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South Pacific Islands Map - The Scattered Paradise Islands

South Pacific islands map may be a tiny speck on the map, but these islands of the South Pacific are a far-flung sprawl of tropical perfection that is perfect in every way. The islands of the South Pacific are a huge attraction for anyone looking for a piece of paradise, whether that comes in the form of a well-trodden hotspot or a road-less-traveled escape. You might even be able to avoid roads entirely; several islands don't have any, thus traveling to and around their beautiful shoreline requires either a seaplane or a boat as the main mode of transportation.

Several islands in the South Pacific barely register as a blip on the tourism radar, which is why it is highly recommended to book your vacation with a tour operator that has substantial experience organizing South Pacific itineraries and has both knowledgeable local guides and a responsible philosophy as part of their business model.

South Pacific Islands History

A man and a woman doing the Tinikling Dance of the Philippines using bamboo sticks
A man and a woman doing the Tinikling Dance of the Philippines using bamboo sticks

In 2014, the Marshall Islands' Foreign Minister, Tony deBrum, made the following statement: "Not only [is Australia] our big brother down south, but Australia is also a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia is a Pacific island, a huge island, but a Pacific island." In his book published in 2014 titled Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People, David Armitage states that Australia and New Zealand are sometimes included in phrases such as the Pacific or Pacific Islands, but that the Aleutian Islands, Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia (excluding Western New Guinea) are not, despite the fact that these countries also make up other insular regions of the Pacific Ocean. This is because Australia and New Zealand are geographically closer to each other than Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Representatives from Japan and certain countries in the Malay Archipelago, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, are part of the Pacific Islands Forum; however, none of these countries are full members of the forum. ASEAN is the name of the regional governmental organization that is unique to the countries of the Malay Archipelago.

This organization also includes countries from the mainland of Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia announced the launch of its 'Pacific Elevation' program in July 2019 at the first Indonesian Exposition, which was held in Auckland, New Zealand. This program would encompass a new era of elevated engagement with the region. Indonesia also used this event to make the claim that it is culturally and ethnically linked to the Pacific islands. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries from a number of Pacific island countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and others.

South Pacific Name Ambiguity And Groupings

The umbrella term Pacific Islands has taken on numerous meanings. It is sometimes used to refer simply to the islands identified as being within Oceania. At times, it refers to the Pacific Ocean islands that were previously colonized by the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, or Japanese, or by the United States. Pitcairn Islands, Taiwan, and Borneo are other examples.

A popular biogeographic definition includes oceanic islands in Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and the eastern Pacific. These are commonly referred to as "Tropical Pacific Islands." Ecologists Dieter Mueller-Dombois and Frederic Raymond Fosberg classified the Tropical Pacific Islands as follows in the 1990s:

Major Group Islands Of The South Pacific

3 Major Pacific Island Groups colored differently
3 Major Pacific Island Groups colored differently

It is divided into three ethnogeographic groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, but traditionally excludes Australia, the Asia-related Indonesian, Philippine, and Japanese archipelagoes, and the Ryukyu, Bonin, Volcano, and Kuril island arcs that project seaward from Japan.

Melanesia

Melanesia (from the Greek words melas, "black," and nsos, "island") refers to the mostly dark-skinned peoples of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (the New Hebrides), New Caledonia, and Fiji, which are located north and east of Australia and south of the Equator.

Micronesia

The islands of Micronesia are located north of the Equator and east of the Philippines, forming an arc that extends from Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the west to Kiribati, passing through the Federated States of Micronesia (the Caroline Islands), Nauru, and the Marshall Islands. Micronesia's islands are located north of the Equator and east of the Philippines, creating an arc from Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the west to Kiribati in the east, passing through the Federated States of Micronesia (the Caroline Islands), Nauru, and the Marshall Islands.

Polynesia

Polynesia's many ("poly") islands are located in the eastern Pacific, primarily surrounded inside a massive triangle created by the Hawaiian Islands to the north, New Zealand to the southwest, and Easter Island (Rapa Nui) far to the east. Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Tokelau, Samoa (the former Western Samoa), American Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the Cook Islands, and French Polynesia are also included in this widely dispersed collection (including the Society, Tuamotu, and Marquesas islands).

What Affects South Pacific Islands Map Today

A man watching the rising sea level in his country in the Pacific
A man watching the rising sea level in his country in the Pacific

Arguably the biggest issue for the people of the Pacific Islands in the 21st century was the existential threat posed by climate change. As global warming gradually increased ocean temperatures and brought about rising sea levels, portions of some small island states, such as Tuvalu and Kiribati, literally began disappearing. Other disruptive developments wrought by climate change included the erosion of coastal land and infrastructure, more frequent and severe cyclones, and increased rainfall and flooding in some areas and drought in others.

If you are someone who is interested in exploring these tropical paradise islands you may wonder about the safest and cheapest destinations in the South Pacific.

What Is The Safest South Pacific Island To Visit?

A Cook islander blowing a seashell horn at the beach side
A Cook islander blowing a seashell horn at the beach side

The Cook Islands' 15 small islands are a fascinating blend of Polynesian and New Zealand culture. The stunning Polynesian landscape and unsurpassed hospitality are combined with the safety and infrastructure of New Zealand, making it the greatest South Pacific Island for family vacations.

What Is The Cheapest Pacific Island To Visit?

One of the famous vacation island in Vanuatu
One of the famous vacation island in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is the most affordable Pacific Island vacation for individuals who don't wish to travel far! Don't want to go too far? Vanuatu is one of the most economical South Pacific Island getaways due to its proximity to home.

Conclusion

Moreover, destructive consequences for the ecosystems on which many Pacific Islanders depended for their livelihood and sustenance included the bleaching and killing of coral reefs, the loss of agricultural land as a result of the intrusion of salt water into groundwater, and ocean acidification, which jeopardizes the survival of shell-building species. We may be in another part of the world but whatever happens to these tropical paradise islands would definitely affect us.

About The Authors

Velma Battle

Velma Battle - Travelling Expert

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