Can you give a run down of various South Pacific destinations?
MY PARTNER AND I ARE LOOKING TO TRAVEL TO A SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND AT THE END OF THE YEAR. WE HAVE NEW CALEDONIA, VANUATU, FIJI AND THE COOK ISLANDS ON THE SHORTLIST BUT WHICH OFFERS THE BEST VALUE? IT’S NOT SO MUCH RESORT PRICES BUT WHICH ISLAND STACKS UP IN TERMS OF FOOD, SHOPPING AND ATTRACTIONS?
For a Pacific Island destination with the works, whether it’s great diving, big waves, history, seafood, adventure sports, shopping, tranquility, nightlife or ultra-luxurious boutique resorts, no question that Fiji is the place for you. Even spas are part of the equation. The islands’ infrastructure is fairly well developed, which makes it easy to put together a holiday that combines lots of different elements. It’s also good value, since the plethora of holiday options keeps prices keen.
Vanuatu is wonderful, and especially the island of Espiritu Santo, but its strong points are fabulous diving, local culture and a chilled, manyana approach to life that makes it ideal for a totally relaxed holiday, which doesn’t sound like what you’re after.
The Cook islands are the South Sea islands of innocence – 15 sultry, slow moving, smiley islands that are spectacularly furnished with swaying palms and coral seas. Rarotonga is the place to go for international style resorts, but Aitutaki has the postcard beaches, particularly on the chain of coral motus that form the perimeter of the island. However access is not so convenient as the other islands on your list.
New Caledonia is great if you want your tropical holiday served French style, but you need to go to some of the outer islands such as the Isle of Pines or Lifou if you want to make the best of it. If this is your first time among the Pacific Islands, I’d say leave this one until later.
On a cautionary note, you might want to plan your trip for October or November rather than December, which is the is rainy season in all these islands, and also the start of the cyclone season. Even if it doesn’t rain, this is a hot and humid time of the year.