If you’re dreaming of a tropical paradise, look no further than the South Pacific. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultures, and endless adventures, this region is a must-visit for any travel enthusiast. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adrenaline-pumping activities, this ultimate bucket list has you covered with 20 amazing things to do in the South Pacific. Get ready to snorkel in crystal-clear waters, hike through lush rainforests, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this breathtaking destination.
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Be a castaway and float on Cloud 9, Fiji
Cloud 9 (pictured above), an über-cool floating pontoon with music, a wood-fired pizza oven, cocktails and day beds, where you can sunbathe, swim and snorkel. It offers a one-of-a-kind experience with its own pizzeria and the ability to host various events such as weddings, conferences, and parties. Accessible by a 15-minute speedboat ride from Musket Cove Resort and neighbouring resorts, or a 45-minute journey from Port Denarau, this internationally renowned floating platform features two levels, an impressive cocktail bar, and breathtaking views of the turquoise blue water. So many Insta-worthy moments, so little time.
Paddle to a picnic, Samoa
At Samoa’s Seabreeze Resort, you can nab a complimentary double glass-bottom kayak, load it up with a fresh picnic hamper and a bottle of sparkling wine, and paddle along the historic coastline to the remains of the church of Aufaga. Pull up on one of the many secluded beaches and enjoy your packed lunch and a snorkel before making your way back just in time for a couple’s massage. Bliss!
Snorkel with manta rays, Hawaii
Snorkel with giant manta rays in Keauhou Bay on Hawaii’s Big Island on a night tour with Eka Canoe Adventures. This company, which raises funds to teach local kids traditional values, invites guests to board a Hawaiian sailing canoe replica at night. You then enter the water, and, holding on to a surfboard, don a mask and watch as these glorious giants swim right up to you. This tour partners with the nearby Sheraton Kona, which offers a cultural tour of the hotel grounds, explaining Hawaiian myths and legends.
Eat and explore like a Samoan, Samoa
Join Samoan foodie Chef John for a tour and soak up his passion for the local food and culture as well as the secrets of his island home. Situated in the capital of Apia, a trip with this charming chef-turned-tour guide includes a visit to the fresh food markets where you can select what you’d like John to cook for you while you relax or swim in Samoa’s picture-perfect waters. On his overnight tour to Savai’i Island, you can even sleep like a local in a beach fale.
Related article: South Pacific Island Getaways: Samoa
Explore the heart, New Caledonia
Plonked in New Caledonia’s Grande Terre sits an amazing natural wonder – a love heart formed by mangroves. Take a helicopter flight over Mount Katepei and enjoy spectacular views of the Heart of Voh and the neighbouring lagoon, reef and mountain range. You can also explore the north with a guided hike.
Thinking of a quick escape somewhere exotic like New Caledonia? We’ve got you covered with this guide to dreamy destinations under three hours from Australia.
Participate in voluntourism, Fiji
If you’re looking for a unique and meaningful travel experience, consider participating in voluntourism in Fiji with Vinaka Fiji. Vinaka Fiji is dedicated to improving the lives of the Yasawa Island villages by providing basic needs and facilities. They act as a facilitator, connecting those who can help with the landowners and residents of the Yasawa Islands.Through voluntourism programs, you can not only enjoy a holiday in a beautiful part of the world but also make a positive impact by participating in Vinaka Fiji’s initiatives. These programs focus on enhancing and protecting the natural environment through sustainable practices. By working closely with the villagers for over ten years, Vinaka Fiji aims to create a sustainable future while preserving their culture and relaxed way of life.
Glamp in an eco resort, Cook Islands
Welcome to the Cook Islands’ first purpose-built eco resort. Named after the magnificent mountain it overlooks, Ikurangi Eco Retreat is unique in that it faces the hills, like the locals like to live. Sleep in a luxurious safari-style tent (there’s even one with a free-standing bath), then grab a free pushbike and pedal around the island to one of Rarotonga’s glorious beaches. Admire the resort’s eco ethos and enjoy organic food, all in one memorable stay.
Attend a traditional church service, Papua New Guinea
For some feet-in-the-sand spirituality, attend a local church service at Kokopo on the Papua New Guinean island of New Britain. There are four main religions here – Uniting, Lutheran, Anglican and Catholic. At the Kinabot Uniting Church on the hills overlooking Kokopo, it’s about as rustic as it gets with sandy floors, bare feet and corrugated iron walls. Pull up a pew and let the divine singing wash over your soul.
Indulge in an overwater massage, Solomon Islands
Two highlights of a stay at Sanbis Resort near Gizo in the Solomon Islands are its jetty and its food. At the end of the long jetty at this eco resort you can enjoy a massage overlooking the water. Then, head to the restaurant for a lobster pizza (yes, lobster) made in the Western Province’s only wood-fired pizza oven. Sated, slip back to one of just six exclusive bungalows on this island, with your own private beach to boot. Read more with our comprehensive travel article about The Solomon Islands.
Immerse yourself in culture and cuisine, New Caledonia
In the past few years, many of New Caledonia’s remote tribal communities have opened their doors to tourists, providing fascinating and affordable accommodation for adventurous travellers. In a Kanak tribal homestay, guests sleep in typical Melanesian huts, on mats on clay or cement floors with a hearth in the centre, set slightly apart from the family house, and eat a traditional, simple meal of meat, fish and vegetables wrapped in coconut leaves and slowly cooked on hot rocks, with the rest of the village.
