Solomon Airlines is currently the only airline offering domestic flights within the Solomon Islands. They have a fleet of 5 planes for domestic services which include a 'Dash 8', two 'Twin Otters' and two 'Islander' aircraft. All aircraft are based at the Honiara Domestic Airport which is located five minutes walk from the international airport at Henderson. The Airport is accessible from the city centre for a capped rate of $100.00 for a taxi. There is also a shuttle bus service which services all the main accommodation for $75.00 per person.
Flights depart for Munda and Gizo in the Western Province daily, whilst other locations are generally serviced less frequently.
Tickets can be booked online at [www.flysolomon.com] or there are ticketing offices at Point Cruz and Panatina Plaza in Honiara or at each regional airport.
Due to the layout of the country, Solomon Islanders are very used to travelling by sea and in most cases this is seemingly the preferred method of travel. While this may not be the fastest way to get to your destination, voyages by sea can be scenic and take you through lesser-travelled areas. As most offer quite basic amenities, they are also considerably cheaper than travelling by air.
While the vast majority of ships are incredibly basic by western standards, all have toilets and usually a basic canteen selling snacks and drinks. Safety equipment is mandatory for all commercial vessels in the Solomon Islands so each vessel should be equipped with appropriate materials and abide by loading requirements. Although there may be some seating available, most passengers will find a space on the floor and roll out a mat to claim an area to sleep during the journey. Due to their mixed role as passenger and freight carriers, most ships may spend a while at various ports during a journey to load and offload. While this can create delays, it also invites the opportunity to take a walk around the area and perhaps buy some fresh fruit or BBQ fish from a market.
Cargo ships run to virtually every province from Honiara and the price is sometimes just a fraction of the price of flying. To most places ships will run every week but to more remote provinces Temotu every two weeks or so. As opposed to passenger ships, cargo ships are slower, stopping at more ports, picking up cargo, which allows time for wandering, socializing and enjoying the views. Schedules are virtually non-existent, but Honiara's port is a good place to start asking. Information seems to be spread by word of mouth. Ask for telephone number and reconfirm again and again.
An exception to the rule, there are a small number of ships which provide a superior service, aimed primarily at higher quality passenger only transport. These ships include:
360 Discovery A former Auckland Harbour ferry which provides an almost daily fast ferry service to Auki in Malaita, often via Tulagi in Ngella Central Province. There is a canteen onboard, toilets and flat screen tv with movies. Tickets can be purchased from either the ship or their office in Point Cruz near the Lime Lounge Cafe. In 2012 the fare as S$300 one way or S$580 return. Boarding is at 7:30am for an 8am departure, reaching Auki at around 12:30pm.
Pelican Express which provides a regular fast ferry service to Auki and the only weekly day trip service to the Western Province including ports of Batuna, Seghe, Noro and Gizo no more as of October 2014. There is indoor and outdoor seating, toilets, canteen, and flat screen tv with movies. Ticket options include first or second class, first class seating is on the top level and is a little less crowded. Bring some warm clothes as the air conditioning works a little too well. Tickets can be purchased from the ship or their office in Point Cruz near the Lime Lounge Cafe. The Pelican usually departs Honiara for Gizo on Sunday mornings, arriving in Gizo just before dark on the same day. It then returns to Honiara on Monday mornings. Note that this service is subject to calm seas and weather conditions and can be cancelled sometimes even when the journey has already commenced if conditions are not favourable.
Fair Glory, a large and sturdy passenger vessel providing the only service with private tourist cabin accommodation on board. Fair Glory travels weekly to both Auki and Gizo via Seghe, Ughele and Noro ports. Trips to the Western Province depart every Sunday morning arriving in Gizo before lunch on Monday. The ship then departs Gizo for Honiara on Tuesday mornings. Prices for tickets vary depending on seating class. Although cabin prices include 2 pax, in early 2013 quoted prices for a cabin for the Honiara-Gizo journey were similar to that of two one way tickets on the Solomon Airlines service to Gizo. As of October 2014 Fair Glory is not operating, being repaired in the Philippines. Until it is away, a cargo ship, Chanella takes passengers too.
Auki Ferry This runs most days from Honiara Wharf to Auki on the island of Malaita across the Slot from Honiara. In 2012 the fare as S$300 one way or S$580 return. The ferry travels through the Florida Islands channel which is worth seeing and there's a high chance you'll see plenty of flying fish if you look off the front or sides of the boat. The catamaran ferry is a former Auckland Harbour ferry so is not designed to be ocean-going. This means that when it's rough, it's rough so be prepared. The ferry has plenty of comfortable seating, air conditioning and a big flat screen which shows films during the journey. You can buy drinks and snacks on the ferry although it's best to buy this on the way out from Honiara as supplies run low once the boat is heading back. There is a toilet.
Boarding is at 7:30am for an 8am departure. Buy your ticket from a vehicle parked outside the jetty gate in the wharf car park. It'll be the one swamped with people getting tickets at 7:30am. Boat stops in [Tulagi] 9:30am in Florida Islands and leaves ten minutes later for Poromole arr. 10:30 which has a beautiful beach and water. It reaches Auki at 12:30 and leaves to return to Honiara via the same route at 2pm boarding from 1:30pm. Return to Poromole is 3:30pm and Tulagi at 4:30pm before arrival in Honiara at sunset or around 6pm.
One of the most popular and scenic routes is between Gizo and Honiara. Most ships will make a stopover in Noro for Munda which doesn't have a deep sea wharf and Seghe. As of October 2014 three ferries operate this route: Chanella substituting Fair Glory, Kosko a cargo ship making many stops and LC Phoenix passengers only. Prices vary between 300 and 500 SBD one way so ask around. Oddly, all boats depart at the same time: Sunday from Honiara, Tuesday morning from Gizo. Cancellations and delays are common.
Bring a mat for sleeping and a jacket for all sea travel.