Pacific — Attractions
There are so many varied attractions in the Pacific Islands, besides the ocean and the beaches, that it is difficult to cover all of them here. With thousands of islands to choose from, there are so many things for visitors to enjoy. Although most of the islands do not have a long human history, the locals are extremely proud of their culture and heritage, and take every opportunity to showcase them both. There are also many amazing natural wonders to explore and enjoy among the Pacific Islands.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
The best place to begin a lesson about Hawaiian culture, art, and history is at the Bishop Museum. It was founded in 1889 by Charles Bishop in honor of his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last of the Hawaiian royal family, the Kamehameha. The museum showcases the Princess’s heirlooms and many artifacts and photographs depicting that history of Hawaii and its people. The museum also has a large natural history collection, where visitors can witness the diversity of Hawaii’s animal, marine, and plant life.
Address: 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817, Hawaii
No visit to Hawaii would be complete without visiting Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the US Navy in 1941. Many lives were lost during the attack, and the numerous memorials here commemorate the bloody event. The USS Arizona Memorial should be the starting point of a visit here, followed by the USS Bowfin submarine, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Address: Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii
Robert Wan Pearl Museum
The Pacific island of Tahiti is famous for its black pearls, and the Robert Wan Pearl Museum in Papeete is the perfect place to learn all about the trade. Wan, of Chinese descent, grew up in Tahiti and established the now world-famous Tahiti pearl industry. The museum documents how pearls are cultivated and explains why Tahitian pearls are so beautiful. The world’s largest round Tahitian pearl can be seen here.
Address: BP 850 Boulevard Pomare (front of Paofai Garden and near the Temple of Paofai), Papeete, Tahiti
Those looking to learn about the history of Fiji should head to the Fiji Museum in Suva. Located in the middle of the beautiful botanical gardens, it showcases the history, art, and culture of Fiji and a remarkable collection of Fijian artifacts – some of which date back 3,700 years. The museum gift shop is also a great place to pick up some good quality souvenirs and Fijian handicrafts.
Address: Cokobau Road, Suva, Fiji
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Those who grew up with Stevenson’s book Treasure Island should not miss the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and tomb in Samoa. Stevenson moved to Samoa in 1890 and established an estate called Vailima. The museum is housed in the home that Stevenson built here. Energetic visitors can take a 30-minute/one hour hike up Mount Vaea to Stevenson’s tomb. He died in Vailima (Samoa) in 1894, but is buried here. The hike up the mountains is not too strenuous but best tackled during the early morning hours when it is not too hot.
Address: Vailima, Cross Island Road, three miles from Apia, Samoa
The Alofaaga Blowholes are a popular and fun natural attraction in Soma. They must be visited during high tide, when the water gets forced through the natural tunnels and blown high into the sky. Visitors can feel the amazing power of the ocean and try in vain not to get wet!
Address: Near Taga Village, southwest of Salelologo Wharf, Samoa
The French artist Paul Gaugin came to Tahiti in 1891 and stayed for four years. Many of his famous paintings were drawn during his time on the island and depict everyday life in Tahiti. The museum houses a nice collection of Gaugin’s original sculptures, engravings, and woodcarvings. It also tells the stories of the other Gaugin masterpieces around the world. The gift shop sells some excellent reproductions of Gaugin’s work.
Address: near Mataiea, 32 miles west of Papeete, Tahiti
Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon
The Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon is an important historic site in Tonga. Estimated to date back to 1,200 AD, the trilithon (an arch with two vertical posts and a horizontal top) is thought to have been the entrance to a ruined royal palace. An ancient king’s throne can still be seen, and even sat on.
Address: Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon national historical reserve, Tongatapu Island, Tonga