The Solomon Islands – They’re only 3 hours from Brisbane, yet surprisingly, they remain a hidden gem of the South Pacific. Many people haven’t heard of them, but that’s all about to change. You can’t keep over 900 pristine islands a secret for long.
I was one of those people. I had just gone through one of the toughest years of my life and knew I needed a break. But where could I do some much-needed soul searching and reconnect with nature? I knew hardly anything about the Solomon Islands, but something inside of me was screaming to go. After some research and following my gut, I decided to take the trip.
First impressions? It’s the kind of place that takes your breath away.
The crystal clear waters, private islands, friendly locals and amazing wildlife, are all essentially untouched by tourism and ready for you to explore. It quickly became my ideal holiday destination.
As I cruised around different islands, I switched off, relaxed, learnt to dive and reconnected with myself. Then, when we reached Roderick Bay, I knew instantly I needed to bring my daughters here. Being part Tongan and part Maori they have often told me they belong in the islands. Seeing the kids playing in the water here, wild and free, it made me see what my daughters are missing and what their hearts long for.
With everything you could want in an island paradise and more, the Solomon Islands are the next hot spot. What’s great is they are already very conscious of making sure tourism works for the country without destroying the pristine paradise they have. It’s the best of both worlds.
Here are 7 reasons why you need to visit the Solomon Islands now:
1. Crystal Clear Waters Perfect For Diving or Snorkelling
The clearest waters you will ever see are in the Solomon Islands. Diving is astounding with the array of marine wildlife, colourful corals and numerous shipwrecks and artefacts from WWII.
When it comes to diving and snorkelling, the companies operating in the Solomon’s are conscious of the habitats, supremely knowledgeable and work with the locals to ensure the reefs are maintained. Following traditional ‘kastoms’ (Solomon for customs), they make fair payments with local landowners and help connect them with tourism to boost their economy. Working equally with different islands and reef areas, you will see a variety of locations, wildlife and coral sustainably.
2. Untouched Natural Habitats
Unlike other locations close to Australia, the Solomon Islands have not been overrun with tourists or made extremely commercial. However, there’s still a variety of accommodation types on the island, all with their own natural vibe. Choose from private islands, cute homestays and huts nestled in among the scenery, or a tropical resort.
See nature like never before. Grab a picnic and catch a boat to your own private island for the day. Dive deep into the perfect waters to see sharks, whales, turtles and manta rays. Explore villages and learn about traditional island life.Go where few have gone before and experience nature in its pristine form.
Only a limited number of people are able to book and do activities ensuring these islands stay beautiful, clean and natural while still allowing for tourists.
3. New Discoveries All The Time
As recently as February a Japanese Battleship wreck was discovered in the Solomon Islands. Last August, a wildcat wreck was discovered and in March 2018 the wreck of the U.S.S Juneau was discovered. There is always more to explore, discover and experience when you are diving, snorkelling and visiting the Solomon Islands.
4. Surfing and Watersports
The islands are great for both beginners and more experienced surfers. There are many areas with different size waves to please everyone. With the water so remarkably clean you can see fish and corals right through the waves. Through Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises or the Western Solomons Surf Association you can learn to surf or take an intermediate/advanced surf trip with one of the founders (Jeremy Jere) at his super cute family resort, Oravae Cottage.
If surfing isn’t your style you can always do stand-up paddle boards, water skiing, wake-boarding and other water sports in designated areas. With the country limiting these activities to specific spots, the rest of the ocean is protected and you still get to have fun!
5. Friendly Locals with Beautiful Traditions
Certain companies such as Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises have been working with locals of different islands to connect them with tourists visiting the areas. By increasing the tourism in a sustainable way these areas maintain their uniqueness while still benefiting from tourism income.
Areas such as Roderick Bay, with the famous World Discoverer shipwreck, have done well with tourism – but there are so many other little areas to explore. Mane is incredible, where from the back of the cruise deck, villagers canoe over to barter their goods with crew.
There are numerous other islands where you can see traditional dancing, singing and even get toured around villages by locals.
The capacity to connect on a deeper level is easier here than anywhere else I’ve travelled. With limited phone and internet reception as you travel around, you are forced to disconnect from the hectic pace of your regular life and connect with others. Switch off with your family, significant other, friends or anyone you are travelling with. Get to know each other better and have once in a lifetime experiences.
How often can you be truly disconnected from all devices and the internet then see whales, manta rays, dolphins and sharks all next to your boat in one day?
7. The Solomon’s Are Everything
There is literally something for everyone here. Romance, water sports, sailing, World War II historical sites, private islands, friendly locals and constant new experiences to be had.
While it might not have massive resorts with kids clubs like other island nations, the Solomon Islands will help you connect with others. Whether you’re newlyweds, a family looking for a holiday to bring you closer, or simply traveling solo, the Solomon Islands will provide you with an unforgettable trip.
Bonus Tip: Residents of the USA, Canada and Australia can enter the Solomon Islands VISA FREE for 90 days!
How To Travel To The Solomon Islands Responsibly
The Solomon Islands is growing, evolving and welcoming tourism more and more. Previously, they relied heavily on logging and other non-sustainable practices. Now, with the focus on tourism you have the opportunity to explore this incredible country deeper.
Take the time to research the companies you will use when you travel and do it with those who are focusing on sustainability. Learn a bit about the traditions and what is expected. Be conscious of the items you take with you to ensure you aren’t bringing excessive amounts of plastic and other disposables into this pristine country.
Lastly, check out Pack For A Purpose. If you truly want to make a difference on this trip or any other, look at what is useful to bring in. Things such as lollies and balloons for kids are not useful as they are bad for their teeth and balloons are bad for the environment. Instead, look at which companies are working to improve the area and what you can bring to help such as books, stationery, medical supplies and similar. What we can get from the local shops can be hard to source in remote island nations.