The Solomon Islands are accessible by both sea and air. Solomon Airlines has a series of flights, and many tour operators offer domestic cruises if you are interested in some island hopping. The roads are not in very good condition, so travelling within the islands can be hard at times. Local transportation facilities are also sometimes unreliable, but using them will get you to mix with the locals. Solomon Islands are in a much more remote part of Melanesia and receive fewer tourists, which makes it easier for travellers to experience the local culture, tradition and history.
The people of the Solomon Islands are a friendly lot and will be more than happy to help you in making your vacation special.
This Solomon Islands transportation guide provides general information on travelling within the Solomon Islands. Be sure to check out the Solomon Islands tours available for getting around the islands. The Solomon Island country travel guide is also a useful tool for planning a vacation.
Honiara International Airport is located at Henderson, 11 km (7 ml) east of Honiara. The airport is small, but there are taxis, local car rental agencies available to deliver cars, ATM and facilities for foreign exchange. Conveniently located within the departure lounge at the Honiara International Airport is Solomon Islands Terminal Services. They are on standby to assist with transfers to hotels, airport baggage storage, transfers to domestic flights and cargo handling.
The main reason why so few tourists visit the Solomon Islands is the lack of any direct flights. The state-owned Solomon Airlines ( www.flysolomons.com ) is proud to offers flights four times a week from Brisbane in Australia, with their new AIRBUS A320 starting August 2011 and has regular flights from several other South Pacific countries. Services from Fiji use a code-sharing agreement with Air Pacific. Currently Pacific Blue also flys from Brisbane on Tuesday and Thursday and can be booked on www.flypacificblue.com The best way to reach the Solomon Islands from North America is via Fiji. Coming from Europe, you have a choice transiting via Australia or Fiji. Air Niugini offers flights once a week from Port Moresby.
If you are a Round-the-World traveler coming from North America, Europe or Asia, you can pick up your regional passes from your travel agent. You should be aware that the departure tax is now included in the ticket cost.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
If you have more time, you can arrive by sea. Cruise ships visit Honiara occasionally or you can get a lift on a yacht from Australia, New Zealand or the West Coast of the US, which is a cheaper option.
Although many people travel from Papua New Guinea’s southern island, Bougainville, to the Western Province of Solomon Islands by boat, it is an illegal method as authorities are not stationed there. Locals habitually travel between Shortland Islands in the Solomons and Bougainville.
One of the best ways to get around Solomon Islands is by air. Since most airplanes fly at 2000 m (6500 ft), the views are spectacular. Solomon Airlines offers services to 20 airfields in various provinces. All flights have a baggage limit of 16 kg (35 lbs). It is good to book in advance, as most domestic flights are heavily booked. Online ticketing is available on www.flysolomons.com
While transport by sea is the local way, it can be unpredictable and in most cases there are no timetables. It is however, the most economical and interesting way to travel between the islands. There is a boat service between Honiara and Auki and Honiara and Gizo which is frequent and regular. Most of the Solomon’s other islands are also well connected by boat. Do keep in mind that since the fares are quite low, services are also quite basic. Choose from large, passenger-carrying vessels to cargo boats and copras that usually have some space for passengers as well. Check fares before travelling as they vary quite a bit.
Cars can be rented mainly in Honiara and one vehicle in Gizo, but they are a little more expensive than Australia. Taxis are a better way to travel in the city for short stays. Local taxis do not have meters and can be flagged in the street or booked in advance. They calculate the fare by the distance and currently charge $10 SBD per kilometer off the odometer. Honiara also has minibuses, which are a cheap and reliable way to travel in Solomon Islands. The fare is currently $3 SBD per fare whether you go one stop or 20.