Comprising four countries – Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea - a move to Melanesia would open up a whole new world for anyone. Moving to Melanesia could bring challenges, as many of the countries have chequered political pasts and different ways of life, but many expats find it an area rich in culture, beautiful to explore and rewarding to live in.
The largest set of islands and one of the most popular countries within Melanesia to move to, is Fiji. Similarly, in Papua New Guinea (PNG) there is a strong expat community, with many moving abroad to Melanesia to sample a different lifestyle, tropical temperatures and lush and verdant surroundings.
Expats are likely to find themselves living in conditions that are different to those at home. However, the beauty of the surroundings and the friendliness of the locals in Melanesia can outweigh the differences experienced.
Melanesia is situated in the South Pacific and the islands boast a tropical climate all year round. The hottest and more humid time of year is from November to April, with a drier and cooler May to October. The countries nearest to the equator (Tuvalu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands) are warmer in general than the countries that are further south, which include the Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and New Caledonia.
Taking full advantage of this tropical climate can make for some excellent ways to spend your free time. Many expats living and working in Melanesia will spend their weekends traveling around the smaller islands, or just hopping over to new places. There is always somewhere new to explore, whether it's trekking through the jungle, diving in the surrounding coral reefs or heading to the other Pacific islands nearby.
Flying and travelling to Melanesia is obviously not always straightforward. For expats moving to Fiji and Papa New Guinea it's not as complicated, as these islands are served more conveniently than many of the smaller and less developed islands.
Airlines that service NAN, the main airport in Fiji, include Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Air Vanuatu, Jetstar, Korean Air, Virgin Australia and Air Pacific. The other airport that services Fiji is Nausori International Airport, which is just half an hour away from Suva. Depending on the country of origin, the journey can be more or less complex for an expat and family heading out to Melanesia to live and work.
For expats with a job to go to, it's likely that the company will organize the travel as part of the package, in which case it becomes less complicated. If not, then expats will need to spend a lot of time planning and working out costs, as well as the fastest way to reach their destination.
The smaller islands can be reached by private plane or boat; something that is very common for expats.