The Top 15 Best Tropical Islands in the World


The Cook Islands have a wide range of romantic places to stay, from luxury villas to resorts, hotels and holiday homes, to suit every budget. Most properties are small to medium sized and are often located by the beach in lush tropical gardens. Kiwis feel at home as they use NZ currency and speak English. Comprising 15 islands scattered over a vast area, Rarotonga and Aitutaki are the most popular islands and the easiest to visit. With its picturesque mountain peaks, white beaches and colourful reef, Rarotonga looks a lot like a Tahitian island. The best way to explore Rarotonga is to drive, cycle or bus around the island, as the coastal road circles past sacred marae, historic Ngatangiia village, whitewashed churches, seafood restaurants and idyllic swimming and snorkeling spots. The beautiful atoll of Aitutaki is quieter, more secluded and wrapped in a spectacular coral lagoon, where you can dive, kayak or cruise along in a glass-bottom boat. Part of the romantic adventure is finding a motu (uninhabited islet) where you and your sweetheart can swim and picnic in private.


Fiji has long been a favourite honeymoon destination for New Zealanders. It’s easy to reach and explore, offers the Pacific’s largest choice of off-shore resorts, and comes with the Fijians’ famously warm and iconic ‘Bula’ friendliness. Of Fiji’s 333 islands, the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands are a good place to start your honeymoon search. These atolls and hilly islands feature postcard-perfect beaches of fine white sand, turquoise lagoons and a coral reef that attracts snorkelers and divers from around the world. The resorts, usually one per island, range from backpackers to luxurious Fijian-style thatched bures with private plunge pools, lounging pavilions and gourmet chefs. If you want more adventure or to explore Fiji beyond the small-island resorts, stay on the mainland of Viti Levu or head north to Taveuni. Both offer lush interiors and mountain vistas full of great hiking trails, waterfalls, and rare birds and orchids. Viti Levu also enjoys the best selection of golf, tennis, restaurants, kava-drinking ceremonies and Indo-Fijian culture.

cook islands travel guide cook islands map


cook islands travel guide cook islands map1


Samoa doesn’t have a lot of man-made luxuries, but nearly everything beautiful about the Pacific is in abundance on the main islands of Upolu and Savai’i: from unspoiled rainforests, waterfalls and bush-clad cliffs to sandy beaches, waterholes and traditional Polynesian villages filled with flowers and gentle, Old Pacific ambience. Samoa offers a good choice of accommodation, including well-appointed resorts and open-air, thatched-roof budget huts called fales that are strung along many beaches. For a glimpse of Samoa’s colonial past, amble around the former homestead of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish author of Treasure Island. ‘The first experience can never be repeated,’ he wrote about the wonders of the Pacific. ‘The first love, the first sunrise, the first South Sea island, are memories apart.’

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cook islands travel guide cook islands map3


This Pacific Island paradise is one of the smallest countries and also one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls, where you can easily and safely get away from it all. Like the Cook Islands, the island uses NZ currency and speaks English. With a rocky coastline of steep limestone cliffs around part of the island, Niue features unusually clear, deep waters and a coral reef where divers and snorkelers can marvel at colourful fish, turtles, sea snakes, dolphins and even swim in the winter with humpback whales, which come within 100 metres of the shore. Plus, the islands have the best and clearest view of the stars, having been named the world’s first ‘dark night sky’. Niue’s one international luxury resort, villas, motels and cottages accommodate a limited number of visitors, so you will feel more like a local as you drive or cycle along the coast and follow short walks to rocky coves, swimming caves and pools, scenic chasms and fantastic coral pinnacles – or dine on fresh tuna, coconut crab and taro at a casual waterside restaurant.

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cook islands travel guide cook islands map 1


Vanuatu’s reefs, beaches and adventure activities rival those of other South Pacific islands, but this Melanesian archipelago of about 80 islands moves at a more languid pace, with more Old Pacific ambience and far fewer tourists than French Polynesia and Fiji. Port Vila, on the main island of Efate, has the most resorts, tours and adventure operators, and waterfront French restaurants. If you crave something unique, however, you should head to Pentecost Island, to see the land-diving ritual that originally inspired bungy jumping; to Espiritu Santo, to dive on the wreck of a World War II ship; or to Tanna, to peer inside a fiery volcano.


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Tahiti and her islands, otherwise known as French Polynesia, comprises of five archipelagos with 118 islands and covers over two million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. The most frequently visited are Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a, and Rangiroa. Moorea is known as the island of love and Bora Bora as the romantic island. Bora Bora features lavish resorts with overwater bungalows and over-the-top comforts, but the island’s five-star natural beauty remains the greatest attraction. Dramatically set in a turquoise and cobalt lagoon encircled by a coral reef, the island slopes from sand-fringed islets and emerald hills to sheer cliffs and soaring, basalt peaks. These popular islands offer a good choice of hotels and resorts, and such activities as hiking, diving, snorkeling with sharks and sting rays, pearl farm tours, Tahitian dance performances and dining on exquisite, gourmet French cuisine.

