Can’t decide where to go this year? Should you return to one of your favorite resorts or is it time to check a new destination off your bucket list? Here’s a short list of South Pacific destinations to generate some new ideas.
- Hawaii – generally experienced one island at a time, staying 5 to 8 nights. If you have 8 or more nights, a two island hopper might work for you. Staying in Waikiki (Oahu) means you can skip a car rental. But staying on Oahu’s North Shore or on the other islands (Maui, Big Island, Kauai) a car rental is definitely recommended. No passport is required, driving is easy, and the islands lend themselves to exploring on your own. Ideal for couples, families, reunions, and small groups. A little over 5 hours from LAX to Oahu.
- Tahiti/French Polynesia – everyone should visit Tahiti (and especially Bora Bora) at least once in a lifetime. There is nothing quite like an overwater bungalow in the lagoon facing Mt. Otemanu. High season goes from June through October, pricing higher than Low season November through May. You may need to stay your first night in Papeete before continuing on to your island destination. Typically experienced as a 1 to 3-island itinerary, staying 5 to 10 nights. Moorea is a less expensive alternative, or can pair nicely with Bora Bora for a 2-island itinerary. Lesser-known islands make for a great first escape or for a return visit. While families are welcomed in many resorts, most travellers are honeymooners, couples, and adult divers. Flight time from Papeete is 8 1/2 hours.
- Fiji – known for friendly faces and beautiful beaches. A 10 hour flight from LAX. Typical itinerary is for 7 nights for one island, or 9 to 12 nights for two islands. Depending on air schedule, an overnight in Nadi may be necessary. This is a divers paradise as well as a perfect spot for a honeymoon. Fiji is also family friendly. Only one resort offers overwater bungalows, and they are expensive and sell out quickly. Typical accommodations are beachfront bures (bungalows).
- Australia – best experienced as part of an escorted tour, or an independent multi destination itinerary. Allow 2 weeks minimum. Don’t forget, seasons are reversed.
- New Zealand – Visit either North Island or South Island if you have less than 2 weeks for travel. Or combine both islands if you can go 2-3 weeks or longer. An escorted tour makes things easy and efficient, or try a self-drive itinerary if you are independent.
- Cook Islands – for the “been there, done that” crowd. Cook Islands offer a sleepy, laid back version of Tahiti and Fiji. No luxury-level hotels and flight schedules are a bit more challenging (compared to other destinations).
- Cruise – rather experience the South Pacific by ship? NCL offers a one-week Hawaii cruise. Paul Gauguin offers 7 day and longer French Polynesia cruises. And multiple cruise lines offer the South Pacific on special itineraries on select days. Just ask!
Happy travels! Cindy Grant, travel consultant with Expert Family Travel (located in Frisco/The Colony in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, Texas). Contact at 972-625-6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org