Honiara is the capital of Solomon Islands, a city looking optimistically toward the future. Ethnic tensions and civil unrest rocked the capital of the Solomon Islands between 1999 and 2003, but the city is now peaceful, safe and completely captivating. Visitors quickly fall in love with Honiara’s atmospheric wharf, bustling markets and village feel.
Best Time to Visit
The dry seasons are the best times to visit the Solomon Islands. Most tourists arrive into the country between the months of December and February, as this is the long holiday season for tourists from Australia and New Zealand.
Top Places to Visit in Honiara
1. Central Market
The central market is the heart of Honiara. It is where locals shop for the freshest produce, catch up on the day’s gossip and sell handicrafts like shell artwork and jewelry. The bubbling market assails the senses, covering an entire block between the seafront and Mendana Avenue. The selection of fruits and vegetables is almost overwhelming, and the fish market in the back is stocked with some of the freshest seafoods in the world.
2. National Parliament
One of the most impressive sights in the capital is the National Parliament building. From its place on the hill above Hibiscus Avenue, the conical-shaped building towers over the city. Visitors can steal an interesting glimpse at the political proceedings from the public gallery at the eastern entrance and explore the rich collection of traditional art on display.
3. National Museum and Cultural Center
The National Museum and Cultural Center is modest but thought-provoking. The one-room display highlights traditional dance, weaponry, body ornamentation, currency and archaeology. Eight traditionally constructed homes sit just behind the main building, representing eight of the Solomon Islands’ provinces. There are also a few wooden statues featuring bold carvings around the grounds.
4. Japanese Memorial
The Japanese Memorial has a peaceful atmosphere. White frangipani and red hibiscus outline a paved square whose centerpiece is a towering stone monument. War veterans built the monument, and their families often return to the site to commemorate those who died.
Diving is a popular sport in and around Honiara. The surrounding waters are home to many wrecks, including submarines, troop carriers, transport ships and planes. Coral gardens, reefs, pinnacles and walls support an incredible variety of sea creatures. Anemone fish, barracuda, big-eye trevally, humphead parrotfish, butterfly fish and angel fish are just a few of the species that swim throughout the azure waters. Even muck dives offer a wide array of life, including ghost pipefish, manta shrimp and pygmy seahorses.