Located on the island of Guadalcanal, Honiara is the capital of the Solomon Islands. Once in the spotlight for riots and civil unrest, the city has pushed through hard times to become a popular holiday destination.
Centrally positioned within the archipelago, and rich in World War Two history and Melanesian culture, Honiara is a hub for travellers visiting the South Pacific.
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Honiara’s food scene presents an exciting mix of fares and cultures. Traditional dishes and ingredients are sold at markets, road side stalls and small downtown eateries, while a number of globally-inspired restaurants dot the oceanfront and the town’s main streets.
Markets are an integral part of Honiara’s and the South Pacific’s food culture; selling fresh produce and ready-made traditional dishes. Located downtown, the Central Markets are the country's principal food markets, covering a whole block on the seafront. The SDA Market is a go-to for fresh fish and a quick meal. While the Kukum Market offers fresh vegetables and betel nut.
Neighbourhood canteens are also a great way to discover the Solomon Islands culture. Typically very small – often tiny shacks covered with chicken wire to prevent robberies – local canteens are akin to western-style corner stores, selling everything from mobile phone top-ups to canned goods.
Honiara's large expat community are catered to with a modern and diverse international dining scene of reputable restaurants and cafes, featuring cuisines from all over the world.
Shopping in Honiara proves to be an interesting and exciting experience. Markets bustle with fresh food, clothes and knick knacks, while outlets and shops brim with trinkets and intricately-designed handicrafts.
Atmospheric and bustling, Honiara’s main wharf provides a snapshot of Solomon Islands life. Pick through the chaotic Central Markets for hotchpotch mix of fresh local produce – including vegetables, fruits, fish and betel nut – and custom shell money and jewellery. A busy collection of stalls can be found set up near the wharf Monday through to Sunday.
Honiara is a great place to pick up souvenirs. A number of gift shops speckle the downtown area, selling a wide range of interesting souvenirs. Chinatown is home to a few notable souvenir and local type stores.
Clothes shopping in the Solomons is generally limited to sarongs and tourist tees; however there are a number of second-hand shops that sell well known – albeit used – big-name brands. Charities in Australia and New Zealand ship bales and containers of second-hand clothes, books and bric-a-brac to the Solomons.