The Solomon Islands, one of our closest neighbours & the second largest island group in the Pacific Islands, is the bucket list destination.
A land of unapparelled natural beauty where ancient tradition lives on uninterrupted by the modern world’s constant noise.
3½ hours from our busy cities & stressful lifestyles lies true relaxation. The plane ride to paradise.
Historic Honiara greets the traveller in her own laid back style. A town of colourful contrast, gateway to the islands, the centre of commerce where everyone seems to be.
There is an oversupply of historic sights of significance to both the allied historian & his Japanese counterpart in Honiara. These monuments & memorials, wrecks & museums, are bound to stir you, as they did me. The history of this place can be an intense personal experience
WWII relics lie in wait on the sea bottom for divers to explore. Memorials to the lost are many here. The fierce battles on sea & land took place here. There is much to explore in Honiara’s history.
A colourful town of people walking, people buying & selling, chewing the betel nut, coffee colours & red teeth smiling. The sun is hot, so thankfully there are many fine air-conditioned restaurants & coffee lounges to seek refuge. Most people have to come to Honiara to get to the other provinces, as this is a nation of 900 islands. Many have to overnight before heading to their island resort. Business men & women are here for a longer stay.
The top hotel for tourist & business travellers is the Heritage Park Hotel. On a waterfront location with an outdoor swimming pool & spa, this is the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the historical sites around Honiara. The rooms, suites & serviced apartments are luxuriously appointed. Most visiting dignitaries have stayed here.
The Terrace Restaurant is the place where people meet to dine at the Heritage Park. The food is outstanding, try the fish curry or ‘snapper sollies style’ a marinated snapper in coconut milk. The Renaissance/GG’s offers a more formal a la carte style of dining. You can also dine by the pool & sip an island style cocktail at Splash Bar with the sea air enlivening you.
Conferences & groups are accommodated from 10-250 at a time. The gym is where you can work off the brilliant seafood you have consumed here.
The 47 rooms & 28 apartments on the water at Point Cruz are stylish & comfortable at an international standard, fully equipped for all your needs. I personally recommend the Heritage Park where they have thought of everything to make your stay relaxed, secure & comfortable.
You will enjoy your stay at the Heritage Park Hotel, when only the best will do. Go to http://www.heritageparkhotel.com.sb/ for bookings & details.
An alternative to staying in Honiara itself is Raiders Hotel & Dive in the Florida Islands, just 1 ½ hours off Honiara by boat. A handy distance to the main city of the Solomon’s, yet a paradise in itself Raiders offers visitors the chance to stay close. You can dive the wrecks of WWII, snorkel the passenger ship World Discoverer, go on Village Tours, snorkel seaplanes, war ships or unforgettable reefs.
Raiders is named after the US Marine Force that fought to liberate the island Tulagi from the Japanese. This boutique hotel with 8 rooms & 14 beds offers a stay relaxing to the max, or adventure by the day, yet is just offshore to the main island of Guadalcanal go to www.raidershotel.com for bookings & details
From Honiara many travellers head to the Western Provinces. The flight to this region is outstanding. The Solomon Air 18 seater passes over reef fringed islands with small villages on beaches, uninhabited jungle isles & Morovo Lagoon, one of the world’s largest lagoons.
The plane touches down on Munda Island on its way to Gizo, the main centre of the Western Province.
Landing in Gizo is an adventure in itself. The strip is on a nearby island, has no road & no parking lot, just 2 rows of fast boats lining the jetty waiting to take travellers to their selected resorts. It is only 5 minutes away by boat to Mbabanga Island & Sanbis Resort.
Sanbis is one of the premier resorts in the Solomon Islands. Its over water restaurant is famous for the exquisite fresh seafood & its pizza.
At Sanbis you can opt to relax away your time or get involved with adventure & sports. Take a day trip to Gizo, the hub of the Western Province, home to a new hospital & Sollies style shops selling provisions. Its markets are along the portside of the town with red toothed betel nut salesman doing a roaring trade.
Snorkel in the stunning water over the reef in front of Sanbis or soak in the view across the lagoon. Sanbis have full day trips to the sacred Skull Island, where skulls are placed with shell money in tombs of stone. See Simbo Volcano Island, a jungle island with 2 volcanic caves. Explore & get marooned on Olasana Island with snorkelling & a BBQ.
