Solomon Islands Destination Guide
The Solomon Islands have something to offer everyone. Encompassing thousands of islands and islets, the Solomon Islands have people of diverse backgrounds and culture, creating a fascinating country. The Solomon Islands are known for their extraordinary natural beauty and visitors will not be disappointed. As one of the finest destinations for scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and surfing, the islands are an all-round destination. Their beaches are lined with palm trees and the waters filled with magnificent coral reefs and an active marine life. These islands are addictive and you will find it hard to get away from the 'Melanesian Bug'!
The biggest draws of the islands are the World War II relics at Guadalcanal, a quiet village life and fabulous locations for scuba diving. Solomon Islands can be described as the South Pacific’s capital of adventure tourism.
Our Solomon Islands destination guide and tour suggestions will tell you all you need to know about the Solomon Islands' best tourist attractions. Also, be sure to check out general travel information for your Solomon Islands holiday, and the local highlights of its Pacific neighbours Vanuatu, Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga.
Things to See & Do in the Solomon Islands
Follow the links to the right or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Solomon Islands:
Experience local culture by attending service in a church. No matter if you are Christian or not, you are sure to be moved by their voices. Select from churches such as St Barnabus Cathedral or All Saints, which are both located in Honiara.
The Solomon Islands are as beautiful below as they are above, with clear sparkling waters that are a delight for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.
Amidst the World War II wrecks, Mother Nature has woven a beautiful spell. There is an incredible array of structures and bio-assemblages, including deep and shallow coral gardens, ledges, gutters, game fish, reef fish and sharks. There are also plenty of turtles, mantas, hammerheads and eagle.
Over the years, the Solomon Islands have made a name as an enviable destination for diving. The variety of dive sites in the islands is endless, for all levels of experience. For those interested in learning, there is no better spot than in the warm clear waters of the beautiful Solomon Islands.
Most of the land-based diving can be found either in the Western Province, on the island of Gizo, and in New Georgia. Famous dive sites in Solomon Islands include Munda, which is on Roviana Lagoon and is only 15 minutes by air from Gizo; and on Uepi Island, which is on the northern side of New Georgia and is across the Marovo Lagoon. There are several diving tours to see wrecks from WWII. All resorts in the area offer a complete range of facilities for diving and have their own instructors.
The Solomon Islands offer a vast variety of fishing, including big game, wreck, reef, estuary and beach fishing. The waters of the island have very little commercial fishing and are unparalleled for their beauty and richness.
You will be able to troll along sheer drop-offs where you will find Spanish mackerel, dog-tooth tuna, and Wahoo or can cast into the surf for red bass, coral trout and giant trevally.
Serious fishermen will be able to get Pacific sailfish, black, striped and blue marlin, and yellow fin tuna. In rivers in the jungle you will be able to catch estuary cod, mangrove jack, spot tail bass and brassy trevally.
Located on Ghizo Island, Gizo is the capital of the Western Province, which is famous for its diving spots and is one of the most popular areas of visitors.
The town of Gizo is a great place to spend a few days, especially if you plan to go further to remote islands for greater adventure. Gizo is also the second largest town in the Solomon Islands and is a good place to stock up on supplies before heading to off-the-beaten-track trips in the Western Province.
Gizo has something for everyone, where you will find idyllic villages, atolls and islands, secluded beaches, and snorkelling and scuba diving spots.
With lots of great dive sites nearby, you can find lots of operators who will take you to them at affordable rates. Most also offer certification courses for beginners.
Gizo is a great starting point for exploring tiny atolls in the western province, such as Plum Pudding Island, which is famous for being the spot where late US President John F Kennedy was shipwrecked during WWII.
Exploring the numerous islands is a rewarding experience when visiting Solomon Islands. With 1,000 islands to choose from, you will enjoy the warmth of a friendly and culture sensitive people and get a true understanding of the word 'eco-tourism'. The Solomon Islands are one of the few remaining unspoilt destinations in the world. Get a feel of local life by living in one of the Village Stay Lodges in the provinces.
Lake Te’Nggano is located in southeast Rennell and is the largest freshwater body in the South Pacific at 130 sq km. The lake sits on an ancient lagoon floor and is surrounded by tall cliffs that are actually old reefs. At its western side, there are some swamps and about 200 coral islets. Along its shore are four villages including the sub-provincial headquarters of Te’Nggano.
There are many bird species that are local to Rennell, such as the Rennell fantail and the Rennell white spoonbill, which is quite rare now. There are also eight subspecies. The best time to see the birds is at dawn and dusk, when you will be able to spot boobies, cormorants and flocks of other birds over Lake Te’Nggano.
Even though there are several attractions at Lake Te’Nggano, Rennell still is a remote backwater that is hard to reach. It is also quite expensive to travel here and proper planning is a must.
Langa Langa artificial islands are home to famous shark callers as well as Laulasi where there are large spirit houses that have high-pitched roofs. Day trips are organised from Auki and Honiara.
The Lilisiana village is a good place to see the culture that started on artificial reef islands. Here you will be able to see how shell money is made and get to relax on beautiful golden beaches.
