Top 10 Pacific Island beaches
The Pacific Islands region is synonymous with white sand and azure waters, so pinning down its top ten beaches is not a task for the fainthearted.
With a little help from House of Travel, here are Stuff's picks for the best spots to lay your towel in the paradise New Zealand's lucky enough to have right on its doorstep.
1. Royale Takitumu, Rarotonga
It is Rarotonga's premier white sand beach, located on the quiet south side of Titikaveka. The exquisite expanse stretches for eight kilometres in either direction alongside a lagoon which functions as a natural aquarium, delighting swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers in any tide. Open to those aged 12 and above and boasting intimate beachfront villas, Royale Takitumu is the perfect place to recharge your mental and physical batteries.
2. Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, Cook Islands
It is the only resort on what is arguably the world's most beautiful lagoon and it is the only private resort in the Cook Islands. It offers stilted accommodation with panoramic views of the glorious lagoon and is just a 45 minute flight from Rarotonga.
3. Natadola Beach, Fiji
It is considered the best white sand beach on Fiji's mainland, offering hard-to-find, all-tide swimming. The InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa boasts four restaurants and a cocktail lounge, as well as an array of luxurious spa treatments that include five signature packages.
4. Mana Island Resort and Spa, Fiji
This has some of the best snorkelling in Fiji, as well as a Padi five-star dive centre for those wanting to step things up a notch and try scuba diving. Arrive by catamaran or plane from Fiji's third-largest island, Nadi, work up a thirst for one of the resort's four bars by hiking amongst the 300 acres of rolling grass hills. If wedding bells are on your horizon, the resort has Fiji's first oceanfront wedding chapel.
5. Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, Fiji
"Yasawa" means "heaven" in Fijian and you can expect nothing less when you visit Yasawa Island Resort and Spa on Lomalagi Beach. Free from television and traffic, it is the beach's only resort. It has a beachfront bar, as well as a library and al fresco restaurant with an air-conditioned wine room. Its traditionally thatched villas have outdoor showers, daybeds and hammocks.
6. Lalomanu Beach, Samoa
Samoa's most beautiful beach, where coral lagoons offer some of the best views in Samoa. It is located on Upolu's northeastern-most tip, about 90 minutes drive from Apia township. Choose to stay at one of two locally run beachfront resorts - Litia Sini Beach Resort or Taufua Beach Fales.
7. Manase Beach, Samoa
Manese is considered one of the best swimming and snorkelling spots on the island of Savaii, the largest and highest in Samoa's largest and highest. Stay at simple, family-run accommodation on the divine white sand, and swim at both high and low tides. The beach is on Savaii's central north coast.
8. Sandy Beach Resort, Tonga
German-run Sandy Beach Resort in the Ha'api group of islands is Tonga's best beach. Stay in boutique bungalows nestled amongst lush tropical gardens, and enjoy all-tide swimming in the mesmerising coral reefs just 30 metres from your front door.
9. Champagne Beach, Vanuatu
On Espiritu Santo Island, it was described in a TripAdvisor entry as having sand so bright it hurt the eyes. The crescent-shaped beach has silvery sand that slopes towards a coral-fringed lagoon, against a backdrop of lush, mountainous rainforest. The effervescent, champagne-like water at low tide gives the beach its romantic name.
10. Luengoni Beach, New Caledonia
On Lifou Island, Luengoni has two kilometres of powder-soft sand accented by majestic old trees offering protection from the island sun. A quiet, meditative spot, Luengoni is considered one of New Caledonia's best beaches. If you're lucky, you may even spot a sea turtle.
Do you have a favourite Pacific Island beach? Leave a comment below.