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From swimming beneath the highest waterfall in the south Pacific to catching an outrigger canoe to the base of a volcano, Gaua has a lot of natural beauty to boast about.

Located in the province of Torba in northern Vanuatu, Gaua Island is known for its humid climate, rugged terrain, dense jungle and of course, its friendly people. With just 2,500 residents, Gaua is the second most populous island amongst the Banks Islands Group. It is very much off the beaten track with very little infrastructure or tourism.

With a way of life that’s largely dictated by the elements, the people on Gaua are relaxed and ready to tackle whatever nature throws at them, even if it means leaving their villages for long periods of time when Mt Garet erupts.

Don’t miss:
● The South Pacific's highest waterfall, Siri waterfall
● Kayaking across Vanuatu’s largest crater lake in an outrigger canoe
● Climbing an active volcano
● The spectacular water music ladies

How to get there:
You can fly to Gaua from Santo or Port Vila. Check out schedules at Remember to keep a few days up your sleeve, as flights can change on these small islands. It’s good to be able to go with the flow.

Useful tips:

  • The weather can change in an instant, so if you’re hiking up Mt Garet, or just out for the day, remember to take a raincoat, in case a storm hits.

  • Some beaches on Gaua are stonier than you might expect from this tropical paradise (they’re not all soft, white sand!). The views are unparalleled, but you may prefer a stroll along the beach in a good pair of shoes.

  • You’ll need a guide to explore much of Gaua. Every piece of land and every beach is owned by someone, and a guide will know the best and most respectful way to move from place to place.

    Things to do and top attractions in Gaua:

Visit Vanuatu’s highest waterfall, Siri Waterfall

At 120m tall, Siri Waterfall is nothing short of impressive. The journey to the waterfall takes you through dense forest and coconut plantations, and leads you across some tricky terrain, including shaky bridges and ladders forged from tree trunks. If heights aren’t your forte, you may find the journey a little difficult, but if you find the courage, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular sight.

Cool off at the base of the Siri Waterfall and take some time to enjoy lunch, serenaded by the roar of the falls. You can combine your trip to Siri Waterfall with a hike up Mt Garet and a night at Victor’s camp with some of the local island guides.

Witness the water music ladies

Sit back, relax and enjoy as the women of Gaua create a spectacular, hypnotic rhythm by slapping and gliding their hands through the water for their performance.

Accompanied by dances and calls, these performances are usually symbolic of life in the village or the animals that the Gaua people live alongside. These art form is only performanced by women from this island so witnessing their displays is an essential part of the Gaua experience.

Climb Mt Garet

Want a challenge? Trekking to the top of the active volcano on Mt Garet will take you through beautiful, untamed scenery. This walk can be undertaken over one, two or three days, taking in different sights and sounds with your guides as you hike, canoe and explore the area. Make sure you camp out at Victor’s Camp for the ultimate local experience. Victor is a jovial man full of stories, and, after cooking up a storm, will share ancient kastom rituals, and may sing a few songs too.

It’s recommended that you do not set off on this journey if you aren’t accustomed to hiking, particularly in a tropical climate. Climbing Mt Garet is subject to natural conditions and safety is always a priority.

Stay at a local guesthouse

There are 14 bungalows scattered throughout Torba province. Gaua boasts the only boutique bungalow in the region — Chez Maureen. Only 300m from the airport, Chez Maureen is easy to get to and perfectly positions you on the coast, ready to explore the island. With unrivalled views, a king-size bed, private terrace and an attentive host, basing yourself at Chez Maureen means you can get the most out of Gaua.