Melanesia, a group of two thousand islands which form an arc around Australia, stretches from Papua New Guinea to Fiji. These islands are beautiful without exception. Most are covered in tropical forest and their beaches, some snowy white and others speckled black with lava from active volcanoes, are surrounded by coral reefs.
The warm ocean waters in dazzling shades of blue, green and turquoise are peppered with wrecks of ferries, yachts ships and world war two planes that have now become sought after diving destinations.
Many of the islands are occupied by people who live as they have lived for thousands of years. Here you will find the last vestiges of civilizations as they were in the stone ages. Until recently these people collected the skulls of their enemies. The dress, the music, the food and the way of living represents history on show.
Countries in Melanesia
Fiji is situated in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. Comprising three hundred and thirty islands that span an area of one thousand six hundred kilometers, two thirds of the islands are uninhabited.
Eighty five percent of the population of Melanesian and Indian people, live on the main island.
Fiji is blessed with some of the world’s most pristine beaches and Coral Reefs. It is a great diving destination where more than one thousand five hundred species of fish live in the surrounding waters. It also offers some of the best wind surfing and kite surfing conditions.
Visitors can charter a fishing boat, go white water rafting or zipline through the rain forest, which is filled with beautiful birds and lush plants. No questions as to why these islands were chosen for the filming of Castaways and Blue Lagoon.
In the fissure between two tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean New Caledonia is Australia’s largest South Pacific neighbor. Here in the hills the only means of transportation is by horseback.
In the capital city, Noumea, climb two hundred and sixty-four steps to the top of a light house, that was shipped here from France. The panoramic views of the surrounding countryside are worth the climb.
New Caledonia was once a French penal colony and is still a French overseas territory. in the capital, which boasts more than one hundred and fifty restaurants visitors are sure to tantalizing French cuisine, and delicious wines.
New Caledonia has one of the largest Nature reserves on earth, the world’s largest enclosed lagoon and the second largest reef on earth. White sand beaches skirt rugged interiors and are surrounded by dazzling blue seas. The surrounding reefs and the many wrecks that surround her coastline are teeming with life.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea encompasses the Eastern part of New Guinea and the surrounding islands. it has one of the most diverse populations on earth where twenty five percent of earth’s languages are spoken.
This is one of the most remote destinations in the world. Here you can experience stone age cultures, where not much has changed over thousands of years. Not much over one hundred years ago some of these tribes still collected the skulls of their enemies. The huge variety of music, dance and crafts reflects the ethnic diversity of these peoples.
Take a boat ride to a smoking volcano. Hike in the dense rain forests. Visit villages of stilted wooden houses topped with thatch. Go diving, enjoy the stunning beaches and above all enjoy the colorful people.
The Solomon Islands consists of nine hundred and ninety-two islands but only one hundred and forty-seven of them are inhabited.
This part of the world was the scene of some of the worst battles of World War Two and one of the bloodiest battles took place in and around the capital Honiara. Many relics of the war still remain and there are regular tours to the battle fields and to the memorials of those who lost their lives.
Other remnants of the battle lie undersea where fifty aircraft and shipwrecks pepper the surrounding waters. Many are easily accessible and have become popular dive sites. The capital Honiara lacks infrastructure, but the people are renowned for their artwork and culture, and an open-air art gallery invites visitors to chat to the artists and purchase their wares.
In the forests outside of the town picturesque stilted village houses crouch over tranquil waters.
Made up of eighty-three islands spread over one thousand six hundred kilometers, the two hundred and fifty citizens of this country speak one thousand languages.
Here traditional customs are still observed and the people live in harmony with nature. The island is relatively untouched by tourism.
Zipline through the lush tropical jungle. Take a sunset cruise or kayak through the forest. Visit a customary village and share the craft, music and dance of the villagers. Spend the night in a treehouse. Visit one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and watch the lava shooting dramatically into the night sky.
Wander down the streets of Port Vila to the fresh produce markets. Dive in the wrecks yachts, cargo ships and ferries, and kayak into the geological phenomena of thirty meter blue holes.