The Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands belong geographically to Melanesia and comprise 992 islands in the Pacific, of which only 147 are inhabited. They are located north-east of Australia, just between Papua New Guinea to the West and Vanuato to the South-East.
The archipelago covers an area of 461.000 sq km (286.452 sq miles), only 24.850 sq km (10.965 sq miles) thereof is landmass. The six biggest islands are Choiseul, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malaita and Makira.
The capital of the Solomon Islands, is Honiara – located on the island Guadalcanal. Here is the only international airport (IATA code: HIR) of the country located. The City Honiara is located on the northern coast of the island of Guadalcanal and includes a sea port at Point Cruz, from which ferries depart to the various Provinces. If you speak at least a bit of English you shouldn’t encounter any bigger language barriers because nearly everybody understands English, as it is the official language in business and in school. Furthermore there are 70 local spoken languages existing, the main one is called Pigin.
He also named the Islands of Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal and San Cristobal. Finding signs of alluvial gold on Guadalcanal, Mendana believed he had found the source of King Solomon’s wealth, and consequently named the islands “The islands of Solomon”. Since then it almost seems like the time stood still. The inhabitants of the islands are still floating around with handmade dugout canoes. Fishermen are not dragging giant nets through the waters, they are still using spear guns to chaise their pray.
The water is crystal clear and filled with beautiful fish of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Colourful and untouched coral reefs seem to start directly at the line where the white sandy beaches meet the water surface. As a snorkeler or diver you will be amazed by the variety of marine life you can find here. There are still new species discovered all the time.
The main islands of the Solomons are volcanic in origin, covered with dense tropical forest with rivers and streams. They are home to many endemic flora and fauna species. Current estimates put a total of 4.500 plant species and 173 species of birds. There are also 70 species of reptiles such as crocodiles, lizards, skinks, turtles, frogs and snakes to be found in the Solomon Islands. A couple of the 20 different kinds of snakes are poisonous but rarely spotted and so no threat to humans. The country has one of the highest diversities of coral and fish species anywhere in the world making it the greatest diving destination ever, e.g. 931 species of fish and 485 species of corals in the Solomon Islands with several species which are possibly new to science and more than 100 species of corals thousands of kilometres beyond their known range.
The Solomons Islands group is one of the ‘big six’ – regions for coral reef fish species – and ranks with Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Due to its history, the Solomon Islands, especially the area around the island Guadalcanal is famously known for its wreck diving. In World War II these islands have been fought over heavily and left behind some of the greatest wrecks in the world.
Some of them can be dived and even snorkelled directly from the beach, some are lying way too deep for humans to explore but most of them somewhere in between.
Whatever attracts you more plenty of historic, rusty metal or the biggest variety of marine life on earth, we from Solomons Diving, will make sure your stay in Honiara, Solomon Islands is as pleasant and easy as possible. And of course we will get you in the water as quickly as we can, so you can convince yourself that the Solomon Islands offer without a doubt the best diving in the world!
How to get to the Solomon Islands ?
You can reach the Solomon Islands via the international airport in Honiara (IATA code: HIR) on the island Guadalcanal.
While the connection from/to Australia (Air Pacific, Pacific Blue) and New Zealand (Air Pacific) and from/to the U.S. (Air Pacific, Pacific Blue) and Canada (Air Pacific) is pretty comfortable, you have to take some efforts to get to the Solomon Islands from Europe.
Avoid booking flight packages, because providers like swoodoo.com, opodo.com, expedia.com or flights.com will offer you flights with time-killing stopovers for a price of 5.000 EUR and more.
Usually you find their connections via Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, from where you can fly to Honiara with Air Niugini.
Instead, you should arrange your own flights. You could just take any flight from Europe to Brisbane and from there directly to Honiara (Airlines: Solomon Airlines, Our Airline, Virgin – operates only destination Brisbane-Honiara and not way back).
The alternative via Brisbane costs you only about 2.000 EUR for a round trip – if you book in reasonable advance time.
The timetables of Emirates and Solomon Airlines fit best when taking off from Munich, than you would have only a reasonable 3-hour-stopover in Dubai and Brisbane.
Honiara offers a big variety of different kinds of accommodation.
Depending on what you are willing to spend you can find a basic accommodation for around 100 SBD (10 EUR / 13 AUD / 13 USD).
In case you want a little more comfort, Honiara has also a couple of high-ranking hotels where you can find a room for about 4000 SBD (420 EUR / 534 AUD / 543 USD)
You will find an up to date table of accommodation in Honiara and the surrounding provinces on the official website of the Solomon Islands’ tourist office. (www.visitsolomons.com.sb/accommodation).