5 South Pacific adventures to try

Published September 1st, 2014

If you're looking for an adventurous holiday that's not too far from home, the South Pacific islands have plenty to offer. With whale watching, volcanoes, cave exploration, isolated swimming trenches and world-class surf breaks on offer, there's no need to look further afield for your holiday - Vanuatu's only 2.5 hours' flying time from Brisbane! Ready to go?

Check out our 5 South Pacific adventures to try:


To Sua Trench
Photo: Samoa Tourism


Get drenched at To Sua Ocean Trench

On the southern coast of Samoa is To Sua Ocean Trench, a place of true natural beauty. After making your way down a rickety 30-metre ladder, you'll stand on a platform in the middle of a secluded oval of ocean water. To one side, the water's deep enough to jump and dive into – watch out for the rocks on the edges. Swim in the pristine waters with exotic fish. At one end of the oval is a small tropical garden and at the other there are tunnels into the ocean.



Visit Vanuatu's volatile volcanoes

There's nothing quite like seeing the fiery scorn of mother nature, and for a virtual-guarantee of witnessing a spluttering volcano, head to southern Vanuatu to see the Yasur Volcano. Yasur has been spitting its lava several times an hour for the past few centuries, with James Cook first writing about it in 1774. And there's no sign of it stopping any time soon – Yasur's activity increased in 2013. Known as the ‘Lighthouse of the Pacific’ for its regular light-up shows (because of its constant eruptions), visitors are strongly encouraged not to get too close.



Surf Fiji's waves

Fiji offers some of the best beaches and surfing spots in the world and, until recently, many were restricted to guests of certain hotel resorts. This has changed now, with the government stepping in to make breaks to the west of Nadi and south of Sigatoka open to the public.

Cloudbreak is regarded as the best area to surf, but other breaks such as Restaurants and Swimming Pools are also worth visiting. Away from the main island is an option near Plantation Island, an artificial reef that has hosted the Billabong Pro Surf and the Roxy Pro Surf events.



See Cook's caves

The limestone formation of the Cook Islands means there are a number of caves to explore, most noticeably on Atiu Island. The constant barrage of the sea, mixed with rain running through from above, erodes the stone leaving cavernous spaces with monstrous stalactites behind.

On Atiu, Anataketake Cave is one of the most interesting, as it's home to the kopeka, a bird found only on this island. Other caves worth visiting are Rima Rau (which is full of legends and myths), Tiroto Tunnel (that leads to the sea) and Nurau (which has a sinkhole to swim in). Many of the caves have tunnels leading off them and, fun as it may be to explore them, it's very easy to get lost without an experienced guide.


Swimming with the humpbacks in Tonga


Swim with Tonga's whales

Swimming with a sea creature in its natural environment is something you're never likely to forget, especially when it's a 15 metre-long humpback whale! Tonga's clear waters are one of the few areas in the world where you can get this experience. And if you don't want to get wet, whale-watching tours are also available. The best time to go is between July and October when there's normally a large number of whales just off the coast of Vava'u Tonga.


Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.