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Welkum to the Solomon Islands

August 16, 2014 Destination Feature, Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

Western ProvinceA scattered archipelago of some 900-odd richly forested mountainous islands and low-lying coral atolls, the Solomon Islands has been attracting international tourism since 1568 when Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana first sailed into this tucked away corner of the South Pacific.

Mendana’s legacy can still be found in the Solomon Islands today with many of the islands still bearing the Spanish names he gave them – Santa Isabel, San Cristóbal and perhaps the most famous of all, Guadalcanal, the name synonymous with World War II which takes its name from a small township in Andalucia in southern Spain.

Bur for the most part the Solomon Islands and their quiet, reserved people were left pretty much alone after Mendana’s visit until 300 years later when Great Britain was given control of the entire territory.

Centuries-old living culture

Centuries-old living culture

Things changed dramatically during World War II and the Solomon Islands became a household name when the forces of Imperial Japan invaded, the region becoming the scene for some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theatre and most famously the battle of Guadalcanal when thousands of Japanese and US servicemen lost their lives.

The British re-gained control in 1945 and in 1976, the Solomon Islands became self-governing before gaining full independence in 1978.

Little has changed in the Solomon Islands since then and it’s thanks to this that the Solomon Islands have become such a breathtakingly fresh destination for those international travellers hardy enough to get off the beaten track and look for a new and very different experience.

Today World War II buffs and veterans and their families – mostly American and Japanese – SCUBA divers exploring the crystal clear, technicolour tropical fish and submerged war time wreck infested waters and surfers looking for the ultimate uncrowded waves make up the bulk of the 25,000 or so international travellers who visit every year.

A typical face from the Happy Isles

A typical face from the Happy Isles

But the destination is fast attracting a brand new breed of travellers from around the world – family groups, honeymooners, sports fishermen, yachties, culture-lovers and simply those looking to make their own tracks.

The newly emerging, multi-faceted Solomon Islands can pretty much cater to every taste, desire and budget with its myriad choice of accommodation – from the ‘big gun’ hotels of the capital Honiara to boutique resort accommodation, eco-lodges and home-stays dotted across the entire archipelago.

Best of all, and quite a surprise for many travellers, the Solomon Islands are so easy to reach – it takes less than three hours to reach the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara, from Brisbane flying a sleek Solomon Airlines Airbus A 320 complete with full onboard service.

Sandspit, Gizo, Western Province

Sandspit, Gizo, Western Province

A divers’ paradise

A divers’ paradise

Prince William and Kate’s Solomon Islands hideaway - Tivanipupu Private Island, Marau Sound.

Prince William and Kate’s Solomon Islands hideaway – Tivanipupu Private Island, Marau Sound.

For more information visit www.visitsolomons.com.sb or on facebook at www.facebook.com/visitsolomonislands.

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Gee, stick a big ***Advertisement*** at the top of the page, will ya? The Solomons is a great place. I used to live there. But represent the place properly. What ‘big gun’ hotels in Honiara? What experiences for all budgets. Let’s be fair. The country has had somewhat of a checkered existence over recent years. We sent in our Federal Police in 2003 to assist in quelling major unrest, The country had major floods early this year which left many homeless and as recently as this week an Australian mining company had to evacuate its staff due to concerns for their security. Please don’t imagine that the Solomons is anything like its neighbour PNG. For the whole it is a very friendly and safe place, but I would not be spending too much time in Honiara and for elsewhere stil expect to find that standards of service and facilities are not yet up to what you might get on more developed Pacific islands countries. You don’t go there expecting another Fiji or Vanuatu. You go there to find a country so close to Australia yet so far removed from the mainstream of the western world.

  2. Reference your comments, it would appear it is some time since you were last in the Solomon Islands. Its a very out dated viewpoint you present and the last thing we would ever want to position ourselves as is another Fiji or Vanuatu, We are unique. Be very happy to have a direct chat with you to re-direct your obvious current thinking. Look forward to your coming back to me – thanks Mike Parker-Brown

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