Holidaying in the Solomon’s is like stepping back in time. As one of the South Pacific’s most intriguing and yet least explored regions, it is a scattered archipelago of around 1000 islands. The mountainous terrain and low lying coral atolls of Guadalcanal (capital Honiara), Santa Isabel, San Cristobel, Choiseul, Santa Cruz group, Gizo and New Georgia offer great dive spots, eco lodges and restaurants. Isabel province is considered one of the best regions in the Pacific with long stretching white sand beaches ideal for the surfing enthusiast. In 1568 Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana became the first European to “discover” Santa Isobel Island and have contact with the Islas Salomon people. Dive World War II wrecks in Guadalcanal while checking out the fish which could become part of your evening meal. Local villages open their doors and hearts to tourists daily. Like Navy is the new black, the Solomon’s may be the new Fiji. Adventure awaits on island time.
DIVE WORLD WAR II WRECKS
Guadalcanal is considered one of the best dive sites in the world. Dive the wrecks of Kyusyu Maru, and the USS John Penn witnessing one of the highest fish counts in the world. Gaze upon exotic fish species including Red Tailed Flashers, Painted Thecacera and Yamasui’s Cuthoha. Dives take between 4 to 6 people- no crowded boats and no tight time schedules. Try surf drops, snorkelling and village tours with Gizo Adventure Sports providing a comprehensive range of options. Flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Honiara depart 3 times a week. Launch from Honiara to Gizo return daily.
THE WANTOK EXPERIENCE
Wantoks- Melanesian for “we are all friends”, range from siblings or parents and first cousins to not even related but who cares. Embark on a cultural visit to local villages near Honiara and experience Hao nao iufala – wantoks welcome- to Hung I’s and tribal dancers entertaining you both in local language and Pidgeon English. A range of tours available www.visitsolomons.com.sb. Stay at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel. Prices from $170 to $280 per night AUD.
BATAIASI VILLAGE MALAITA
Busu Island Eco Retreat in the Langa Langa Lagoon is an ideal place to absorb cultural life while learning more about the history of the surrounding villages. Hone your canoeing skills in some of the clearest water on the island or maybe “fall in” for a swim that will become one of those moments in time you don’t want to end. Solomon Airlines flies from Honiara 4 times a week to the capital Auki.
Return transfers from Auki to Busu from $85 AUD per person.
Accommodation starts from $41 AUD per person per night or $60 AUD including all meals.
ANTHURUS BEACH FRONT BUNGALOW
I just love the story to this retreat. Mr Harry and his family realised the need for ecological intervention in stopping the destruction of the forests on Guadalcanal. They decided that building a delightfully rustic “bungalow” on the water’s edge at Ravena Village on Tanahi Island a good place to start. The first thing that strikes you is the silence followed by the seemingly isolated nature of the bungalow. Flights depart Honiara for Marau 3 times a week. A 20 minute boat transfer from Marau $150 SBD return per person (approx $22 AUD)
Accommodation $150 SBD per person per night (approx. $22 AUD) include all meals $100 SBD per person per day (approx $16.50 AUD).
KAGATA VILLAGE STAY
Fish, surf and sea, this is the true Solomon’s experience. Three lagoon front bungalows each with private facilities provide the ultimate holiday location. Surf the crowd free waves, learn from the Kagata people how tourism is shaping their future. Mr Laurie Leketo supports the community with an initiative to assist local communities. “By staying with the locals your valuable dollar goes back into the local tribes, helping our isolated communities with much needed essentials like food, medicine, education, and housing” he commented.
KAYAKING AT UEPI ISLAND
Marovo Lagoon on Uepi Island enjoys an International reputation as an ideal destination for honeymooners alongside world class scuba diving and snorkelling. The kayaking expeditions begin in the lagoon which stretches outward for 90 kilometres. Pass villages while experiencing marine and bird life in this seemingly untouched part of the world. Transfers from Honiara.
ORAVAE ECO COTTAGE – SEPO ISLAND GIZO WESTERN PROVINCE
The Eco cottage contains modern facilities for the latter-day Robinson Crusoe. Everything is provided with the exception of air conditioning but I doubt Mr Crusoe had that either nor tea and coffee making facilities and a refrigerator. Sepo is reflective of the Solomon’s laid back island style culture.
Prices from $100 AUD per person per night including all meals and transfers from Gizo Airport. Boat transfer $6o return to Gizo and all day excursions are approx $160 AUD.
PAPATURA ISLAND RETREAT – SANTA ISABEL
A secret no longer, Solomon Islands newest resort is the ultimate destination for the perfect holiday. Fishing, surfing, kayaking, swimming, and the list goes on. Off the radar. There are 4 styles of bungalow that cater for Honeymooners and romantics all with water views.
AOTAHA CAVE LODGE – PANGANGIU – BELLONA ISLAND
Explore the unusual on Bellona. Inspired by the natural caves of the area, the lodge has 10 rooms in total. Breakfast is served with a taste of the sunrise and fresh seafood is complemented with fruits of the island, a very “organic” retreat. Prices from $85 per person per night including meals. Flights from Honiara from $395 return.
FATBOYS RESORT & RESTAURANT
Intriguingly the name is derived from the character Joe in Charles Dickens “Pickwick Papers”. Joe slept, ate, and drank his way to relaxation resulting in his increase in size, hence Fat Boys was born. Just 10 minutes by boat from Gizo Fat Boys overlooks Plum Pudding Island. Accommodation from $100 to $250 AUD per room per night.