South Pacific getaways are some of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world. Nowhere on earth compares with the exotic air of the South Pacific, with sparkling azure waters tempting you in for a swim from your breezy hammock on the beach. Enjoy tropical cocktails, warm waters, a lazy pace of life and some of the most stunning scenery on earth out here, where the weather is always warm and the locals never less than accommodating. But, with this seductive region covering such a large area you really have to set sail to get the best out of the many island nations dotted around the South Pacific. Here is a guide to getting the best out of the South Pacific yachting circuit, and how to do it in a bit of style.
Tahiti and French Polynesia
One of the finest destinations on the planet for starting sailing vacations, Tahiti is perhaps the most iconic and emblematic of the Pacific island countries, with its swaying palm trees and exotic style. French painter Paul Gauguin settled here in the early 20th century and his numerous paintings of island life remain some of the most sought after artworks in the world. And you too can experience the joys of the French Polynesian archipelago, journeying from island to island in shallow, crystal clear waters. Stop off at Tahiti’s local market for the best in South Pacific produce and stock up on exotic fruits and vegetables for deck top picnics out in the ocean. Later at night dine at the island’s upscale restaurants to enjoy local produce cooked with a bit of French flair, and sip tiki drinks deep into the night.
For a spot of island hopping you can do no better than head to Tonga and seek out a yacht charter to sail the open seas. On your sailing you will see some of the most eye-catching coral reefs anywhere in the world, marine wildlife including humpback whales and dolphins, and of course will have ample time to drop anchor by some secluded beach and spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun. The warm waters around Tonga are also superb for snorkelling and scuba diving, so make sure to check out local listings to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity.
One of the more developed island groups in the South Pacific is Fiji, but here too you will find numerous beach side destinations ideal for a holiday in the sun. Nadi and Denarau are perhaps the two most popular islands, but with 844 islands and islets, over 300 of them populated, you will never be short of places to go when charting the azure waters of Fiji. Arrive in early October to take part in Fiji Day festivities, when this diverse nation comes together to celebrate all that they have in common, and where the party goes on all through the balmy evening and into the enchanted night.
Nature lovers will have a great time in New Zealand, with fjords, mountains and meadows everywhere you look. Trekking and hiking routes take you into beautiful landscapes such as the Milford Sound, while exciting cities such as Auckland and Wellington offer great places to drop anchor, find a berth for the night and enjoy Kiwi sophistication at its best. Though the waters this far south are that bit cooler, not to mention rougher, than the tropical seas further north towards the equator, sailing around New Zealand is thought of as one of the most fulfilling sea voyages you can take in the world.
John is a travel writer who has penned numerous articles on sailing vacations to some of the most glamorous destinations on earth.