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Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands. It is on Guadalcanal.

Get in[edit]

The only international airport in the Solomon Islands is Henderson Field, served by the following airlines.

  • Fiji Airways [1] (twice weekly service from Nadi on Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Air Niugini [2] (5 weekly to Port Moresby and once weekly to Nadi)
  • Solomon Airlines [3] (4 times weekly service to Brisbane and once weekly to Port Vila)

Taxis from the airport to the centre of Honiara are 100 SBD

Get around[edit]

Taxis are relatively plentiful and cheap in Honiara. They can be either ordered of flagged down, and cost 10 SBD per 1km. There are also frequent minibuses that operate along the coastal strip from Henderson to White River stopping making numerous stops along the way (SBD$3 any distance).

See[edit][add listing]

  • Honiara contains a wealth of World War Two sites: most of the hills in the Honiara area were the sites of fierce battles during World War Two.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Take a guided trek to one of the waterfalls nearby, such as the beautiful Matanikau Falls, about a two-hour walk from the starting point a short bus-ride from the city centre. Information on this walk can be found below.
  • Check out a service at one of the many churches. South Seas Evangelical Church has an easily-found location next to the central markets and beautiful singing. Its main Sunday service is at 9:30am. There is also a smaller evening service there most Sundays at 5pm.
  • Beach it.
  • Visit the excellent museum (against donation). Located across from the Mendana Hotel. Across the street is the art gallery that is also worth visiting.
  • Wander through the bustling Central Market. It is a site to behold, in particular on Saturday mornings where you can pick up flowers and hand-made jewelery and crafts.
  • Try your luck at two casinos Honiara Casino and Supreme Casino
  • And dive, explore, make plans or see the rest of the country...

Hike to Mataniko/Matanikau Falls[edit]

Getting to this area can seem tricky but a hike to the Mataniko Falls is perfect and easy trip to make in a relaxed morning or afternoon. Locals are pretty useless at telling you where to go.

Jump in a minivan along the main drag (Mendana Ave) and ask to be let out at 'Town Council' - this is actually where mini-vans natural stop and the rough break between town and 'China town'. There you have a round-about. With your back to the sea: directly up hill (Mbokonavera Rd) takes you to the American WW2 memorial, to the left and right are the main coastal road, and the third option is to Mataniko.

Walk up this road (5mins) and cross the river. After the river you see a bank of Chinese shops on your left (buy water). Ask some local here and they will point you to take a mini-van from the corner of the first right in front of you. Take this to the end (5mins). Ask again and walk for 5mins. Keep asking locals. After a while you can't go any further and cross a river (this time without a bridge).

Someone will be waiting for you. Everyone will know where you want to go. You will be quoted a crazy fee (e.g. SB$150 access fee and SB$100 guide fee - or whatever they feel they can get away with). Negotiate to a reasonable price by local standards (especially if by yourself) and off you go with a guide.

The walk takes you through grass land and then into the forest, down a steep and often muddy slope. At the bottom you have the waterfalls (a lovely spot, but the falls are not anything particularly special).

Then you follow the river [bed] to get back. If there has been heavy rain, the first 100-300meters maybe deep enough that you can't walk (thus make sure you have something waterproof for money, phone, etc. - or are a good swimmer holding one hand above your head!). It may be the case that the water is low, so don't worry and certainly after a few hundred meters it goes to knee and then ankle depth. Keep walking and you are soon back at the point of the river you crossed to get to the village.

This is a great and not too long hike that show cases the real Guadalcanal on the door step of Honiara. You will see Japanese fox-holes and if lucky bullet casings.

Internet Access[edit]

The NPF Plaza about 500m north of the Markets has multiple internet cafes. The Telekom shop in Panatina Plaza, located towards the eastern part of town, also has an internet cafe. There are various Wi-Fi hotspots in Honiara which are often better and cheap than hotel Wi-Fi. Hunting down the access vouchers is not always easy.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Crafts

There are many craft/souvenir shops located along the coastal strip, in particular in the NPF Plaza near the museum. Woven baskets are often sold on the roadside near Mendana Hotel. Handicrafts such as wooden carvings are also often sold outside the entrance to the Ofis (formerly known as the Rain Tree Cafe).[4]

Additionally, the central market is a great place to by local handicrafts, jewellery and lavalavas (sarongs). The latter come in a range of fabrics and brightly-coloured dip-dyed designs.

