Melanesia

Best Time: May Ð October Read More

Budget: Expensive

"The Land of Frizzy Hair and Rich Culture"

Melanesia Tourism

A sub-region of Oceania nestled between southwestern part of the Pacific and the Arafura Sea, Melanesia is a region comprising of several small islands including Solomon Island, Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The region is a treasure trove of natureÕs wonders blessed with white sandy beaches, coral reefs, mesmerizing waterfalls, and exquisite birdlife. In addition, the region is known for its remarkable beach resorts, thrilling snorkelling and diving experience and intriguing history and culture. Covering a vast area of approximately 385,000 square mile, Melanesia is a destination worth exploring.

Melanesia Photos

Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Rich culture. Beautiful sandy beaches. Cascading waterfalls. Exquisite wildlife. Fascinating past and culture. NatureÕs beauty. Water sports.

What's Not So Great?

Expensive. Lots of mosquitoes and insects. Too much rain.

For Whom?

Those with a knack for beautiful beaches. Handicraft lovers. Architecture buffs and history lovers. People who enjoy art and culture. Nature buffs. Wildlife lovers.

Details of Melanesia

About places in Melanesia

Melanesia is a group of many small island nations inhabiting variety of tribes and cultures along with nature that is mostly defined by high volcanic islands and thick tropical rainforest. Solomon Island, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea are some of the major countries of the region offering fascinating experiences for its visitors. Where Fiji is home to plenty of amazing resorts, coral reefs and beaches, Solomon Islands features major Second World War Battle site, Vanuatu offers amazing treks, waterfalls, cultural villages, deserted beaches and pacificÕs largest music event. Discover the vibrant and colourful culture of Papua New Guinea along with its rich past.

Stay Option in Melanesia

Almost all the island countries of the region offers plenty of accommodation options. Tourists will find range of luxury hotels along with mid rage and budget hotels in the region. Homestays, lodges and guesthouses are clean and comfortable with mostly available at affordable price however, range varies depending upon the facilities offered. Youth hostels are available in the major cities and offer an affordable option for backpackers. One can also rent studio apartments or bungalows, if planning a long visit, but once again, price depends upon the location and facilities offered.

Food in Melanesia

The Melanesian countries have many core ingredients in common but each one has its own speciality. The sago palm is a significant part of the food in the lowland areas of Melanesia. The starch obtained from the processing of the palm is used to make pancakes or dumplings and has appearance of a freshly cooked, soft tortilla. As we go higher in altitude, yams, taro, kaukau are the staple diet along with pork, which serves as a ceremonial food. Fish and range of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables also forms integral part of the meals. Mumu is a local speciality of Papua New Guinea. Kava is the national drink of Vanuatu that is drunk ritually during at sundown.

Culture, Religion & Language of Melanesia

Dance and music holds a great significance in the culture of the region with drums being universal in the musical traditions. In many societies, the dances for men and women are different. In many societies in Melanesia, it is common to find men and women living in separate houses. Tatting is hugely practiced throughout Oceania. Christianity is the main religion practiced through the Melanesian region along with plenty of active missionaries. Several native religions are also followed by many groups but in adapted forms. There are many rites and rituals attached to these native religions; however some being quite extreme are illegal. Some of the country members of the region have many official languages such as Papua New Guinea has three official languages namely English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu whereas the island of New Guinea alone is home to more than one thousand languages. However, English is understood well in most of the region, especially around tourist spots.

Tips for visiting Melanesia

Carry along the medication for minor ailments like colds, fevers and stomach upsets. Make sure to carry mosquito and insect repellents. A pair of sunglasses, sun screen lotion, brimmed hats, toiletries, flashlights and spare batteries. Carry light clothes such as shorts, skirts, shirts and dresses for pleasant days of summer, spring and autumn. For winters, pack your warm sweaters, coats, hats and gloves, as it gets quite chilly. Make sure to pack your beachwear, formal clothes for dining or entertainment, a comfortable pair of shoes. Avoid travelling alone at night, especially in the not so crowded areas.

Shopping in Melanesia

The Melanesia region is known for its extensive range of handicrafts in both traditional and contemporary styles, although the speciality of each country member may differ. Fiji is known for its beautiful pottery work, woodcarving with inlay of shell and bone, baskets, mats and hats woven from pandanus leaves in various styles and colours. In Papua New Guinea a wide range of crafts are made including ceremonial masks, bows and arrows, bone and stone jewellery, and baskets and mats woven from grass. Tourists can buy all these products from shops and crafts centres in the city shopping districts but the best deals are available when directly bought from villagers. Items such as statues made by the tribes of Angoram and the Sepik region along with crocodile carvings from the Trobriands are among other special souvenirs to take back home.

Festivals in Melanesia

The Melanesian countries offer plenty of festivals throughout the year with each country offering some unique festivals of their own. In Fiji, there are the hibiscus Festival, The Sugar Festival and The Bula festival whereas in Papua New Guinea, the Goroka Show and the Mt Hagen Show are celebrated with great fervour. Naghol Land Diving Festival is festival exclusive to Vanuatu. The Melanesia Festival of Arts and Culture is a two-week long event that has been taking place since past four years to promote the Melanesian cultures.

Hygiene in Melanesia

Being a tropical region, the problem of heat, rain, mosquitoes and insects is ever-present. If travelling to the low-lying areas, make sure to get a vaccination for malaria, which is native to the region. Apart from that, most part of the region is quite healthy and offers decent health care and hygiene. Tap water is not fit for drinking, so always use bottled water or sterilised water.

Customs of Melanesia

The way of greeting in the region is quite varied. Shaking hand is acceptable almost everywhere, but things may be a little different in remote areas. In some isolated villages, interaction between men and women is limited. The dressing differs drastically in the region depending upon area to area. As per the traditional way, men in the remote areas of New Guinea usually go naked with only sheath covering their private parts whereas women usually do not cover the upper half of their body. However, for most of the parts of the region, western-style clothes are common i.e. shorts or long trousers and shirts for men and skirts made from handmade fibre for women. All-purpose laplap (a piece of cloth almost like sarong) is a standard unisex item and common day-to-day wear. Tipping in the region is not really expected or customary. If you are happy with the service in a restaurant or hotel, 5-10% of the bill amount as per choice is sufficient.
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