Vatthe Conservation Area covers 2,276 hectares of lowland
alluvial forest at the southern end of Big Bay on the island
of Espiritu Santo. Bush walking and bird watching are popular
visitor activities at Vatthe. At least 36
bird species have been recorded including 5 Vanuatu endemics.
accomodation is available at Bay of Illusions
Conservation Area Project was initiated in 1994 as a partnership
between the local community, NGOs, the provincial and national
governments. The basic idea for the project began in 1993
during a biodiversity survey of the area by the Vanuatu Environment
Unit in collaboration with the Royal Forest and Bird Protection
Society of New Zealand. During the study there was some
discussion with the community on the idea of setting up a
protected area. Some still call it a national park but that's
not exactly true. There is very little public land and there
are no "national parks" in Vanuatu (the land doesn't
belong to the state).
OK to go walking in the bush unguided. Once inside, it all
looks the same and the topography is flat. There are no trail
maps and markers. You could get lost and some visitors have!
Once you have been shown the trails inside the forest you
might be trusted to walk alone, which is important for intensive
bird watching. You can walk
along the beach and road independently.
Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand website
has some excellent pages about
higher resolution pictures on our Vanuatu
Protected Areas Showcase.
updated: October 2011 by Stephen.