Go true blue, Vanuatu
Regarded among Vanuatu’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Blue Holes are turquoise-coloured freshwater swimming holes formed in limestone. There are several to choose from on the island of Santo but swimmers flock to the Nanda Blue Hole as it’s believed to be one of the most spectacular in Vanuatu. Thrill-seeking couples will love the wooden water slide, rope and swing platform here.
Related article: South Pacific Island Getaways: Vanuatu
Witness an active volcano, Hawaii
Hailed as a bucket-list item for travellers to the Hawaiian Islands, over on the Big Island you can visit the famed active volcano, Mount Kilauea. The best part about this experience is that you can see it from land, air or sea. Organised tours will take you to the heart of this unpredictable volcanic landscape via road or you can self-drive to this exciting location – take Crater Rim Drive for a good look at all of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s main attractions. For a red-hot thrill, you can even stay within the national park and sleep on the slope of the volcano. One of the best times to view this beautiful and dramatic force of nature is at night, when the lava glow is most visible and spectacular. Another way to experience this Hawaiian heartthrob is via a helicopter tour or, with its lava currently flowing directly into the ocean, by lava boat. Unforgettable.
Take a tuk tuk tour, Cook Islands
Tuks tuks and the South Pacific don’t normally go hand-in-hand, and that’s what makes this Cook Island tour so much fun. Take a jaunt with Tik-E Tours, which operates eco-friendly electric tuk tuks, and explore the interior of Rarotonga in these bright orange buggies. Along the way you’ll encounter all manner of locals and livestock, and eat organic food straight from the trees. Brush up on your Cook Islands history, visit sacred sites and simply enjoy the breeze in your hair as you scoot around in this jaw-dropping experience.
Get a strike in Fiji’s only bowling alley, Fiji
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins owns Namale Resort & Spa on the remote island Vanua Levu, where you can knock over some pins in Fiji’s only bowling alley, the Kava Bowl. Take a walk to your own private waterfall for a swim before being served lunch while waited upon by a bodyguard. Back at the resort, indulge in a traditional treatment in the Valeni Sasauni Spa Sanctuary: at 10,000 square feet, it’s the largest day spa in the South Pacific. This all-inclusive resort also offers surprise romantic dinners in secret outdoor locations.
Barbecue on a historic island, Solomon Islands
Follow in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy with a trip to Fatboys Resort, near Gizo in the Solomon Islands. From there, you can take a day trip out to the tiny Kennedy Island, where JFK and his crew came ashore after their ship was rammed by a Japanese destroyer during World War II. The friendly staff at Fatboys will cook you an indulgent barbecue lunch, including freshly caught lobster, while you explore this tiny paradise and swim in its warm, turquoise waters.
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Visit a colourful festival, Papua New Guinea
Boasting more than 800 local languages, it’s little wonder Papua New Guinea is home to so many fabulous festivals. The Crocodile Festival in the East Sepik Province celebrates the bond between man and reptile along the unpolluted rivers of Sepik. Witness the mud-masked men of Goroka at the Goroka Show or celebrate Rabaul’s revival at the Frangipani Festival. The Kenu and Kundu Festival in the Milne Bay Province pays homage to the canoes and kundu drums used in celebrations in this region.
Drive a scenic route, Hawaii
With its 620 curves and 59 bridges, Maui’s majestic Road to Hana is considered 110km of driving heaven. Couples can pick up a car in Maui along the north coast and cruise at a leisurely pace to the small town of Hana on the far east coast. Along the way, stop at the narrow Hookipa Beach with its white sand and keep an eye out for green sea turtles. About 15 minutes from this beach, check out Hanawi Falls – a 9-metre cascade plunging into a small pool. A little further down you’ll find Wai’anapanapa’s dramatic black sand beach.
Sleep like a (future) king, Solomon Islands
So enamoured were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Tavanipupu Private Island Resort when they visited the Solomon Islands, they altered their travel plans to stay the night here. Visitors to this island, in the Marau Sound, can book the Royal Bungalow in which they slept (and in which it’s rumoured Prince George may have been conceived!). There’s also an overwater day spa here, where treatments incorporate local ingredients and spices blended at the resort. Read more about this amazing resort and The Solomons.
Enter a bat cave, Vanuatu
In the middle of the jungle on Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo is the Millennium Cave, where the soaring ceilings are covered in bats and swallows. An adventure for fit and adventurous couples, the challenging journey to the cave is just as great as the destination. Embrace your inner Indiana Jones as you climb over bamboo bridges, walk narrow jungle paths and trek across rivers. Along the way you’ll meet the people of Funaspef, who are the traditional custodians of the cave and expert guides on this batty trip. Discover more incredible Vanuatu adventures here.
Sail one of the world’s most beautiful lagoons, Cook Islands
Framed by ribbons of reef and situated just a 45-minute plane ride from the Cook Islands capital of Rarotonga, Aitutaki is home to arguably the most beautiful lagoon on the planet. Hire a hovercraft for two, or take a tour on a more traditional vaka canoe. The 21-metre Titi Ai Tonga visits three islands and you’ll spend your day snorkelling around these pristine waters and wandering squeaky white beaches. Along the way, enjoy a barbecue lunch washed down with crisp beer, wine and Champagne.
Looking for romantic South Pacific accommodation? We’ve got plenty of dreamy hideaways to get you inspired.