The sparkling waters of the South Pacific have long been an alluring drawcard for sun-seekers wanting to exchange their fast-paced every day for the image of paradise.
But beyond the postcard-perfect palm-fringed shores lies a collection of islands far from interchangeable, each boasting a culture as unique as their landscape. Whether you’re eager to chase adventure or revel in isolation, the South Pacific caters to everyone’s island idyll. Here’s our Pacific Island wrap-up.
Dining and nightlife: New Caledonia
Experience an effortless blend of European elegance and Melanesian hospitality when you escape to the French-infused isles of New Caledonia.
Perfect for an indulgent weekend retreat or for those seeking culture and high-quality cuisine, Noumea offers an eclectic mix of contemporary art galleries and colonial-era architecture while laying claim to some of the South Pacific’s best dining and nightlife.
Unwind on the neighbouring Isle of Pines, home to endless white-sand bays and dreamy lagoons or go beyond the beaches and discover one of the world’s largest barrier reefs.
Five star and family-friendly: Fiji
These far-flung islands provide a slice of paradise for every traveller. Boasting a Hollywood location and celebrity luxury, the lavish resorts of the Mamanuca Islands allow couples to enjoy intimacy while a reef-top pontoon provides a hub for socialites and water-sport fanatics.
Venture north to reconnect with nature in Taveuni, an island cloaked in National Park. Inland, dense jungle wraps around walking trails and waterfalls while offshore offers world-class dive sites. Family-friendly and five star never blended better than in Fiji’s palm-dotted Coral Coast, which is famous for its kids’ clubs.
Adventure with a side of luxury: Vanuatu
While its champagne sands and swaying palms may propel you into a sense of relaxation, Vanuatu is an archipelago that awaits the adventurous, a destination that invites you to embrace your free spirit without forgoing luxury.
From the rumbling peaks of Mount Yasur to the murky depths of a WWII shipwreck, Vanuatu will allow you to discover a landscape that boasts pristine beaches, explosive volcanoes and world-class diving. Zipline across the lush canopies and cascades of Efate, snorkel through the seascapes of Espiritu Santo or trek through Millennium Cave, then retreat to your five-star resort.
Raw beauty and cultural connections: Samoa
Observe the raw beauty of Polynesian paradise on an island that takes you behind the scenes of one of the most fascinating of South Pacific societies. Steeped in largely unchanged traditions, Samoa provides a retreat for travellers seeking cultural connections and couples wanting to experience some of the South Pacific’s most romantic resorts.
While away the days sipping from the husk of a freshly shucked coconut, savour the daily catch at Apia fish market or simply explore the island’s enchanting network of jungle-cloaked waterfalls, horseshoe bays and world-class surf breaks.
Barefoot bliss: Cook Islands
Often hailed as a mini-Tahiti, this remote island paradise takes the crown for barefoot bliss. Friends seeking balmy days and vibrant nights will revel in fun-filled Rarotonga. Venture to the uninhabited inlets of Muri Lagoon and hike across the rugged hinterland during the day, before embracing the island vibes in a live cultural performance at night.
Couples can treat themselves to unadulterated isolation on Aitutaki. Secluded and romantic, here you can unwind on the shores of Aitutaki’s azure waters, kayak to islets that fringe the lagoon or sink your toes into the white sands of Honeymoon island.