lot smaller than Fiji and not so easy to reach from Australia, the quaint Cook Islands are equally beautiful for a fun and relaxing beach holiday and especially popular amongst New Zealand couples. The Cook Islands is very small and a lot simpler to choose where to go, as there are just two main mainstream destinations: Rarotonga and Aitutaki, the later a stunning lagoon atoll. If you want to go somewhere with few other tourists, then you should consider destinations such as Samoa or Tonga which both have beautiful beach resorts and are a lot less commercial than either Fiji or the Cooks seldom making it to the glossy brochures and where getting to your accommodation is often part of the holiday adventure; or even tiny Niue Island, a somewhat affluent limestone rock where you'll soon become one of the locals.

If you're seeking a real adventure and a very traditional culture, then Vanuatu or the Solomon Islands are the places to visit and both have exceptional scuba diving reefs and some fascinating active volcanoes to explore.

Visit the French speaking territories of New Caledonia or Tahiti Islands (French Polynesia) for a more glamorous holiday ambience and with plenty of over-water bungalows with the later boasting Bora Bora, the most photographed island in the South Pacific.

picture of a beach holiday resort

Seven "Must Do" for your South Pacific Holiday

1) Make the first footprints of the day on a secluded deserted beach
Where? Fiji | Cooks | Solomons | Tonga

2) Snorkel a coral reef and spot a reef shark, sea turtle or even a whale along the way
Where? Fiji | Solomons | Tonga | Tahiti

3) Take a rainforest hike and cool off in a fresh waterfall
Where? Fiji | Solomons | Samoa | Tahiti

4) Drink a bowl of kava in a tribal village
Where? Fiji | Vanuatu

5) Attend a local church service for melodic hymns and local characters
Where? Cook Islands | Samoa | Tahiti

6) Watch a traditional island dance with a sumptuous pig-on-the-spit feast to follow
Where? Fiji | Cooks | Solomons | Tahiti

7) Visit the local market for fresh fruits, a coconut drink or perhaps some handcrafted baskets
Where? Fiji | Solomons | Tahiti

picture of a beach holiday resort

South Pacific Holiday Ideas

The most popular destination for a beach holiday in the South Pacific is the Fiji Islands, followed by the Cook Islands and New Caledonia; for scuba diving it's Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands; whilst adventure holidays are best in Solomons and Vanuatu. Tahiti and New Caledonia are both French territories, making them more sophisticated but also more expensive to visit than the other islands. Tourism in Tonga and Samoa, the two Polynesian strongholds, remain low key which holds its own unique charms and just being there will make you feel you're on an adventure.

In most locations across the South Pacific you're never far from the ocean. Swimming, snorkelling, and fishing are always popular activities, but in some locations you can also surf, water-ski, jet-ski or try wind- or kite-surfing. Sport is also popular here – the most well-known is rugby, but some islands have their own internal games that are unique to their own culture like Kiriti in Samoa. Speaking of culture, the people of the South Pacific are another highlight – if you get the chance, go to an island dance show, or witness some of the more unusual festivals including singing to sharks, tower jumping and fire walking.

Wherever you go in the South Pacific fresh seafood and tropical fruits will be fantastic. You may want to try some kava, an important beverage in many island cultures, which is also a mild sedative, although in Vanuatu the brew is so strong it can knock you out.

picture of a south pacific sunset

South Pacific Tourist Information

This all sounds more than idyllic and certainly the glossy brochures promoting South Pacific holidays have no problem doing so with images of stunning white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, colourful reef fish and of course those perfect blue skies. But whilst these are all in abundance and the weather is warm all year round, there are still good and not so good times to visit; and islands that will, or will not suit your idea of a holiday. To find out more about what each destination has to offer, we recommend you visit the individual tourist information pages for each destination: