Escape to the alluring islands of the South Pacific for a rejuvenating vacation like no other! Dotted across an azure sea, these sublime islands are welcoming and intriguing with many delightful surprises for visitors.
Unwind surrounded by tropical splendor. The unspoiled island chains of the South Pacific let you savor each day in the sun surrounded by breathtaking scenic beauty. A favorite destination for writers, artists and celebrities, these islands offer an inspirational escape.
From New Caledonia to French Polynesia, each island is unique with something special to discover. You’ll come across fascinating cultures, intriguing history, active adventures and romantic settings. There’s something for everyone across these islands.
Beaches are magnificent often stretching into the lagoon with shallow water quite far out. You’ll certainly find plenty of opportunities for world class snorkeling and scuba diving as well, thanks to the clear waters surrounding the islands. Highlights are swimming with the rays and black tip reef sharks on outrigger tours in Bora Bora and drift diving and snorkeling in Rangiroa, one of the top places in the world to do this.
Sensational overwater bungalows have become a signature accommodation option on islands with tranquil lagoons. They are divine; your own private oasis in the lagoon. The traditional Tahitian version is a luxurious thatched home on stilts complete with bedroom, sitting area and luxurious bathroom, a deck for lounging and a ladder for entering the water. Many have a window in the floor so you can watch the fish swimming below. You won’t want to leave! A concept originally found in Tahiti and the Society Islands, you’ll now come across overwater hotels in Fiji, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu as well.
The islands offer some enticing food and drink specialties and events. From dining in a lagoon to cultural celebrations with traditional fare, there’s a range of unusual culinary options. Be sure to see this month’s Top Ten List to learn more.
Looking for a tropical cruise with many fascinating things to see and do? Head for the South Pacific where cruising is a true delight. Sail leisurely from one exotic island to another, awaking each day in a new paradise. There are explorations ashore to suit all interests. Delve into history and culture or participate in more active adventures. Cruising is a great way to see many islands on one vacation to experience more of the region. You’ll also enjoy all the amenities of your luxurious cruise ship – and the views from your ship are spectacular! Small ship cruising is a specialty around the islands of Fiji – a delightful and peaceful way to experience this spectacular country.
The South Pacific islands certainly have everything it takes to create a magical and relaxing getaway.
The Exclusive Travel Group is on the cutting edge of South Pacific travel. From their base in New Zealand they are ideally situated for staying on top of travel developments in the islands of paradise. We caught up with Stephen White, Director of Business Development to learn more about what they offer.
Q: What is it about the South Pacific islands that make them so special?
Islands fringed by cerulean waters, dazzling beaches, coral reefs, tangerine sunsets, garlands of heavenly-scented flowers and dramatic natural backdrops. In the South Pacific, you have the makings of the perfect holiday. For those who seek the luxury of privacy, space, tranquillity, choice, exceptional food and wines, exquisite service, spa facilities and an array of sporting activities here in the South Pacific ’Paradise has not been lost!’
Q: What services do you offer in the South Pacific?
We offer a full Destination Management Service. We are experts in this region and have visited and stayed on every island and at every resort we recommend. Your Travel Manager is responsible for your entire trip; accommodation, transfers and activities. Whilst on holiday with us, guests continue to benefit from The Exclusive Travel Group’s all-embracing 24-hour concierge service.
Q: Which Islands do you recommend combining with a New Zealand vacation?
These small resort islands in Fiji are perfect for combining with your New Zealand vacation. They offer a top vacation experience in the South Pacific. Apart from Nanuku these resorts are the Island and the island is the resort perfect for an idyllic escape before or after your busy time in New Zealand:
Laucala – This resort has taken luxury to a whole new level, not only for its opulence but also for its philosophy of self-sufficiency. It has set a new bench mark in the south Pacific and quite possibly the world. So unique is Laucala that only a few will be able to experience this extraordinary island resort for themselves.
