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Island name: Nguna Island

No of days: 3.5 hour walk

Difficulty levels: Grade 3

Steepness: 4/5

Roughness: 3/5

Seasonability: Booking can be made all year round

Age group: 12 years and older


An hour away from Port Vila’s busy city centre and resorts lies Nguna and its sister islands, Pele and Emao and the crystalline water of the Uduna marine channel. Sixteen local communities from Nguna and Pele Islands united to create the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area.

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They are committed to the sustainable use and conservation of marine and terrestrial resources of over 3,000 hectares of community-managed lagoons, reefs, sea grass beds, corals, mangrove forests and bush gardens. In this preserved environment, follow your local guide all the way to the top of the Mount Taputoara, highest of the two extinct volcanoes of Nguna Island.

The walking track takes you through several welcoming villages and is a steady uphill climb till the edge of the crater 593 meters above sea level. Some parts of the track are steep, but it is worth the effort as you will be rewarded by sweeping views across the Shepherd Islands to the north and south to Efate.

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The Nguna Extinct Volcano half day trek starts from the white sand beach of Taloa, the biggest village on the island and home to one the earliest Presbyterian missions in Vanuatu. Get one last look into the turquoise waters of Undine Bay before following your local guide inland under the rainforest canopy of Nguna Island.

The first part of the bush trail will take you through traditional bush gardens, zigzagging between coconut trees and bamboo groves. Conserve your energy, as the three-hour return hike to the volcano is a steady climb with a very steep section. Your guide will make frequent stops for a sip of water as the day get hotter. Under the shadow of the rainforest, lush vegetation shadows restores your strength and enjoy tasting tropical fruit freshly picked along your walk by your guide.

Three villages along the way offer the chance to stop for a chat with local villagers which will give you a glimpse of their island way of life. You will reach the first one, Malaliu Village, after 45 minutes of walking. You will have the opportunity to have a look around their beautiful soccer field, health centre and English primary school.

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Once past the third village, prepare for the steepest and hottest part of the climb. It is worth the effort as you will be rewarded with a spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view.

To the north, admire the Shepherd Islands and in particular strikingly beautiful Mataso, recognizable by its sharp volcanic peak. To the east, stand Nguna’s sister islands of Emao, Pele and Kakula, and to the south, Moso and Efate.

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Now enjoy the exhilarating experience of the mountain descent!

After a much-deserved lunch organised at one of Taloa’s bungalows, we highly recommend snorkelling in Nguna’s marine conservation area. Expect to see lots of fish, and if you are lucky, the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle.

Important Information

Getting There (nearest airstrip, how to access trailhead)

One hour daily bus transfer from Port Vila along Efate Island’s west coast to Emua Wharf. Indicative

Price: 500vt with public transport / 5,000vt for a charter.

25 Minute banana boat transfer across Uduna Bay form Emua Wharf on North Efate to accommodation on Nguna Island. Waters are sheltered in the prevailing southeast breezes, but it can be a bit choppy and you can expect some salt spray. Indicative price: 500vt for a shared boat / 2,500vt for a charter.

Info about guides/operator:

Day tours can be organised from Port Vila through Vanuatu Ecotours. You can also spend the night on Nguna and the trek will be organised through your accommodation provider.

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Accommodation can be booked through Shefa Tourism Office on +678 552 6028.

Info about food:

Your tour operator will organise a lunch at one of Taloa’s guesthouses for after the walk. Don’t forget to bring bottles of water.