great walking in the Banks Islands
scenic centre is an awesome place for bush walking and trekking
- Lake Letas, the largest in Vanuatu.
- Mount Garet, an active volcano.
- Siri Waterfall, a truly impressive sight with a large flow
out of Lake Letas falling down 120m. The most spectacular
first Lakona Bay Kastom Festival will be happening on 23 and
24 August 2014 (see the festival
flier). Lakona Bay has a good anchorage in the shadow
of Mt Garet, where fresh water springs from the black sand
beach. The festival includes local dances, wood/stone carving,
music, food and more.
to Lake Letas and camping overnight is a great walk. There
have been no catastrophic eruptions from the Mount Garet Volcano
for a long time and the caldera rim is cool and forested.
Cross the lake by canoe, climb up the hill and you will be
surprised by a desert-like landscape on the summit of Mt Garet.
the north and eastern coast of Gaua, there are extensive reefs
with sheltered waters inside.
north of Namasari village there was a Japanese station in World
War Two. All that remains are a few graves, a truck engine
and a sunken boat near the beach. The Japanese
withdrew before the Allied forces came.
of Gaua's population lives in the east, spread out along
the truck road. There are small stations and coconut
plantations all about. Many of the Ni-Vanuatu
you will meet around east Gaua are recent settlers, mostly
from Mere Lava and Merig islands, where land is in short
is not far from Santo and relatively easy and inexpensive
to visit. The easiest way to get there is to buy a return
Air Vanuatu ticket. Shipping services are infrequent and not recommendable.
A good number of volcano tourists visit Mount
Garet each year. Most of them stay at Wongras Bungalows. Recently, there are more options and some are just as good.
Harbourfront Guesthouse, Namasari
Weul Guesthouse, Namasari
PeBa Memorial Bungalow, Lembot
Aver Bay Guesthouse, Aver Bay
Tames Guesthouse, near the airport
Wongras Bungalows, near the airport
Fres Win Bungalow, Lewonduwar
Air Vanuatu flies to Gaua on three days a week: Monday,
Wednesday and Friday (March 2009). An adult return fare
to Gaua is 40025 Vatu from Port Vila or 19280 Vatu from
Santo (May 2006). Tourists with a return Air Vanuatu ticket
are entitled to a 20% discount.
When leaving Gaua, plan
to be at the airport early. What happens is that the pilot radios
ahead from Santo and may decide to change the routing. Exchange
There is no regular shipping service to the Banks these days so don't plan on travelling by ship to or from Gaua.
were no private transport trucks on Gaua in 2009. You will have to walk, good training for trekking to Mount Garet!
|Airport to north
|Airport to south
Gaua now has a tourism office, by the airport. It's actually OK and should be the best place to pay kastom landowner fees. Telephone 38596 (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when there is an Air Vanuatu flight from Santo).
The Mataka Health Centre is between Lembot and Namasari villages. There's a nurse here but in March 2009 they were very low on medicine and supplies.
are scarce and Digicel has not arrived in the Banks
and Torres Islands yet (March 2009). There's one public phone
at the airport (38514) and another at the public school at
Aworu. The telephone service in the Banks is infamously unreliable.
Nevermind if the phones are down and you can't book, just
go and everything will sort itself out. The TVL landlines
are undoubtedly out of service now in 2014. Please
provide an update about communications if you've been to Gaua
and some schools have solar panels but not all have inverters.
There are a few private generators here and there. Don't assume
there will be power, charge all of your batteries before coming.
Updated: Jan 2014 by Stephen