1Bora Bora

 

Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving. It’s also a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. At the island’s center rises Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano.While the bustling town of Vaitape (site of the island’s airport) offers numerous restaurants and boutiques, the tourist center is Matira, home to one of Bora Bora’s most popular beaches and a prime snorkeling area. Other snorkeling spots include Coral Gardens, a reef teeming with sea life that’s accessible by boat, and the Bora Bora Lagoonarium, a natural aquarium whose activities include swimming with sharks. Other water activities include fishing, paddleboarding and outrigger canoeing. Inland, guided 4×4 jeep expeditions are available from numerous tour operators.Undoubtedly the most celebrated island in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is French Polynesia’s leading lady. Her beauty is unrivaled and her fame, unwavering. Bora Bora is one of the few places on earth that everyone hopes to witness in their lifetime—and once you see it, you are forever enamored.Perfect white-sand beaches give way to azure waters where tropical-colored fish animate the coral gardens and giant manta rays glide leisurely past. This could easily be defined as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched-roof villas and a fabled ambience. Simply put, Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

2Aitutaki 

 

Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving. It’s also a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. At the island’s center rises Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano.While the bustling town of Vaitape (site of the island’s airport) offers numerous restaurants and boutiques, the tourist center is Matira, home to one of Bora Bora’s most popular beaches and a prime snorkeling area. Other snorkeling spots include Coral Gardens, a reef teeming with sea life that’s accessible by boat, and the Bora Bora Lagoonarium, a natural aquarium whose activities include swimming with sharks. Other water activities include fishing, paddleboarding and outrigger canoeing. Inland, guided 4×4 jeep expeditions are available from numerous tour operators.Undoubtedly the most celebrated island in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is French Polynesia’s leading lady. Her beauty is unrivaled and her fame, unwavering. Bora Bora is one of the few places on earth that everyone hopes to witness in their lifetime—and once you see it, you are forever enamored.Perfect white-sand beaches give way to azure waters where tropical-colored fish animate the coral gardens and giant manta rays glide leisurely past. This could easily be defined as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched-roof villas and a fabled ambience. Simply put, Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

3The Mamanuca Islands of Fiji

 

The Mamanuca Islands of Fiji are a volcanic archipelago lying to the west of Nadi and to the south of the Yasawa Islands. The group, a popular tourist destination, consists of about 20 islands, but about seven of these are covered by the Pacific Ocean at high tide.The islands offer crystal clear waters, palm fringed sandy beaches and live coral reefs. There are islands, villages, resorts to visit, snorkel and swim.The coastal/marine ecosystem and recreation value of the archipelago contribute to its national significance as outlined in Fiji’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.One of the islands, Monuriki, was made famous as the anonymous island that featured in the 2000 Robert Zemeckis film, Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks.The Mamanucas are located just off the western coast of Viti Levu in a lagoon formed between the Great Sea Reef and the Mainland. Visible from the Nadi coastline it is easily accessible from the mainland. The islands are easily accessed from Denarau by boat, seaplane or helicopter. Many companies offer charters and transfer services and the local resorts also have their own transfers or can arrange it for you.

4Samoan Islands

 

Samoa is an country comprising the westernmost group of the Samoan Islands, in Polynesia. Many of its islands have reef-bordered beaches and rugged, rainforested interiors with gorges and waterfalls. The islands include Upolu, home to most of Samoa’s population, and Savai’i, one of the largest islands in the South Pacific. Smaller islands may have small villages or be uninhabited, some with wildlife sanctuaries.Upolu’s palm-lined shores back waters that are popular for surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving, including eastern Lalomanu Beach with its coral lagoons rich in marine life. Hiking areas include O Le Pupu-Pue National Park, with trails traversing volcanic peaks, lava fields and coastal pandanus forest. On Upolu’s northern coast is Samoa’s capital and largest city, Apia. Nearby, the former home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson (author of “Treasure Island”) is now a museum. Mostly uninhabited Savai’i has geologic features ranging from lava tube caves to the Alofaaga Blowholes, which shoot water hundreds of feet into the air.The oldest evidence of human activity in the Samoan Islands dates to around 1050 BCE. This comes from a Lapita site at Mulifanua wharf on Upolu island.In 1768, the eastern islands were visited by French explorer Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands, a name used by missionaries until about 1845 and in official European dispatches until about 1870.

5Palau

 

Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Koror Island is home to the former capital, also called Koror, and is the islands’ commercial center. Larger Babeldaob has the present capital, Ngerulmud, plus mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast. In its north, ancient basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau lie in grassy fields surrounded by palm trees.The islands are well known for their varied diving and snorkeling sites. Reefs and lagoons around the Rock Islands are home to sharks, turtles, black coral trees and huge gorgonian fans. The Peleliu Wall, off the southern island of Peleliu, is one of many renowned wall dives. The islands have a history of Spanish, German and Japanese occupation, and the wrecks of World War II cargo ships, seaplanes and torpedo boats are further diving attractions.Palau’s climate is tropical, with year-round warm weather, high humidity and frequent rainfall. Jun–Nov sees a shift in the prevailing wind direction, bringing heavier rains and more thunderstorms. Typhoons are rare, but possible Jul–Dec.

