Untouched forests, pristine white sand beaches, crystal waters filled with reefs, and diverse sea life: A South Pacific cruise offers the ultimate getaway from winters in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
South Pacific Weather
The South Pacific with its warm, humid temperatures constantly hovering in the mid-'70s ℉ (low 20s ℃) - is a great destination at any time of the year. But don't let the humidity deter you, because of the constant, brisk sea breezes the humidity really isn't a problem. The most popular cruising season in the South Pacific is the dry season from May to October when the winter trade winds that blow steadily during this time bring delightful temperatures averaging between 70-80 ℉ (21-27℃) daily.
Climates in Samoa and Tuvalu are typically warmer than those found in New Caledonia, Fiji Island, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. Climate change has made forecasting weather in the South Pacific less predictable. During the rainy season, visitors to the region can expect sunny days and rainy days from November to April. Evening rain showers are generally followed by clear sunshine.
Hurricane season is also common in the South Pacific. The mild months of November through April are designated as the official time for this activity, but the effects of global warming could change that. Melanesia has prolonged droughts, while French Polynesia experiences continuous rainfall due to El Nino, which entails warm water moving eastward towards South America.
High Season vs. Low Season in the South Pacific
The South Pacific receives the most tourism during the dry season, which coincides with the July-August summer holiday in most northern hemisphere countries. The winter holiday between December and early February is also a busy time in the South Pacific. If you are hoping to avoid the crowds or plan your trip with a bit more flexibility, consider traveling during the shoulder season in October-November and February-April.
The Dry Season (May-October)
With its photogenic colors and lack of rain, the dry season is the best time to visit South Pacific if you plan to go on hikes. There are also a few festivals throughout the islands at this time, which can be a fun treat and is something to keep an eye on. Additionally, there are a ton of activities exclusively in the dry season, like swimming with humpback whales between July and October in the waters of Tonga and spotting dolphins in Fiji in August. Although you’ll probably be paying more for lodging and seeing more crowds, if you choose to come at this time, the sunshine is worth it.
The Wet Season (November-April)
Tropical storm season (until late March)
Fewer travelers (discount pricing and more availability)
The austral summer, which lasts from November to April, is a wet season that is warmer and more humid, with torrential rainstorms interspersed with intense sunshine. October is the peak rainy season in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tahiti, while November brings the rains to Fiji and Tonga and the start of their wet season. It is recommended to avoid these months. However, cruising to the South Pacific during the rainy season is ideal if you want to save money on hotels, as it is the low season, and you are certain to encounter significantly fewer crowds. It's also worth noting that tropical storm season occurs throughout the rainy season, which lasts from November to the end of March, depending on the time of year you're traveling.
Best Time to Visit Fiji
Tropical Fiji has an almost year-round consistent climate. However, from early October to the end of November, you should expect pleasant and dry weather. These months are the best time to go with less crowd and lower fares. Between May and September, the rainy season is more likely to occur. Cruises to Fiji in October or November will be ideal if you're okay with the frequent rainstorm.
Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and Vanuatu are other South Pacific islands with pretty similar weather and seasons pattern.
Best Time to Visit Tahiti
The months of May through October are ideal for a trip to Tahiti. Tahiti's winters are less humid than the rest of the year, despite the year-round warm temperatures. Summer and winter are the only distinct seasons in Tahiti. As a general rule, the winter months are dry and pleasant, whereas the summer months, from November to April, are scorching and rainy. Even if you travel at any time of the year, hotel costs are expected to be expensive.
Best Time to Visit Papua New Guinea
May to October are the driest and most pleasant months, accompanied by festivals and celebrations. While the months of December through March are notorious for rain, April and November are the wettest. Papua New Guinea is best visited between December and March, during the rainy season. It is responsible for Papua New Guinea's year-round cover of diverse, vivid, and lush flora.
Best Time to Visit Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Aitutaki)
There is little rain in Rarotonga during the winter months. The water temperature is still comfortable. The midday temps are consistently pleasant, with much less humidity. Evenings will be chilly, so bring along a few extra layers of clothing to keep warm. The best time to visit Cook Islands combined with New Zealand is between April and May and September and October.
Best Time to Visit South Pacific for Trekking
While the coastal temperatures remain balmy, remember that temperatures drop as you climb in elevation. If you're planning an excursion up into the mountains, be prepared for chillier temperatures. It's recommended that you travel during the dry season to avoid the rain. The advantage of hiking in the wet season is that the waterfalls are considerably more defined, offering great photo opportunities.
Best Time to Visit South Pacific for Snorkeling
The ideal months to enjoy snorkeling in Fiji are May through October, when the underwater visibility is over 30 meters (98 feet). The Rainbow Reef and Taveuni in the north, or Kadavu in the south, have Fiji's legendary soft coral beauty. The Solomon Islands have beautiful lagoon-enclosed coral reefs and gardens, as well as layers of World War II wrecks and good visibility year-round, making them ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.