Best countries for backpacking in the South Pacific
Who doesn't dream of a holiday on a South Pacific island? But if you think these come with a dream price tag then think again. It's definitely possible to visit the South Pacific on a backpacking budget. Spend some time researching the best countries for backpacking in the the South Pacific and do a little forward planning – you'll be surprised just how far you can go with your backpack. Save money by visiting just one country although, you can island hop on a budget with the right itinerary. Check out our top recommendations.
Where can I backpack in the South Pacific?
With accessibly-priced fares from Australia and New Zealand available especially in October and early November, Fiji has long been every backpacker's favourite the South Pacific destination. It's a good spot for combining some volunteering work with a backpacking trip. Help build schools and medical centres or support marine conservation projects as well as enjoying diving, snorkelling, and hiking adventures. From the main island of Viti Levu, it's easy to hop around the archipelago while backpacking hostels are widely available.
Tonga is known as the 'friendly isles' and while luxury resorts abound, you can discover backpacker hostels and affordable guesthouses. Like all South Pacific Islands, Tonga offers both water and jungle adventures. While scuba-diving might eat into your budget, snorkelling can be just as enjoyable. One of the must-do activities on Tonga to budget for is a whale-watching trip. To experience Tonga at its best visit from May to October.
If the culture of the South Pacific fascinates you then you will definitely love the rich heritage of Vanuatu. Affordable accommodation is plentiful, as are island activities include hiking, waterfall swimming and snorkelling. For the best snorkelling weather, visit from May to September. Espiritu Santo has two conservation reserves to explore while Mount Yasur is the most accessible active volcano in the world.
A little more remote than Fiji and definitely more genuine in its Pacific culture, Samoa features a dramatic volcanic landscape. Dotting this landscape are natural water holes that provide a different swimming experience to the beaches. Cheap but charming accommodation in beach huts or fales is easy to find with Lalomanu Beach a favourite with backpackers. Samoa is regarded as a safe choice for novice backpackers while island hopping is possible on a budget. Visit during the dry season of June to October.
The Cook Islands
Despite being considered a luxury destination, the Cook Islands, especially Rarotonga, are also popular with backpackers. The islands are highly-rated as a safe place for women travelling on their own. There is a good choice of affordable accommodation along with activities especially for backpackers such as communal curry nights and backpacker rates for the hire of snorkel kit, surfboards and bicycles. To experience the real beauty of the Cook Islands visit during the dry season of April to November and be sure to spend some time on Aitutaki.
Stretch your budget in New Caledonia by staying in a tribal hut in the Loyalty Islands or a small guesthouse on the Isle of Pines. You'll step out of your accommodation onto beaches of white sand lapped by deep blue water and fringed with tall slender pine trees. Swim among tropical fish in the seawater swimming pool of Piscine Naturelle or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding in Kanumera Bay. Another popular activity is a trip in a glass-bottomed boat. New Caledonia is best visited during the dry season of May to October.
French Polynesia can eat into your backpacking budget especially if you stay on the main island of Tahiti. There are, however, over a hundred other islands to choose from grouped into six archipelagos. Rent a bungalow on the islands of Bora Bora or Moorea and save money by visiting the local fish and food markets and cooking up your own island-themed dishes. During the day, take advantage of the excellent surf breaks or make new friends on the tropical beaches that surround the lagoons. Book your trip during the dry and balmy months of June to August.
While Australia is spoilt for backpacking choices, not many are as beautiful as Fraser Island. Fly from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to the Fraser Coast and then take the 50-minute ferry trip to the island. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and among its attractions are Lake MacKenzie and the Champagne Pools, both of which have a sparkle in their waters. Head to the beach after dark for some amazing star gazing or head out to sea to spot some whales. For a picture-perfect postcard beach, go further along Fraser Coast to the Whitsunday Islands.
If you like a little adventure with your backpacking holiday in New Zealand, then you'll find plenty in and around the tiny settlement of Waitomo on North Island. Abseiling, zip-lining, black-water rafting and trips to the Hobbit villages of the Lord of the Rings films are just some of the attractions. Beating all of these, however, are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The caves are a magical world created millenia ago. Drift through them on a boat at night and marvel at the aqua and turquoise colours created by the tiny worms that live on the rocks. Travel by bus from Auckland to Waitomo, a journey of just under three hours.
If we've awoken a wanderlust inside you and you're keen to start discovering the best countries for backpacking in the South Pacific then visit BudgetAir now to explore your travel options.
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The best countries for backpacking in the world