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SOLOMON ISLANDS

 
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Uepi Island Resort

Physical Address:
Marovo Lagoon
Western Province
Solomon Islands
Mailing Address
C/- PO Box 149
Mt Eliza 3930
Victoria
Australia
Tel.: +61 3 9787 7904
Fax.: +61 3 9787 5904
Our resort offers excellent accommodations and diving in an uncrowded atmosphere. Uepi diving offers the unique opportunity of diving walls, reefs, coral gardens and wrecks which are only minutes away from the dive shop.
info@uepi.com
http://www.uepi.com


About Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands archipelago is scattered in the southwestern Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea. The group comprises most of the Solomon Islands (those in the northwest are part of Papua New Guinea), the Ontong Java Islands, Rennell Island and the Santa Cruz Islands, which lie further to the east. The capital, Honiara, is situated on Guadalcanal Island, which also has the highest mountain, Mount Makarakombu, at 8028ft (2447m). Guadalcanal, Malaita, Choiseul, New Georgia, San Cristobal and Santa Isabel are the main islands.

There are 87 different languages and a wide variety of different traditions. The Solomons have over 350,000 people most of whom live in small villages. These beautiful islands were the scene of ferocious fighting during World War 2 and relics of that horrible event litter the sites of conflict. Guadalcanal is where some of the most vicious fighting took place, but today is peaceful and beautiful. Honiara, the capital, has about 35,000 people. It was built after the war near the American base whose quonset huts still occupy the peninsula.

The Solomon Islands are a newly discovered Mecca for scuba divers, with hundreds of islands and coral reefs, many of which have never seen a diver. The enormous variety and numbers of marine species, along with sunken WW II ships and aircraft, have made this region one of the world's top dive locations. Some of the sites can be dived from the shore, while many others are reached from well-appointed live-aboard vessels operating in the islands. The 82-85F (28-30C ) water temperatures, along with stable weather patterns contribute to excellent diving all year round.

Getting There

Air Travel

Honiara International Airport (formerly known as Henderson Field) is located approximately 12km east of Honiara. Minibus and taxi services are available to and from the airport and throughout Honiara. Car hire desks are located inside the terminal.

At the airport you'll find typical facilities including duty-free shops, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and currency exchange.

Five airlines currently provide regular scheduled services into Honiara. Solomon Airlines, Virgin Australia, Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific), Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu all provide international flights to the Solomons.

There are direct flights connecting to Honiara from Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).

Solomon Airlines is the national carrier and flies to Honiara from Brisbane 4 times per week, from Nadi 4 times a week and provides weekly flights from Port Vila and Port Moresby.

Virgin Australia have flights twice weekly from Brisbane, Fiji Airways fly weekly from Nadi and Port Vila and Air Niugini have flights 3 times a week from Port Moresby.

From North America, most travellers fly through Los Angeles and either Brisbane or Nadi. Those travelling from European countries will most commonly fly via Brisbane with many choosing to stop over in countries such as Singpore, Hong Kong, Thailand or Dubai.

Entry Requirements
Commonwealth, US and most EC visitors do not need visas. Others may obtain visas through British Consulates. However a visitors permit not exceeding three (3) months may be obtained on arrival in the country after meeting minimum requirement s of a valid passport and a return or onward ticket.

Duty Free/Departure Tax
200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco, 2 litres of spirits or equivalent. Goods in excess of SI$500.00 are dutiable. Departure Tax is SI$40.00.

Health
Like many other tropical countries, malaria can be a problem in the Solomon Islands. Appropriate malarial medication should be taken and it is wise to consult your doctor a few weeks before leaving home. Water is normally safe in the major resorts, but precautionary boiling is recommended in other areas. If in doubt, ask.

Visitor Tips

Getting Around
Island-hopping by air is a great way to get around. Planes fly at about 2000m (6500 ft), so the views are great. Solomon Airlines and the smaller Western Pacific Airlines service over 20 airfields in all provinces. The flights vary in price from US$10 to US$100, depending on the distance, and both airlines have a 16kg (35lbs) baggage limit.

Sea travel is the mainstay of islander trade and transport, but can also be unpredictable; timetables are rare. In addition to the larger, passenger-oriented vessels, copra and cargo boats nearly always have room for passengers. Shipping fares vary, so shop around. Car rentals are available in Honiara, but obviosly it is not well suited to travel between islands. Taxi hire is a better option for a short stay. In Honiara you'll also find minibusses.

Climate
Tropical, with average daytime temperatures around 29 degrees and high humidity. Evenings may be as cool as 19 degrees. There are no defined seasons but November to May are wetter months and squalls and cyclones may occur.

Language
There are 87 indigenous languages including Melanesian Pidgin English which is used predominantly. English is used and understood throughout the Solomon Islands.

Dress
Informal light attire is appropriate for both day and evening wear. Pack a sweater for the occasional cool evening. Bikini's and swimming briefs should be confined to resort pool areas.

Time
11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Electricity
240 volts. Available to Honiara and other major resort areas.

Currency/Banking
The standard unit of currency is the Solomon Islands Dollar. Westpac, ANZ and the National Bank of the Solomon Islands (NBSI) open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm, and offer the best exchange rates. There are ATM's available at several locations in Honiara. Credit cards and travellers cheques are not usually accepted beyond the main resort areas. NBSI offers full banking services throughout most parts of the country.

Telecommunication
24 hour international telephone, fax, telex and telegram service is available through Telekom from Honiara, provincial centers and all major hotels and resorts. There is also an internet cafe in the NPF Plaza, Mendana Avenue, Honiara.

Observing Customs
The people of the Solomon Island have a rich culture which observes many traditional "kastoms" which vary from province to province. Please ask about appropriate behaviour and always ask permission before taking pictures of people or places.

Tipping
As with much of Melanesia and Polynesia, tipping is not on the agenda. Tipping imposes an obligation that the receiver must return, so a smile and a 'thank you' are sufficient recompense for services rendered. Bargaining, too, should be avoided, however it's becomming more common now to ask for a 'second price' on handicrafts. Inflated prices in rural areas are usually due to isolation: people just don't know what the going price is for services. Sometimes food will be accepted as payment.

Other Activities
Other than diving and snorkeling, there's bushwalking, canoeing, mountain and volcano climbing, swimming, surfing, fishing, shell-collecting, bird-watching, caving and mountain biking.

 
 

 


 










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