The South Pacific is the perfect location for an intimate escape, even if you’re in to adventure sports.
The South Pacific’s combination of peacock-colored lagoons, rugged islands and sunshine create a fabled holiday destination, especially for honeymooners. Yet it isn’t only lovebirds who’ll enjoy this vast and varied region, which also offers culture, adventure and big-city life.
The obvious attractions of the South Pacific islands are legendary. We’ve all dreamed of fleeing winter and waking up to surf on a blue lagoon, or escaping to islands where locals offer big smiles, tropical fruit falls from the trees, and life is languid. Honeymooners in particular come here to find all the romantic stereotypes of sunset beaches, hibiscus flowers and overwater bungalows.
There’s much more to the South Pacific then just friendly people and lovely landscapes, though. You can encounter indigenous cultures, follow the routes of European explorers, and learn about the region’s compelling World War Two history. You can also enjoy a wide range of activities and experiences, from jungle and mountain trekking to bungie-jumping.
The South Pacific has a long history. In French Polynesia, Raiatea is notable for its ruined temples, allowing a glimpse into the Polynesian past. On remote Easter Island, huge moai stone statues are symbols of a vanished culture that baffles archaeologists and intrigue visitors.
On Tahiti’s south coast, you’ll find the Gauguin Museum, paying homage to the great French painter who made the island his home. In New Caledonia, the stunning ultra-modern architecture of the Tjibaou Cultural Centre houses a fine collection of Pacific art and sculpture. And in Wellington, Te Papa is a world-class museum proving an interactive high-tech overview of New Zealand’s Maori and European history, environment and geology.
Maori culture is alive and well in New Zealand and, happily, much of South Pacific culture lives on elsewhere. Papua New Guinea offers encounters with rich and diverse tribal cultures, showcased in spectacular festivals, village visits and community dances. Fiji combines contemporary Melanesian, Indian and Chinese influences.
In Tahiti, you’ll find a combination of European elegance and relaxed Pacific attitudes, plus a great food scene, whether you’re wandering markets piled with tropical fruit or haunting the harbor-side roulettes (food vans) alongside promenading locals. French flair combines with indigenous ingredients in dishes such as poisson cru, a salad of fresh tuna in coconut milk.
Such intriguing cultural mixes in everything from food to language and arts are a feature not just of Tahiti but of many South Pacific islands. Even the smallest of destinations provide delightful cultural clashes.
Ouvéa, one of the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia, might be a French territory, but a history of British missionary influence means that church services are finished with a rousing chorus of ‘God Save the Queen’ and locals play cricket, strictly a woman’s game here.
The South Pacific isn’t just about islands and atolls, but also offers cities. New Zealand’s capital Wellington combines old-fashioned coziness with avant-garde flair and a lively contemporary dining scene. Dunedin – where the South Pacific begins to get decidedly chilly – has a fascinating Scots heritage, and is surely the only place in the Pacific where you’ll find a castle, kilt maker and whiskey distillery.
If you’re exploring the South Pacific on a cruise ship, you’ll find Auckland one of the world’s most scenic harbors. Even Auckland, though, is outdone by Sydney, whose foreshores are lined with both elegant suburbs and rugged national parkland. Sydney Opera House is the jewel in the crown, perching on the water’s edge like a ship in full sail.
Australia’s east coast is part of the South Pacific too, the decidedly big whale to the Pacific’s many minnow islands. It offers the same combination of city life, scenery and outdoor adventure that makes the whole region so attractive, and so much more than just a honeymoon hotspot.
Dreamed of meandering through metropolitan Sydney, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, or relaxing on the beaches of tropical islands? Goway Travel has you covered.
Ready for your South Pacific Adventure? Give us a call today and let us help you plan the perfect trip.
If you’re looking for more than just cocktails under a coconut tree and another sunset, then the South Pacific has plenty of activities for those craving an adrenaline rush. We check out 10 South Pacific island adventures that will leave you amazed and energized.
