Adrift in the daydreamy South Pacific – deliciously remote and surprisingly diverse – you can de-stress or ramp up the action, with some super-fresh seafood awaiting at day's end.
The South Pacific's paradisiacal reputation can be traced back to European explorers, returning home with tales of fertile soils, beautiful islanders and simple ways. These island nations have modernised since the late 1700s, but their allure remains undiminished: you’ll still find gin-clear waters, smiling locals and gardenia-scented airs. But what’s most amazing is how untainted by tourism most islands are. Blame it on remoteness, blame it on airfares...but few people who fantasise about the South Seas ever actually make the journey. Getting off the tourism grid and playing Robinson Crusoe is the true gift of the South Pacific.
Even geography geeks crinkle their brows when contemplating this many islands, this far from anywhere else. On the map, all those little dots look the same, their many-vowelled names tripping over the tongue. But down on the ground there's a cultural diversity befitting any such earthly expanse. Yes, there are Polynesian nations, Melanesian nations, Micronesian nations...but beneath these blanket names are myriad languages, customs, histories and landscapes that make each island group unique. It’s not just homogenous beaches and reefs – bust out of your resort to find societies and experiences as rich as coconut cream.
Life moves slowly under the southern sun – it’s no wonder sit-on-a-beach-and-read-a-book holidays are why most visitors are here. But what if you want a bit of action? Look around and you'll find world-class surf breaks here, plus amazing snorkelling and diving sites. More surprisingly, you might try hiking to find crumbling tiki (sacred) statues in the jungle, trekking to the top of a volcano, swimming into a sea cave, rappelling down a waterfall or kayaking to a forgotten beach. The adventure travel vein has scarcely been tapped here and, other than a few mechanised experiences like jetskiing and 4WD tours, what’s on offer is authentic, uncrowded and something you’ll never likely forget.
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