While my plan is to mostly use my two feet and local transport, its good to have a backup plan, and so I have been looking into several different flight options in the South Pacific region, and it’s quite the jungle, to figure out what islands are actually connected, by flights.
Using both Airtreks.com, which is very good for getting a quick overview over flight costs, and momondo.com, I got a pretty good understanding of the prices and what days of the week I would be able to catch flights. The moment you leave Papua, Australia or New Zealand though, flights become much less frequent. In fact most islands in the South Pacific don’t have direct flights between them. So the challenge is to find the flight hubs that connect the different islands, like Fiji. Some of the more remote islands, have no connecting flights at all!
Here is what I’ve got so far:
Port Moresby/Papua new Guinea – Honiara/Solomon Islands: 438 USD (Sunday direct flight)
Honiara/Solomon Islands – Port Vila/Vanuatu: 168 USD (Saturday direct flight)
Port Vila/Vanuatu – Noumea/New Caledonia: 187 USD
Noumea/New Caledonia – Nad/Fiji: 202 USD (Saturday direct flight)
Return flights from Fiji
Nadi/Fiji – Apia/Samoa: 354 USD (Thursday direct flight. Have to return to Fiji)
Nadi/Fiji – Tongatapu/Tonga: 268 USD (Thursday direct flight. Have to return to Fiji)
Suva/Fiji – Funafuti Atol/Tuvalu: 476 USD (Thursday direct flight. Have to return to Fiji)
Nadi/Fiji – Tarawa/Kiribati: 586 USD (Thursday direct flight. Have to return to Fiji)
Flights away from Fiji
Nadi/Fiji – Rarotonga/Cooks: 649 USD (Friday direct flight!)
Rarotonga/Cooks – Papeete/Tahiti: 380 USD (Thursday direct flight)
Papeete/Haiti – Easter Island: 1164 USD (Tuesday direct flight)
Easter Island – Santiago/Chile: 472 USD (Tuesday direct flight)
(all prices are based on September 2014 flights)
Some of the Islands connected to Fiji by air, are only connected to Fiji, so I will have to backtrack every leg of that journey, doubling the price of flights. But at least now I know those flights exist. Another option would be to go Fiji-Kiribati-Honolulu-Rarotonga, so that I would be able to do Kiribati without backtracking to Fiji, although this would mean going all the way up to Honolulu, Hawaii.
One of the big surprises among all these flights, was that I can actually get from Fiji to the Cook Islands. I was pretty sure that wasn’t possible!
These flights at least make it possible for me to make some kind of workable itinerary, which can work as the backbone of the expedition.
Next up; buying tickets! (At least the first leg of the journey)