South Pacific Honeymoon Islands?
March 10, 2008 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Where in the South Pacific should we go for our honeymoon?

We are planning on getting married at some point next year (March - May) and since we don't get two weeks in a row off very often (EVER) we would like to go somewhere far away to take advantage. We were originally thinking Fiji and New Zealand, but are now having second thoughts on the Fiji part. I saw this thread on NZ, and I think we are definitely spending part of our time there, but I was wondering if there are any other islands that we should be looking into instead of Fiji. My main concerns are that Fiji is going to be very expensive and touristy, and that there might exist some lesser known islands that we should be thinking of instead.

We are looking for an island that has the following:
-Nice beaches
-A place where we can stay in a "bure" (those huts on sticks over the water) for at least one night
-Decent snorkeling/scuba diving options
-Preferably accessible by plane, but might be willing to boat somewhere if it's worth it
-Enough people that speak any of the following so that we can get by: English, Italian, French or Spanish
-Somewhat close to NZ as we would still like to go there as well

We haven't totally discounted Fiji, either, I just want to explore all our options fully. Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by Grither to Travel & Transportation around Lake Tahoe, United States (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's been several years now, but I rather liked the Cook Islands (and rather disliked Fiji, on the same trip, by comparison).
posted by aramaic at 10:29 AM on March 10, 2008

My wife and I did a couple of the Fijean outer islands a few years back and I don't think we spent more than 40 dollars a night for accommodations. Of course, you'd need to be comfortable with the idea of sleeping in little more than a hut with the occasional creepy crawly or scaly visitor, electricity for perhaps a couple hours a night and fairly basic meals (generally whatever the villagers caught that day).

We absolutely loved it, but went to the Maldives for our honeymoon, because hey, you only get one shot at that.*

*So she tells me
posted by JaredSeth at 10:48 AM on March 10, 2008

Bora Bora has everything on the list, except maybe the proximity to NZ. It's touristy, but not nearly so as Hawaii. My wife and I went there for our honeymoon and we loved it.

Also, a friend of mine swears by Palau, which is apparently right near a major sea trench and as such has great diving. It's more out of the way than most island paradises.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:50 AM on March 10, 2008

The Tahitian island of Moorea.

I Stayed here several years ago and it was simply amazing. And Air New Zealand flies there.
posted by matty at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2008

I haven't been to the area myself, but when I learned to dive my instructor had lead dive trips to pretty much everywhere in the South Pacific. He was of the opinion that diving the WWII wrecks at Chuuk, called Truk until recently, are the best in the world. Apparently the waters are so fertile that you'll see coral 10 times bigger than anywhere else in the world.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:08 AM on March 10, 2008

Bure just means hut, not necessarily over the water. Check out this previous question, which suggests French Polynesia for bures over the water, but they're not much found in other parts of the south Pacific (resorts, anyway - lots of regular people live in them) due to the cyclones. Which you should miss if you go March to May as stated (cyclone season is Nov-March).

They don't have bures over the water, but for small, secluded, romantic resorts that fit all of your other criteria I've had great stays at Bedarra Island off Cairns in Queensland, and Nanuya Island in the Yasawas in Western Fiji. Have fun and congratulations!
posted by goo at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2008

Aitutaki. Specifically the Lagoon Resort and Spa. Looks like it has just what you want!

I've been working on my husband for this vacation for a while now...
posted by gaspode at 11:50 AM on March 10, 2008

Okay, Chuuk resort areas are Really Nice, but the rest of the island leaves something to be desired. The snorkeling/scuba diving in all of Micronesia is pretty awesome. Pohnpei has some gorgeous reefs to see snorkeling. I would say Pohnpei, but in all honesty, the beaches aren't that great (it's mangroves more than sand), and it rains all the time. Or half the time. Which may be split up into one minute on, one minute off, repeat.

If you don't want to do too much exploring of the island Chuuk is a fine place to go, but for two weeks I'd get bored.

Though, honestly, you could just go to three of the four main islands of the FSM for a few days and get your fill. Continental flies in a loop around them (both directions), so it's not too bad. Fly in from Hawaii (heck, stop off there for a day or two, it breaks up the endless plane-ing), then fly over, get off on Kosrae for a day or two (preferably not a Sunday--the island is religious to the point of church being about the only thing to do on Sunday), stay at the Nautilus, have tasty salmon burgers, do some diving, buy the remarkably delicious green tangerines.

Go to the airport, buy some tangerines to go, and then off to Pohnpei. Stay at The Village resort for the huts (not on the water, but definitely a good view). Go to the Joy Restaurant for lunch and get more tuna sashimi than you would ever want in a sitting for approx. $6. Visit the ruins at Nan Madol, find some to take you out snorkeling, see the Kepirohi waterfalls at Madolenihm. See a first-run movie at the movie theater if it hasn't been taken over yet (and you feel like having some Western Entertainment).

Back to the airport for a jaunt to Chuuk for a couple days of snorkeling, and then off to Guam, and wherever you'd like to go from there.
posted by that girl at 11:59 AM on March 10, 2008

i've never been to those places but its hard to imagine any place nicer than vanuatu.
posted by alkupe at 12:32 PM on March 10, 2008

We went to Moorea and Bora-Bora for our honeymoon. Wife loved Bora-Bora, I loved Moorea. Bora-Bora was very polynesian... which was nice. I think the combo of the french influence and the polynesian setting just made me feel very continental. Really good food on Moorea.
posted by muscat at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2008

If you're set on New Zealand for part of your honeymoon then you can't go past the Cook Islands, and particularly Aitutaki (as recommended by gaspode). I've never been there as a tourist (only for work) but it has the advantage of direct flights from Auckland (or LA-Rarotonga-Auckland with Air New Zealand, if you want). The Cooks also uses NZ currency, so you would only have to change money once. Beautiful, English-speaking, and lovely people.

I travel to Fiji often (again not as a tourist admittedly) but it's got to be one of my least favourite Pacific destinations.
posted by Tawita at 3:14 PM on March 10, 2008

I will Nth gaspode on going to Aitutaki, and I spent part of my honeymoon at the Lagoon Resort and Spa. It was amazing. The four days we spent on Aitutaki were a lot better than the four on Rarotonga. Spent the entire time on Aiti and you won't regret it.
The bure's are on the ocean side and will get a lot more wind in the afternoons, so the beaches that face the inside of the atoll are nicer, but as the Lagoon Resort is on its own mini island you won't have to walk far. And the entire island is small enough that you can bike to the towns. Plenty of lagoon tours to take you diving too.
posted by gravity at 6:21 AM on March 11, 2008

« Older Something nasty in the attic   |   Guys: What do you want to keep at my house? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.