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Islandliving solomon from the editor

SUMMER 2016/17 | ISSUE 18

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ext issue, we will be celebrating four years of Pacific Island Living. We started this magazine for Pacific people – to find, review and recommend things to see and do, and ultimately, buy. We are proudly an aspirational magazine, we want our readers to sit back and indulge just as much as we want to tell the world how great the Pacific really is. From Georgie Gordon’s health and beauty columns, to Carolyn Ernst’s gardening tips, we hope you agree Pacific Island Living has something for everyone. In four years our market has grown from Vanuatu and Nauru Airlines to cover most of the Pacific. We’re particularly proud of our market share in Fiji and the Solomon Islands as well as our distribution in Australia through Qantas Club lounges. As I write this column I’m in Fiji, having just flown in from Vanuatu. Next month it will be Nauru then the Sollies. Pacific Island Living truly is a Pacific magazine and we’re so pleased you have enjoyed it and helped its growth over the last four years. Please do keep in touch via our website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter. Happy reading. Tiffany Carroll

Day Trips

BONEGI BEACH

Cafe Guide LIME LOUNGE + COFFEE BAR

Pacific Pulse

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@PacIsLiving

and Instagram at instagram.com/pacisliving or read this and all our magazines online at www.pacific-island-living. com Cover images - Fiji Island Living courtesy Adrenalin Fiji; Solomon Island Living, by David Kirkland; Nauru Airlines Cover courtesy Nautilus Resort, Kosrae; Vanuatu cover courtesy Pavol Stranák.

NEWS+VIEWS RESORTS+REAL ESTATE

Copyright: All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. Articles express the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Nauru Airlines, Tourism Fiji, Vanuatu Tourism Office or Pacific Island Living.

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FOOD+HEALTH+MORE

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elcome to the Solomon Islands – the hapi isles. With so much to see and do, the Solomons offers something for everyone. Chances are, you’ll be exploring many of our fantastic islands without interference from other tourists, but not for much longer as our arrival numbers continue to climb. We think the Solomons has the best diving in the Pacific,

you can read about it in this issue of Solomon Island Living. We also have a unique and culturally diverse populace and certainly plenty of paths less travelled. So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore these magical islands and please do keep in touch with us by posting your holiday pictures on our facebook and Instagram pages. Search for Pacific Island Living and you’ll join over 85,000 other followers or find us at @pacisliving

Happy travels

COVER PICTURE: FIONA MARSTON. THIS PAGE: SIVB.

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beach break

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Bonegi Beach Danielle Deihm overcomes an entirely understandale fear of crocodiles to take in the underwater wonders of Bonegi Beach and in the process makes new friends of many nationalities at a sausage sizzle.

PICTURES: Fiona Marston.

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he sights, sounds and characters of a busy Saturday morning in downtown Honiara encapsulate in a single snapshot what it is I love about travel. A continuous parade of buses and brightly coloured vans whizz past piled high with pikininis and their mamas heading off to the central market. People mill around outside shops chatting animatedly while they chew their morning betel nut before spitting the remnants onto the ground, adding to the sea of bright red splodges. Schoolgirls giggle in groups as they shuffle past me, making my teenage son blush and turn a slight rosy hew as he quickly glances at his feet. Every second person is on their mobile phone, making plans and catching up on the latest news around town. It’s true, I could stay all day and watch the goings on in this buzzy place but I am leaving it all behind for a while and finding a slower pace just a little further out of town. Bonegi I and II seem to be the place of many names depending on who you talk to, locals call it Mbonege, divers seem to know it as B1 and B2 and the more casual snorkeling novices, like myself just say Bonegi Beach. Either way I was certainly looking forward to my first swim in the Hapi Isles just a short but bumpy drive west of the capital, through the White River region. As with many beaches of the Pacific

