South Pacific Basic Information
The quicker you ease into the relaxed lifestyle of island life the better. Time moves slowly in the South Pacific and you'll no doubt learn to love this throughout your holiday. The vast amount of islands in this region each offer something extra special of their own, so be sure to island hop and experience as many as you can. The following info will come in handy for your South Pacific holiday.
Australian passport holders travelling to countries in the South Pacific do not need to obtain a visa if the length of your stay does not exceed 31 days. Your passport will need to be valid for 6 months after your planned departure date, with proof of onward travel as well. If you hold a different passport, some South Pacific nations may require you to obtain a visa that Australian passport holders don't need to have. Be aware that this information is only a guideline. For accurate and up-to-the-minute visa information, contact the appropriate local embassy or consulate for your holiday destination.
The South Pacific islands use many different currencies including nation-specific currencies, as well as the New Zealand Dollar, Australian Dollar and US Dollar. Examples of specific island currencies include: the Fiji Dollar, French Pacific Franc, Samoan Tala, Vanuatu Vatu, Solomon Islands Dollar and the Tongan Pa'anga.
After dark, dance shows along with a feast are a hit on the beaches of most South Pacific islands. Traditional cooking methods are still used with tasty meals wrapped in leaves on an open earth stone pit to roast, and traditional kava drinking ceremonies a highlight. You can be assured of an abundance of tropical fruit and fresh seafood at most places, and a visit to the local markets are a great way to try local treats, sample fresh produce and buy tasty souvenirs. Chinese food can also be found around every corner, so gaining a bit of local knowledge is favourable to find the best spots. Sampling curries from Fiji, Spam Hawaiian-style and the best sushi in Hawaii and the boutique platters of French Polynesia are also a must.
As a general rule, South Pacific nightlife is fairly subdued and has a definite romantic backdrop, although there are popular backpacker haunts where you can take a boozy tour around the nightclubs and hang out with locals and other travellers in search of a good time. Dinner on the Cook Islands' Rarotonga beach followed by light-hearted fun in the town of Avarua is a great way to spend your Friday evening. Fiji and in particular Suva, (being the most populous destination) is where the club scene is at in this part of the South Pacific. Bars light up the streets and range from the high-class to the rough and ready. There's no shortage of places to party in Honolulu and Hawaii, or you can opt to experience a traditional cultural night of feasting and dancing in most Polynesian islands.