The islands in the Southern Pacific number somewhere in the 10,000s (at last count), so to visit them all I would probably have to quit my job, acquire a team of skilled sailors and live to about 250. Not to be deterred however, I’m digging my heels in and trying to tick as many off my list as possible. Here is my progress so far:
A couple of years ago as I headed out on my first trip to the islands of the South Pacific, I thought it best to try and cram as many islands in one go as possible. And if I could find one going to more remote islands, fantastic. Through Cruise1st, I managed to find a trip on the Aranui III which took in nine different islands over 13 nights at sea. The cruise explored the French Polynesia and Marquesas Islands, travelling to some of the most remote locations of the South Pacific.
The largest of the Marquesas Islands, Nuku Hiva represented exactly why I was undertaking this ridiculous plan. With beautiful bays, azure waters and lush greenery; the island is frankly a slice of paradise. There was a temptation within me to hide in the undergrowth of Nuku Hiva until the cruise ship left without me, and only the thought of my horrified mother convinced me to return to civilisation.
This initial trip gave me a good understanding of what I was looking for in the South Pacific. So if and when I do have to admit defeat in my bid to visit every single island, I’ll have a better chance of selecting islands I’d enjoy.
Islands Ticked Off: Papeete, Fakarava, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka & Rangiroa.
I had three days holiday to use up before the end of the year, so I decided I’d use it to visit Fiji and do a spot of Island hopping – although not the most satisfying way of visiting these beautiful islands! The Bula Pass ticked a lot of islands off my list in a typical working day – next time I will spend a little extra and extend the pass – maybe to the full 21 days.
Many of these incredibly exclusive islands are the playthings of the rich and famous, so we were only allowed an admiring glimpse into life on land. But it certainly gave me a good idea of which South Pacific island I was going to buy when I make my millions.
Islands Ticked Off: Denarau Island, South Sea Island, Beachcomber Island, Vomo Island, Kuata, Waya Lailai, Manataray Island, Barefoot Island, Korovou, Oarsmans, Blue Lagoon & Nanuya.
The Week Stay
Last years’ holiday to the South Pacific saw a marked difference in approach due to my changing circumstances (blah, blah, blah, girlfriend) and it was decided that I (we) would take a year out of the island chasing dream and have a relaxing holiday. I pushed for the compromise that this relaxing holiday would take place on a South Pacific island I had yet to visit. Luckily she relented and my research into the ideal island began in earnest.
Using Nuku Hiva as an example of everything I love about the South Pacific, I searched through the Marquesas Islands yet to be ticked off my list. Sadly the remaining northern islands were essentially satellites with no means for a tourist stay, so I doth ventured south.
After a little goading, the girlfriend convinced me to stay in Tahiti. I had been saving Tahiti to use as a base when visiting the surrounding Society Islands, but anything for love right?
Despite being more built up than many of the South Pacific islands, Tahiti still retains a distinctive beauty. The Fautaua Waterfall in particular is a beautiful sight to behold. You can easily spend a full day in the peaceful surroundings.
My girlfriend even rewarded my good behaviour with a daytrip to neighbouring Mo’orea!
Islands Ticked Off: Tahiti & Mo’orea.
This years’ trip is still in the planning stages so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.