some 180 km south of
the Solomon Islands,
islands are reputed
for the friendliness
and warmth of their
the beauty of their
Banks & Torres :
Heading due North
Vanua Lava, the biggest island
Vanua Lava, with an area of 330 km2, is the biggest island and has its own airstrip, at Sola. The highest point is Mount Tolap in the south of the group, with 946 m. To the north, Mount Sere Ama (921 m) overlooks an active volcano, with 2 smokeholes and 2 small lakes where the water level changes constantly.
On the western coast, two magnificient waterfalls cascade down from the top of the rocks into a beautiful natural pool carved out with the passage of time, flowing to the sea. These are the Sasar waterfalls accessible by boat. Join them for the annual events.
Call the Torba Province for information and accommodation: 678-56 45440, and local tour operators.
Custom dancers from the Banks are known to be superb dancers and they are not an uncommon sight on Sola, or at Port-Vila in some of the hotels, or at any one the cultural events, indeed some even represent Vanuatu overseas. Around the first week of September each year is Vanua Lava Day (1-5 sept.) All welcome - contact 56 45440..
The Torres Islands, which lie some 170 km to the south of the Solomon
Islands, extend over 50 km lengthwise.
Made up of 6 islands, they are famous for their enormous coconut crabs, pristine white sandy beaches, giant turtles which come up to bury their eggs in the sand and the caves of Yeyenwu on the island of Hiu (with stalagmites, stalactites and amazing murals).
The Torres take their name from Captain Luis Vaez de Torres who was a member of the Queiros expedition and the Banks owe theirs to the botanist Joseph Banks who came over with James Cook in 1774.
The Banks and Torres islands, in the northenmost part of Vanuatu, include some 13 islands, of which 7 are inhabited. The others are mainly tiny islets of white sand or volcanic rock. Since the 8th of December 1994 they form the Torba province with a population just over 10 000.
Lying 65 km to the south of the Torres Islands, the Banks extend over 144 km lengthwise and include two main islands : Vanua Lava and Gaua.
In these virgin islands, the fauna is quite varied, and along with the crabs, the lobsters and the prawns, you can find turtles, wild pigs, Pacific boas, giant turtles and alligators who apparently escaped from Bishop Patterson’s ship in 1860 and managed to survive and reproduce until a cyclone devastated them in 1972, leaving only 5 survivors.
You can reach Ravenga, Kwakea, Nawila and Mota by boat. Motalava and Gaua, also known as Santa Maria, second island to be served by Air Vanuatu in the Banks is the most popular. It is famous for its dances, dancing stones, a multicoloured statue called Tamata and the sleeping mountains.
On Gaua, visitors will find the largest volcanic lake in the South Pacific, an active volcano, an enormous waterfall (124 m tall) and a cultural vibrancy characteristic of the Banks and Torres.
To the north-west, the incredible Reef Islands constitute a group of islands with superb white sand beaches and coconut trees, they are not inhabited and team with fish, so a good spot for game fishing.
Game fishing in the Banks has the highest record for heavy weights in the world. To the very north, Ureparapara, an old volcano no longer active in the shape of a horseshoe opening out into the ocean, offers the unique opportunity of sailing right into the heart of the crater by boat.
Préparer votre séjour
Pour se rendre dans ces îles, il y a 3 vols hebdomadaires vers les Banks, à Motalava, et deux vols hebdomadaires aux Torres, à Linua.
Renseignements et réservations
• La province de Torba
Tél. (678) 56 45440
• Wreck to Rainforest
• Office du Tourisme du Vanuatu
Tél. (678) 22 813