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Island name: Gaua Island

No of days: 3 days

Difficulty levels: Grade 4

Steepness: 4/5

Roughness: 3/5

Seasonability: The island of Gaua and its active Mount Garet volcano can be visited all year round. We recommend checking Vanuatu Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Departments website before departure for the latest volcanic activity concerns.

Based on weather forecasts and level of volcano activity, access to the volcano can be restricted due to safety concerns.

Age group: 10 years and older


Sitting in the northern most province of Vanuatu, made up of the Banks and Torres Islands and first named “Santa Maria” by the Spanish conquistadors in 1606 - Gaua awaits the bravest explorer of the archipelago.

Embark on a three day and two night’s adventure across the island taking you all the way to the top of the very impressive Mount Garet. It is potentially the most dangerous volcano of Vanuatu because of the thin layer of rocks that separates its crater lake from volcanic magma.

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Your journey will start with an amazing bushwalk to Lake Letas. You will cross the Lake in a traditional canoe before climbing Mount Garet, 711 meters above sea level, to enjoy amazing panoramic views of the island and its surrounds.

Share the ‘manbush’ way of life of your guides for two nights at the Lake Letas camp site. Follow them to the highest waterfalls of the archipelago, to volcanic boiling mud pools by the freshwater crater lake and finish the adventure at an idyllic remote white sand beach.

This multi-day hike is perfect for those looking for a challenging adventure. However your guide will lead you at a pace that suits you and shorter options can be organised.

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Day 1 Morning: From your Bungalow to Lake Letas Camp Site
12 km – 3.5 hour hike approx.

Your accredited guides and porters pick you up at your bungalow on the coast for an early departure. The Mount Garet multi-day hike starts with an easy walk through Gaua coastal villages before stepping into inland bush, gardens and coconut plantations.

For three hours, you will follow a single bush track surrounded by lush tropical vegetation before reaching your first scenic view over the volcano, approximately 500 meters above sea level.

Just before reaching the ridge over Lake Letas, your guide may have you participate in a customary tradition to ask Mount Garet permission to approach.

Taking in the amazing views of the volcano, and then start an easy going half hour descent to Lake Letas and its camp site.

Day 1 Afternoon: Lake Letas & Mount Garet
2-hour paddle and 2-hour hike approx.

After a picnic lunch by the water’s edge, climb into an outrigger canoe to cross Lake Letas in the shadow of Mount Garet.

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Crossing the two kilometres between the camping site and the slopes of the active volcano takes about one hour. If there is wind blowing, it can take even longer. Your guide and porter will do most of the paddling.

Your feet back on the ground, it is time for one hour of steep climbing on loose ground before reaching the summit of the volcano. There are many tracks up Mount Garet and each guide has his own way.

Approximately 700 meters above sea level, you will be rewarded by breathtaking panoramic views of Gaua Island, its famous lake and tropical bush.

On a clear day, you can even see the Torres Islands, all of the Banks, Maewo, Ambae, Pentecost and Santo… On top, you will hike around several craters.

Most of them haven’t erupted for a long time and are covered in mud, stones, and green moss. Your guide might change your route to keep you away from sulphur dioxide steam escaping from the active crater.

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After the 30 minute decent from Mount Garet and 45 minute paddle back across Lake Letas, you will reach your campsite for a much-deserved rest and maybe a “shell’ of Kava with your travelling companions.

Accommodation: You will spend the night in a basic camp site by the edge of Lake Letas. Tent and camping equipment are provided and transported by your guides. Lunch & Diner: Island meals cooked by your guides at the camp site.

Day 2: Siri Waterfalls
8 Km – 5 hour hike approx.

During this second hiking day, visit the other natural wonder of Gaua Island: Siri Waterfall, formerly called Santa Maria Waterfall, 120 metre high and said to be the highest falls in the South Pacific.

Starting from your camp site, follow your guides up and down a single undulating bush track in tropical rainforest for about 1.5 hour before reaching the top of the waterfall.

Freshwater flows from Lake Letas behind you before plunging into the falls at approximately five cubic metres per second. From there start a steep descent on sleepy rocks surrounded by the powerful noise of the rushing waters.

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Finally arrive at the bottom of the falls, drenched by Siri water mists and savour the feeling of being small in the face of nature. Below you, the water flows as a large stream called Solomul River for another three kilometres before it reaches the sea.

While your guides prepare the picnic lunch, swim and cool down in the cold fresh water at a safe distance from the falls. Once refreshed, you will hike back to the camp site where you will stay a second night.

Siri Waterfalls can also be visited as a day tour from your bungalow. See the Important Information section for more details on bookings and tour operators.

Day 3: Lake Letas Camp Site – Tony’s Paradise Beach
4-hour hike approx.

For the last day of the Mount Garet multi-day expedition, leave the camp site that you have been calling home for the last two days. Skirt Lake Letas for one last time and at the north-western end of the lake, follow your guides inland and quickly come across boiling mud pools heated by the magma below your feet.

After a four hour hike through the island jungle, you will arrive in paradise to blue crystalline water, white sand beach and a truly remote feeling.

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Spend your last afternoon of this adventure lazing about, rocked by the sound of the South Pacific waves. You can choose to stay the night on Tony’s Paradise Beach or to walk an additional 40 minutes by a coastal track back to your accommodation near Gaua airport. Boat transfers can also be arranged.

Important Information

Getting there and coming back

1.5 Hour flights every Monday, Thursday or Saturday from Port Vila, Efate to Gaua Airport, Gaua with Air Vanuatu. Stopover in Luganville, Santo. Indicative price: 20,500vt

1.5 Hour flights every Thursday or Saturday from Gaua Airport, Gaua to Port Vila, and Efate with Air Vanuatu. Stopover in Luganville Santo. Indicative price: 20,500vt

Note: flight schedules are subject to change. It is advisable to to check the Air Vanuatu website for current timetables.

Info about guides/operator

All queries and booking should be made through Santo Travel. They will organise the perfect expedition for you. Your guide can lead you on the hike at a pace that suits you, with the option to walk over one, two or three days.

The seven accredited tour guides are: Larry Aris, Victor Wetias, Joses Kauvaka, George Wobur, Lency George, and Renigald Simeon and John Atkin.

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Prices will be given on request and include accredited tour guides, porters, all land entry fees, all meals and the nights at the camp site by the lake.  Send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Info about food: All food during this 3 days hike is included from lunch in Day One to lunch on Day Three. You will eat very simple “island kae kae” mainly composed of rice, cabbage, tubers (sweet potatoes, taro, manioc) and fresh fruits. Your guides will prepare the meals “manbush style”. Most of the meals are vegetarian.

Please advise your guide upon booking if you have any special dietary regime. For more information, refers to our FAQ page.