6Espiritu Santo

 

Espiritu Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu, an archipelago country in the South Pacific. It’s known for its beaches, such as Champagne Beach and Lonnoc Beach, with coral reefs and clear, sheltered waters. The town of Luganville has WWII relics like Quonset huts at Main Wharf. Nearby, popular dive sites include the sunken SS President Coolidge cruise liner and Million Dollar Point’s submerged U.S. war machinery.Santo as this beautiful Northern Vanuatu Island is fondly known as, is the largest of the 83 Vanuatu Islands and you will truly be treated to an “away from the masses” holiday experience when you come and visit this unrushed Northern region of Vanuatu. Spanning out over an area of 4,010 square kilometres Santo oozes a natural beauty that despite its discovery being 3 centuries ago, still remains largely untouched and unspoilt.Espiritu Santo, more than any other island in Vanuatu, attracts divers like a magnet. Dive world renowned President Coolidge, Million Dollar Point, and many other ship and plane wrecks, explore the many pristine reefs. The majestic beauty of Santo is what inspired James A. Michener to write his classic “Tales of the South Pacific.” Amid Santo’s natural beauty, discover coconut palm tree fringed beaches with powdery white sand, freshwater Blue Holes surrounded by natural rain forest, underground caves that hide natural wonders, jewel-like Islands that lie within easy access and an underwater world full of wrecks, reefs and fish.

7Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a tiny Australian island in the Tasman Sea east of Port Macquarie. It’s characterised by sandy beaches, subtropical forests and clear waters. In the south, a trail winds up soaring Mount Gower, with sweeping views. Ned’s Beach in the north has calm fish- and coral-rich waters. The island is home to seabird colonies, including masked boobies. Dive sites surround the nearby Admiralty Islands.This World Heritage-listed paradise, 600km off the coast of Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast, is a crescent shaped island measuring less than 11km, end to end, and barely 3km across. You’ll be one of only 400 visitors at any time. Flight time from Sydney is less than two hours.Qantaslink flies most days from Sydney, and from Brisbane on the weekends, throughout the year. There’s also a seasonal service direct from Port Macquarie weekly from February to June and September to December. You can sail to Lord Howe and moor on the lagoon but you need to contact the Lord Howe Island Board before your arrival and apply for a public mooring.The island is an idyllic location for fishing enthusiasts as well as snorkellers and scuba divers.Cast off at Blinky Beach for Australian salmon or snorkel straight off the sand at Ned’s Beach where you can also hand-feed fish. Enjoy a wide range of other watersports including surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing and windsurfing.

8The Isle of Pines

 

The Isle of Pines is an island in the archipelago of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific. It’s southeast of the main island, Grande Terre, and known for its white sand beaches and tall pine trees. In the northeast, Oro Bay has a natural pool bounded by a coral reef. Kuto Bay is to the south. A large rock, sacred to the locals, sits just offshore in neighboring Kanumera Bay.Outrigger canoes, with sails and motors, are moored in St. Joseph’s Bay, near the village of Vao. Canoe trips depart from the bay for the large inland lagoon of Upi Bay. Overlooking St. Maurice Bay, a statue of St. Maurice commemorates the 19th-century arrival of the first Christian missionaries. It’s surrounded by totem poles. The huge Cave of Queen Hortense, set in forest, features dramatic stalactites. In the village of Ouro, on the island’s west side, are the ruins of a 19th-century French penal colony. Exiled political prisoners were among the convicts held there.Accessible by boat or plane (and what a flight over the southern lagoon – a must!), the island has long been one of New Caledonia’s most touristic locations, without losing anything of its soul or authenticity!The center of the island is occupied by a slightly raised plateau whose highest point is N’ga Peak (262 m), which offers breathtaking views, but l’Île des Pins owes its fame to its bays above all else.The latter boast large beaches of incredibly pure white sand, like Kuto bay, as well as extraordinarily clear turquoise water in which you can admire the remarkable marine flora and fauna, in neighbouring Kanumera bay, for example.

9Easter Island

 

Easter Island, a Chilean territory, is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. Its native name is Rapa Nui. It’s famed for archaeological sites, including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, created by inhabitants during the 13th–16th centuries. The moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive stone pedestals called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest group of upright moai.Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island, bears witness to a unique cultural phenomenon. A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. A.D. 300 established a powerful, imaginative and original tradition of monumental sculpture and architecture, free from any external influence. From the 10th to the 16th century this society built shrines and erected enormous stone figures known as moai , which created an unrivalled cultural landscape that continues to fascinate people throughout the world.Rapa Nui National Park is a protected Chilean wildlife area located in Easter Island, which concentrates the legacy of the Rapa Nui culture. This culture displayed extraordinary characteristics that are expressed in singular architecture and sculpture within the Polynesian context. Easter Island, the most remote inhabited island on the planet, is 3,700 kilometres from the coast of continental Chile and has an area of 16,628 hectares while the World Heritage property occupies an area of approximately seven thousand hectares, including four nearby islets.