- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Solomon Islands.
- Political violence, civil unrest and protests occur from time to time in Solomon Islands and may coincide with sittings of Parliament, high profile investigations or court cases, periods of political uncertainty or industrial relations disputes.
- You should avoid any protests, large gatherings and political rallies as they may turn violent. You should exercise caution and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- You should pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- Security incidents can also occur at sporting or cultural events which attract large crowds, particularly where alcohol is involved.
- Cyclone season in Solomon Islands is from November to May. However, tropical storms and cyclones may occur in other months. See the Natural disasters, severe weather and climate section for more detailed advice.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Solomon Islands for the most up to date information.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Civil unrest /political tension
Political violence, civil unrest and protests occur in Solomon Islands and may coincide with sittings of Parliament, high profile investigations or court cases, periods of political uncertainty or industrial relations disputes.
Political tensions can rise with little notice. You should avoid any protests, large gatherings and political rallies as they may turn violent. Opportunistic crime and looting may also occur. In November 2011, the election of a new Prime Minister was followed by protests in Honiara, which resulted in some injuries and property damage.
Following high profile court proceedings in November 2010, there were incidents of rock throwing and some looting in central Honiara and Chinatown. While the incidents were contained by the authorities, they demonstrate the potential for the security environment to be affected by wider events. In April 2006, political tensions led to riots in the city centre, eastern Honiara and Chinatown, causing significant destruction of property.
Security incidents can also occur at sporting or cultural events which attract large crowds, particularly where alcohol is involved.
You should pay close attention to your personal security, monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks and follow the instructions of local authorities.
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Solomon Islands. Criminal activity is of particular concern in Honiara and sometimes involves violence. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Expatriates and visitors can be attractive targets for opportunistic crime. You should avoid obvious displays of wealth and take particular care when using automatic teller machines and frequenting crowded places, including local markets. House and vehicle break-ins occur, including against expatriates.
Verbal harassment, intimidation, and assaults, including indecent assault, have been directed towards foreigners in Solomon Islands, typically in situations where alcohol is involved, including at some nightclubs and bars.
There have also been incidents of more serious attacks on vehicles, which can include hijacking, robbery and sexual assault, especially at night.
Areas around Honiara requiring heightened security awareness include; the Central Market; Point Cruz; the area surrounding old Mataniko bridge in Central Honiara (Chinatown); the Kukum area; Burns Creek/Lungga River in east Honiara; White River in west Honiara, Tasahe, Borderline and Kombito Market in the south-east of Honiara; and squatter settlement areas in and around Honiara. Nonetheless, crime is often opportunistic and can be dispersed across all areas of Honiara.
The incidence of crime typically increases during the Christmas period, in the lead-up to major holidays and following periods of political instability.
Visitors are advised to avoid walking, jogging or cycling after dark, or in the early hours of the morning and to be cautious when driving at night.
The presence of firearms in the community, particularly those in the hands of criminal elements, is a low but continuing risk.
On 6 February 2013, a large earthquake and tsunami in southern Solomon Islands caused extensive damage around the town of Lata. Australians in the affected area should follow the instructions of local authorities.
If you are planning to travel outside Honiara or Gizo, you should seek local advice on the availability of services and amenities for tourists in that area. Many parts of Solomon Islands are remote from medical services and other forms of assistance in the event of an emergency.
Passenger ferry and flight services throughout Solomon Islands are generally unreliable and subject to disruption at short notice. You should consider taking precautions when travelling by sea, such as carrying your own life-jackets, as safety regulations are not always strictly applied. Overcrowding of passenger ferries is also common.
Fire safety regulations are not always strictly applied. In planning your activities, consider fire safety standards.
Most roads in Solomon Islands are in a poor state of repair making driving difficult. Poor vehicle maintenance and poor standards of driving also increase the risks. See also our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.