Take a day trip or just paddle over to nearby Kennedy Island, where JFK hid after being sunk on PT109 in WWII.
Try stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, parasailing, water skiing, knee boarding, all the on the water fun you could dream of.
Surfers are regulars at Sanbis & some staff at Sanbis are regular surfers, who will take you to the reef breaks. The three local reef breaks are only between 7 & 20 minutes away by boat. Best time for surf is November to April, but waves can be found year round, swell permitting. Surf transfers are provided for in house guests, up to 8 in one boat.
Divers are in heaven at Sanbis. Gin clear water. Abundant marine life. Coral of intense colour. Wrecks of planes & ships from WWII.
The chain of reef around Gizo Lagoon are located near Sanbis. High catch rates & huge fish are the norm in these waters with a variety of species from plate to game. Boat charters can be arranged.
Sanbis Island Resort boasts ecofriendly bungalows right on the beach, perfect for all your needs. Look out from your private accommodation to lagoon views with magnificent islands in the background. The sky fills with starts each night & relaxed becomes your natural state. www.sanbisresort.com for bookings & details.
The Solomon Islands encourages foreign investment. Tourism is on the rise with visitor numbers up 25% from this time last year. In this sector foreigners have set up eco-tourism resort, cafes, surfing camps, dive charters, fishing operations, restaurants & construction companies. Forestry is another key sector. Fishing is a major industry in this archipelago of 900 islands. Nickel & gold mining is another that is prominent along with agriculture. Agricultural investment is diversifying with coconut oil being one of the latest value added products to take off. The Solomon Islands remains a land of vast potential with a bright future. For all information about a lifestyle change & an investment in paradise go to www.investsolomons.gov.sb
Tavanipupu is a private island in Marau Sound, near the eastern tip of Guadalcanal, made famous by the visit of Prince William & Princess Kate in 2012. You can opt for the Solomon Air 1 hour flight from Honiara, on an 8-seater plane that lands on a grass strip runway or a 3½ hour boat trip right along the coast of Guadalcanal, weather permitting. I recommend the boat trip.
Whatever mode of transport you pick, your destination is pacific paradise. From the beached grey jetty arrival to your own private bungalow, Tavanipupu is postcard perfect.
Once a coconut grove, Tavanipupu is now the Solomon’s Islands pride & joy. Exclusive seclusion is what you find here with your own deluxe chic bungalow complete with indoor & outdoor showers, shells & flowers, a hammock on the front porch all completed in a rustic island décor with stylish furnishings & well equipped bathrooms.
Your days here will be spent snorkelling straight off the resort, over reefs teaming with vividly coloured fish in gin clear water. Brain corals vibrate with life while giant clams slowly close as you float above. Untouched nature is here in abundance; ancient culture is across the strait. The walking tracks, around the island reveal breathtaking vistas; you can cycle them if you wish. Sunsets are spent with cocktails at the wharf, the colourful magnificence slowing slipping into darkness.
Lobster, bugs & fresh seafood delicacies are shared in the open-air dining bure & bar. Icy cold coconuts or a Sol Brew lager, cocktails & a great wine list add to the unique ambience here – without gadgets you can come to know yourself again. You will feel enlivened.
Staff here travel from neighbouring islands by dugout canoes, you don’t see that everyday back home. You can head out to snorkel & surf the outside reefs. Miles away from anything, shallow reefs offer a chance for a surf. The water is sublime & the views from this barrier reef are impossible.
At Tavanipupu you can start to imagine what it would be like to own your own tropical island. Well here you can. Groups, corporate travellers & wedding parties could not find a better location in the world to book out a whole island. Spend the days kayaking, SU Paddling, fishing off the jetty or out in a boat, Tavanipupu is an amazing setting http://www.tavanipupu.com/.
The Solomon Islands is one of the hippest, hottest destinations right now & its international reputation is spreading fast. It is off the beaten track but so close to home. A pristine paradise of enormous potential. DO not miss the Solomon Islands. It is beyond belief. www.flysolomons.com http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb/