A Complete Guide to the South Pacific Islands
The South Pacific is a great place to catch some winter rays, with a tropical climate, idyllic scenery, welcoming peoples and a rich array of traditional cultures. Our handy South Pacific guide will help you get started on planning your perfect Pacific winter holiday…
With its unique blend of French and Custom culture, fantastic food, sandy beaches, jungle-clad peaks, and smouldering volcanoes, Vanuatu has a special allure all of its own. The snorkeling and diving here is among the best in the Pacific and outer islands such as Espiritu Santo, Tanna, and Pentecost combine some fantastic adventures with the chance to experience traditional ‘custom’ villages.
Things to do in Vanuatu
- Enjoy Efate’s magnificent scenery and waterfalls from horseback, buggy or helicopter.
- Wander around the vibrant markets at Port Vila, then check out some of the capital’s fantastic eateries.
- Explore the marine life and famous wrecks of Espiritu Santo Island.
- Climb fiery Mount Yasar volcano (when conditions permit) or visit a traditional custom village on Tanna Island.
- Watch the land diving (the original ‘bungy’) on Pentecost Island.
Not everyone can jet off to Paris, but you can still enjoy French culture and cuisine a little closer to home in New Caledonia – combined with traditional Kanak culture, stunning beaches and a tropical climate! The chic capital of Noumea is ideal for a sophisticated winter getaway, with designer boutiques, bustling pavement cafés, fabulous food and vibrant nightspots to enjoy. Take in the sights around town, or head out to the stunning Loyalty Islands or the Isle of Pines for a more traditional island experience.
Things to do in New Caledonia
- Explore the shops in the elegant capital of Noumea, then rest your feet over a glass of fine French wine and a gourmet meal.
- While away the day at one of the city's sandy bays – there is jet skiing. windsurfing and sailing on the world’s largest lagoon.
- Soak up the city’s sights on Le Petit Train.
- Check out the Noumea Aquarium at Anse Vata.
- Catch the ferry across to the lovely Isle of Pines (Ile des Pines), and enjoy a snorkel or stroll at stunning Kuto Bay.
New Caledonia Accommodation
New Caledonia Activities
Samoa has a habit of seducing visitors with its astonishing scenic beauty and gentle pace of life. Just a three-hour flight from New Zealand, the traditional villages, sandy beaches, pristine rainforest and vibrant ‘Fa’a Samoa’ culture are a great recipe for a tropical winter getaway. The two main islands of Upolu and Savai'i are fringed by magnificent coral reefs and lagoons, and there are plenty of sights to see in the bustling capital of Apia.
Things to do in Samoa
• Enjoy the snorkelling at Apia’s Palolo Deep National Marine Reserve, with its walls of coral and colourful fish.
• Have some fun sliding down the famous Papase'ea Sliding Rocks - one of Apia's must-see attractions.
• Head out of Apia to visit Robert Louis Stevenson's estate, Vailima, where the famous author of Treasure Island spent his final years.
• Book a fishing charter or check out the fantastic diving.
• Visit Savai’i (the Big Island) to see the spectacular Alofaaga Blowholes near Taga Village, and the island’s eerie lava fields.
Winter holiday makers in search of a laidback tropical haven need look no further than the palm-fringed beaches, warm waters and idyllic islands of this ancient Polynesian monarchy. Chill out in the waterfront capital of Nuku’alofa, home to the much photographed Royal Palace, go trekking on rugged E’ua Island, or base yourself in Tonga’s spectacular Vava’u and Ha’apai groups, and enjoy the fabulous beaches and ‘island time’.
Things to do in Tonga
Say Bula (hello) to dazzling white sand beaches, reef-fringed lagoons, and warm, welcoming people when you take your winter break in Fiji. You can soak up the culture, colour and shopping in bustling Nadi and Suva, check out the resorts and beaches of the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour, enjoy the traditional lifestyle and diving on the islands of Beqa, Kadavu and Taveuni, or unwind at the idyllic island resorts of the Mamanucas and Yasawas.
Things to do in Fiji
THE COOK ISLANDS
Just a few hours flight from New Zealand, the Cook Islands are a favourite spot for a winter break. This friendly island nation contains some of the Pacific’s most beautiful scenery, from rugged volcanic islands to tiny coral atolls fringed with sandy beaches. Explore the mountainous main island of Rarotonga on a guided hike or rental scooter, visit traditional Atiu, the Island of Birds, or unwind on magical Aitutaki, famous for its stunning turquoise lagoon and dazzling white beaches.
Things to do in the Cook Islands
- Hire a scooter and head down the old Ara Metua coral road, past ancient historic sites and lush tropical plantations.
- Get up close to the corals and marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour.
- Fly across to idyllic Aitutaki and enjoy an island tour and lagoon cruise.
- Take a guided walk through Takitumu Conservation Area, home to the endangered Rarotonga Flycatcher (kakerori).
- Discover the island’s history and sights on a 4WD Safari.
Cook Islands Accommodation
Cook Islands Activities
Norfolk is not your traditional tropical island (in fact, it’s sub-tropical), but it’s a fantastic holiday option for those in search of something different. The laidback lifestyle, natural raw beauty, heritage-listed convict buildings, and the lilting dialect of the locals and their distinctive ‘Norfolk Wave’ (all the drivers wave to one another here!) are just some of the many gems that make this island special. Oh - and don't forget Kingston Geese have right of way on the roads!
Things to do on Norfolk Island
- Let the Clydesdales do the work on a Horse & Carriage tour with island identity Culla Graham.
- Explore the island’s fascinating convict and Bounty history at the Kingston Vale area and the Bounty Folk Museum.
- Tour the local coffee plantation and roastery, or try the island’s yummy locally made liqueurs.
- Mix with the locals at a Progressive Dinner or join the fun at one of Norfolk's famous sunset fish fries.
- Team up with local fishing guides for a day out on the water or head underwater and check out the island’s pristine dive sites with Bounty Divers.
Norfolk Island Accommodation
Norfolk Island Activities
There are no long sandy beaches here, but with its dramatic ring of raised coral cliffs, secret caves and lush rainforest, Niue is the ideal spot for nature lovers and eco adventurers to catch some winter fun and sun. From whale watching and diving with the whales and turtles to exploring hidden caves and jungle trails, there’s an adventure here for everyone.
Things to do in Niue
• Join a nature tour and explore the pristine Huvalu Forest Convservation area. You can book at Niue Tourism Office in Alofi.
• Dive into an underwater adventure – the fantastic array of marinelife includes turtles, playful dolphins and Niuean sea snakes.
• Swim, dive or snorkel with the humpback whales – these gentle ocean giants visit Niue’s waters from June to October.
• Book a guide and explore the spectacular caves and chasms hidden in Niue’s rugged coastline.
• Enjoy a picnic at one of the secluded coves that dot the island’s coast.