For the adventurous there really is only one way to explore Gaua, a remote island in the northern Torba Province of Vanuatu. And you’ll want to explore because this is one island that has little development and few tourists – a win-win for anyone who likes to get away from it all.
The three-day Lake Letas and Mt Garet trek is chock-full of activities: hiking, canoeing and staying at local campsites overnight. But it is the trek up active volcano Mt Garet you’ll really remember.
You’ll walk through villages and coconut plantations, over rivers and across huge ash plains. A lush track through the dense bush takes you to several stunning viewpoints at an altitude of about 500 metres where you can in active volcano Mt Garet in all its smoking glory.
Yes, your feet may become sore and your muscles may ache yet you’ll be rewarded in spades by the natural beauty and the kindness of locals you’ll encounter as you make your way down to Lake Letas. After a refreshing dip, paddle across Vanuatu’s largest lake by outrigger canoe, soaking up the amazing panoramic view.
It’s a good thing you’ll have done some training and preparation before your trip, because it’s 45 minutes up a steep incline to the peak of Mt Garet from where an amazing view of the surrounding tropical jungle and lake awaits you.
Best of all, everyone you encounter on Gaua will greet you with smiles and make you feel welcome. Get to know the real pace of life on Gaua visiting a traditional village. You’ll meet everyday people – villagers, children, even the school principal – who will stop for a chat.
Air Vanuatu flies to Gaua a few times a week. If you have time book the flight that goes via other islands it’s highly recommended. Check the domestic schedule and remember if you book when in Vanuatu with your international ticket in hand, you get 20 per cent off your domestic flight price.
Book everything else through the Vanuatu tourist centre either in the provinces or go into the office in Port Vila.
The three-day hike costs about US$500.
Walkers have to be fit to do the full three-day walk. Shorter options are available. Wear good shoes and expect to get dirty and wet.