Paradise Found? Here’s Why A South Pacific Sea Break Is Holiday Heaven

31 July 2017

It’s not just the promise of crystal clear tropical waters, gentle afternoon breezes and the warm sun on your skin. It’s the joy of unpacking once, the delight of travelling to new destinations without lifting a finger, the restaurants, the day-spas… Discover what makes a South Pacific cruise the ultimate getaway.

One Island Paradise After Another

aerial view of tavarua island, fiji, south pacific The island of Tavarua is a pristine speck in the ocean off the west coast of the main island of Fiji. Image: Getty

The South Pacific Ocean is dotted with breathtaking island destinations and fortunately for us here in Australia, they’re not a world away. Here’s a round-up of some of the most popular pearls of the South Pacific…

Vanuatu

waterhole for swimming, Vanuatu Clear water comes to the surface through layers of limestone and coral in The Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Image: Getty

With an ancient Melanesian culture, deserted beaches, world-class diving – plus all those chic resorts and restaurants in the capital of Port Vila – Vanuatu has the perfect adventure for everyone. This is a nation of roughly 80 islands, stretching 1,300 kilometres through the South Pacific. Smoking volcanoes are often the backdrop to scenes of relaxed island life, and the experience of getting up close and personal with the molten magma of Mt Yasur is an encounter you’ll never forget.

New Caledonia

The natural pool of Oro Bay, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. The natural pool of Oro Bay, with a backdrop of trees true to its location: Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. Image: Getty

A splash of France in the South Pacific, New Caledonia is where pristine, palm-lined beaches coexist with luxury boutiques selling the latest Parisian fashion. A sweet benefit, but that’s not why you come to New Caledonia. The island’s dazzling lagoon is one of the world’s largest, with so much marine diversity that it was proclaimed a World Heritage site in 2008. New Caledonia is a diver’s paradise, with coral pinnacles sheltering clownfish, parrotfish, butterfly fish and many more. Bring your snorkel and flippers.

Tonga

scuba diving in shark tooth cave, Tonga Scuba diving in Shark Tooth Cave is one of the activities you could look forward to on a visit to Tonga. Image: Getty

Limestone cliffs rise out of the turquoise waters of Tongatapu, the main island in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. More than 170 islands make up the country, which is blessed with countless white sand beaches, coral reefs, tropical rainforests and lagoons. Authenticity is what you’ll find in Tonga, with friendly, down-to-earth Tongans going about island life in and around travellers. Step off your cruise ship and slow down to ‘Tonga Time’ as you plan what to do next: snorkelling, diving, kayaking, hiking or relaxing on a beautiful beach.

Solomon Islands

Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands Coral reefs are aplenty in the Solomon Islands, such as this one in Marovo Lagoon. Image: Getty

The dreamy, remote Solomon Islands have some of the best diving, clearest water and most incredible coral in the world. The islands also have a significant place in WWII history, which makes for unforgettable diving and hiking experiences. Traditional village life is alive and well, and a stop at these islands will introduce you to unique and welcoming South Pacific Culture.

Fiji

Beach of Viti Levu, Fiji at sunset The sun begins to set over the coral coast beach in the south of Viti Levu, Fiji. Image: Getty

Fiji, east of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, is a Melanesian country made up of more than 300 tropical islands. Only 110 of these are inhabited, with most of Fiji’s population living on the two largest islands – Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Renowned for its white-sand beaches, friendly locals and incredible soft coral diving, Fiji is a perfect holiday destination for families and couples alike. You’ll be able to spend your time diving and snorkelling through reefs brimming with colourful marine life, touring traditional villages and exploring the pristine natural environments.

Samoa

Swimming hole at Apia on the island of Upolu, Samoa. Swimming-hole paradise at Apia on the island of Upolu, Samoa. Image: Getty

Beyond the dazzling beaches, Samoa beckons the adventurous cruising traveller with breathtaking waterfalls and tropical jungle hikes that are just waiting to be explored. These dense, emerald forests conceal rock pools and swimming holes, as well as spectacular views. Visit Savai’i and be thrilled by the power of the Alofaaga Blowholes, or swim in the waters of the To Sua Ocean Trench, a beautiful swimming hole. The cheerful locals are fiercely proud of their traditions and are happy to teach others ‘the Samoan way’.

French Polynesia

Mt Rotui and Opunohu Bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia Mt Rotui and Opunohu Bay at sunset, Moorea, French Polynesia. Image: Getty

The French Polynesian islands and atolls – all 118 of them – are scattered like jewels across the waters of the South Pacific, each more beautiful than the last. Tahiti is the region’s largest island and is part of the Society Islands archipelago. It’s also one of the most popular cruise stops in French Polynesia, for good reason. In place of wide, white-sand beaches are the more exotic black-sand beaches, behind which loom lush tropical rainforests filled with towering waterfalls, lagoons and two extinct volcanoes. Bora Bora and Moorea are also drawcard destinations, where overwater bungalows and crystal clear water represent heaven on earth for many dedicated fans of the South Pacific.

Papua New Guinea

Island off coast of Papua New Guinea Raal Island, off Kavieng Harbour, is part of the PNG coast known for its spectacular diving. Image: Getty

Stopping in to Papua New Guinea will be a major highlight of any South Pacific cruise. It is rich in history, has some of the world’s best diving, and is culturally fascinating. If you are after a significant as well as physically challenging adventure, you could trek the famous Kokoda Trail. Or take some time to snorkel one of the world’s most biodiverse reef systems – otherwise known as an underwater photographer’s paradise.

Why Cruising Is The Way To Go

There’s no denying that the South Pacific has dream destinations on tap. Here’s why the best way to see the region is on a cruise.

Effortless Travel

Cruising is easy. You’re being escorted to incredible destinations every day, and you don’t have to keep your eyes on the road.

Your Travel Budget Will Love It

With fares that include food, drinks and entertainment, as well as all your accommodation, this is definitely a value-for-money kind of holiday.

Top Class Dining

No matter what you get up to during the day – be that on deck or on shore – you can trust that there is an exquisite dinner waiting for you in one of your ship’s many restaurants later that night.

Fun, Fun, Fun

There’s never a dull moment on board, with loads of entertainment options for all ages. For the grown-ups, this also includes indulgent day spas and world-class gyms.

Your Choice of Holiday

With so many different South Pacific itineraries, ships, room types and extras available, you can choose the type of holiday that suits you perfectly… and enjoy!


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Erin Bennion

Based in Brisbane, Erin is a writer with a penchant for using fancy old French words wherever possible and an insatiable hankering for trawling through vintage markets in small Scandinavian towns (no really). One of her dreams is to take her family to see General Sherman in Sequoia National Park and give that old guy a group-hug. Don’t follow her, she could end up anywhere. Twitter @erinbennion