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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:26

Finding Paradise in the South Pacific

Written by 

When assisting clients in choosing the perfect spot for a honeymoon, do not overlook the limitless possibilities found on the islands of the South Pacific. With year-round temperatures ranging from 75-89 degrees, and a seemingly endless supply of romance in a tropical paradise, this may be just the place. The names of several destinations may be familiar due to their exposure on television as locales where Survivor contestants have competed, exposing viewers to the unspoiled exotic scenery, flora and fauna and endless beaches. Once your honeymooning clients have decided that yes, they do want to go to the South Pacific to begin their married life together, the hardest decision will then be in deciding exactly where to go. 

 

Discover New Caledonia 

It would be hard to find a  better place to honeymoon and relax than in New Caledonia. This magical place is alive with contrasts in color between bold mineral rich landscapes, spectacular turquoise blue ocean, private white sandy beaches and rich emerald green spectacular forests, matched only by deep blue skies. Wild orchids in pinks and mauves and red flame trees bloom from October to March, making New Caledonia packed with even more color. 

With its Pacific Ocean breezes, New Caledonia is blessed with a temperate climate year-round so one can enjoy activities and adventures such as windsurfing, kite surfing, diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, fishing, golf, hunting, gliding, parachuting, rock climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, and hiking. The world’s largest lagoon, the second largest barrier reef and a major rain forest are all accessible here.

There are a variety of accommodations such as the LeMeridien on Isle de Pine with its white sands, pine trees, private bungalows and turquoise lagoon (where it’s like swimming in a huge aquarium) or in Noumea, at the five-star L’Escapade Island Resort, which has individual bungalows situated above the gorgeous blue water.

Local chefs specialize in preparing quality cuisine based on fresh local produce, seafood and beef. In Noumea, there are more than 130 cafes and restaurants, along with gourmet providores, patisseries, chocolatiers, fromageries and fine wine importers. It’s a place more Americans are discovering by flying Aircalin (www.aircalinusa.com), the international airline of New Caledonia, which operates a modern Airbus fleet from numerous destinations in Asia and Pacific to Noumea.  For more information, visit en.visitnewcaledonia.com

 

Vanuatu

Efate is the main island of Vanuatu, where the capital city Port Vila is situated. This is where the majority of commerce and tourism takes place. The island has a rugged coastline and rolling verdant countryside, fast flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, isolated sandy bays and lagoons. The interior is verdant rain forest. 

There are numerous types of accommodation scattered around Efate Island, including several newly built resorts. Here you can find villas, elegant resorts, and larger hotels all offering romance in a stunning location - perfect for a honeymoon vacation. 

For day trips, visitors can hire a car, take a bus or take a seaplane to sightsee around the island. Cruises offer day and overnight charters to the nearby islands of Hat, Pele, Moso, Nguna, Lelepa and Kakula Islands.

After a day at the beach, the nightlife in Vila offered by the resort hotels, nightclubs, pubs, and several casinos offers a fun atmosphere. 

Divers come from all over the world for Vanuatu’s superb visibility, warm water and world-class dive sites. The underwater world offers plunging cliffs, grottoes and overhangs plus huge caves and intricate tunnels. Divers can be surrounded by thousands of curious fish. The true drawcard for diving in Vanuatu is the SS President Coolidge - the largest wreck dive in the world. Visit www. vanuatu.travel for more information. 

 

Fiji

Bringing to mind images of coconut trees and hibiscus flowers, Fiji has a reputation as a dream honeymoon destination. Fiji has grown from a traveler’s stopover to Australia and New Zealand to a world-class destination, a paradise where anything is possible.

More than 300 islands make up this fabulous archipelago floating in the South Pacific blue, though most of them are uninhabited. The largest island, Vitu Levu boasts much of the resort development like the Coral Coast, Pacific Harbor, and the Nadi area including Denarau Island. To the north, the second and third largest islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni are known for their smaller more intimate resorts with spectacular diving reefs. The Kadavu Group, Fiji’s fourth largest, lies about 60 miles south of Vitu Levu and is also great for divers. The Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands are peppered with backpacker resorts as well as a number of five-star properties. The outer islands including the Lau Group midway between Fiji and Tonga offer a back to nature experience only for the most adventurous. Visit www.fijime.com

 

Cook Islands

Rarotonga. Aitutaki. Manihiki. Rakahanga. The Cook Islands, scattered across the sea like a string of pearls, are the essence of the magical South Pacific.

They represent a destination in which to live out daydreams of being castaway on a tropical island - complete with room service, internet, and, possibly, the warmest welcome in the Pacific. Spread across 1.3 million square miles of the South Pacific, the Cook Islands account for about 150 square miles of landmass, presenting a challenge to visitors who think they want to see all of the islands. First-time visitors usually concentrate their travels in the “Southern Group” of the Cook Islands that includes the two more populated and larger islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

The Cook Islands are well-suited for honeymoons. Newlyweds will delight in the tropical ambiance, and the gentle, low-key atmosphere for spending sun-filled days building sandcastles on pristine beaches. Adventure seekers will be ecstatic with the range of water sports and hiking opportunities.

The south coast of Rarotonga is noted for the best beaches and snorkeling spots. Here the reef is generally further out and the sea floor is relatively free of spiny corals and rocks. Snorkelers will return raving about the crystal clear and pleasantly warm waters filled with brightly colored exotic fish and corals. Good choices for snorkelling include the channels in Muri Lagoon, Aro’a Beach, Tikioki Beach, and the beach by the Rarotongan Beach Resort.

For serious scuba divers, the Cook Islands are also an excellent choice. Outside of the reef, the water level drops sharply, to depths of up to 12, 000 feet with lots of canyons, caves, tunnels and wrecks to explore. For a more leisurely and equally memorable water experience try a lagoon cruise. Glass-bottom boats are very popular on both Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The lagoon at Aitutaki is hard to beat for a viewing experience, filled with giant clams, the ones with the big wavy edges, schools of parrotfish and an abundance of coral. For more information, visit www.cookislands.travel

 

Yes, there’s more

Above are just a few romance options; be sure to also consider Tahiti, Bora Bora, Papua New Guinea as well as Samoa and Tonga. For more information about the entire region, visit the website of the South Pacific Tourism Organization (www.spto.org). Their mission is to “Market and Develop Tourism in the South Pacific.” Here, agents will find extensive resources and information about destinations and activities in the region, as well as a travel agent training program.

 
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