Many travelers go to the South Pacific and stay in a single resort, but the region also lends itself to a journey. This itinerary lets you follow in the footsteps of Hideaway Report editors. If you wish to spend less time, Fiji and Vanuatu make a stellar itinerary on their own.
Keep in mind that while Fiji and Australia both have well-developed tourism infrastructures, Vanuatu receives far fewer visitors, so its facilities tend to be more rustic; those unwilling to forgo air-conditioning and transfers in luxury vehicles should give the archipelago a pass.
Our itineraries are for your inspiration. Please contact a travel advisor to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.
Arrive early in the morning into Nadi, Fiji.
Transfer two hours and 15 minutes by car or 20 minutes by charter flight to Nanuku, an Auberge resort on the south coast of Fiji’s main island.
Take the rest of the day to settle in, relax by the pool, beachcomb and perhaps enjoy a spa treatment.
Relax at Nanuku and explore the surrounding area. Hike to a nearby waterfall, kayak through the mangroves behind the resort, visit a vegetable market and crab farm, snorkel along the coral garden just off the beach, go deep-sea fishing or have a gourmet picnic on Nanuku’s 2-acre private island.
The resort also offers cooking classes, workshops on Fijian crafts, yoga and shopping excursions to a nearby small town. More adventurous sorts can go whitewater rafting or sandboarding in Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.
This exclusive sanctuary is set on a remote 3,460-acre private island. The 25 individually designed villas reflect the environment and Fijian culture and occupy a variety of settings, some with a private beach.
Set on a remote 2,200-acre private island, this property is an extraordinary family-friendly resort.
This relaxing tropical outpost is set along a perfect white-sand beach.
Spend this time on white beaches surrounded by jewel-toned seas, or on snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, fishing or nature walks. Each resort has its own set of activities. The Wakaya Club has a David Niven Croquet Court and nine holes of golf winding through a coconut plantation; Yasawa offers excursions to the Blue Lagoon Caves, seen in the 1980 Brooke Shields film; and Laucala has a David McLay Kidd-designed championship golf course and a two-person submarine. Each resort also offers beach picnics and memorable cultural experiences.
Transfer to Suva airport on the main island. Fly nonstop for two hours, 45 minutes to Port Vila, Vanuatu. (Flights are not daily.)
It’s possible to take a commercial flight from Port Vila on to Espiritu Santo, followed by a 30-minute boat transfer to Ratua Private Island. But to avoid a layover in Port Vila’s airport, which has limited services, we recommend chartering Ratua’s small plane and flying directly from Port Vila to the island’s airstrip.
Check into a villa, preferably in West Point Village (Buffalo Villa and Safari Tent not recommended). Relax on your private stretch of beach and have dinner alfresco overlooking the water.
Aside from enjoying treatments in the gorgeous overwater spa and simply relaxing, you can participate in an array of activities and excursions. The snorkeling right off the pier is sensational. Take a kayak for a spin, or go paddle-boarding to spot sea turtles passing through the channel. Try horseback riding around the island and then into the sea.
Picnic on a private island nearby, or go farther afield to snorkel Million Dollar Point, where the U.S. military dumped a huge amount of equipment at the end of World War II. Our editor also recommends taking advantage of Ratua’s private plane to make excursions elsewhere in Vanuatu. Visit Tanna Island to see its active volcano, Ambrym Island for its unique sand drawings and woodcarvings, Maewo Island for its magnificent waterfalls and Malakula Island, home to several former cannibal sites.
We stayed four nights at Ratua Private Island, but wished it had been longer — the lack of televisions, in-room Wi-Fi and air-conditioning notwithstanding.
With its endlessly scenic harbor, Sydney represents one of the great collaborations between man and nature, and our editor strongly recommends a Sydney Harbour cruise. Captain Cook Cruises has regular and relatively inexpensive departures, but for something more exclusive, book a place on the 12-person yacht of Sea Sydney Cruises.
Those not afraid of heights will surely enjoy the Harbour BridgeClimb, a vertiginous walk across the arc of the steel bridge crossing the harbor. For something more down to earth, stroll instead in the lovely Royal Botanic Gardens.
Floatplanes from Rose Bay offer scenic flights around the harbor. They will also transfer you to Jonah’s in Palm Beach for lunch. Those with more time can make an evening of it and stay overnight.
Depart on a 14-hour flight to Los Angeles. Cross the international dateline and arrive in the early afternoon of the same day.
Contact a travel advisor to book your custom itinerary. Fill out the form or call (630) 734-4610.