Marovo Lagoon is the largest double barrier lagoon of the world and has received a nomination for a World Heritage Listing. There are thousands of tiny islands scattered in the lagoon, from small coral islets to large volcanic islands 1600m high, with some such as Simbo still active. There are also some active undersea volcanoes such as Kavachi near Ngattokae. Within the lagoon, there are islands that are surrounded by coral formations, shimmering waters of blue, green and turquoise and white sandy beaches.
Marovo Lagoon’s people live in villages spread out in the lagoon, and follow a traditional lifestyle.
The double-sided falls at Mataniko Falls are spectacular and are a two-hour walk from Honiara. The falls roar into a cave that is full of stalagmites, bats and swallows. The cave was the hideout, during WWII, for Japanese soldiers who were evading capture by American soldiers. The trail to the cave is steep and it’s a good idea to get a guide from the visitor information centre in Honiara for going beyond Tuvaruhu.
The Mataniko Falls are beautiful and to reach them you will have to hike through tropical forests. On the way, there is a cave where the river passes, which is the perfect spot to cool off with a swim.
The National Museum is in the town centre in Honiara and features displays on traditional cultures. There are also displays of dance, currency, weaponry, body ornamentation and archaeology. At the back of the museum, there are eight houses that are built in the traditional manner of each province. Also in the compound is a store where you can buy traditional artefacts.
No visit to the islands is complete without listening to panpipe music. Music is made by blowing into a number of different sizes of bamboo tubes that are open on both sides or closed at their lower ends. The pipes are held stationary, while the player moves his head back and forth to blow into different tubes and create music. Malaita’s ‘Are ‘Are’ pan pipers are well known for their music and a good gift to take back would be a CD of their music.
There is a large variety of local art and craft that has made Solomon Islands a collectors paradise. Crafts vary from brown streaked and black ebony hardwood carvings of figureheads for war canoes in the Nguzunguzu area. There are also stone carvings depicting plant life and the sea, along with pandanus baskets, trays, and bags, all with intricate detailing. The ancient currency of Malaita is finely crafted shells that can be bought as souvenirs. These are still used for traditional rituals such as bride price and for reconciliation ceremonies. Temotu has a currency of its own, consisting of red feathers.
Rennell Island is the largest uplifted coral island in the world and has a variety of flora and fauna. Lake Te’Nggano is located on Rennell Island and is the largest freshwater lake in the entire South Pacific. There are 200 small islands and islets in the lake, where you will also find several varieties of rare orchids.
For a quiet island that gets fewer visitors than Guadalcanal, the Santa Isabel is the best option. Even though it is 240 km in length, there are very few tourists visiting Santa Isabel Island and the locals are very curious about those who do visit. While the island might not have any major attractions, its people are its main pull. Buala is the provincial capital and is a quiet town where you will find all your supplies, some government offices and a rep for Solomon Airlines.
The airport is located on another island, just a short way from shore. Like everywhere else on the Solomons, you will need to talk to the locals and make friends to find your way around.
If you’re up to a hike, there is an especially good one that will take you to the hydroelectric plant in the hills just beyond the town. While it is not necessary to get a guide, you should ask for directions. Take lots of drinking water, as the hike is steep and tough. The fantastic views from the top will be well worth it, though.
The longest seawater lagoon fringed by islands can be visited when you go sea kayaking, an activity that is possible for most reasonably fit travellers. One of the best ways to connect with the untouched environment of the Solomon Islands and not interfere with the eco-system is to paddle your own kayak.
A trip to Skull Island is a great way to go back to the olden days of hunting. You could visit the shrine built of skulls of chiefs and warriors of bygone days.
The Solomon Islands have been known for tribes that went head hunting, of whom the tribes in the western provinces were feared the most. There are still signs of this old and deadly habit on the island, in the form of shrines. Kundu point and a sacred Dog stone are located on the island. On Roviana Island at Munda there is a shrine to Ingava, the ferocious head-hunter.
Known as the most beautiful waterfalls in the entire South Pacific, Tenaru Falls will require you to travel by road and then walk through the bush of Guadalcanal on the Lengo and the Malango mountains.
The Toa Maru was a Japanese transport ship that sank off the coast of Gizo at Iron Bottom Sound during WWII. While the hull of the wreck is still intact and is lying on its starboard side with its masts attached to the hull, its superstructure has recently fallen into the sand. The Toa Maru wreck is 'one of the top five wreck dives in the world' according to Undercurrent, an American scuba newsletter.
The Solomon Islands faced Japanese aggression during WWII, putting them at the centre stage of the war. Both the Allied Forces and the Japanese suffered immense losses, and even 60 years after the war, the archipelago remains littered with wrecks, on land and undersea.
The US Memorial on Skyline Ridge, which bears a thorough description of the campaign at Guadalcanal, and the Japanese Peace Memorial, which has four white monoliths on Mt Austin, provide scenic views of Iron Bottom Sound, Florida Islands and the capital. The most recent memorial erected in 2011 is to the Coastwatchers and Scouts and can be viewed near Point Cruz. Guided tours are available for other WWII landmarks like Bloody Ridge, Red Beach and Alligator Creek.