By the time the end of winter is in sight, we are over the cold, damp weather. Our spirits lift when we see the first signs of Spring, however our Spring weather can be changeable and lying on a beach seems like a distant dream. BUT it doesn’t have to be. Welcome the change in season with a break to one of the beautiful, warm tropical islands that are only a short 3 to 4 hour flight from New Zealand.
Fine Tip: Our Top Four Beach Holiday Islands
Four islands that I recommend you consider all meet the "fly and flop" criteria of a beach holiday. And holiday destination has its unique charm.
Rarotonga with its white coral sandy beaches, crystal clear water, beautiful lagoons, warm summer breeze, sailing, snorkeling, diving and fishing is a tropical paradise. The environment is special and the local people are warm and welcoming. With the close connection with New Zealand, everyone speaks English and there is no drama with calculating exchange rates because the New Zealand dollar is accepted as local currency.
I was lucky enough to live in Rarotonga for three years with my family when I was the Air New Zealand Manager for the Cook Islands. One of our Fine Travel Consultants, Kimberlee also made Rarotonga her home for a few months. After living as a local, she is in a unique position to tailor your Spring Break to your requirements, and she can also suggest you try things that you may not read about in the normal holiday flyers.
If you want to get away from it all, then a short flight to Aitutaki to the Pacific Resort is the ultimate luxury Robinson Crusoe experience.
One little known fact about "Raro" is that there are beautiful trecks through the island. Spring is a great time to visit because the local plants like the Frangapani, Gardenias and Flame trees are in full bloom. For avid gardeners there is a flower festival in October, so that may be an ideal time for you to visit.
Fiji is one of the most popular destinations for New Zealanders looking for a South Pacific getaway. The short direct flight (from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch) makes it a particularly quick and easy holiday destination. Whether you’re after stunning beaches or exceptional golfing, you can find what you’re looking for on one of the many Fijian Islands.
If you have a little more time, then consider exploring the Coral Coast or take a boat (or helicopter – great for flight connections) trip to Vomo, a luxurious private island with soft, sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Regardless of where you stay in Fiji, you’ll find a retreat – a place to unwind, relax, and soak up some sun.
Another of my top picks in the Pacific is New Caledonia. It is like visiting the South of France without the long plane ride. This Pacific Island destination has gentle trade winds, clear waters, sunny beaches and - perhaps most striking - distinctly French flair.
Experience French living in just a few hours. You can hear the language, experience café style dining, shop in picturesque markets, savor baguettes (with cheeses and ham) and, of course, enjoy the exquisite French wine. A great option to consider is hiring a holiday apartment. Not only do you have more room, you can enjoy sampling food from the local markets.
I would also highly recommend a few days stay at the Isle of Pines - a classic "fly and flop" spot but with the French ambiance. Accommodation options range from the Five Star Sofitel Resort to very good quality three and four star hotels.
The next island getaway growing in popularity is Samoa.
Aggie Gray’s Beach Resort and Spa is the epitome of relaxation. You can view the sweeping lagoon and enjoy the pool or white sandy beaches. Try golfing at the Penina Golf Course or be pampered at the Manaia Polynesian Spa. If you are looking for a distinctly romantic getaway, then try the Sinalea Reef Resort and Spa. This small boutique hotel is perfect for a couple’s getaway. Take in the lush tropical gardens, listen to the ocean lap on the sandy beaches, and enjoy the fine cuisine and renowned bars. This is the place to do as much or as little as you wish.
Those are a four of my top picks for the spring. Wherever you go to escape the last of winter, I hope you enjoy your little bit of paradise!