Located in Melanesia and situated northeast of Australia and close to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands hold grand opportunities for the perfect Pacific island getaway. With over 990 islands to explore, you can ‘island-hop’ by plane or boat, and choose from a wide range of hotels and villas to stay at.
The Solomon Islands are a tropical paradise with warm days for lying on the beach and cool nights for a comfortable moonlit stroll. The best time to visit is between April and November when rain is replaced by inviting, cool winds. For those who want to learn as much as they can about the islands, guide hire is highly recommended, or for the more independent and adventurous, a local minivan or taxi charter is also a great option.
The main capital of the Solomon Islands is Honiara, and it has a lively wharf, dozens of souvenir shops, and is home to the Melanesian National Museum. Honiara is one of the bigger islands, and is located in the southeast, in fact the name Honiara comes from the Guadalcanal phrase “Nago ni ara” meaning ‘facing the southeast wind’.
If you are visiting Honiara on a Sunday, stop by St. Barnabas Cathedral in the morning to enjoy the island chorus. For a scrumptious lunch, visit the local version of Chinatown, and don’t forget to try the Solomon Islands’ two local delicacies – tapioca pudding, and taro roots with taro leaves. Yum!
Honiara is also one of the main islands for viewing World War II relics, since it was close to the site of the Guadalcanal Campaign during the war. The region houses the wreckages of submarines, troop carriers and planes, which have become vast artificial reefs teeming with diverse marine life. Investigate these synthetic wonders up-close and learn both about the history of WWII, as well as the wildlife that have come to inhabit the wreckages. The best places to explore the wrecks are at Ghizo Island (Toa Maru) and Kokumbona near Honiara (Hirokawa Maru and Kinugawa Maru).
For a true, cultural experience, head to the Western province of New Georgia and the bone-chilling attraction, Skull Island. Here, tourists can explore the skull shrines of former head-hunters and island cannibals. These shrines are of the villages’ enemies, with heads mounted on the walls like bounty - don’t worry, yours is safe! Remember, these places are still sacred, and you are required to be escorted by the village chief.
The Solomon Islands were formed by volcanic activity, which continues today and still shapes many of the islands. Savo Island, for example, is a popular dormant volcanic island, and is safe to visit. It last erupted in the mid-18th century, and according to expert volcanists, it only becomes active every 200 years.
As a great collection of islands with many amazing beaches and colourful reefs, anyone taking a Solomon Islands holiday should prepare to get wet! It is a premier diving destination, with first-class diving spots that are sought by divers from around the world. The islands hold an underwater treasure trove of marine life and historical artefacts that consistently captivate visitors. Under the clear blue water, you’ll find clown fish, parrot fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, barramundi, trevally, manta shrimp, ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses to name just a few!
If you love diving, head to Uepi, Gizo and Munda. Here, you’ll find natural coral gardens, some of which have only recently been discovered. These destinations are some of the most popular diving spots for Solomon Islands holiday goers and offer unique species of coral and aquatic life, as well as historical artefacts, such as the naval ship USS Aaron Ward. The ocean at Gizo also contains one of the densest populations of fish in the world; in Munda you’ll see different shark species in 600 metre deep waters; and in Uepi, you will be able to get intimately close to families of feeding manta rays.
Not really into diving? If you love the idea of crystal clear lagoons, but aren’t a diver, you’ll still find plenty to do on your holiday! Like all islands, the Solomon Islands are also known for other water activities such as kayaking, swimming and fishing. Surfing is also a popular and Lau Lagoon, Pailongge and the beaches offer many opportunities to catch a wave! For those who enjoy fishing, Gizo is your oyster – from here, you’ll be able to embark on a deep-sea fishing tour, where you could land a variety of game fish, including black marlin, yellowfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, and giant trevally.
The lagoons are calling! If you want to visit the Solomon Islands, contact one of our travel agents at Travellers Choice to organise your holiday today.