Polynesia Map including Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Rarotonga (not French-speaking!) and surprisingly perhaps, Hawaii (also not French-speaking, but I think you know that!).
– The South Pacific’s French Polynesia region (e. g. Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora) is generally the most expensive area, and, need we say, French speaking?
– Fiji and its many islands are the best value group in this ocean, English speaking, not so far from Australia or New Zealand and well set up to look after backpackers and their needs.
– Probably the most beautiful, well-sorted (i. e. sporting superb resorts, hideously expensive of course) ‘paradise’ beaches in the South Pacific are on French Polynesia’s Bora Bora, The Cook Island’s Aitutaki, Tonga’s Foa island (Ha’apai islands group) and Fiji’s Yasawa Island.
– Culturally the most interesting easily-accessible island group is Fiji, though Rarotonga, Moorea and Samoa all have valid culture tours or shows.
– The ocean’s best snorkelling and scuba diving are North Fiji’s Somosomo Strait (speciality soft coral, best visibility May-Oct), French Polynesia’s Rangiroa atoll (a huge cluster of tiny islets northeast of Tahiti, hotels available, best December-March for sharks) and Tonga’s Ha’apai (terrific caves and canyons) and Vava’u islands (May-October for humpback whales. Superb sailing too).