Islands a small entry fee is payable upon arrival to the family who own the land and maintain the beach. In a complex yet simple system the size of your truck seems to determine what you pay but that also seems to be slightly interchangeable for snorkelers, divers and taxis. I could almost feel the warm sun on my skin and the tropical breeze in my hair until my ears pricked up at the overly casual mention of just one word, crocodiles! Apparently after heavy rain they like to pay a visit to the local waterways and beaches, but the owner of this stretch of beach reassures me that his beach doesn’t get them. ‘Yes, the beaches this side and that side’ he persuades waving his arms around, ‘but not mine, we keep them away’ he finishes with a sweet gappy grin. I am certainly less than convinced especially with my two children chomping at the bit to get their swimmers on but I decide to throw the ridiculous amount of caution I am known for back home out the window and hope the travel gods have got my back. As far as white sandy beaches go Guadalcanal isn’t really known for them but when it comes to coves, war relics and hidden treasures you will find them dotted all over the place,

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A A small small entrance entrance fee fee is is rewarded rewarded with with fantastic fantastic snorkelling, snorkelling, aa walk walk down down memory memory lane, lane, meeting meeting new new friends friends and and enjoying enjoying aa perfect perfect

not to mention the plethora of colourful marine life that draws in divers from all over the world. I love to experience new adventures with my family but when it comes to exploring the deep blue I’ll admit I am a big chicken so rarely get to encounter life under the surface. Countless ships, planes and tanks lay where they fell decades ago during the War of the Pacific and with so many of them resting just metres from the shoreline this unique stretch of coastline has become like a window into history accessible to all. The decaying twist of rusting metal partially submerged by the morning tide gives this place an eerie beauty and you can’t help but think about what went on here all those years ago. What was once a large Japanese ship no doubt full of young eager troops is now home to almost every tropical fish species imaginable and we are lucky to have this grand old relic all to ourselves. I am proud to say that I overcame my fear of what lies below and even

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managed to forget about the crocodile situation long enough to enjoy the underwater garden that has encased the ship over its time sitting in the shallows. Yes, it’s true I used a pool noodle to keep myself afloat and every time something touched my leg I practically walked on water but I did it, I snorkeled in the Solomon Islands! As quite often happens when you are travelling you get chatting to other travellers as you exchange stories, tips and advice. That is exactly how we found ourselves at Bonegi in the first place when we were lucky enough to be invited to tag along with a large group of new friends from all over the world now living in Honiara. After a morning spent wandering along the shoreline, exploring the wreck and getting to know each other we had worked up quiet an island-sized appetite. As we sat together under the shade of a little thatched hut we cracked open fresh coconuts and in true Australian style fired up the barbecue. The irresistible smell


day just outside of Honiara in the Hapi Isles.

of sausages cooking seemed to lure more and more people to our little beach picnic and pretty soon we had friends from the United States, Tonga, New Zealand, Samoa, The United Kingdom and Canada all coming together for a traditional Aussie lunch on a beach far from home. As the day rolled by there was more snorkeling, more swimming, some fun on the beach and to my relief, still no crocodiles! Bonegi is the perfect place to reflect on days gone by and become immersed in a more laid-back version of Honiara. The people who call the outer villages home take great pride in showcasing their little patch of paradise and sharing it with divers, snorkelers, families and history buffs. It’s the type of place I found myself happy just to sit and watch old friends and new come together to share a meal, have a laugh and relax in the sun. On our way home we stopped to share our food with some of the locals and once again our global beach barbecue added some more new friends to the mix.

Fact ďŹ le Bonegi Beach I and II are approximately a 30-minute drive West of Downtown Honiara. Access is recommended by 4WD. Entry fees start at SBD$30 per person. Make sure you bring your snorkeling gear, sun protection and camera. Many of the battlefield tours can be organised to stop at Bonegi, for more information contact: Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau Phone - (677) 23444 Email - info@sivb.com.sb

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Eating Out In Honiara

Whether holidaying in Honiara, travelling for business or new to Solomon Islands, finding good places to eat out can be tricky if you’re not a local. Here are our top two picks. By Bronwyn Norris.

