The South Pacific is arguably one of the most romantic and intriguing destinations in the world. Its enviable climate, picture-perfect, tropical vistas and laid-back island mentality provide an enchanting backdrop for romance, relaxation and spending quality time with loved ones.
Contrarily, its strong and thriving culture and diverse landscape – where rainforest-clad mountains meet kaleidoscopic coral reefs – make it an intriguing holiday spot for travellers who like to weave a touch of adventure and excitement into their wayfaring ways.
Below are the places, experiences and attractions that we believe make the South Pacific such a seductive destination. And best of all, they’re all within a short flight of the east coast of Australia and New Zealand!
Samoan heritage extends back over 3,000 years and is renowned as one of the oldest and best kept cultures in the Pacific. Local legends say that Samoan people descended from the gods, and that their ancestors made their way across the Pacific Ocean in canoes thousands of years ago to inhabit the country’s cluster of islands.
Since then, the Samoan people engaged in trade, battles and intermarriage of nobility with the neighbouring islands of Fiji and Tonga. This interweaving of customs and bloodlines has helped strengthen the ties of these South Pacific nations and has shaped Samoa’s unique and fascinating culture, which is still thriving to this day.
Known as Fa’a Samoa, the local culture – which is based on a communal way of life – is renowned as one of the oldest and best kept cultures in the Pacific, and a holiday in Samoa wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some of these traditions.
Where to stay…
SINALEI REEF RESORT & SPA
This luxury resort embodies the very best of its island home, including breathtaking tropical vistas and soul-enlightening Samoan hospitality. Choose between perfectly-appointed garden villas nestled amongst lush gardens or beachfront villas offering incomparable ocean views.
Every Wednesday guests are invited to a “Fia-Fia” show, a night dedicated to the celebration of the Samoan people and way of life. Treat your taste buds to a journey around the Pacific with the age-old recipes of Palusami, Oka and Fai’ai I’a as features of the feast, and enjoy the accompanying customary song and dance by the men, women and children of the surrounding villages.
Delve a little deeper into Samoan history with a storytelling session, mat weaving and underground cooking demonstration, topped off with a visit to a nearby village accompanied by a local host.
Further immerse yourself with a Signature ‘Fa’a Samoa Tour’, where a visit to a village community is complimented by an ava ceremony, fire knife dancing, Samoan language and ukulele lesson, traditional arts and crafts workshop and primary school visit.
LE LAGOTO RESORT & SPA
Le Lagoto Resort & Spa, a boutique and beachfront resort, is located on Samoa’s largest island, Savai’i. Perched on a secluded white-sand beach, fringed by coconut palms and a crystal-clear, turquoise lagoon, the resort fuses modern beachfront bungalows with traditional fale style.
Le Lagoto provides an authentic Samoan experience and is committed to showcasing local culture. The resort facilitates visits to the local village and hosts traditional nights, where you can experience local culture, food and music firsthand.
Savai’i is one of Polynesia’s most unspoilt islands – a treasure trove of natural, historical and cultural offerings. Le Lagoto’s friendly tour guides and drivers love to take guests on sightseeing tours around the island, showcasing local attractions such as the Taga blowholes, Afu Aau waterfall, Salelologa market, Saleaula lava fields and Lover’s Leap.
THE COOK ISLANDS
A volcanic archipelago comprising 15 droplets of land scattered across two million square kilometres of blue Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands are an enchanting tropical dream come true.
Simultaneously remote and accessible, modern and traditional, unique and equally beautiful, the Cook Islands take up as much space as Western Europe – but with only 15,000 residents – and provide the rare and beautiful feeling of being disconnected from the rest of the world.
If all you want to do is relax on a soft white-sand beach with a cocktail in hand, the picturesque setting is conducive to relaxation. However, if you’re chasing adventure, there’s plenty of activities to choose from, including exploring the region’s coral reefs, inland lagoons, and diverse wilderness, as well as experiencing the local culture.
Where to stay…
MURI BEACH CLUB HOTEL
Steeped in history and strong family ties, and inspired by nature’s mesmerising beauty, Muri Beach Club Hotel was originally conceived as a beach club. Today it is an intimate, 30-room hotel reserved for guests 18 years and over.
Located on the shores of Muri Lagoon – Rarotonga’s most famous natural attraction – Muri Beach Club Hotel is perfectly positioned to soak up the Cook Islands’ thrillingly remote and natural beauty and provides the perfect backdrop for relaxing and connecting with your special someone.
The hotel’s award-winning team can help you plan a host of activities and tours, based on your personal preferences, including a storytellers eco cycle tour, sailing trip, lagoon cruise or a cultural village tour, however they specialise in romance, so we recommend taking advantage of their best dream-date offerings.
