Solomon Islands update
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jul 9, 2013 3:41 AM Last Post By: Ozziegiraffe
Jan 12, 2013 1:18 AM
Solomon Islands updateA check of this forum indicated no recent posts available about Solomon Islands, and as I was there 3 months ago, I thought it would be worth reposting the information I posted when I returned to help anyone thinking of going there.
On my recent trip I visited Honiara and most of northern Guadalcanal, Savo, and the area around Auki in Malaita. Over the last 20 years, I have lived in the country for a total of 5 years, as well as numerous visits, covering all but 2 of the 9 provinces.
Honiara : unless you need a hotel, consider one of the church-owned Rest Houses. They help you meet the locals, and provide cooking facilities as well as being centrally located. Both St Agnes and Chester offer en suite rooms, Chester also has rooms with shared bathrooms a well These are both Anglican Church of Melanesia. The United Church and South Seas Evangelical Church also have rest houses.
Places to eat: the Lime Lounge is air-conditioned, and an Australian-style coffee shop. It also has clean rest rooms. Panatina Plaza has a small food court, with western, Asian and island-style food. It also has a Telekom office which is much less crowded than the main one downtown, and ha an internet cafe. There is a small supermarket here catering mainly to expats. Hyundai Plaza is new, and has a food court upstairs with great views, as well as several shops selling souvenirs etc. My biggest disappointment is that there is no lift or travelator available.
Car rental I was astonished to find that most of the main road west and east of Honiara is now sealed, as well as having all-weather bridges and so renting a car is a worthwhile option. We had excellent service from Avis (at Ela Motors, the local Toyota dealer).
Savo. We had a package deal at the Sunset Lodge, which included transport from town to Vila village (North-West Guadalcanal), boat transfers and accommodation and meals, and volcano and megapod tours for my companions. Great food.The only drawback with the accommodation was the long, rather uneven concrete staircase with no handrail up to the sleeping quarters.
Auki We stayed at Rarasu Motel, near the new market, which is a good standard. We had trouble contacting them from Honiara by phone, but a friend contacted a local colleague, who organised rooms for us. The restaurant next door is separately owned, and while we had a good meal the first night, it wasn't open the second, and even though we booked the third night, the owner went home before the time of our booking, so the motel manager arranged for us to eat at the Auki Motel.
Transport to Malaita Planes are operating again, as the airport has recently reopened, as well as the regular slow boats on Friday and Tuesday nights. However, I recommend 360 Discovery, a ship which halves the travel time of the slow boats. It leaves Honiara at 8am daily, and Auki at 2pm for the return trip. (Book ticket in Honiara near the King Solomon souvenir shop, and Auki at Rarasu). It travels via the Siota passage between Big and Small Gela, and on some trips stops at the pre-world war II capital, Tulagi.
Since the Pacific Art Festival in July it is possible to visit the satellite villages built to showcase local building etc, on Guadalcanal at Doma (North-West road) and Auki near the lake (ask a taxi-driver to take you.)
Jan 13, 2013 2:39 PM
if you were going to live in Auki for a while, where would you advise staying?? Should i take a mozzie net?? Anything else about the solomons you could advise me?!!
Jan 13, 2013 7:11 PM
I have already posted a reply on the other forum, but this one is usually better for Solomon Islands, unless you are only wanting to stay in a hotel or a resort in the Western Province.
I think the 3 motels (Auki Motel, Rarasu and Auki Lodge) I know are all screened. If you want to find your own accommodation, the mozzie net may be useful. The nets available locally (not always) are impregnated with a repellant. However, malaria is not nearly as bad now as it was 20 years ago.
None of those motels are actually cheap, so rental or shared accommodation may be worth finding, but there is not really any way to do that until you get there.
Who will you be working for/with, and how long are you staying?
Jan 19, 2013 12:35 AM
thank you so much for your helpful information!
We're planning 4-6 weeks in Solomon Islands in May/June and will be staying for a few days in Honiara.
I was trying to do some research about booking our stay in either Chester or St Agnes online but haven't found anything except
solomonislands-hotels.travel website where the rates are considerably higher than what people describe in forums.
Would you book it directly with the owners? Would you be kind enough to forward me the correct contact details or other ways of booking our stay?
Do you have any experience with diving around Honiara with a good dive operator?
Jan 19, 2013 1:05 AM
4The contact details are: Chester: email@example.com ; St Agnes: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would book direct, rather than through an agent. I can get phone numbers when I get home mid-week.
Unfortunately, I am not a diver, so can't make recommendations.
Tariffs may have risen, but I suspect agents take a cut.
Jan 19, 2013 3:17 AM
Regarding other accommodation options in Honiara besides St Agnes and Chester do you have any experience or have you heard anything about Rain Tree Guesthouse? Their website, bed&breakfast and cafe look excellent (even in Australian standards :-)...
Jan 22, 2013 4:21 AM
6Raintree is great (I have eaten there, but not stayed there). The owners run surf Solomons - you may want to check out their website. Its big dsadvantage is that it is not central, being at the western end of the urban area of Honiara. There are buses, but they are infrequent at night, and it can be hard to find a taxi.
Jan 23, 2013 3:40 PM
7have loocked for accomodation at Rain Tree Cafe in Nov.2012
I had the impression the place has changed ownership/caretaker. The place was run by a Philipine lady. Partof the property was sold or separated. Previously the place was larger.
Restaurant is still okay, but the 3 rooms are less than 2 meter from the mainroad leading out of Honiara to West Guadalcanal. Would not recommend to stay there.
Jan 24, 2013 3:22 AM
8Interesting, Faisi. It is a couple of years since I had been there. When I was in Honiara in October, I heard it was either closed for repairs/renovation or something similar.
Jul 3, 2013 4:08 AM
Jul 9, 2013 3:40 AM
10360 Discovery is run by Silentworld Shipping. Contact details here
You cannot trael without a ticket so it is wise to book ahead if you are going to be there at a busy time.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$37.58 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$325.00 per night