The Coffee Bar

This funky hipster café is the newest edition to Honiara’s dining scene. Located at Ranadi in the ANZ building, walking into this café it’s as though you have stepped into a trendy cafe in any major city around the world. Air conditioned with an industrial theme, The Coffee Bar provides the perfect opportunity to escape the heat in relaxed retro surrounds. Offering excellent all-day breakfast options including a bacon and egg muffin or delicious scrambled eggs there is something for everyone. Whether you are chasing a double expresso, latte or a short black, The Coffee Bar can cater for your desires serving Espresso De Manfredi Coffee the well trained staff are able to make it to your tastes. Located en route to the airport this is an excellent café to stop at on arrival or before departure and enjoy one of their signature burgers, delicious salads or a fresh wrap or a delicious coffee and cake to freshen after your arrival. Experience one of the gourmet cakes, slices and treats on display with a refreshing smoothie or iced coffee and enjoy a relaxing break from Honiara in the café “where time stops for coffee”. Offering catering and unique cakes for special orders, this café can make your party a breeze. The Coffee Bar is open Monday to Friday 7am – 4pm and Saturday 7am – 2.30pm. They are closed on Sundays. Contact the café on 30 300

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Lime Lounge

Escape the bustle of Point Cruz traffic and relax in this cool green oasis. One of the oldest established cafés in Honiara the Lime Lounge, underwent a change in management in 2015. The all-day breakfast menu is extensive with options of crepes, eggs Benedict to fresh fruit salad. Bright decor and free wifi complement the variety of salads, burgers, sandwiches, sushi and specials. There are menu options for most dietary needs including gluten free. Relax in the cool atmosphere and enjoy a smoothy, a fresh coconut, or order a macchiato, long black or an espresso to get your coffee fix. Serving Merlo coffee, this café has been a long-standing favourite among the local expat community. Utilising local ingredients the Lime Lounge creates soups and lunch specials daily including a delicious pumpkin soup. Entertaining? The Lime Lounge can cater for your event or party including producing special cakes tailored to your needs. A second venue is located at Ranadi called Lime Lite to offer quick lunch options on the other side of town. Open 7 days from 7am - 4pm. Contact the cafe on 23064. 


Your guide to the Hapi Isles d do... n a e e s o t what

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rade the city life for a few days for a slower pace to enjoy the sea breeze under a coconut tree. Whether you have an interest in WWII, scuba diving, experiencing a new culture or just want to relax, Solomon Islands has a lot to offer even for a short break. This unique country is known as the Hapi Isles and this is immediately evident when you meet any local Solomon Islander. From the happy smiles to the friendly ‘hello’ or ‘morning morning’, you will feel welcome in this special Melanesian culture. If this is your first visit to the Solomon Islands, here are some tips on what there is to do in the capital. Be sure to pack your snorkel gear, sun glasses, swimwear and if you are more adventurous good hiking shoes to enjoy Honiara and all it has to offer.

Where are the Solomons?

An archipelago of 992 islands, we are located in the South Pacific, north-east of Australia between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Vanuatu.

People & Culture

Solomon Islanders are a blend of mainly Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian people with a population of around 550,000. Our cultural values stem back thousands of years and are very much linked to our land and surrounding seas. Most of the population still live a subsistence lifestyle where family and village community are the centre of social life.

Climate

Tropical. The drier and cooler months are April to October. It’s warmer and more humid from November to March. Average day time temperature around 28c.

Honiara Central Market

The Honiara Central Market is the hub for shopping especially organically grown produce. Fishermen land their banana boats and unload large eskies full of freshly caught fish, squid and lobsters. Enjoy a vast array of tropical fruits particularly bananas, pineapples and papaya grown in a perfect Pacific climate full of flavour that is unbeatable elsewhere in the world. Cluttering the entrance to the market on a Saturday morning you will find many exotic varieties of freshly cut flowers at unbelievably cheap prices. sarongs, (locally known as lava lavas) tie-dyed and stencil-printed make a great present for family and friends. Locally crafted jewellery including

necklaces, earrings, bangles and traditional shell money can be purchased for very reasonable prices.