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cook islands travel guide cook islands map8


A charming mix of French and Melanesian influence, New Caledonia is a wonderland for couples that love a little culture, fine wine and food, picturesque landscapes and marine wonders. The largest island in New Caledonia, Grand Terre, is surrounded by a lagoon that is a registered World Heritage Site, and offers a wonderful mix of water sports from kayaking and sailing, to diving, whale-watching and snorkeling in the most spectacular underwater coral world packed with wildlife. On land, hiking, cycling, and exploring beautiful caves such as the popular Grotte de la Reine are popular activities. The capital city Noumea is less than three hours from Auckland, and is the most cosmopolitan city in the Pacific. Shop the markets or luxury French boutiques, visit museums, galleries and theatres, and dine at the beautiful seaside restaurants. Alternatively, stock up on French cheese and wine for a great price from one of the local supermarkets and enjoy a picnic at the beach! For a slower-paced and romantic experience, pop over to the Isle of Pines, 70km off Grand Terre, where lush rainforest, breathtaking lagoons, turquoise beaches, and archaeological remains await you.

the top 15 best tropical islands in the world


the top 15 best tropical islands in the world


The Solomons is a stunning archipelago of nearly 1000 islands covering more than 800,000 square kilometres of ocean. The country is best known for its world-class diving and as one of the battle grounds of the Second World War, and these days the Solomons is attracting adventurous honeymooners wanting a Pacific paradise that’s both idyllic and off the beaten track. There are a number of accommodation options available, from exclusive luxury resorts to eco lodges and boutique hotels.

The unspoilt coral reefs of the Western Province are a snorkeler’s haven, and easily accessed by hiring a speedboat and boatman from Gizo, the province’s main commercial hub. A favoured low-tide experience for adventurous visitors to the region includes snorkeling over a submerged World War II American fighter plane called ‘Betsy’. Hiking, village and heritage tours, surfing and diving are also extremely popular in the Western Province.


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the top 15 best tropical islands in the world2


Traditional culture, including the last Polynesian monarchy, remains strong in the Kingdom of Tonga, and it doesn’t have the same kind of conveniences and tourism infrastructure as other Pacific destinations. But if you travel from the mainland to the Vava’u or Ha’apai islands, you will find the kind of pristine waters and empty beaches that beachgoers, yachties and adventurers all dream of. In the clear, fjord-like harbour around the hilly islands of Vava’u, you can also see or swim every winter with Tonga’s biggest attraction, migrating humpback whales. Vava’u caters more for tourists, with a greater selection of accommodation and activities than relatively unspoiled Ha’apai.


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the top 15 best tropical islands in the world 1


Your honeymoon is the perfect time to fall in love with New Zealand again, as our two main islands offer so much beauty, variety and romance for couples. From dramatic alpine landscapes and tranquil lakes, to pristine beaches and stunning vineyards, New Zealand lets you experience it all if you want to, and you won’t have to travel far. The bright lights of Auckland and Wellington offer plenty of exciting experiences for couples wanting a city escape, where you can treat yourself to luxury accommodation, culinary delights and access to relaxing day trips, such as the wine regions of Waiheke Island and Martinborough, or magnificent west coast beaches. If adventure is more your style, head to Abel Tasman National Park, Queenstown or Rotorua to get your dose of adrenalin-pumping activities like bungy jumping, river rafting, mountain biking, skiing and more.

The Bay of Islands and Coromandel are the perfect places to visit for those secluded beaches and water-based activities, while sunny Hawke’s Bay, Waiheke Island and Central Otago are hotspots for food, wine and romance. Everywhere you go you’ll find beautiful accommodation options to suit your taste and style, from a castle in Dunedin, to luxurious hotels and boutique lodges, or you could even hire a campervan and hit the road, just the two of you.

Honeymooning in New Zealand gives you the opportunity to be a tourist in your own country and tick off those must-dos, such as walking the Tongariro Crossing, visiting Te Papa Museum, admiring the magical Waitomo Caves, whale watching in Kaikoura, sky diving in Queenstown or catching the sunrise over Roy’s Peak. You have the perfect excuse to splash out on things you wouldn’t normally, whether it be a scenic helicopter or hot air balloon ride, a sailing trip, horse trek or pampering day at the spa. Whatever you do, you’re sure to create unique and lasting memories to treasure forever.


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