Quick. Turn around. It's sometimes amazing what you can discover just over the back fence. Especially when it's a true travellers' destination, packed full of challenging adventures in pristine landscapes, friendly cultural interaction and some of the planet's biggest and boldest natural spectacles.
For curious adventurers from Australia and New Zealand, visiting their South Pacific backyard is very straightforward. No jetlag means travelling days are maximised, almost everyone speaks English and excellent transport infrastructure gets visitors off the beaten track and to the heart of the Pacific smoothly and efficiently.
The easily-reached rewards include real adventures way beyond a poolside cocktail at a resort: getting active amid the hidden, jungled interiors of Pacific islands, lazy river day-journeys exploring rich biodiversity and local cultures, or underwater exploration of remote islands and atolls.
And everywhere across the Pacific Islands, visitors can expect a friendly and genuine welcome – just what you'd expect from good neighbours, really.
See below for our top 5 Pacific experiences, or click on the tabs above to explore what the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have to offer.
Highlights of the Pacific
Lonely Planet content
Our Top 5 ultimate experiences in The Pacific
Snorkelling with whales in Niue
Get up (very) close and personal with these gentle giants of the sea off Niue's amazing, dive-worthy coastline.
Namatakula Village Homestay in Fiji
Experience warm Pacific hospitality – and possibly the best home cooking you've ever had – with a local family as your hosts
Diving in Vanuatu
Dive inside and explore the poignant human artefacts of this sunken luxury-liner-turned-warship, one of the world's best wreck-diving sites.
Hidden Waters in Samoa
Swim in a hidden pool that sparkles Pacific light. Our Author uncovers a secret Samoa.
Hiking in Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Across a series of rugged valleys, discover the soaring peaks and mossy river valleys of Cook Island on this amazing hike.
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Araura or today's Aitutaki is a place of unsurpassed natural beauty and tranquillity.
Adrenalin Fiji, Fiji
Adventure Tourism award winner Adrenalin Fiji is the premier provider of action and excitement for guests to Denarau Island
Nan Madol, Federated States Micronesia
The lost city of Nan Madol: unknown, ancient, mysterious. An amazing and mysterious tropical city of monolithic stones and giant logs that has archaeologists baffled and visitors mesmerised.
Kirimati (Christmas) Island, Kiribati
Kirimati Island offers inshore and offshore world class fishing, where anglers test their skills and always come back for more.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands
Explore ghostships from the past such as the USS Saratoga and the HIJMS Nagato, flagship of the Japan Imperial Navy which led the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Nauru Deep Blue Game Fishing, Nauru
The Great Ocean Current brings the best fish from all over the world to Nauru! Great fishermen net the great catch of a lifetime in Nauru's deep blue ocean!
Nekweta Surf Camp, New Caledonia
The only beach break in New Caledonia is at the Roche Percée beach, just 10 minutes walk from Nekweta Surf Camp.
Caving & Swimming, Niue
Cavers take note! The island is riddled with a myriad of caves, some of which have yet to be explored.
Jelly Fish Lake, Palau
The only one of its kind in Micronesia and the world, travellers seek out this magical lake for swimming and snorkelling.
Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
Long, narrow and mountainous, New Ireland boasts undeniable beauty, peaceful people, never ending beaches, the popular Malagan show and many other attractions.
On Savai'i, you'll experience the timeless culture and tradition of Samoa.
Gizo, Solomon Islands
Ultimate scenery, ultimate lagoons, ultimate adventure, ultimate relation and truly the South Pacific's ultimate destination!
Moorea Island, Tahiti
Moorea, also known as the island of artists, has enchanted visitors for years with its crystal lagoons and striking mountains.
Whale swim (yes, it's allowed in Tonga!) July to November with the mighty Humpback whales that are en route to and from breeding grounds near '] in the Kingdom of Tonga.
King Tide Festival, Tuvalu
One of the smallest and most remote nations in the world, this unspoiled corner of the Pacific offers a peaceful and non-commercialised environment, idea for rest and relaxation.
Epi Island and Guesthouse, Vanuatu
Island hop to Epi to swim with the Dugongs!
Introducing our Author Brett Atkinson
Lonely Planet commissioned seasoned travel writer, Brett Atkinson, to research the best experiences the Pacific Islands have to offer and write about them. An expert on the Pacific region, Brett travelled deeper than before to uncover his favourite adventure, cultural and nature-based experiences. Brett was on the lookout for adventures that share the true nature of the Pacific – friendly, breathtaking and accessible.
Two weeks, five countries and a couple of notebooks crammed full of great experiences: despite having made eight previous visits to the Pacific Islands, Brett Atkinson's latest assignment still produced lots of fresh and exciting adventures. Life on the road on 'island time' was an irresistible combination of friendly welcomes, natural spectacle and a regular injection of active thrill-seeking off the beaten path. As a freelance writer, Brett has travelled to more than 60 countries, but the languid and laidback trails of the Pacific remain a favourite destination. Brett lives in Auckland, the world's biggest Polynesian city, where he's never far from an easygoing Pacific vibe. See www.brett-atkinson.net for his latest travels and writing.
Brett's Top 5 Pacific adventures
Getting there & away
The Pacific Islands are easily accessible by plane, with numerous carriers offering regular services from Australian and New Zealand cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland – and flights are generally only a few hours long. See individual trips for specific information for each destination, or consult the websites of our airlines.