The islands of the South Pacific are a much-loved holiday destination for couples and it’s no wonder why. Turquoise waters, friendly hospitality, fresh fare and opulent accommodation – it’s all part of the allure of a romantic escape in this tropical paradise. To get you inspired for your own once-in-a-lifetime getaway, we’ve put together five of the best South Pacific destinations. And boy, they are all beauties…
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The Cook Islands
The Cook Islands are a natural playground with mystical underwater worlds and green volcanic landscapes. Everywhere you turn, there’s a jaw-droppingly gorgeous photo op (that’s sure to make your Insta followers jealous) and the locals have the sort of genuine warmth that makes you feel right at home.
The Islands’ sparkling lagoons are incredibly romantic, but the beaches are also perfect for a cooling dip. Thrill-seekers will love trekking through verdant jungles and foodies will be in paradise with the fresh flavours and seafood on offer.
Each with a picture-perfect outlook, there are some seriously beautiful places to stay in the Cook Islands. But if you’ve always dreamed of staying in a thatched-roof overwater bungalow, you can definitely tick it off your bucket list here.
Top spots: Made up of fifteen islands, the Cook Islands have a collection of must-visit spots. Aitutaki is arguably the most well-known and is unrivalled in the Islands for water activities, while Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) is brilliant for white sandy beaches and calm lagoons. The Islands’ capital of Avarua is also worth a visit and is where you’ll come across restaurants serving fresh seafood and an impressive church made of coral.
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Still relatively undiscovered, Niue is the ultimate destination for nature-loving couples. Swimming with dolphins and whales is something you have to do here, as is snorkelling in the untouched coral reefs. Home to the world’s largest coral atoll and countless underwater caves, Niue makes for a spectacular diving experience, especially thanks to the crystal-clear waters.
Back on land, seeing caves and caverns are highlights of any mountain trek, plus there’s the occasional fresh- and salt-water swimming hole to discover along the way. Guided walks and sight-seeing along the coastline in a vaka (dug-out canoe) are experiences you won’t want to miss, as is seeing coconut crabs at night tear open and eat coconuts with their giant claws.
A quiet destination free from the hoards of tourists, Niue’s accommodation ranges from guesthouses to resorts and boutique self-contained lodges. Whether you choose to stay somewhere perched on a cliff, nestled into the landscape or sitting by the water, you’ll feel as if you’ve escaped to paradise when you visit this serene island.
Top spots: In the island’s south-eastern region, Huvalu Conservation Area is filled with lush rainforest and hiking trails. You’re probably going to want to hit the beach while visiting Niue and, being only 261.5 square kilometres, its coastline will not disappoint. Check out the Utuko, Hio, Avatele and Tautu beaches for glittering water and limestone cliffs.
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Vanuatu is teeming with things to do for the adventure-seeking couple. Here you can bathe in hot springs, take a volcano tour, go on a diving adventure, trek through tropical rainforest, gaze at or abseil down waterfalls, and go buggy or horseback riding. Another main reason for visiting, Vanuatu’s unique blend of cultures makes for an incredible escape. Hinting at the island’s French ties, Vanuatu’s restaurants serve French-inspired dishes using local flavours like fish, taro, mango and coconut – delicious.
Showcasing Vanuatu’s natural beauty, there are plenty of luxury resorts and boutique hotels to choose from across the nation’s 80 islands. On the main island of Efate travellers are spoilt for choice, but for a truly relaxing getaway be sure to include a stay on one of the more remote islands.
Top spots: If you can bring yourself to leave the picturesque main island, make your way to the ruggedly beautiful Pentecost Island – the home of land diving. A rite of passage, this death-defying act basically involves a 30-metre drop with only liana vines tied around each ankle to catch you, and it’s something you won’t see anywhere else. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, float down a river in the middle of a jungle at Espiritu Santo’s Mount Hope Waterfall, or kayak down the peaceful Riri River on Oyster Island.
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An enchanting nation made up of approximately 330 stunning islands, Fiji is where you’ll find crystal-clear waters, sunny beaches, pristine scenery and the friendliest of locals. With balmy breezes and chilled vibes, this South Pacific gem is also known for its wide range of accommodation options – from luxury boutique resorts to glamorous private islands. Add to the mix a vast range of activities, and Fiji is pretty much holiday heaven on earth.
Wherever you stay, be sure to fit in plenty of time for exploring the islands. Snorkelling, hiking and water-rafting are experiences you’ll never forget, as is wandering around the local markets, picking up a few souvenirs and meeting the people there.
Top spots: The main island of Viti Levu is popular for its five-star resorts and visiting the Namosi Highlands, but if you’re after an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, visit the Yasawa Islands. On Fiji’s western border, these mountainous islands are home to charming villages, limestone caves and colourful reefs.
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Tahiti and her islands
On the island of Tahiti, couples can wander through Vai’ete Square and listen to live music, before hitting the markets at Le Marché and sampling all the fresh produce on offer. The island’s sister islands are also home to a treasure trove of rare sights, such as Tikehau, also known as Pink Sand Island, where long stretches of pink and white sand stand out against the sapphire ocean. Moorea is also a must-visit, blessed with powdery sands, perfect sunshine and jagged volcanic mountains.
The world’s your oyster when it comes to staying in Tahiti. Overwater bungalows are a go-to favourite, but don’t overlook the range of on-land stays. Surrounded by lush gardens and with pinch-me-now views, they’re equally luxurious.
Top spots: In addition to Bora Bora, Papeete and Tikehau, there’s plenty to see and fall in love with in Tahiti and its surrounds. Seek out the island’s majestic waterfalls and be sure to include a visit to Tahiti’s two extinct volcanoes. Or for a special memento of your stay, visit the Black Pearl Museum and see Tahiti’s most elegant exports.
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