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10 Things to Love About the South Pacific

By Akuila Batiweti Posted 10 May 2016

Discovering paradise has never been so easy. I must say, there is nowhere in the world that compares to the South Pacific. What makes it stand out from all other places? What would make you get on a plane and fly hours to islands in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean for a holiday? Let me tell you.

1. Yasawa Islands, Fiji 7. The Blue Lagoon, Port Vila, Vanuatu
2. Swimming with Wales in Vava’u, Tonga 8. Swim with Manta Rays, Manta Ray Island Resort, Fiji
3. Scuba Diving the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef, Kadavu, Fiji 9. The Blow Holes & the American Wharf, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
4. The Cascades, Port Vila, Vanuatu 10. Adventures in Pacific Harbour, Fiji
5. Sawa-i-Lau Caves, Yasawa Islands, Fiji 11. The People
6. The To Sua Trench, Samoa    

Vavau
'Ene'io Eueiki Island, Vava'u, Tonga

Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Nothing screams paradise more than the Yasawa Islands in Fiji. The Yasawa Islands are a haven for beach loving junkies with accommodation options ranging from backpacker homestays and bures (traditional Fijian Villas) in the middle of a Fijian village to private 5 star Vilas nestled away on secluded beaches a stone’s throw away from the clearest ocean water found anywhere in the world.

Yasawa
Yasawa Islands, Fiji

I have chosen to put the entire Yasawa Islands out there as my favorite over any particular island in the Yasawas which can easily fit into a list of places in paradise to visit on their own.

Swimming with Wales in Vava’u, Tonga

Whale Vavau
Humpback Whale, Vava’u, Tonga

Vava’u is often described as the ‘jewel in Tonga’s Crown’ and is every bit what they say it is. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, scuba diving and whale watching/swimming. For transparency sake, I have to admit I have not done this swim yet but I’m told by a friend that it was one of the best experiences in his life – second only to his wedding day. That says a lot! Being able to swim with humpback whales should be on your bucket list. The season is from July to October and Tongan Expeditions and Vavau Villa offer these once in a lifetime experiences (or more if you’re up for the challenge).

Scuba Diving the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef, Kadavu, Fiji

Kadavu Fiji
Waisalima, Kadavu, Fiji

Not a diver? No worries – snorkeling is also another great way to see the Great Astrolabe reef. It is one of the largest barrier reefs in the world and a world class diving spot. It is a haven for thousands of marine life. Whether you’re a beginner diver or a pro diver, there’s an adventure awaiting everyone in this underwater paradise. Matava Resort in Kadavu offer diving and snorkeling trips out the reef.

The Cascades, Port Vila, Vanuatu

When I think of Vanuatu, thoughts of unspoilt beauty with a hint of adventure and experiences come to mind. A short two and a half hour flight out of Fiji lays what I would rate as one of the best places to visit in the world. If you’re looking for waterfalls, Vanuatu has them all. The best part, it’s only a short drive from the airport. This means you can be in a plane and 15 minutes later – swimming under a waterfall. Now that sounds like paradise.

Mele Cascades
Mele Cascades, Port Vila, Vanuatu

The Cascades in Vanuatu is a series of waterfalls that flow into pools and is a place you can spend hours in. The falls make a great background for any Facebook or Instagram photo to make your friends jealous. Evergreen Vanuatu has daily half day or full day tours to the Cascades. Make sure it’s on your bucket list of places to visit when you’re next in Vanuatu – you won’t be disappointed.

Sawa-i-Lau Caves, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Sawa Caves
Sawa-i-Lau Caves, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Also known as the ‘very heart of the Yasawas’ is a magical place that is a must of anyone visiting the Yasawas. Swim the caves as guides take you through the history behind this beautiful part of the islands. The water is also AMAZING and the light that comes through the ceilings of the cave make it a truly magical experience. Some resorts offer tours up to the caves so be sure to get in on the action when you’re there.