Dolphin Island – This stunning 14-acre private retreat offers a maximum of just eight guests, the ultimate luxury castaway private Pacific island experience, on an exclusive use basis. With privacy being the new definition of luxury, Dolphin Island tops the list. Being part of the famous ’Huka Retreats’ helps of course.
Vatuvara – Idyllically hidden as far off the beaten track as one can imagine. Rising out of the cobalt blue waters of the South Pacific, this breath-taking destination is located in Fiji’s Lau waters on Kaibu Island and offers a secluded, unspoilt paradise for the discerning traveler. With 4 fabulous one-bedroom residences on offer you are spoilt from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave.
Kokomo – Welcome to Kokomo, where pristine reefs set the scene for an unrivaled, all-inclusive experience. This is a place with spectacular white sand beaches, where privacy is paramount and service is superior. A retreat for families, a haven for honeymooners and a paradise for lovers of authentic barefoot experiences.
Vomo – A private island escape with long stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, this 5-star all-inclusive resort merges contemporary design sophistication with the islands stunning natural surroundings.
Nanuku – A stunning beachfront resort. Set along the coastline of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. A sanctuary for relaxation and discovery. Acclaimed for its blend of contemporary luxury and traditional Fijian culture.
Q: Which Islands in Fiji do you recommend for destination weddings and honeymoons?
Weddings and Honeymoon: Laucala, Kokomo, Vomo, Nanuku
Honeymoon: Vatuvara, Dolphin Island
Q: Tell us about the cuisine and culinary features.
The food is excellent at these resorts:
Laucala is nearly 90% self-sufficient. You can go on a tour of the gardens and farm. They use hydroponics to grow salads etc. so very interesting for the gardener.
Vatuvara has its farm on a separate island that you can visit.
Kokomo has its own vegetable and herb gardens and the most exclusive chicken house in the region. All of the chefs are internationally trained and most sea food is caught daily.
Q: What do you think should not be missed by those planning to visit?
For a truly outstanding vacation experience, stay at these top resorts. They offer exceptional accommodation, service and food and because they are island resorts there is a plethora of things to do for all. The main stream resorts struggle with food and service quality and of course they are large, not personal. Spend a little more and you will be rewarded by a much better experience.
Delectable, unusual and surprising describe well the assortment of foodie adventures available in the South Pacific. Be prepared for some powerful ingredients and traditional techniques across these island chains as well as New Zealand.
Enjoy a meal cooked in a traditional underground oven heated by hot stones. Called a Hangi in New Zealand, Umu in the Cook Islands and Lovo in Fiji, it’s a very effective cooking method for flavorful and tender meat cooked with root vegetables. Pork and chicken are popular in the islands while lamb is favored in New Zealand. Music and dance often accompany the meal for a true cultural experience.
Always a good place to start, food markets show you local culinary life in action with displays of spices, herbs, produce, seafood and meat. At the central market in Papeete Tahiti, colorful flowers enhance the scene. Purchase a traditional floral crown made on the spot. You’ll want to pick up high quality Tahitian vanilla here too. Stalls with handicrafts, clothes and jewelry add to this authentic experience.
Romantic dinners in unusual locations are the norm in the South Pacific, notably in Fiji where resorts go out of their way to please. A private table for two on the beach lit by lanterns and candles is al fresco dining at its best. Dining at a table in a lagoon is another favorite. Wade to your table and watch fish swim around your feet while enjoying your meal. Unique and memorable island experiences!
Renowned for its wine regions and culinary diversity, New Zealand is an excellent choice for vacations focusing on food and wine. Visit the country’s premier wine regions, dine in fine restaurants and enjoy local delicacies while staying in some of New Zealand’s unique lodges, like a deluxe treehouse and remote retreats.
The traditional ceremonial drink of Fiji is kava, made from pepper plant root mixed with water. It is served in a communal coconut shell at a Yaqona or Kava Ceremony. Take part in a ceremony at a village or at your resort for an exciting Fijian experience. Rhythmic chant and clapping accompanies the ceremony as you sit in a circle and share the drink. The Fijians call kava’s powerful effect relaxing.
