Welcome to the Islands of the South Pacific

We’ve all daydreamed about waking up in an over-the-water bungalow, stepping out onto a sun-drenched balcony to sip French coffee with endless turquoise seas on the horizon, a lush mountainous backdrop behind us – Are you ready to book your trip yet? The Islands of the South Pacific promise post-card perfect landscapes, warm smiles, ancient traditions, and an eclectic blend of European and quintessential Polynesian culture. From the welcoming villages of Fiji, untamed jungles of the Marquesas, to the idyllic and abundant lagoons of the Cook Islands, this part of the world is more accessible than you think.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Islands of the South Pacific

  1. Tahiti may seem like a far flung piece of paradise, but it’s actually smack in between the state of California and Australia. North Americans can snag a quick eight-hour flight from Los Angeles and the good news is you don’t have to worry about jetlag- The Tahitian islands all fall on the same side of the International Date Line as North America.
  2. You may think your tattoo is edgy and cool, but the word actually originated here in Polynesia – Legend has it Tohu, the God of Tattoo is responsible for dictating the infinite colours of the ocean’s abundant wildlife.
  3. In Fijian villages, because the top of the head is considered sacred (and not meant to be touched), only the chief is permitted to wear hats and sunglasses
  4. Ever heard of Gauguin? The world famous French painter spent his twilight years on the islands of Tahiti, and is buried on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas
  5. Over 80% of Fiji’s land is Native Land which is owned by village groups used for its village site and as a reserve which keeps overdevelopment at a minimum.
  6. The oceans surrounding the Islands of Tahiti are home to the most beautiful black cultured pearls in the world. Visit Manihi, Raiatea, Rangiroa and Huahine and choose your own.
  7. In Tongan,‘ifo’ is the word for good – It directly translates into delicious in English and is enthusiastically used to describe everything from cuisine to movies, to sports.
  8. Vanuatu may seem like a sleepy paradise, unchanged for thousands of years, but it was once an important military base in the 1940’s. The waters surrounding this scattered collection of islands are a scavenging paradise for snorkellers.
  9. Tuvalu is a collection of low-lying islands with no point being higher than 4.5m above sea level – It is believed that these island communities may not exist in a few years due to climate change.
  10. Samoa is one of the best places in the world to learn to dive – With more than 200 species of coral, and over 900 marine specifies, Savai’i (Samoa’s largest island) offers calm, crystalline waters with excellent visibility and balmy, year round water temperatures.

Best Time to Go

Dry Reason  (May – October) 

Climate change has had a significant impact on the Islands of the South Pacific, making the weather less predictable. Local residents have said they’ve noticed a cooling over the past twenty years, making their dry season more comfortable. Between the months of May through to October, the trade winds are steady, and islands further from the equator, Tongatapu in Tonga and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands see cooler temperatures and chillier nights.

Wet Season (November – April)

The ‘austral’ summer falls between November through to April and the climate is warm and humid. Though this can be a dicey time of year with the potential for tropical cyclones and serious tropical depressions, an overwater bungalow can go for about half the price of what you’d pay for it during high season.

High Season (July & August)

July & August sees an influx of Australian and New Zealand residents in search of refuge from the winter cold back home. It’s also a time when residents of Tahiti take holidays and head home to their outer islands, in conjunction with the holiday break back in France. Prices are at their peak during this period and availability can be low, so it’s a good practice to plan and book your holiday far in advance.

“Mini-Seasons” 

Much like Spring Break in North America, Australians and New Zealanders have various school breaks throughout the year. If you are planning to travel from the end of March to the end of April, the first two weeks of July, the middle of September and from mid-December until the middle of January (Makes you want to move to Australia or New Zealand doesn’t it?)

My Recommendations for the Top 10 Things to Do on the Islands of the South Pacific

  1. Stay in an overwater bungalow on the island of Bora Bora, you know you’ve always want to!
  2. Share a romantic picnic on the one of Aitutaki’s minor islands – It’s been rated one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and hasn’t been spoiled by floods of tourists yet.
  3. Explore the largest coral reef eco-system on the island of Moorea – This perfect base camp for snorkelers and scuba divers is home to 3,000 separate reefs and an astounding number of marine species.
  4. Take a walk on the wild side, and explore the lush rainforests of Rarotonga. Hidden waterfalls, and ancient temples await.
  5. Catch a sunset, take a stroll or sip a coconut on the palm-fringed Natadola Beach on Fiji’s largest island.
  6. Stay at Vanuatu’s Hideaway Island Resort & Marine Sanctuary – With no TV’s or phones in the bungalows, it’s the perfect place to unplug and experience nature.
  7. Listen to elders share oral stories around a fire in Samoa
  8. Visit the wild, untamed paradise of the Marquesas and the final resting place of famous French artist Paul Gaugin.
  9. Immerse yourself in Fijian culture and give back by visiting a local village and spending some time at local schools – You’ll never see more smiling faces anywhere else on the planet!

You’ve been dreaming of that overwater bungalow your whole life, make it a reality: