Even though this is a waterfalls website, we recognize that there are many highlights in the South Pacific Islands (both involving and not involving waterfalls).
So we’ve come up with this page to pay homage to some of the highlights that we think are worth mentioning as you try to figure out what to see and do in your own trip plans.
While I recognize that this list is by no means exhaustive and that it is highly subjective, at least you have an idea of what we loved about the Oceania Continent. By the way, we’re defining this region to encompass the countries of French Polynesia (or Tahiti), Fiji, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.
So without further adieu, here are the highlights in no particular order…
Lagoons of Bora Bora and Moorea (Tahiti)
Perhaps the very reason why French Polynesia (especially Bora Bora island) is considered the most beautiful places in the world has to be its lagoons.
In the case of Bora Bora, there’s calm bright turquoise waters extending out to smaller islands (motus) while surrounding the main island with Mt Otemanu in the middle.
The lagoons are so far off the main island and some of the motus that they shelter the island from the monster waves of the Pacific Ocean.
The result is very calm and gorgeous waters that allows for the famed overwater bungalows to exist in each resort.
Moorea also features overwater bungalows but its lagoons are not quite as protected as that of Bora Bora.
Offshore Islands from Aitutaki (Cook Islands)
Perhaps what makes Aituaki a very memorable lagoon destination is that it has some picturesque islands with extensive sandbars.
Honeymoon Island is one such island where it has sandbars reaching out well into the lagoon creating an almost Whitsunday-like quality to it.
And while the island is surrounded by colorful lagoons, perhaps this is what embodies that classical image of a tropical paradise.
We managed to visit this island as part of an extensive Aitutaki Lagoon tour where this was one of many stops in the all-day excursion.
Other offshore islands include the One-Foot Island, which also features sandbars and shallow lagoons.
L'Île-des-Pins (New Caledonia)
This island had a unique feature about it in that it had pine trees growing in the tropics!
But aside from this quirk, it also had world class South Pacific scenery featuring blinding white sand, reefs and lagoons well suited for snorkeling, and colorful clear waters as far as the eye can see.
As far as I’m concerned, this was probably the creme de la creme of paradisaical experiences on New Caledonia.
Mt Yasur on Tanna Island (Vanuatu)
In terms of a thrilling yet surreal experience, it’s hard to top witnessing a volcano in action!
While we’ve seen a lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii, there’s nothing quite like the danger and scariness of witnessing this active volcano throwing up molten rocks as we’re peering down from the rim of its caldera.
Our guide told us that just a few days prior to our visit, one of the rocks went so high that it landed behind where we were standing!
Indeed, this is as raw and as real as it gets, and I can totally see how people can get into chasing volcanoes after having experienced something like this.
Espiritu Santo Island (Vanuatu)
Even though this was Vanuatu’s largest island, you wouldn’t know it given its laid back rural feel.
In fact, most of this island was pure rugged wilderness that was probably not inhabitable, especially towards its mountainous west.
We only experienced part of the eastern side of this island, and that was enough for us to experience places like the Millennium Cave, the deep blue Nandue Blue Hole, the Champagne Beach, and Port Olry.
Definitely the scenery here had to have been world class, and maybe we lucked out in that we pretty much had these places to ourselves. But whatever the case, this was certainly a big highlight of our visit to Vanuatu, and it might even be up there as one of the top places in the South Pacific period!