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Ultimate island destinations, revealed

Thinking of an island escape? Here we tell you what to see, when to go and what to pack to get the most out of your fun in the sun.

Hawai‘i

There is so much choice when it comes to Hawai‘i, from beaches to volcanoes to hiking to shopping.

O‘ahu is the perfect jumping off spot for any holiday in these parts, with world famous sites to see and some great shopping and eating (Chinatown is a bit of a hip hood right now), while the outer islands have nature and adventure in equal measure.

To really get away from it all head to Kaua‘i’s remote beaches, endless waterfalls and lush rainforests.

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Take a trip to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Hawai‘i Island, south of Hilo, to come face to face with the brutal beauty of nature.

Follow the Crater Rim Drive through rainforest and past the Ka‘ū volcanic ash desert.

Fiji

Made up of over 330 islands (more than a hundred of which are blissfully uninhabited) in the South Pacific, stretching over 18,000 square kilometres, Fiji is the epitome of an island paradise for most people.

With five-star hotels and private island resorts in abundance, visitors to Fiji are spoilt for choice when it comes to experiencing everything that the islands have to offer, from palm tree-rimmed, powder-soft beaches, to pristine clear waters perfect for snorkelling and diving, to the unique culture and warm, welcoming nature of its locals.

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Given that Fiji is surrounded by coral reefs, inhabited by around 1000 species of fish and several hundred types of coral and sponges, a diving adventure should definitely be high on your list.

The best diving can be had from April to October.

Samoa

A collection of 10 islands in the South Pacific, Samoans are known as the happy people, and with picture-perfect beaches lapped by deep blue waters, rugged volcanic mountain peaks and fertile valleys of tropical rainforest everywhere you look, it is easy to see why.

There is also stunning marine life to wonder at: take a trip to the wetlands sanctuary at Satoalepai village on Savai‘i and you can paddle with green turtles, gentle giants that can reach weights of up to 185 kilograms.

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The Sua Ocean Trench is an iconic attraction in Samoa, and it could easily be argued that you haven’t really experienced the islands if you haven’t jumped into the startlingly turquoise waters at the bottom of this 30-metre deep hole.

Islands of Tahiti

Divided among 118 islands and separated into five archipelagos – the Marquesas, the Society Islands, the Tuamotu, the Australs and the Gambier – most of the islands of Tahiti are only sparsely populated, with 40 of them completely deserted to this day.

Names such as Moorea and Bora Bora have become synonymous with honeymooners, but there is plenty for everyone, with idyllic beaches, world-class snorkelling and diving, Polynesian culture and delicious cuisine.

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When most people think of Tahiti they immediately picture bungalows perched over bluer-than-blue waters – this benchmark of luxury definitely needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

 

When to go

Given the fact that most islands are in tropical climes, no time is really a bad time to travel.

But tropical locations also have wet seasons, so if you want more sun and less precipitation, head to places like Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti from April to October.

In Hawai‘i you might want to avoid the busy summer months when the islands see an influx of holiday-makers from the US mainland – mid-June to mid-July is great timing to make the most of the summer weather without the crowds.

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