For those who like to take their mornings slowly, the hotel offers a full cooked Champagne Breakfast in bed at a time that suits you. You’re then encouraged to lapse yourself into a state of comatose bliss as you enjoy a one-hour full body for two, and finally if you can manage, turn around for a scrumptious half-hour facial.
Enjoy a private picnic lunch for two (including a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine) packed in a basket ready for your enjoyment for a romantic trip to the offshore island (motu) complete with your choice of Kayak or Treddlecat.
Finally, the cabana dining experience is an absolute must. As the sun starts to set, your romantic table for two under the hotel’s beach cabana awaits your arrival, where you’ll enjoy a three-course meal and delicious wine!
Aptly known as “the home of happiness” and made up of 333 islands, Fiji is a tropical holiday utopia where you can live out your island fantasies.
Kick back on palm-fringed beaches, swim in turquoise waters, marvel at rugged volcanic peaks and be welcomed with endless smiles and friendly bulas!
Fijian culture is steeped in tradition and values and is a place of family and religion. Locals are proud of their culture and enjoy sharing it, so we recommend immersing yourself in tradition as much as possible.
Where to stay…
QAMEA RESORT & SPA
In order to share the country’s beautiful culture with you, Qamea Resort & Spa offers a number of activities centred around the local Fijian way of life including a traditional kava ceremony, meke (a traditional style of dance) and visits to local villages.
Everyone is welcomed at Qamea Resort & Spa, with staff wanting to get to know guests and share in life experiences. By respecting customs and traditions, you will always be a welcome guest in their villages and homes.
Most Fijians lead simple and stress free lives with high value placed upon spending time with family and loved ones. Fijian etiquette and culture are mostly unspoiled by modern day influences, and you will find that they are naturals at providing warmth, hospitality and kindness.
KORO SUN RESORT & SPA
Adventure awaits you around every corner at Koro Sun Resort. For nature lovers, the resort is ideally located on 160 acres of verdant gardens and lush rainforest and promises easy access to the most iconic sights of Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island.
From kayaking across an azure lagoon to nearby islands and saltwater caves; to trekking through virgin rainforest to the purest Fijian waterfalls, there are plenty of opportunities to satisfy your thirst for the great outdoors.
The area is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful underwater wonders, including soft vibrant corals and brilliantly-coloured fish, making it the perfect destination for snorkelling and diving. The resort offers a range of excursions to the best reefs in Fiji’s north, with different options available for different levels of experience. It is home to a PADI certified scuba operation with a fully equipped dive shop and boats, as well as friendly, qualified staff.
For a more relaxed morning, join a dolphin watching trip to Natewa Bay, the South Pacific’s largest bay and home to two pods of spinner dolphins. On Saturday mornings, venture into the local town to explore the markets, where you’ll discover fresh fruits and vegetables as well as Fijian souvenirs and handicrafts.
Alternatively, pamper yourself with a treatment at the Rainforest Spa, where the world-renowned warmth of Fijians combined with the spa’s striking natural setting and trickling streams creates a rejuvenating experience always to be remembered.
A romantic option is to head off on a private picnic lunch on one of the island’s most hidden beaches. Just a five-minute transfer from Koro Sun Resort, the sandy-gold setting is the perfect spot to set up a beach blanket and enjoy a bottle of wine with a loved one.
TOKORIKI ISLAND RESORT
Experience the warmth of Fiji’s people welcoming you to Tokoriki Island Resort for you to enjoy the stunning natural surrounds of the crystal-clear water and white sandy beaches.
The Tokoriki Team will share their beautiful culture, with many activities centred around the local Fijian traditions. Join them on a visit to the local village and experience a traditional welcome kava ceremony, meet the local school children and observe a way of life that has remained unchanged for generations.
Enjoy four hours of romance on nearby Monu island approximately 15 minutes by boat. Once there, relax and unwind in a stunning setting. Beach-comb along a beautiful sandy beach, enjoy great snorkelling on Monu’s fringing reef and feast on a sumptuous picnic lunch with a bottle of Moet & Chandon.
TOBERUA ISLAND RESORT
Toberua is a unique, privately-owned island set on four sandy acres of lush, tropical gardens located in the Lomaiviti Group off the east coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levi. The resort’s ambiance fuses contemporary décor with traditional Fijian style and warm hospitality, making you feel at home as soon as you arrive.
Your Toberua experience can be as energetic or relaxing as you desire. Participate in a wide range of activities including fishing, sailing, world-class snorkelling and diving; laze under a palm tree by the pool; pamper yourself at the spa; or dance barefoot under the stars to the mesmerising sound of live Fijian music.
Guests at Toberua Island Resort can visit the two neighbouring villages of Dromuna or Vatani, where they can experience a traditional kava ceremony and meke dance. For eco-friendly guests, a visit to Bird Island and the Nasamila Mangrove Forest are a must.