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Top 5 islands for adventure seekers

CHARLIE MITCHELL
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014

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There's much more to the Pacific Islands than their swaying palms and aqua waters. Many of them are also home to spectacular diving and fishing spots, stunning golf courses and world-class surf breaks.

So if you don't want to sit by the pool all day then these five spots are for you.

1. Diving in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Vanuatu's biggest island is also big on adventure tourism, with some captivating sights for restless explorers.

The SS President Coolidge, a luxury ocean liner on the ocean floor, is one of the most famous dive sites in the world.

Due to its shallow site, easy access and high visibility, the ship is one of the most desirable recreational dive spots on the planet. The ship is largely intact, meaning divers can swim through holds and decks, look at the ornate chandeliers and statues, and even interact with jeeps and cannons that have yet to be eroded by time. Due to its shallowness, with some care divers can even swim through the site without specialised equipment.

For less intrepid divers, tours can take you to the island's renowned blue holes, which are deep, crystal clear snorkelling spots nestled in the rainforest.

If diving isn't your thing, a trek through the dense rainforest offers spectacular views. Tours will let you float down the river that snakes through the forest, where you can glide down the small waterfalls and take in the lush scenery. 

2. Whale Watching in Niue

If you plan your travel to Niue around the annual migration of the Humpback Whale, you may be lucky enough to have a once in a lifetime experience.

Niue is one of only 3 places in the world where you can snorkel alongside the gentle giants in perfect safety. The whales are unbothered by people, and come so close you can almost touch them.

If you don't want to venture into the water you can float on a raft above the whales, listening to their songs. Or you can watch them from the shore - sometimes only 50 metres from the beach.

If the whales aren't around, Niue also offers an incredibly good swimming with dolphins experience - tourists can find themselves immersed in the middle of a very large pod of dolphins, right in the open sea.

3. Surfing in Samoa

Though Hawaii is often credited as the mecca for surfers, Samoa offers a similar world-class experience for those who want to ride some powerful reef-breaks.

The two main islands of Upolu and Savaii offer a huge variety of wave types - waves like Dragon's Breath and Devil's Island are famed for their long, intense barrels, where Pudding Rock and Waterfalls offer short, sharp thrills.

With surf camps and hotels set up all along the most popular beaches, high-quality surf is always just a few footsteps away in Samoa.

The summer season is best for the experienced surfers, as swells can reach a massive three metres. The wet season offers swells at a more approachable 1.5 metres, which is better for beginner to intermediate surfers.

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4. Kayaking around Tonga

Prepare to glide through the azure waters of Ha'apai and Vava'u island groups, which are a fertile playground for anyone wishing for a leisurely kayak amongst some of the world's most beautiful surroundings.

Kayak tours can last from 5 to 13 days, and take you between the closely situated northern islands of Tonga. Dolphins, turtles, and kaleidoscopic schools of fish swim around you as you steer your craft through the warm, deep blue waters of the Pacific.

Stop off at picturesque landscapes like the enormous Swallows Cave, snorkel among the colourful coral reefs, or lounge on the quiet, pristine beaches on the shores of the islands - it'll make the hours of paddling worth it.

5. Fishing in Tonga, Niue, and Vanuatu

The Pacific Islands is home to great game fishing, with some real monsters roaming the seas just a short boat trip away.

The cavernous Tonga Trench sustains huge game fish like Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Barracuda. Professional charter companies ensure you get close to the action, and increase your chances of catching the big one.

Niue has been called a "fisherman's secret paradise", and has extremely close access to big game. You don't have to set out for the deep seas, though - you can spear fish from the shore, or do it the old fashioned way from a traditional vaka (canoe).

Vanuatu's 83 islands host a number of exciting spots for pelagic fishing. The country has invested a lot into game fishing over the years, meaning plenty of hi-tech equipment is readily available for those seeking the ultimate hunt.

- Stuff

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