Diving Honiara

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Honiara, Solomon Islands

Mary Is Jacks Copyright Steve Jones
Leru Cut credit Steve JonesManta credit Tanya G. BurnettVillage Men dancingFloating market

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Country: Solomon Islands  Area: Solomon Islands

Water Temp: 27 - 31°C (81 - 88°F)

Visibility: 10 - 30m (33 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

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Remote and truly beautiful the Solomon Islands is a diver’s dream destination. Part of the coral triangle with a staggering diversity of marine species, coral and dive sites, it somehow remains one of the least dived areas of the world.

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A number of liveaboard operators depart from Honiara, and dive sights are located directly off the shores. As part of the coral triangle, Solomon Islands offers some of the most diverse diving in the world. It has it all, sea mounts, walls, drift dives, muck dives, WW2 wreck dives, caves, cuts, coral gardens, and bommies.

The Solomon Islands has an abundance of both big and small critters, from the tinniest pygmy seahorse to the largest manta ray and most things in between. Cuttlefish laying eggs, bump head parrotfish swimming by, ghost pipefish hovering near a nudibranch, shy mandarin fish hiding in coral, or jawfish opening their mouth wide. Vast numbers of jacks, barracudas and snapper school around fields of healthy hard corals, reef sharks cruise around huge sea fans, and colourful anthias feed along walls covered in soft corals.

Coral reefs, Credit

Marine Conservation

Solomon Islanders have a long history of managing their marine resources at the community level. Traditional ownership of land and reefs prevails across the Solomon Islands. As such, the primary method for marine conservation in the Solomon Islands is through Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs).  There are also some larger Marine conservation efforts going on in the Solomon Islands namely the Arnavon Islands which is  supported by The Nature Conservancy, also Tetepare which is run by the Tetepare Descendants' Association. Manta Trust and OceansWatch are collecting data on manta rays in the Solomon Islands.

Gone Fishing! Credit


The Solomon Islands have a tropical rainforest climate. There is very little annual variation in temperature, with most days averaging 28 degrees Celsius. The water hovers between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius year round.

The rain by contrast, does vary annually. The rainiest periods occur between the months of November and April, with monsoons most likely to occur between January and March. The driest months occur between June and September. Generally the actual city of Honiara receives somewhat less precipitation than the surrounding islands.

Other Year round Marine life

Schooling snappers, jacks and barracudas, cuttlefish, squid, mantis shrimps, pygmy seahorses, moray eels, small rays,  scorpion fish, anemone fish,  nudibranches, a huge variety of tropical fish and critters.

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Shore Diving

There are three primary shore dives that can be done from shore, not too far from the city of Honiara. They are all wreck dives.

Coral reefs, Mbonege beach, Honiara, Credit

 Bonegi #1 (Hirokawa Maru)

A huge Japanese freighter from WWII. Lying on her side and runnning from 5 to 55m it is a fantastic dive both for wreck divers and because of the abundant marine life. Located 30 mins drive from Honiara, probably one of the best shore dives in the world.

 Bonegi #2 (Kinugawa Maru)

Another large Japanese freighter on the same beach and sunk on the same day as the Hirokawa Maru. Running from the surface to 27 the wreck is not as intact but has great soft corals and macro.

I1 Sub

A Japanese submarine sunk during WWII, located at the Western end of Guadalcanal. The wreck starts at about 8m and goes down to 30m becoming more intact deeper.

Gorgonian Gardens, Billy Ghizo Point, Credit

Boat Diving

There are a number of dive sights that can be reached by boat from Honiara and other points in the Solomon Islands. Some favourites include:

 Aaron Ward

An American WWII destroyer sitting in 65m of water. Largely intact with guns still aiming skywards it is a fantastic wreck dive for the experienced. Dived from Honiara.

Tanavula Point

A beautiful slope and wall covered in abundant fans and hard and soft corals. Normally a pleasant drift past bumphead parrotfish, black tip reef sharks, schooling fish and streaming red tooth triggerfish along the wall. Also has great macro.

 Mbike Wreck

A purpose sunk 35m fishing boat sitting upright and covered in nudibranchs, lionfish and other great macro. Swim off onto the sand for other great macro subjects.

