Top 10 things to do on a South Pacific Island

The South Pacific is a breathtaking part of the world made up of more than 7,500 islands and turquoise waters, so clear that you can see metres below the surface. With a year around toasty tropical climate, it is the perfect place to relax and soak up the rays. But there is more to the South Pacific than lazing by the pool. Here are our top 10 things to do in this stunning destination:

1. Snorkelling
Where else in the world can you swim through crystal clear waters in search of tropical fish so colourful that they hurt your eyes. The coral reefs around the South Pacific are teeming with marine life.


Snorkelling in Port Denarau, Fiji.


2. It’s a Diver’s paradise
Apart from the hundreds of coral reefs dotted through the Pacific there are also plenty of wrecks to explore on the ocean floor. In Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu you will find one of the largest shipwrecks in the world, the S.S. President Coolidge. Suspended in time under the ocean for more than 60 years this site is a must explore. Fiji has a great array of sites worth a dive and you can’t go past Pape’ete in Tahiti for its incredible underwater seascape of volcanic rock.

Dive the President Coolidge, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Diving the President Coolidge in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Photograph: David Kirkland


3. Big Game Fishing.
Fishing fanatics can take up the challenge of snaring the illusive big one in the South Pacific. Many of the ports throughout the South Pacific such as Vila, Port Denarau and Noumea offer Big Game Fishing tours. Try your hand and your hook at catching a majestic Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Yellow Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Giant Trevally, Wahoo and Sailfish – just to name a few.

Fishing in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Fishing in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photograph: David Kirkland


4. Immerse yourself in the culture of the South Pacific.
You will be surprised at how diverse this region is. In Vanuatu alone, they have three distinct cultural hubs. Whether it’s the Meke (Fijian National Dance), the traditional Vanua fire dance of Vanuatu or the awe-inspiring Haka, these dances that spread across the South Pacific are a wonder to watch and even better to participate in.

Girl from Pentecost island performing a Cultural dance.

Girl from Pentecost island performing a Cultural dance. Photograph: David Kirkland


5. Take a hike!
Hike through jungle or thick lush forestry to a freshwater waterfall were you can take a dip and enjoy the energy of ancient trees and the crisp freshness of the water. There are some pretty breathtaking waterfalls in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tahiti and Fiji. Why not take the time to find your own special waterfall.

Mele cascades and waterfalls

The Mele cascades and waterfalls. Photographer David Kirkland.


6. Explore a Volcano.
If exploring a volcano is on your holiday bucket list then the South Pacific is the place to head. There are hundreds of volcanos throughout the South Pacific, both on land and submerged. In fact, it’s harder to find an island nation that doesn’t have a volcano; Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti and New Zealand all have volcanos.

Mt. Yasur, world's most accessible volcano

Mt. Yasur (Tanna Isalnd, Vanuatu) is the world’s most accessible volcano. Photographer David Kirkland.


7. Kayaking.
Take to the sea in a kayak or dugout to see the South Pacific’s lush tropical coast lines from a different aspect. There are plenty of caves and lagoons sprinkled across the many islands to explore.

Couple Kayaking in the Ocean on Vacation

Exploring the outdoors and enjoying island life by Kayak.


8. Hot Springs and Mud Pools.
Soothe those weary feet and bones in some therapeutic mud, and then slip into the hot springs. There are hot springs and mud baths in Nadi (Fiji) and Rotorua, Hanmer Springs and other sites throughout New Zealand. If you are planning to do a self-drive tour in Noumea you will find a lovely relatively unknown hot spring at the end of the dock in the Baie de Prony on the south coast. Best of all it’s free.

Geothermal Activity in Kuirau Park Rotorua New Zealand.

Geothermal activity in Kuirau Park Rotorua, an hour from Tauranga.


9. Shark Feeding in the Wild
If you are looking for an action-packed few hours, book yourself and your family in for a diving session where you can see the local Fijian fisherman hand-feed bull sharks. Don’t be surprised if a five metre Tiger Shark called Scarface turns up. In Bora Bora you can enjoy watching Black Tip Reef Sharks and stingrays being fed as you float next to them.

A group of reef sharks and rays cruise in shallow water near Bora Bora in French Polynesia

Reef sharks and rays in Bora Bora.


10. Food glorious food
For the food lovers out there, make sure you sign up for a traditional South Pacific Islander dinner. I particularly love the slow-roasted meat cooked on hot coals in an underground make-shift oven. To the Maoris’ of New Zealand it’s a ‘Hangi’, the Fijians call it ‘Lovo’ and even the locals from Vanuatu love to cook their national dish ‘lap lap’ underground too.

Cook Islands earth oven umu at the early stage of heating the rocks underground

Early stage of heating the rocks for this underground earth oven.

Images titled David Kirkland (photographer) were supplied by the Vanuatu Tourism Office.