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Which Pacific Island should I visit?


Which Pacific Island should I visit?

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Thinking of ​holiday to the pacific islands? But unsure which Pacific isle best matches your interests? Our definitive guide will make your choice crystal clear – the waters of a tropical island kind of clear.

1. Snorkelling: Fiji
Sublime snorkelling is literally on-the-doorstep in Fiji. With the majority of resorts in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands boasting accessible off-beach snorkelling a stone’s throw from your accommodation (that’s an actual stone’s throw – try it). That means you can pretty much roll out of bed and into an underwater wonderland.

Home to 1000 types of fish, countless types of coral and everyone’s favourite ‘ah-hah’ moment – the famed royal-blue starfish, the entire archipelago is replete with sea life. The crème de la crème of aquatic species can be found in the Astrolabe Reef in Kadavu, around Toberua Island in Lomaiviti and along the southeast coast of Vanua Levu.

HOT tip: Hell bent on getting up close with a manta ray? Head to Naviti Island.

2. Diving: Vanuatu
Considered one of the best diving spots on the planet, at the end of WWII the Americans vacated camp on Vanuatu’s island of Santo and left an entire junkyard of armoury in their wake. A living military museum – much of which is underwater – the region is replete with tanks and Jeeps, twisted metal remnants and rusted trucks. The highlight is the 30,000-ton liner “President Coolidge” which sank in 1942 after hitting a mine. Seven decades later and it remains the largest accessible shipwreck in the world.

HOT tip: The best diving is found at Million Dollar Point located off the coast off of Espirito Santo. Here is where you’ll literally find a million dollars of discarded US artillery.  

3. Beaches: Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Have you ever Goggled ‘Aitutaki beaches’? If not, do so right now. If ever there was confirmation that the Cook Islands (and Aitutaki specifically) boast the most beautiful beaches in the world, then a Google search will do just that. Best beach destination in the Pacific Islands? With platinum white sand, lolloping palm trees, calm shorelines and water that’s the colour of emerald mermaid eyes, it’s got to be Aitutaki.

HOT tip: If you tire of the beach (say what?!!?) check out the Aitutaki Marine Research Centre. There are green sea turtles which visitors can pick up.

4. Dining: New Caledonia
Seen as the French first claimed New Caledonia in 1853 - bringing their well-known affliction for fine wine and food with them - it’s little wonder the island features some of the most tantilising cuisine in the South Pacific. From the abundant seafood which includes anything from freshly-caught lobster to enormous shrimp and mangrove oysters, to the numerous root vegetables and fresh coconuts that are shacked and drained of their juice (by you with an enormous straw) the island is rich in culinary resources. Of course you won’t run short of a decent Shiraz or strong coffee either.

HOT tip: Try something from each of the various snack bars and street stalls in the capital, Nouméa. Go crazy and ask for Civet de Rousette AKA bat stew; a New Caledonia speciality.  

5. Families: Fiji
Beginning at Nadi Airport, where families are frequently prioritised by airport staff, Fiji is renowned for being the most family-friendly destination in the South Pacific. With such a reputation to uphold, hotels and resorts are fiercely competitive, providing anything from dawn to dusk nannies, playrooms, nurseries and airport transfers fully loaded with children’s car seats. Kids clubs are as educational as they’re exciting, with activities ranging from crab hunting to guided snorkelling and safe sailing, while some activities even roll out in the evening – allowing parents to enjoy a couple’s-only dinner together. 

HOT tip: Look out for resorts offering stay-and-eat-for-free packages for children.

6. Couples: Tahiti
All things fair, romance should probably be spelt ‘Tahiti’. There are few places as enchanting as here. An island paradise of sugary soft sand and blindingly blue water, it’s arguably the finest setting for loved-up romantics in the world. Add to that isolated over-water bungalows, total seclusion and sunsets that have beguiled even the most discerning painters, you have all the ingredients for romance. Did we mention the impossibly perfect palm trees and a sky that hates to be anything but blue?

HOT tip: Take advantage of all the couple-orientated activities on offer, from sunset boat trips, to private catamarans and couples’ spa treatments.

7. Nature: Norfolk Island
At only 8km by 5km, Norfolk Island might be small in size, but it packs in a huge amount of attractions, including a plethora of goodies left by Mother Nature herself. Outstanding sunsets exist from a new hillside lookout every day of the year, and once the sun goes down you’ll be presented with a night’s sky fit to bursting with stars. By day, nature-lovers make a beeline for One Hundred Acres Reserve; replete in tall ferns, frigate birds and magnificent fig trees, bush walkers are rewarded with stunning coastal views​.

HOT tip: Alternatively, Emily Bay is a beautiful mix of gold sand and emerald sea. With the added bonus that giant turtles frequent the beach too.

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