Sure, Tahiti is one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations, but it’s much more. Give your body a workout with a rope climb up shuddering waterfalls in the French Polynesian island’s interior, where frigid waters are anything but pacific. Small tour operators take you to waterfalls at Vaipurau and Poutoa, with plenty of water jumps and natural stone chutes that plummet you into deep pools. The experienced can try a 150-foot rappel down the side of a large waterfall. The challenge is fun, the scenery glorious, and the waterfalls picture-postcard.
The Upper Navua River on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu is one of the South Pacific islands most pristine and protected rivers, and you can travel down it on single-day or overnight rafting adventures that take you from highlands to coast. You start in a canyon barely wide enough for your raft, navigate relatively tame rapids and stop to admire waterfalls before the river widens out, surrounded by lush hills in a slice of wild Fiji far from the tourist resorts.
The more than 900 Solomon Islands offer exceptional wreck diving, especially off Ghizo and Guadalcanal. Fierce battles here between the Japanese and Allied forces during World War II left dozens of ships and fighter planes lying on the sea floor, a spectacularly eerie sight. The wrecks are now home to gigantic sea fans, sponges, multi-hued coral and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish. Manta rays float within arm’s length, and you’ll also likely spot reef sharks.
Ice in the South Pacific islands? Sure, if you’re in Westland National Park in New Zealand’s South Island, where a guided walk or heli-hike takes you onto Fox Glacier to explore its spectacular ice formations. The alpine silence is disturbed only by the unnerving creaking and groaning of the always-shifting glacier, and the chip-chip of your guides as they hack steps in the ice. It’s a rare chance to see crevasses, ice caves and icefalls up close. Some companies take explorers to the steep upper icefall to abseil into moulins (ice holes) and traverse crevasses.
Uninhabited Eil Island in the tiny island republic of Palau has become one of the world’s most renowned snorkeling sites thanks to its lake, which is traversed back and forwards each day by millions of migrating golden jellyfish. The jellyfish move east with the rising sun and return westwards in the afternoon. Their stings cause no harm to humans, which is just as well, since swimming here brings you in close proximity to these improbable creatures. Hundreds brush past your arms and legs in what is sometimes described as swimming through silken, jellied ribbons.
The South Pacific islands don’t have to be just about flop-and-drop holidays and honeymoons, with many destinations offering the chance to paddle right off white-sand beaches into lagoons of extraordinary blue. The lagoon on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands is considered one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful. Its edge – which runs for 28 miles around – is sprinkled with tiny motu or sand islands. One Foot Island is a particularly fine spot to pull up your kayak and take a Robinson Crusoe walk, and Maina Motu has coral formations just offshore that are great for snorkeling.
Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Trail is a tough physical and mental challenge that leads 60 miles across the rugged, rainforest-covered Owen Stanley Ranges. It’s a rite of passage for hardly Australians, who follow in the footsteps of their soldiers who fought the Japanese here in 1942. Some 30 trekking companies can provide logistics. Head through jungle, wade across rivers, visit remote villages and learn about WWII history on an ‘outing’ – actually one of the world’s toughest hiking challenges – that provides a magnificent sense of accomplishment.
Several companies can escort you on 4WD tours of Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands, to give you insights into local life, native plants and agriculture, and the heritage and traditions of the Cook Islands people. As you climb into the hills you get spectacular views over the lush tropical island and its vivid blue lagoon, trapped behind a fringing reef where surf booms. A traditional umu lunch of taro and chicken, baked underground on hot stones, is often included on tours.
Base yourself at traditional village Poindimié in the north of the French island of New Caledonia and you’re surrounded by glorious countryside best explored on horseback. Nearby valleys feature tree ferns, huge stands of bamboo, scarlet flame trees and the occasional caves and waterfalls. Locals – who don’t even bother with saddles – race horses along the beaches. The Northern Province is the best place in New Caledonia to engage with indigenous Kanaks in their own environment, with many villages offering homestay arrangements.
You can swim with harmless black-tipped reef sharks in many of French Polynesia’s islands, including Tahiti and Bora Bora. But in Huahine, a floating platform in the lagoon sees a host of sharks gather each mid-afternoon to be fed fish heads by local tour operators. Cautious sightseers can stick to the platform, but the intrepid can get into the water with upwards of 20 sharks for a thrilling up-close encounter as they cruise by within arm’s reach: sleek, sinister and utterly fascinating.
