Be it a honeymoon, family holiday or relaxing escape for two (or more), there’s something magical about experiencing it on a Pacific Island. Perhaps it’s the swaying palms trees and bleach white beaches, those big, warm welcoming smiles, or simply that, “Why do today what we can do tomorrow?!” attitude that soon takes precedence.
Just imagining it all makes us think, “Who cares why?” The important thing is that those dreamy islands are out there waiting for us. Here are four that we’re smitten with…
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
The jewel in the crown of the Cook Island’s 15 castaway-dream desert isles. Sugar-white sand beaches, lazy palm trees blooming in coconuts, thick lush jungle, volcanic formations, a blue lagoon swimming with bright tropical fish, balmy nights, warm days and even warmer locals.
While there are lots of things to do, this isn’t the place to go looking for an active holiday. For most visitors it’s all about basking in the sun, wading in the sea – and perhaps a little snorkelling, sailing or fishing if they really want to exert themselves.
Peering over the lagoon and out to the Pacific is the luxurious Te Vakaroa Villas Muri Beach, with its complimentary tropical breakfasts, Jacuzzi, pool and king size beds wrapped in Egyptian cotton linen.
Noumea, New Caledonia
A dash of European culture and charm set amongst the laidback lifestyle and sunny skies of the South Pacific. Noumea is colonial mansions, boutique shops and museums displaying cultural artefacts and Polynesian artworks. There’s also a wonderful aquarium with intriguing nautilus and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy such as windsurfing, kite surfing and snorkelling.
Dining choices range from first class French restaurants all the way through to cheap and cheerful Chinese. You can also shop for the latest Parisian fashions or find great bargains on imported Asian textiles.
Hotel Le Lagon Noumea is a family run property that’s been on the island for 40 years. Recently rebuilt from the ground up, it now offers a health spa, swimming pool, large comfortable rooms and wonderful breakfasts.
Port Vila, Vanuatu
A melting pot of Polynesian, Anglo-French and Asian influences, this is the perfect place for a leisurely round of golf, long lunch and potter around the markets. However, once you venture out of town things can get quite excitable.
Nearby Penticost Island is the spiritual birthplace of bungy jumping (naghol or land diving). Every Saturday between April and June, the local men jump off wooden towers with tree vines wrapped around their ankles to prove their masculinity.
For your own adventures any time of the year, you can trek up a volcano (and surf down on a sand board) or go horse riding through tropical rainforests, along beaches and by waterfalls. You can also jump aboard a boat and go game fishing for yellow fin, marlin and Queenfish.
The picture perfect Chantilly’s On The Bay Hotel Fatumaru Bay serves international and pacific cuisine, children’s meals, tapas and a la carte meals.
“I left my heart in Samoa, under the shady tree” is not just the most popular song line amongst Samoan hotel entertainers. It perfectly sums up how most holidaymakers feel as they board their plane to go home. That’s why some, such as author Robert Louis Stevenson, missed the boat altogether and built a house here.
With a population of just over 39,000, Apia is hardly a bustling city – but they do have traffic lights these days.
The beaches and lagoons are so knee-tremblingly good looking, you’ll immediately want to lay down and play driftwood. And in the lush hinterland you can picnic by one of the stunning waterfalls that plunge into baby blue water swimming holes.
For the quintessential Samoan experience, stay at the famous Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows. Or closer to the airport, and 50 minutes from Apia, her grandson has built the rather plush Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach and Spa Resort.