Honiara, capital city of Solomon Islands
Honiara is 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.
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.
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.
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.
The usually-calm waters that surround the islands were greatly disturbed by the Second World War. Henderson Airfield, near the capital, was controlled by the US-led allied forces and as a launching pad for further attacks. Visitors to Honiara can explore many untouched sites and even discover artifacts still scattered in the battlegrounds.
The United States War Memorial is perched at the top of Skyline Ridge. A walk through the imposing marble walls reveals powerful insights about the war in the Solomon Islands, and the setting offers remarkable views of battle sites.
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.
Many visitors and villagers have collected wartime relics from the Gifu, an important command post in the Japanese struggle to regain Henderson Airfield. Visitors can view many artifacts seized from the area for a small sum, then walk through the main battle area and explore foxholes.
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.
A large expat community has given Honiara a diverse dining scene. A number of outstanding restaurants and cafes serve up cuisines from all over the world, including French, Italian, American, Australian, Israeli and Middle Eastern foods.
Honiara Geographical Location
Honiara is located on the island of Guadalcanal on its northern coast.
The population of Honiara is estimated to be 79,000.
English is the official language of the Solomon Islands but only a small minority speaks it. There are over 120 indigenous languages that are spoken throughout the islands.
Honiara Predominant Religion
- 74% Protestant
- 19% Roman Catholic
- 4% Other Christian
- 2.5% Other
- 0.5% None
There is a small Islamic community in the Solomon Islands but the vast majority practices Christianity.
The official currency of the Solomon Islands is the Solomon Islands Dollar.
Honiara experiences a tropical climate with hot, humid temperatures during the day. November through April experiences more rain but rainfall is common throughout the year.
Honiara Main Attractions
- Bonegi I and II
- Matanikau Falls
- Central Market
Other Attraction in Honiara
- The National Museum
- The Melanesian Cultural Village
- Tenaru Falls