The scattered, impossibly scenic islands of the South Pacific make for the perfect cruise destination but, beyond the scenery, there are many reasons why cruising is a great way to experience this beautiful, balmy destination.
The South Pacific is almost unimaginably huge. Polynesia alone covers a fifth of the planet’s surface, the Solomons are made up of more than 900 islands, and Australia’s Pacific coastline runs 2,800 miles from Cape York to Cape Howe. Most of the South Pacific is made up of small and very isolated islands flung like confetti across a vast ocean.
What makes sailing a great way to connect these islands is that cruise ships can travel overnight, leaving daytimes free for port visits. If you want to pack in multiple destinations within a relatively short period, only those with the budget for a private jet could do better.
Some places just don’t have the land infrastructure that makes travel easy, either. That particularly applies to Papua New Guinea and the nearby archipelagos of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, but even the most developed of South Pacific nations has its remote crannies that are hard to get to, yet well worth visiting.
For example, it takes a major effort to reach Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound in New Zealand in any way other than by ship. From the ship’s deck, though, their passing sea cliffs, drifting waterfalls and distant snow peaks can be admired without effort.
Some South Pacific highlights have no infrastructure at all. Expedition cruises might take you to lagoon edges, atolls, coral reefs and sand-bank islands known as motus that you can only reach by water, but which fulfill your every fantasy of a tropical getaway.
Among the loveliest of all South Pacific experiences is snorkeling straight off your cruise ship’s marina deck above another world of multi-colored parrotfish, bold blue damselfish and giant clams, open to reveal their startling beauty. It’s an entirely different experience from a land-based excursion that takes you out from a busy port to a reef where thousands of day trippers paddle and splash.
Crowded reefs are seldom a South Pacific problem. You’ll certainly find most destinations here far less crowded than their Caribbean counterparts. Even in many places in French Polynesia, famous as one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations, you’ll almost certainly to find your ship is the only one anchored off islands such as such as Nuku Hiva, Huahine or Rangiroa – or even Bora Bora. It’s the same in Fiji, where some of the Mananuca Islands have barely a footprint on the sand.
Another benefit of cruising is that many South Pacific destinations – from big cities such as Auckland to famous islands such as Tahiti – simply look their best from a ship. Sailing into the bay of the lovely island of Huahine in French Polynesia, where old volcanic peaks rear above lush forest and the lagoon shimmers kingfisher blue, is simply magical. So is navigating Sydney Harbor, with its scattered islands and beach-fringed, villa-crowned shoreline, before getting your first view of the Sydney Opera House.
What I also enjoy about cruising here is that, although some South Pacific cruises focus on a single destination – for example New Zealand, Papua New Guinea or French Polynesia – others take in multiple destinations, and bring you to places where you might never otherwise venture.
One of my personal favorite ‘finds’ was New Caledonia, a French territory where locals greet each other with a kiss-kiss and buy Brie in supermarkets smelling of fresh baguettes. The capital, Nouméa, has smart colonial buildings lined up behind flame trees, and great seafood restaurants.
Similarly, shore excursions in South Pacific ports offer interesting choices, tempting you into new experiences. Near Lautoka in Fiji, for example, you can visit the wonderfully named Garden of the Sleeping Giants, which has tremendous orchid displays, ponds afloat in lilies and landscaped lawns to gladden the heart of any garden lover.
At Port Vila in Vanuatu, you can swim in a jungle rock pool where waterfalls tumble, find Nemo on a snorkeling excursion, or discover Melanesian tradition at the indigenous Ekasup Cultural Village. You’ll find adventure, variety and the unexpected, and surely there are no better reasons to cruise than that.
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.
Holland America Line is teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to offer an enticing selection of live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops where guests will learn foolproof techniques and user-friendly recipes to make delectable dishes with confidence.
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Cook bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crispy, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. When bacon is cool enough to handle, chop fine and set aside.