Looking across the turquoise lagoon from your luxurious overwater bungalow, you see breakfast on its was in an approaching outrigger canoe. Two South Pacific Islanders in traditional dress wish you good morning as they deliver breakfast to your patio island-style. Relax and enjoy a full breakfast and fresh fruit in the tranquil and peaceful lagoon setting. This is one sublime South Pacific experience you won’t want to miss!
At food stalls and restaurants, watch for local specialties being cooked up. These authentic encounters may feature Laplap, the national dish of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, a hearty pudding made from grated vegetables or cooked bananas. In Tahiti look for Poisson cru or ia ota; raw fish and diced vegetables soaked in coconut milk and marinated with lime juice.
Tie on your apron and get to know the food and wine specialties of New Zealand. Try Seafood School at the Auckland Fish Market; The 3-Course Kiwi Culinary Experience (seafood lamb and a parfait) in Northland; the Wild Food Cooking School, Rotorua to forage for native flavorings and learn from Maori chefs; and the award winning Akaroa Cooking School for a complete learning, eating and drinking experience.
Always a highlight, food festivals are a fun way to catch up with local cuisine and New Caledonia is a foodie paradise in this department! There’s the Gastronomy Festival with a fusion of French and Melanesian cuisine; the Bancoule Worm Festival celebrating the favorite insect, eaten raw or sautéed with pastis or butter, as well as cheese, coffee, vanilla, beef and seafood festivals throughout the year.
Delight your taste buds while discovering the local food scene on guided tours. Land tours from your hotel or shore excursions from your cruise ship that focus on cuisine introduce you to local favorites and may include a cooking class. Some cultural and sight-seeing tours include a traditional meal for lunch as a local gastronomic experience while exploring the island.
Lucky for us, Port Vila, Vanuatu is showing up on more and more cruise itineraries. This prosperous city and its friendly inhabitants offer many fascinating and authentic experiences to enjoy around the city and the island of Efate. Calling at the capital city of Vanuatu is definitely a highlight of any South Pacific cruise.
Disembark in Port Vila and step right into island life. You’re welcomed by dancers and musicians on the pier and an expansive market featuring local art, crafts, clothes, jewelry, bags, food and souvenirs.
Counted amongst the happiest nation on earth, the friendly Vanuatuans make you feel at home during your day ashore.
A half-day city highlights tour shows you the scenic, cultural and historic places of interest. See the striking New Parliament House of the Republic of Vanuatu, the town centre and the lookout by the War Memorial. You’ll also stop at a Ni-Vanuatu village community to see how villagers live. Being formally greeted by the Paramount Chief and his warriors, who put on a display of war dances, is quite a thrill. There’s time to shop at the colorful village market which supports widows and orphans. Beyond the market is a quiet beach stretching for miles; a good place to relax.
Now you’ve got your bearings and you’re ready to venture further afield in the afternoon.
There’s a range of activities around the island and places worth seeing. Take an excursion from your ship or pick up a mini bus or taxi just outside the wharf gates:
Two more ports of call in Vanuatu also show why this 83-island chain is a true paradise: Uninhabited Mystery Island, only accessible by cruise ship, with its pristine beaches, natural bush and WWII airstrip, and Champagne Bay on the island of Espiritu Santo where a spectacular white sand beach fringes an aqua lagoon and notable WWII sights are found.
Look for Vanuatu on your cruise itinerary for a fascinating call at a picture-perfect, South Pacific island.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
With the collective experience, passion and creativity of five world-class celebrity chefs, we are charting an exciting course for dining across our fleet. With global traditions and diverse culinary interests; menu selections from classic favorites to vegetarian options, our dishes are inspired by the regions you’ll visit.
Assemble the first five ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass and shake well with ice. Strain into small cocktail glass.
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