Unexploded World War II ordnance still exists in Solomon Islands, particularly at Hell’s Point and the ridges behind Honiara, the New Georgia groups of islands, the former capital of Tulagi, and the Russell Islands. The condition and stability of the ordnance is largely unknown. Care should be taken in these areas when hiking, boating or diving. Local advice should be sought before travelling in these areas.
Domestic flights schedules are generally unreliable and subject to disruption. You should contact airlines directly to check the status of flights.
For further information, please refer to our Aviation Safety and Security travel bulletin.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
When you are in Solomon Islands, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Homosexual acts (by either sex) are illegal and penalties include jail sentences.
It is illegal to import or possess pornographic material. Offenders may be fined.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Solomon Islands and you should take care not to offend. Public displays of affection and swearing in public may cause offence.
Information for dual nationals
Solomon Islands does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Solomon Islands dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend that you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Medical facilities throughout the Solomon Islands are limited. Emergency and trauma cases are referred to the National Referral Hospital in Honiara on Guadalcanal. Facilities in provincial areas are very limited.
Rescue and emergency services are extremely limited. Evacuations are generally required in cases of serious illness or accident. Medical evacuations from Solomon Islands to Australia can cost upwards of AUD40, 000.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are common in Solomon Islands. Malaria is prevalent in most areas of Solomon Islands and occurs throughout the year. Dengue fever outbreaks have been reported in Solomon Islands. In February 2013, the Ministry of Health announced that a number of dengue cases had been detected in Honiara. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue. For information on dengue fever, see the World Health Organization’s factsheet. We encourage you to: consider taking prophylaxis against malaria; ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof; and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, tuberculosis, filariasis and sexually transmitted infections) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Ciguatera poisoning from eating reef fish can be a hazard. For more information on ciguatera poisoning see Queensland Health's fact sheet.
The Divers Alert Network (DAN) can provide information on diving safety. There is a hyperbaric (decompression) chamber in Honiara and registered dive operators can provide advice on the access arrangements.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For more information see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
In Solomon Islands, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian High Commission
Cnr Hibiscus Ave and Mud Alley
Telephone (677) 21 561.
If you are travelling to Solomon Islands, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Cyclones: Cyclone season is from November to May when heavy rain can lead to flooding, landslides and disruptions to services. Tropical storms and cyclones may also occur in other months. The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning. The Solomon Islands Meteorological Serviceprovides up-to-date information about weather conditions in Solomon Islands, including cyclone watches and warnings. Information on severe weather is available from the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre, the Humanitarian Early Warning Service or the Global Disaster Alert Coordination System. Our Severe weather page lists additional regional meteorological organisations.
Preparing for a cyclone: In the event of an approaching cyclone, you should identify your local shelter. Australians in affected areas should follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments. Departure may not be possible as flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended and available flights may fill quickly. The cyclone could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available for all those choosing to stay. You should familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. You should carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology publishes guides and checklists for general cyclone safety and preparedness.
Earthquakes: Solomon Islands is subject to earthquakes, volcanic activity and tidal waves. An earthquake of 8 magnitude occurred in April 2007, triggering a tsunami and resulting in casualties and widespread damage and flooding in coastal regions of Western and Choiseul Provinces. The island of Savo, 35 kilometres north west of Honiara, is a cyclically active volcano.
All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness brochure.
Solomon Island authorities provide advice of any impending natural disaster threat through local media, radio and television. If a natural disaster occurs, you should closely monitor the media for updates and other information about your safety and follow the advice of local authorities. You should also keep friends and family in Australia updated about your welfare and whereabouts during natural disasters. If you are due to arrive in Solomon Islands after a natural disaster you should contact your tour operator to check whether services at your planned destination are affected.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
Around Honiara, dogs are often not kept under control and roam freely, sometimes in packs. They have been known to attack people walking, running or cycling near them.
Fresh and salt water crocodiles and sharks are common in Solomon Islands’ waters, and can be present on occasions in areas close to Honiara including the popular Bonegi Beach. Local advice should be sought before entering unfamiliar waters.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.