Season jalapeños with salt and place cut side down on wire rack. Bake until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove jalapeños from oven and reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. When cool enough to handle, flip jalapeños cut side up.
Mix cheddar, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, scallions, cilantro, panko, gg yolk, lime juice, cumin and bacon together in bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide cheese mixture among Jalapeños, pressing into cavities. Bake until jalapeños are tender and filling is lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.
To Make Ahead
The filled and unbaked jalapeños can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Add 3 minutes to the baking time.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.
Silversea’s small luxury ships are designed for those who delight in the thrill of discovery while indulging mind and body in the most lavish surroundings imaginable. All accommodations are spacious, ocean-view suites that include butler service, and most include private verandas. Silversea voyages and cruise expeditions sail to over 900 destinations on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line.
Our ships may travel to every corner of the globe, taking in an exciting variety of cultures and landscapes, but some things remain unchanged wherever we take you: our exceptional personalized service, impressive accommodation and the atmosphere of luxurious indulgence on board. Our Fleet Even the largest of our nine ships accommodates only six hundred and eight guests and some are much smaller still. Every voyage feels intimate and exciting, sailing to over nine hundred destinations on all seven continents. Silversea’s purpose-built expedition ships are designed specifically for navigating waters of some of the world’s most remote destinations and transport you to the furthermost boundaries of the planet. With all-inclusive dining, service and shore excursions, this is expedition cruising at its very best. Award-winning itineraries make for the perfect combination of adventure and comfort.
With the aim of amplifying guests’ onboard experience in line with the successful design of Silversea’s flagship, Silver Muse, the lengthening project has brought the ship to an exceptional standard: among other improvements, stylish décor enhancements have brought superlative comfort and a sense of spaciousness to public areas and suites; the ship’s pool deck has been enlarged; a new eight-restaurant arrangement has increased dining options, with the introduction of Spaccanapoli, Silver Note, Atlantide, and Indochine, as well as the renovation of La Terrazza; and a number of new amenities have upgraded the onboard offering, including the Arts Café, Tor’s Observation Library, the Zagara Spa, the Panorama Lounge, and the chic Dolce Vita lounge.
Silversea’s luxurious suites offer you more space in greater style. Ours is one of the highest space-per-guest ratios of any luxury cruise line. Every suite features an ocean view, many a private veranda, and triple occupancy suites are also available in some suite categories.
With the importance of food in Italian culture you would expect dining to be a high priority at Silversea. And it most assuredly is. Moreover, gastronomic excellence is a given, thanks to our partnership with the prestigious Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux. No matter where you dine, their influence is readily apparent in the great diversity and freshness of your selections. And every ship also features a diversity of dining venues. The main dining room, The Restaurant, is an open-seating venue where you can dine whenever you please, and where impromptu dinners with new-found friends is a matter of course. After all, with our worldly crowd of international travelers, socializing is one of the things people love most about our luxury cruise ships.
Our voyages not only take you to the four corners of the globe but keep you entertained as you get there. A varied and exciting enrichment program will invigorate mind, body and soul, so from the tips of your taste buds to the depths of your soul, be prepared for a sensory rollercoaster of discovery while not only aboard but also ashore. No one knows the world like we do. Our travel experience is a second to none and after 23 years in the business, travelling from pole to pole, we truly believe that our in-depth knowledge of our regions is worth a thousand travel guides. So we have carefully sourced some of the world’s most renowned artists, experts and guest speakers who will travel on select voyages in order to offer culturally immersive experiences from a unique perspective. These carefully curated parties and performances have been designed with our partners to engage, enlighten and enrich your time with us, so that whatever your passion, you can indulge it on board.
Bring your family along and enjoy up to 50% family savings on your 3rd and 4th guest under 18.
Our staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one, means service excellence is guaranteed. All our guests are pampered equally, with butler service in every suite category. Our excellent-value, all-inclusive fares mean that once you step onboard you can enjoy yourself however you wish without thinking of the cost. Dining, entertainment and almost all of your discretionary onboard expenses are included.