With so many Pacific Island destinations to choose from, picking the right one can feel a little daunting. Whether you want to dive, hike, surf or relax on the beach, there is a Pacific Island for you. Each island is unique. They have their own culture, traditions, wildlife and stunning landscapes. If you have images of sparkling waters, underwater coral forests, and coconut-fringed beaches on your mind, check out our list of Pacific Islands to discover your ideal island getaway.
When it comes to the Pacific Islands, Fiji is often the number one go to for travellers. Not only does it have the most developed tourism, but also some of the best vistas in the Pacific Islands. Whether you’re travelling with a family, friends, a partner or solo, Fiji has something for everyone. Island hop the more than 330 Fijian islands, dive and snorkel with turtles, paddle board, surf, relax in a hammock with a coconut cocktail… there is nothing you can’t do here.
Where to stay: For the best beaches and resort lifestyle, head to Viti Levu, the Mamanuca or Yasawa Islands. Some of our favourite luxury stays include: Nanuku Auberge Resorts Collection Fiji (Viti Levu), Six Senses Fiji (Malolo, Mamanuca Islands), and Turtle Island Fiji (Yasawa Islands).
Stand up paddle board on the pristine Fijian waters
Image courtesy of Six Senses
If you’re after epic shipwreck dives, wild jungles and rumbling volcanoes, Vanuatu is the island region for you. Although the main island, Efate, can be exciting, for the real beauty and action we suggest you head to the outer islands. The island of Tanna is home to the famously active Mt. Yasur volcano. You can get up close and personal with this volcano, which has reportedly erupted several times per hour for the last 800 years. Any letters to send? Mt. Yasur is the only live volcano with a post box. As for underwater adventures, Vanuatu has its fair share of WWII wrecks. For those with an interest in diving and history, this will be an experience of a lifetime. The most famous wreck is the SS President Coolidge.
Where to stay: For a luxury stay to come back to after exploring volcanoes and underwater wrecks, check out: Ratua Private Island Resort (30-minute ferry ride from Espiritu Santo airport), Iririki Island Resort & Spa (3-minute ferry ride from Port Vila), and The Havannah Vanuatu (on the main island Efate).
Visit the live famous volcano known as Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island
Scuba divers unite! The underwater paradise around Palau’s archipelago, which is made up of 200 islands, has an extraordinary marine and coral life, not to mention a millennia-old marine lake that’s teeming with millions of golden jellyfish. The lake, known as Jellyfish Lake, was formed during the last ice age, approximately 12,000 years ago. And although most people wouldn’t opt to dive in a lake of jellyfish, the jellyfish here have no stingers. No stingers, no fear. You’ll need to take a 20-minute forest hike to reach Jellyfish Lake and this incredible experience.
Where to stay: When it comes to a luxury stay, we suggest either Palau Pacific Resort or Palasia Hotel Palau.
Snorkel with the golden jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, Palau
For casual, off-the-grid island vibes, the Cook Islands are a must. With only 15 little islands making up the Cook Islands, this getaway spot in the Pacific will have even the most stressed-out worker succumbing to its tranquility. The largest of the islands is Rarotonga. There is a 32-kilometre road around the island, linking the lagoons and beaches, for those wishing to explore the island’s offerings with ease. You can snorkel and scuba dive, walk along the squeaky, white sand beaches, or even obtain a local driver’s licence and take a scooter around the island. Be sure to visit Aitutaki atoll, just a 45-minute flight from Rarotonga. Aitutaki offers one of the South Pacific’s most stunning lagoons. When you’re not diving, snorkelling or swimming in pristine lagoon water, you can visit the atoll’s ancient stone temples, known as marae.
Where to stay: The Cook Islands tend to offer more small boutique hotels and villas than resorts. But that doesn’t mean they have compromised on luxury. Our top picks are: Te Manava Luxury Villas (Rarotonga), glamping eco retreat Ikurangi Eco Retreat (Rarotonga), Pacific Resort Aitutaki (Aitutaki), and Aitutaki Escape (easily the most exclusive stay on Aitutaki).
Tropical Rarotonga with palm trees and white sandy beach, Cook Islands
Combining the very best of French and Polynesian cultures with a luxe lifestyle, Tahiti is a flawless destination for lovers and luxury enthusiasts. This gem of the Pacific provides its visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to become at one with nature. Venture out on mountain hikes, explore the turquoise lagoons and surf the reef breaks in Tahiti. The island of Bora Bora is incredibly popular for honeymooners and romantics. And if staying in an over-the-water bungalow is a dream of yours, there is no better place to experience this.
Where to stay: When it comes to luxury stays, especially on Bora Bora, all the big names are there. Our favourites: St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, Conrad Bora Bora Nui, Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, and Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.
Overlooking the incredible beauty of Bora Bora, Tahiti
Image courtesy of Four Seasons Bora Bora
Home to Grande Terre, the third largest island in the Pacific (after Papua New Guinea and New Zealand), and surrounded by the world’s second-largest double barrier coral reef, New Caledonia is a holiday-goers must. Enjoy island life with epic snorkelling and diving opportunities, wind sports, sailing and relaxing by the beach. While adventure and relaxation are key to any good island getaway (and New Caledonia certainly has that in abundance), the real highlight of New Caledonia is the cuisine. The mix of Melanesian and French foods and cultures is sure to set your tastebuds alight.
Where to stay: Stay in style with our top luxury picks for New Caledonia: Le Méridien Ile des Pins (Ile des Pins/Isle of Pines), Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Spa & Golf Resort (Bourail), and Chateau Royal Beach Resort and Spa (Noumea).
Stunning views from the Le Meridien Ile des Pins Resort, New Caledonia
Image courtesy of Le Meridien Ile des Pins
Samoa & American Samoa
The islands of Samoa are divided into two countries, and two time zones. Samoa is independent and is the first country in the world to see the sunrise. Not too far away, American Samoa is the last country to see the sunrise. Which means if you want to explore both islands, you could potentially even do it in one day. Start your day in Samoa, then take the short flight to American Samoa and start it all over again. Some of the best and most pristine beaches of the South Pacific are found on Samoa and American Samoa’s islands. Enjoy the traditional Polynesian culture, hiking, surfing, snorkelling, endless waterfalls, the offshore lagoons and coral groves, and Alofaaga blowholes.
Where to stay: ‘Upolu and Mulifanua offer some of Samoa’s best upscale resorts. Our Favourites are: Sinalei Reef Resort and Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort.
To Sua ocean trench, the famous swimming hole in Upolu, Samoa
The Kingdom of Tonga offers travellers an experience in untapped beauty. Tonga’s rich culture, stunning landscapes, diverse and exciting marine life, and truly genuine people will have you falling in love. The biggest drawcard for travellers is the humpback whales. Swimming with these ocean giants can be done ethically (this is important for the Tongan government and tourism boards) and it is an experience you will not soon forget. Prepare to have your breath away. When you’re not swimming with these magnificent marine mammals you can surf, sail, kayaking, paddle board, or enjoy a beachside cocktail or two.
Where to stay: As the Kingdom of Tonga is still growing in popularity and tourism, it tends to favour smaller resorts or boutique stays. Our top choose is the four-star Fafa Island Resort.
For an exhilarating experience, swim with humpback whales in the Kingdom of Tonga
Image courtesy of Tonga Tourism
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