Best Pacific Island Holidays this Winter
We Kiwis love nothing more than a winter holiday getaway. And hey, why not? Unless you live close to a ski field, there is not much adventure to be had in daily winter living. While the Gold Coast, Bali and Fiji resorts can be nice, we should look to explore some of the other untouched and secret spots here in the Pacific. Their natural beauty and friendly local faces will make for an unforgettable little wee break from New Zealand.
Samoa is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Comprised of the 2 stunning islands Upolu and Savai’i, there is so much beauty to discover and culture to be immersed in. The seas are warm and iridescent, jungles are lush and bursting with life, and driving through the local villages one can’t help but be struck by how well manicured and maintained the gardens are.
Samoa is a humble place. Devoid of mega-resorts and flashy attractions, and filled with welcoming smiles and conversations about the All Blacks and Manu Samoa. The villages are as authentic as you can get, with little to no electricity, and normally a beautiful church on every corner. Samoans are a religious people and the churches in downtown Apia give the Vatican a run for their money on pure architectural beauty and spiritual feel. The nightlife by the wharf in Apia isn’t half bad either, great for a drink and an opportunity to meet locals, interesting expats and fellow travellers.
While some of the boutique resorts can be fairly pricy, you can always stay in one of the Beach Fales which are cosy huts right on the beach. From the relative ruckus of Apia to the serenity of Savai’i, Samoa is a true Pacific island paradise.
Like Samoa, Vanuatu is a Pacific island adventure far more authentic than any cruise-ship tour or exclusive flashy resort could offer. The beaches are stunning with no sign of tourist footprints, the diving is some of the best you can find anywhere in the world, and the culture is ancient and intriguing. Vanuatu is made up of 80+ islands, making it an archipelago in its geographical nature. There are not many places in the world where you can hike up an active volcano and then ashboard down, snorkel in a blue hole just off Espiritu Santo and get slightly tipsy on the village chiefs local kava brew, all before sunset.
The capital Port Villa is also a fantastic spot and the markets there are a lot of fun. The handicraft market is a tourist-centric market that sells carvings, paintings and t-shirts and Port Villas main street is also famous for its fresh produce markets, where you can find delicious street food such as grilled fish on rice. When it comes to eating out you can’t go passed Palm Cove Beach Bar, a stunning waterfront eatery offering up lobster, fish and Vanuatu beef. Say hi to the Kiwi owner Kevin Bradshaw if you get a chance too!
He lost everything he owned in Cyclone Pam last year. The after effects of this devastating natural disaster can still be seen and felt by people who rely heavily on the tourism sector. So deciding to spend your money there will go a long way to reviving their economy.