Where To? Honiara, Solomon Islands

Welcome to Where To, a new series on this blog. I’ll be generating random cities or towns via geo-pick.com, then researching these dots on the map and telling you why you should (or shouldn’t) visit. It’s the online version of throwing a dart at a map. While I enjoy writing about the places I’ve been, I figure writing about places I’ve never been, and in some cases never heard of, will be interesting. And maybe some readers familiar with these random towns, burgs, metropolises, and crossroads can chime in with their take. All in all it should be a good way to get our travel juices flowing and learn some random trivia along the way.

So far the only rule I’ve established is that I won’t feature a town from the same nation twice in a row (should that even happen on gen-pick.com).

And now, let’s play…

Where To?

Honiara, Solomon Islands, Melanesia.

What can we see there?

Consistent weather, for starters. The average high fluctuates between 86 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30-31 Celsius), while the average low fluctuates between 72 and 73 F (22/23 C). December through April appears to be the rainy season, however.

Honiara is located on the island of Guadalcanal, and contains a number of historical sites from World War II. The Guadalcanal Campaign, including the Battle for Henderson Field, took place nearby. Today a war memorial and peace park commemorate the bloody confrontations between Allied and Japanese forces.

File:Guadalcanal American Memorial.jpg

The Guadalcanal American War Memorial

Of course there are beaches, including one (Halemai Beach) with bungalows that rent for $100 a night. You can also visit Matanikau Falls, a waterfall that cascades into a cave that was once a shelter for Japanese soldiers. Tours to the falls are available.

As the capital city of the Solomon Islands, Honiara also has government buildings (parliament, etc.), a National Museum, National Art Gallery, a university, a botanical garden, and a central market. Finally, if you get the itch to gamble, there are two casinos in town.

Where can we stay?

There are plenty of hotels serving this city of 65,000 people, including The Honiara Hotel, the King Solomon, plus an airport motel and lodging at the casinos. Budget travelers may want to consider the United Church Rest House.

How can we get there?

There are flights from Nadi, Fiji; Port Moseby, Papa New Guinea; and Brisbane, Australia. Good luck.

Anything else we should know about Honiara?

World War II ended decades ago, but Honiara has been plagued more recently by fighting and rioting between and amongst ethnic Malaitans and Guadalcanal natives. The difference? Does it really matter? Ronald Reagan once posited that if space aliens ever invaded Earth, they probably wouldn’t give two shits who was black, white, yellow, brown, or red. (The guy had a vivid imagination, that’s for sure.) If you visit Honiara, you’re like the space alien and they’re the homogenous Earthlings. In other words, it’s all relative.

Nevertheless, the violence got so bad that in 2002 two diplomats from New Zealand were murdered, and in 2006 riots reduced the city’s commercial center and Chinatown to rubble. According to LonelyPlanet.com, Honiara is on the mend and things have calmed down considerably.

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