Diving & Snorkelling

Warm water coupled with wrecks make the Solomon Islands a diver’s dream. The best part is you don’t need to be in a boat for hours to dive a wreck and explore amazing sea-life, it is often within a short swim from shore. A 10-minute drive from Honiara are two well known dive spots – the Japanese transport ship wrecks at Bonegi I – Hirokawu Miru, and Bonegi II – Kinugawa Maru. The best part about these dive spots is they are excellent for snorkellers as well with a diverse array of sea-life visible through crystal waters. There is a small custom fee to access the beach and for diving, but enjoying a private beach, the coral reefs and beautiful scenery surrounded by coconut trees is worth it. For more dive information and gear hire contact Neil from Tulagi Dive at dive@tulagidive.com .

Nggela (Florida) Islands

Escape the capital and cross the horizon to the islands in the distance. A two-hour boat ride will take you from Honiara to the Nggela islands and more amazing dives. If you want history visit the old capital Tulagi and see the foundations of the old British residence which has a sensational view of the surrounding islands. Have lunch or stay at Raider’s Resort, which has a private beach and offers trips to neighbouring islands and escorted dive spots. Visit a local communityrun resort in the Nggelas and enjoy excellent snorkelling or relax in a hammock just a few steps from the water. If you are chasing dolphins or a volcanic trek then Savo Island is the place to visit. No matter the resort or island you visit you are guaranteed to have access to an uncrowded beach, great snorkelling and swimming in the warm waters and true relaxation opportunities to take in the island time!.

Museum & Art Gallery

Visit the National Museum for a taste of Solomon Islands culture, it is located in the central part of town and close to most of the main hotels. Solomon Islanders posses many talents particularly in the arts and like many in the Pacific, are blessed with melodic voices and Melanesian island rhythm. From knitting, tie-dying and basket weaving to crafting jewellery from shells or paper, there are beautiful items to purchase to remember your time in the ‘Hapi Isles’. Taking inspiration from the sea, Solomon Islanders craft and carve

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Relax at a beach

The tropical warm waters are just a short drive away offering a choice of pebble, coral, or fine sand beaches. The water is crystal clear and tepid in temperature. Drop into the ocean from a rope swing at Kakambona beach, a coconut-tree lined pebble beach. A local favourite is Turtle beach. Relax in the shade and shelter from the sun in little leaf huts or under the canopy of trees just metres from the beach. Take a 30-minute drive to a small Catholic convent at Visale where a picturesque bay with calm waters offers snorkelling and a coral beach. Most beaches close to Honiara have signs and a small access fee (custom fee) payable to enter. Try a local roadside BBQ for a great picnic lunch.

Fishing

Deep tropical waters provide the perfect environment for an abundance of fish. If you’re an angler but don’t have time to visit the provinces then go on a fishing charter. Henk from Ripples can organise a charter for you. The charter can be tailored to your personal requirements if you

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should want to stop at an island for a swim or snorkel. Ripples’ boat comfortably seats 12 adults and is reasonable in price. Contact Henk on ripplesfreedom@hotmail.com to arrange a charter.

Transport

Taxis are widely available in Honiara. While some have meters, it is advisable to set the price prior to commencing your trip. Ask at your accommodation reception desk prior for an estimate on trip prices. Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau staff can also assist – contact them for more information. Buses generally operate along the main East-West corridor from King George School at the eastern end to Rove and White River to the west. Services also operate inland to up to Naha. Less frequent routes also extend further afield. Rental cars are also available. Solomon Airlines flies to 22 domestic ports from Honiara. There are regular shipping services to many parts of the Solomons from Honiara.

Business Hours

Most shops in town open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday and until noon on Saturday.

Language

English is the official language of the Solomons, but Pijin is spoken by about half the population. In the early 1900s, copra plantations were established, the labourers employed on them had also worked in Queensland where they had used pidgin English. The local variety stabilised early and several religious missions adopted it for use. 

PICTURE: Honiara Harbour by Craig Osment.

amazing bowls, statues and wall hangings. The carvers use several types of wood including rosewood, kerosene wood and queen and king ebony. They delicately set shell inlay for decoration to create beautiful and practical artwork. You can purchase directly from the carver at the Art Gallery best done during the week as many locals attend church on the weekends. However if you are visiting during the last weekend in the month, Sunday is ‘Art in the Park’ held at Rove playgrounds.


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Pacific Island Living Issue 18 Solomons Edition