Manta Rays, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

A number of operators run liveaboard cruises thorugh the Solomon Islands and the Coral Triangle more broadly. Most tours depart from Honiara and travel to sites in the Florida Islands, the Ruseell Islands, Mary Island and the New Georgia Islands.  Trips typically last upwards of a week. Further specifics on the most famous sights follows below.

Mary Island

Divers often refer to Mary Island as the “best” dive of a trip. It is an uninhabited  island with a stunning amount of hard corals and fish life. The schools of fish are amazing here, along with grey reef sharks, white tip reef sharks and black tip reef sharks.

Twin Tunnels

A large sea mount in the middle of the channel between Guadualcanal and the Florida Islands, the top of the sea mount has two tunnels which drop vertically straight down from the trop of the mount at 12m and exit in a cave at about 35m. Swimming out of the cave to the sheer wall of the sea mount you can see schools of fusiliers with grey reef sharks cruising by. The seamount is home to cuttlefish, octopus, pygmy seahorses plus schools of snapper hiding from hunting travellys, grey reef sharks, black tip reef sharks and hundreds of tropical fish.

Translucent Shrimp, Credit


Not only is this dive site a truly stunning example of hard corals and sea fans, it is teeming with fish life. Friendly batfish follow divers around, schools of jacks and barracuda circle around the point, while giant bumphead parrotfish chomp on coral. All this amazing colour and beauty passing by to an underwater sound track provided by the underwater volcano Kavachi which is only 15 miles away.

Devis' Highway

The best place in the Solomons to dive with manta rays. A channel between two islands funnels water forming strong currents and an adrenaline filled dive. Drift along the reef top, duck under the reef wall and watch as up to a dozen mantas swim close by in formation to feed. They are often joined by sweetlips, jacks and bumphead parrotfish.

Leru Cut

A channel back into Leru island forms a breathtakingly beautiful reef formation which when dived at the right time of day has amazing beams of light and fantastic photo opportunities. Surface at the end and see the vine covered cliffs and jungle before descending and exiting onto a sheer wall of fans and soft coral.


Information & Photos kindly provided by: Bilikiki Cruises Ltd

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How to Get there

Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands and the entry/exit point for all international flights to the country. You can fly to Honiara from Nadi in Fiji, Brisbane Australia or Port Morsby Papua New Guinea.

Honiara, Solomon Islands, Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

There is a good  number of restaurants throughout the city of Honiara, that serve up a combination of generally French and Asian cuisine.

Eating dinner, Credit

Popular places for lunch include the Lime Lounge and Breakwater Cafe both just off Mendana Avenue. For dinner the Havanah Restaurant at the Honiara Hotel is probably the best bet. The Japanese Restaurant at the Mendana, Taj Mahal Indian at the Yacht Club and SeaKing, Chinese restaurants are also all good.

Good places for a drink include the Mendana Hotel Bar, Yacht Club and the fabulously decorated bar of the Honiara Hotel.

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Other Activities

Beyond diving, there are a number of activities to do in the Solomon Islands. While Honiara itself is hardly the tropical paradise you might imagine, there are a few worthwhile sights in the immediate vicinity of the city. This includes the local botanical gardens, the National Museum, the wharf and the central market.

Musician & dancers in Honiara, Credit

However, given that this is an area of incredible natural beauty, hiking to waterfalls and through the rainforest is always popular. For those who would rather explore from the ocean, kayaking, surfing and sailing is also possible. A number of operators also run day trips to neighbouring Savo Island, an active volcano 30 minutes from Honiara. During the trip out to the volcano, you are likely to spot a few dolphins. Once on the island, it is possible to hike to the peak where you can see hot springs, geysers and the megapodes that thrive in this harsh climate.

There are a number of World War II historical sights located in and around the city as well. These battle sights and memorials can be visited on a series of walks that also pass through local villages.

If interested in culture, a number of tours can be organized that allow you to visit local villages to learn about their culture, history and traditions. Cooking and carving classes are often popular add-ons to these tours, given  the unique style of the inhabitants of the island.     

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All land and reefs are owned by someone in the Solomon Islands, it is important to ask permission before, entering someones land or swimming, snorkelling or diving on their reef. Bikinis and other beach wear are acceptable at hotels and onboard liveaboards, but it is polite to cover ones thighs and shoulders when in towns or villages.

Fleet, Credit

The Solomon Islands is a fairly safe country and requires travellers exercise standard precautions.

A hyperbaric chamber available in Honiara.

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