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Manta ray, French Polynesia

When is the best time to visit the South Pacific?

Although the South Pacific is hot and humid most of the year with warm seas and clear skies, the best time to visit is generally between April and November when the weather is driest. The exception to this is French Polynesia, where the peak season is shorter and runs from June to August. During this dry season you can expect stable humidity levels, temperatures of about 28-30°C (84-86°F) and plenty of sunshine.

From November to April, there’s a greater chance of heavy but short-lived rain showers and the occasional storm, but nothing so severe as to prevent travel.

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Our recommendations for when to visit South Pacific

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
French Polynesia climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

The Cook Islands climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Fiji climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Samoa climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to travelling in the South Pacific

Muri Lagoon in Rarotonga

Visiting the South Pacific in January

It’s the middle of summer in the South Pacific but also the wet season and with higher temperatures and increased humidity comes the risk of heavy rain and tropical storms. These generally pass quickly, however, and it is rare to have continuous days of solid rain. With fewer visitors and far lower hotel prices, it can be a great-value time to visit.

Events & Festivals

  • Chinese New Year (January or February): The French Polynesian Chinese community in Tahiti celebrates Chinese New Year with music, dancing and parades.
Polynesian flowers, Tahiti

Visiting the South Pacific in February

The wet season continues to leave the islands lush and green with a bounty of tropical flowers. The increased chance of rain means hotels are quiet and offer competitive rates, making this an affordable time of year to visit. Although there may be a few hours of heavy showers, continuous days of rain are rare, though there is a small risk of tropical storms.

Events & Festivals

  • Chinese New Year (January or February): The French Polynesian Chinese community in Tahiti celebrates Chinese New Year with music, dancing and parades.
Togitogiga Falls

Visiting the South Pacific in March

It’s the tail end of the rainy season in the Cook Islands and Samoa, and although the weather can be a little unpredictable, there’s far less rain and more hours of sunshine. Hotel prices remain low however, making it a good time to visit. French Polynesia and Fiji are still in their wet seasons, but hotels are almost empty and offer low-season rates.

One Foot Island, Aitutaki, The Cook Islands

Visiting the South Pacific in April

April is a great month to visit Samoa or the Cook Islands as the weather is increasingly dry, but high season rates have yet to kick in. The days are hot and only see the occasional shower, there are few foreign visitors and the atmosphere is serene, though nights can be cooler than later in the year.

Events & Festivals

  • Anzac Day (25th April): Observed with military parades and remembrance ceremonies in Apia, Samoa’s capital.
  • Te Mare Ura (late-April or early-May): A festival of the Cook Islands’ traditional Mare Ura dance takes place annually in Rarotonga.
Huahine

Visiting the South Pacific in May

The humidity drops, the rains ease off across the region and visitor numbers begin to increase as the South Pacific enters its high season. The region is still quieter than later in the year and good deals can still be found, making this a great time to visit.

Events & Festivals

  • Matari'i Raro (late May): The Pleiades Festival marks the end of the harvest period in the Papenoo region of Tahiti.
Rarotonga

Visiting the South Pacific in June

Hot, dry days, warm waters for swimming and snorkeling, and less humidity, means the South Pacific is at its very best at this time of year. It is also the most popular time to visit however, so hotels and resorts are busier and it’s necessary to book well in advance. If you’re lucky, you may spot whales off western Rarotonga.

Events & Festivals

  • Samoa Independence (1st June): Celebrated across the islands with traditional song, dance and entertainment.
  • Tahiti Moorea Sailing Rendez-Vous (late June): Designed as an interactive event between visitors, sailors and residents, the festival takes place over three days in June.
Green turtle, Bora Bora

Visiting the South Pacific in July

Peak season continues across the region with ideal conditions for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling and diving. Whale watching is possible in French Polynesia, where humpbacks can often be seen off the western shore of Rarotonga. Hotels are busy, so book in advance, and bring layers for evenings, which can be cool in the height of the South Pacific winter.

Events & Festivals

  • Bula festival (mid-July): Celebrated in Nadi, this festival brings the city to a standstill with marching bands and a lively parade of dancers and entertainers in traditional Fijian costumes.
  • Heiva i Bora Bora (late June and throughout July): An annual festival incorporating singing, dancing and a traditional sports competition.
Scuba Diving, French Polynesia

Visiting the South Pacific in August

Another peak month for visits to the South Pacific, August sees warm, dry conditions across the region. The waters are clear and calm for swimming, diving and sailing, and hotels and resorts are busy, so book well in advance. It’s also whale-watching season with migrating humpbacks seen off the coast of the Cook Islands and from the western shore of Rarotonga.

Events & Festivals

  • Manu Vera Aquafest (late August): A water sports festival in Aitutaki featuring some of the world’s best kitesurfers.
Cook's Bay, Moorea

Visiting the South Pacific in September

Fiji and Samoa are at their best in September with tropical sun and calm weather but they’re still busy with international visitors. French Polynesia and the Cook Islands are slightly quieter, and late September marks the spring equinox, when the sun’s rays hit the lagoons of the French Polynesian islands at an angle that dramatically enhances their vivid turquoise hues.

Events & Festivals

  • Apia’s Teuila Festival (early September): A week-long music, sport and dance event in Samoa’s capital.
Jungle Myna Bird

Visiting the South Pacific in October

Humidity is creeping up across the region, the height of the peak season has passed and the islands are relaxing into a quieter period before the rains. Although you may encounter the occasional shower at this time of year, this is still a wonderful time to visit with largely settled weather and lower prices.

Events & Festivals

  • Independence Week (early-October): A nationwide celebration of independence in Fiji with a week of religious and cultural ceremonies and events.
  • In October and November (dates vary), Samoans hail the mating season of the palolo reef worm, which is considered a delicacy, with feasts and beach parties.
Hibiscus Flower, the Cook Islands

Visiting the South Pacific in November

Higher temperatures and humidity bring an increased chance of rain to the region, but showers tend to be heavy and short lived. Combined with fewer visitors and lower prices, it can be a good time to visit before the height of the wet season. Booking a hotel with air conditioning is a good idea as the weather can feel very muggy.

Events & Festivals

  • Mire Tiare (late November): The Cook Islands’ flower festival is celebrated on Rarotonga.
  • In October and November (dates vary), Samoans hail the mating season of the palolo reef worm, which is considered a delicacy, with feasts and beach parties.
  • Vaka Eiva (late November): A prestigious canoe-racing competition takes place in Avarua.
Marquesas Islands Mountains

Visiting the South Pacific in December

The region is now in its wet season with high humidity levels and almost daily rains. However, the rain usually lasts a few hours and then stops, clearing the skies and bringing down humidity levels. Continuous days of rain are rare. If heavy showers don’t deter you, visitors can take advantage of lower prices and emptier hotels at this time of year.

The South Pacific trip ideas and travel guides