South Pacific Map, Polynesia Map

South Pacific map including islands in Polynesia, Oceania and Southeast Asia. Note that Australia and New Zealand are both in the South Pacific.

Polynesia Map is below

Visiting the South Pacific

The South Pacific is etched into the traveller’s sub-conscious as a series of glorious, sunny, relaxed palm-fringed beaches surrounded by kaleidoscopic fish, soft coral, sensual girls and muscular, tattooed guys. And it was in Gauguin’s time a hundred years ago, but that perfect combination of Polynesian assets is very difficult to find these days unless you have a big wad and jet into a five star bubble. Even then you’d be missing out on both real local culture and the thrill of discovering your own private little South Sea paradise.

Locals enjoying a chat while being circled by sting rays, Moorea, South Pacific

Moorea island locals enjoying the beach and marine life (sting rays are circling for a snack!), South Pacific.

Polynesia Map, South Pacific

Polynesia Map, South Pacific Map

Polynesia Islands Map including Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Rarotonga (not French-speaking!) and surprisingly perhaps, Hawaii (also not French-speaking, but I think you know that!).

Moorea kayaking, South Pacific

Kayaking into Cooke’s Bay, where Captain Cook first parked HMS Bounty in 1777.

– 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. Easter Island is a bit off the beaten track but a stunning island with incredible Moai artefacts if you can manage to get there.

– 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).