Top 10 Things to do in Solomons

Challenge yourself to remember the fascinating history of WWII while you wander through the city of Honiara or dive wrecks that have been underwater for decades, and be transported to a world of heroics, passion and heartbreak. Dig your toes into the sand on a private island retreat, wash the salt out of your hair after a day in the surf or select your favourite cocktail flavour from the resort menu; there is no time but Solomons time here!

Why not experience first-hand what this incredible South Pacific jewel has to offer while it’s still raw and natural? The friendliness and warmth of the local people, the unparalleled scenery and the fresh food will have you counting down the days until your return! Here is just a snapshot of some of the myriad activities on offer for your Solomon Islands escape:

Top 10 things to do/places to visit during your Solomon Islands holidays:

Swim, snorkel, dive and surf your way around the 900+ Solomon Islands. From rural surf camps where you’ll learn to ride the waves like a local to some of the world’s best snorkelling and SCUBA diving, there is something for every type of water lover. Colourful marine life is within your reach with pristine coral gardens, curious fish and WWII wrecks that provide twists and turns to be discovered. Even first-time divers will feel comfortable in this crystal-clear water and so many options that suit all levels. Resorts offer snorkelling and swimming straight from the jetty or your own private beach, so pack your favourite swimmers and find your slice of heaven.

No matter if they’re dormant or underwater, volcanoes harness a special power that visitors are drawn to, so Solomon Islands have double the draw with two main players. Hike your way to the rim of the crater on Kolombangara, an extinct volcano on Guadalcanal where guests can visit for a couple hours, or the more adventurous can camp for a few nights to reach the summit – more itineraries can be found here.

Alternatively you can experience the force of the underwater Kavachi volcano as it bubbles and spews lava, the tip of the volcanic cone peeking just a few metres above sea level. Commonly creating lava islands that last a few months before being eroded away back into the sea, Kavachi volcano has been the source of investigation and spawned myths amongst the locals who have reported seeing “fire on the water”. Take a short trip to get close, or observe from afar.

Exploring local markets is always one of the most interesting aspects of an overseas holiday. The smells are different, the offerings of unrecognisable fruit and vegetables is intriguing and local souvenirs are abundant. The camaraderie and community experienced while losing yourself in the mazes of stalls is welcoming and comforting. Considered one of the best places to speak to locals about their history and their lives, a visit to Honiara isn’t complete without visiting their Central Markets.

Feel like you’ve heard of Guadalcanal before but can’t pinpoint where? Most likely it’s a flashback to your school days and studying WWII, as Solomon Islands were an important strategic outpost used by the USA. The country saw intense fighting between the Japanese and the Americans, and the legacy still found on the Islands can be seen in everything from local museums to wreck dives; Memorial Gardens to islands named after US ex-presidents. Even if you’re not a history buff, it’s highly recommended to spend time reflecting at the Memorial Gardens located near the Honiara International Airport or taking part in a WWII historical tour around Honiara.

The name alone conjures images of creepy caves and morbid history: Skull Island. Situated in New Georgia, Western Province, Skull Island draws tourists year round. Tours to visit must be authorised and led by local chiefs to follow tradition, but they fill you in on the fascinating past of this small island: skull shrines made from (and filled with) skulls of enemies that have been beaten and have been decorated with the antiquated shell money once used in the Western Province. Skull Island is one of the most sacred places on New Georgia, so ensure you visit with an open mind and plenty of respect for the locals who look after this incredible site.

The natural beauty found throughout the Solomon Islands is enough to leave any outdoors-person stunned. Beautiful waters, volcanoes and now waterfalls. In heavier rains waterfalls appear where once there was nothing, but outside of that season there are still plenty to visit. An easy walk to Tenaru Falls, north of Honiara and worth a full day visit, leaves visitors breathless with their beauty. Roughly 8km each way and containing a few rivers to wade across, the adventurous will love this excursion and be well-rewarded upon completion!

Mataniko Falls are also outside of Honiara and don’t require a full day to reach, however trekkers still need to be able to swim. Approximately 3 hours round-trip from Tuvaruhu Village, the steep walk up leads to a steep descent, however once you reach the falls it’s possible to float, swim or walk back to the village.

Visitors to the Solomon Islands constantly rave about the crystal clear water and abundant marine life, and one of the places you can see this in abundance is Marovo Lagoon, which is full of turtles, reef shards, coral gardens, manta rays and fish of every colour and description. If it’s picture-perfect snorkelling you’re seeking, don’t forgo a visit to Marovo Lagoon. Not interested in getting wet? The water clarity is so incredible that much of the marine life can be observed from a boat, keeping you nice and dry.

Ok, not fat exactly, but a betel nut! The local custom of chewing betel nuts, which turn teeth and gums bright red, has been around for centuries. Used as a way to bond, to give thanks or just to kill time with friends, it’s definitely a unique experience to try! You might be left with your mouth tingling – whether it’s for more or for you to stop is up to you to determine.

One of the most majestic species on Earth, the Leatherback turtle, is in danger of extinction, but there is still something that can be done to reverse this fate. Some places in the Solomon Islands, including local beach villages on Rendova Island, near Tetepare, are working to conserve these beautiful creatures. With incentives to protect instead of destroy the vast nesting sites that dot the beaches, more turtles are hatching and finding their way to sea. Protective measures are in place throughout the Islands, and a visit during nesting or hatching season to get up close to the leatherbacks is one that you will never forget.

Why not book a few nights extra during your Solomon Islands stay to immerse yourself in a local community? Growing in popularity is the trend of staying in traditional villages, working alongside the locals in their farms or around the home as you eat what they do – food they have grown or traded for – and spend your evenings free from emails and youtube but witnessing spectacular sunsets and sharing stories. Even a short visit to these communities will have you walking away feeling grateful for everything you have.

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