main objective for most visitors to Gaua is Lake Letas and
the Mount Garet Volcano. Access is by walking.
Updates on the volcano are available from the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.
are want to climb Mount Garet, you need to cross the
lake and there are two canoes on the lake for this. Most visitors camp overnight by the lake and paddle across to the volcano in the morning.
East Gaua there are basically three trekking
routes to Lake Letas and they all take about three hours up to the lake:
track from the airport is most often used by tourists (from Wongras
Bungalows). The distance is about 12 km and easy walking.
walk from Kaska Bay, about 10 km, is difficult only between the waterfall and the lake, the rest is
easy. The waterfall detour is hazardous and mist limits
your opportunities for taking photos. Anyhow, the waterfall
is a remarkable sight. Allow one to two hours for
the waterfall detour.
3) The walk from Namasari village is easy, only a little steeper than the track from the airport.
There are many places to camp around lake Letas. There are few flies or mosquitos and it's cool,
but not cold, at night. The lake is good for swimming and the water is OK for drinking (better to stick a purifcation tablet in when you refill your bottle).
Camping on top of Mt Garet can be done (has been done) if the weather is fine. You just need to carry some water up the mountain. The view from the summit on a clear morning is absolutely breathtaking: you can see the Torres Islands, all of the Banks, Maewo, Ambae, Pentecost and Santo.
Crossing Lake Letas is about 2 km and takes about 1 hour by canoe.
If there's a wind blowing it will take longer or may even be impossible. The new fibreglass canoes are very sturdy and can take 6 passengers.
There are many walking routes up Mount Garet, most of them involve bashing along wild bullock tracks and getting lost. There is one good track, discovered by Wongras Bungalows, and it's easier if your guide knows this route. During the low season (December to April), the track may be overgrown with ferns.
It takes about 1 to 2 hours to climb Mount Garet, depending on how clear the track is. Wear long pants to save your legs from getting scratched. The upper section has loose ground and gravel so take care.
The "smoke" emitted by Mount Garet is rich in Sulphur Dioxide. It is acidic and you will get a shock if you stray into the gas plume. Stay upwind and uphill of the vent and you will be fine.
If you like to explore more, and have time, there are some worthwhile additions to your volcano trek:
- Boiling mud pools, these are at the northwestern end of Lake Letas, not far inland.
- Duck island, this is where the White-eyed Ducks (Hardheads) lay their eggs (seasonally).
- Siri Waterfall, it's huge!
need a guide to show the path and point out the Nangalat
trees (stinging trees) along the way. 1000 Vatu a day is the standard rate.
There are kastom fees
but sometimes it's not clear that these are passed on to the
landowners. Fees can be different, depending on where you stay. The best bet is to go the Tourism Office next to the airport, Onless Island Tour, telephone 38596. It's open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when there is an Air Vanuatu flight from Santo. You can pay your fees at the tourism office and they will give you a receipt. You don't need to book any tours there if you don't want too.
||1000 per person
||500 per person
||500 per person
||1000 per person
updated: June 2009 by Stephen.