The To Sua Trench, Samoa

Samoa is referred to as the treasured islands of the Pacific and is a proud nation built on culture and Christianity which is a strong part of its history that can be seen throughout the island in the magnificently built churches and cathedrals. A drive around Upolu Island that houses Apia, the capital of Samoa, brings you to a number of well-known spots such as Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Lalomanu Beach and the famed To Sua Ocean Trench.

Sua Ocean
To Sua Ocean Trench, Upolu, Samoa

Samoa Tourism Association describe it as two giant holes joined by a lava tube cave. The water is so clear and it’s an experience like no other to swim in the ocean trench. The climb down the ladder to the platform at the bottom is a bit of a challenge but that all adds to the adventure and fun.

The Blue Lagoon, Port Vila, Vanuatu

A short drive from the city center is the Blue Lagoon. Images don’t do justice to the beauty and uniqueness of this place. From afar it looks like the bluest water you’ll ever see that is so turquoise like that it feels like it’s been photoshopped on. As you move closer and look down, you can see the bottom of the lagoon so clearly. A dive in fast proved that it’s not as shallow as it looked from the top.

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon, Efate, Vanuatu

The best part about the Blue Lagoon and most other of these beautiful places in Vanuatu – it’s not overrun with tourists. There is a perfect balance here and it allows you to truly enjoy the experience and appreciate nature in a way you may never have before.

Swim with Manta Rays, Manta Ray Island Resort, Fiji

Seasonally from May to October, there is a chance of a lifetime to swim or snorkel with Manta Rays in the Yasawa Islands. Definitely an experience not to be missed. Be sure to have your cameras ready because that first sighting can get so exciting that you forget to capture the moment. I should know, I’m the idiot who forgot to take it.

Manta Ray
Manta Ray, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Manta Ray Island Resort is tucked away in the beautiful Yasawa Islands and is the perfect spot to escape your busy life. Not keen on swimming with the manta rays? No problem, you can unwind on the beach with a tropical cocktail. Now that’s one way to run away from your emails.

The Blow Holes & the American Wharf, Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Childhood memories of me jumping with the boys off what felt like the longest jetty in the world into open seas are what make me think of the American Wharf. It was one of my favorite places to go on an afternoon in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. I have gone with two things here because it’s too hard to pick one favorite thing to do in Tonga.

Mapu Tonga
Mapu a Vaea, Nuku’alofa, Tonga

The blow holes are one of those places where you can sit for hours and feel at ease. As waves roll in, water is forced up the volcanic rocks and create a plume-like effect. It is like nature’s own fireworks – or should I say waterworks? Maybe we’ll stick to the traditional name for the blow holes, Mapu a Vaea or ‘Whistle of the Noble’.

Adventures in Pacific Harbour, Fiji

They don’t call it Fiji’s Adventure Capital for no reason. Everything from White water rafting to Jet Ski safaris, shark diving and buggy rides to waterfalls can be done in Pac Harbour as the locals call it. River Fiji’s white water rafting takes you through canyons and past waterfalls on Navua River and is a favorite for many adventure seekers that visit Fiji. Jet Ski safari’s is also a great way to explore the islands around Pacific Harbour with guided tours that include snorkeling trips.

Dune Buggy
Dune Buggy Ride, Pacific Harbour, Fiji

You can also take self-driven dune buggies up the hills in Pacific Harbour with Terra Trek that ends with a hike to a one of the best waterfalls you can find on Viti Levu, Fiji’s biggest Island. Pacific Harbour is also a great place to unwind in the evenings with activities in the different hotels and a number of restaurants and bars in the area.

The People

Smiling Fijian Girl
Smiling Fijian girl

I know I said 10 things to love about the Pacific but without a doubt, there is nowhere else in the world where you can visit four or five different countries and feel like home in all of them. From Fiji to Tonga, Vanuatu and Samoa, the people are what I would describe as the drawing factor for the Pacific.

So what are you waiting for?

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