Backpacking the South Pacific: Three Idyllic Islands


Tired of the well trampled trail in Southeast Asia, but too cash-strapped to run amok in Australia or the Caribbean? If you’re looking for a killer summer holiday this year, or if you need a brand new hideaway when the warmth of the Northern summer begins to slip away? Then perhaps the many disparate islands of the South Pacific will be of interest to you.

While islands like Bora Bora figure heavily in luxury travel magazines, there are plenty of locales within this vast region where the penny pinching, yet party loving traveler can roam without going broke in less than two weeks.

By following the guide below, you too can indulge in the pleasure that impossibly beautiful lagoons, blinding white sands, and the numerous fresh off the tree tropical fruits that abound throughout the isles of the South Pacific.

1) Fiji

Perhaps the best gateway island for the backpacker looking to break into this diverse region, Fiji combines all the cliches you’ve ever heard about when it comes to the South Pacific and pairs it with accommodation and restaurant meals that are easily affordable.

Fiji is also large enough that you are able to experience authentic everyday life as experienced by the locals, as markets, kava drinking ceremonies, and multiple types of religious halls of worship (mosques, churches, and Hindu temples) are all as accessible as beaches, coral reefs and waterfalls.

2) Tahiti

While Tahiti is a touch more expensive than Fiji, those comfortable with backpacking in Europe should be able to bear the costs of this deeply beautiful volcanic island located halfway across the tropical South Pacific Ocean. The street food is filling and cheap, and pensions are easy to budget if you can manage to share with any travel buddies that are making the trip with you.

As with most islands in Oceania, the vegetation is lush, the waters are azure, and there is a full slate of activities to while away the days when you are content to lay on the beach. However, a slate of museums and an active market life here will fulfill your need for culture when lazing on the beach begins to get stale.

3) Cook Islands

Referred to as the Hawaii of the south due to its identical longitude, the New Zealand administrated Cook Islands may not be as notorious as their cousins to the north, but they are no less captivating. Featuring fifteen inhabited islands over a staggering two million square kilometres of ocean, there is a place out there waiting for you to claim it as your personal paradise. Dorm costs are reasonable at an average of of about $16 a night, with private rooms not far behind at around $30.

The bounty of the sea is on full display in the markets and local restaurants here, as curried eke (octopus in a curry sauce), uma food (various meals cooked in an underground oven), and ika mata (raw fish with coconut milk and vegetables) will tempt your tastebuds. And of course, the impossibly immaculate beaches that are associated with South Pacific islands can be found everywhere you go in this gorgeous territory.

Find Your Secret Island Getaway This Year

Stretching across the world’s largest ocean like a string of pearls, the islands of Oceania in the South Pacific offer the budget traveler the opportunity to escape the everyday humdrum of life back in the developed world. While they contain more than their fair share of expensive luxury resorts, there is plenty of room for young voyagers to claim a piece of paradise for themselves.

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