A variety of handicrafts are also available at 'Art in the Park', located opposite the Rove Police Station, on the last Sunday of every month.

  • Clothing

There are a number of shops selling secondhand clothing, which can be found easily along the main street and elsewhere. New clothes can also be purchased at various outlets, e.g. Ausmart (Townground), or in DJ Graphics, opposite the Central Market.

Handmade kids' clothing such as skirts can be found at the Central Market.

  • Other

A helpful guide to shopping in the Solomons can be found here: Solomon Island Newbie Guide: SHOPPING (What to buy part one) Includes some great gift ideas.

Eat and drink[edit]

There is surprising variety in Honiara with many restaurants catering to expats.

  • The Lime Lounge

Is a coffee shop located near the Central Market where coffee, cakes, burgers and sandwiches can be gotten. It is relatively expensive however.

  • The Taj Mahal

Located near the airport has excellent Indian and Sri Lankan food and is excellent value.

  • Korean BBQ

Located on what looks like wasteground near the Central Market. They serve excellent dishes even though the decor is quite rustic.

  • Honiara Hotel

Located overlooking Chinatown has several restaurants; an excellent French restaurant, a Chinese restaurant (planned) and a general restaurant serving sandwiches and burgers.

  • Iron Bottom Sound

There is an excellent Japanese restaurant here with a terrace where drinks can be served. An excellent place to watch the sunset.

  • The Yacht Club

The favoured hangout of expats in Honiara, the yacht club has a variety of simple and inexpensive meals available nightly.

  • Rain Tree Cafe

A beautiful sea front location on the west end of Honiara amid quiet gardens and under a thatch leaf house. Great coffee, smoothies, lassies, and fresh organic food, wood fired pizzas. This is a great place for sunset meals, breakfasts and hanging out on weekends. Allow ample time for your order to be prepared. Locally owned and operated by local women. BYO. Rain Tree Cafe Website (Note: Website states that the Rain Tree Cafe has closed as of March 2013).

  • Lunch bars near the museum

There are a number of eateries here, on the same side of the main road as the museum, to its left if you are facing it from the main road. A range of lunch foods and drinks are on offer, including fish 'n' cassava chips and green (drinking) coconuts.

  • Buy your own

The Central Market, located on the main road, is a great source of fresh fruit and vegetables. Fish and chips, as well as uncooked fish, are also sold there.

  • House of Cheifs

This pub located next to St Agnes Mothers Unions Guesthouse looks rough on the surface, but is good for a beer and has free pool and darts. The regular crowd which is all males, look rough but are extremely friendly and will ask you to play pool or darts.

A helpful list of places to purchase groceries can be found here: Newbie Honiara Guide: Food

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are many hotels in Honiara, mainly catering to expats. The Honiara Hotel, the King Solomon, Iron Bottom Sound, The Airport Motel and the Casino are a few.

For budget accommodation try the United Church Resthouse +(677) 20028 or St Agnes Mother Unions Guesthouse +(677) 27785 (ask for a west wing room), both provide basic but comfortable rooms and are located on Lower Vavaya Ridge Road, just a short walk from the markets. There are a few other guesthouses and homestays in the same area that have similar prices (cheapest is 300 SBD a night). Hibiscus homestay is a good choice which is not a religious institution (22094, 7762960, 7426628).

Stay safe[edit]

Note that there has been civil unrest and riots in this city, notably during the 'Tensions' period between 1999 and 2003, and briefly again in 2006. It is worth keeping up-to-date with travel advisory warnings, such as those provided by the Australian or New Zealand governments.

Pick-pockets operate in the Central Market, so always make sure to be aware of your surroundings and avoid taking too many valuables with you. While safe for the most part during the day, it is recommended to avoid walking around late in the evening, particularly in areas such as White River. The town center is relatively safe at night, although it is still recommended to exercise caution.

Get out[edit]

  • Savo Island sunset lodge 20 mins from villa beach north of Honiara to Savo Island. Costs 600 SBD for transport to the island, and approx 150 SBD per night. This is great for a general rest away from Honiara and has dolphin, volcano walks, and Megapode Birds. There is only electricity from 6pm to 6am.

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