Gaua Island

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Beautiful Gaua Island is dominated by the volcano of Garet. The mountain continuously puffs steam, ashes, sulfur and smoke into the air. At the top of the mountain is Lac Létas (Lake Letas). The lake fills an ash plain at hundreds of meters of altitude and its ability to carry the reflection of ships, passing the island has earned it the name of Lake Reflection. The lake is 7 km (4.3 miles) long, making it one of the largest freshwater lakes in the South Pacific. Because of volcanic sulfur, the lake has colored orange-brown. The mud around the lake is warm, because of volcanic activity. Incubator birds lay their eggs in the warm mud, abandoning them to incubate. Thousands of other birds come to feed near the lake.

Dozens of stone ruins and dry stone walls that have been reclaimed by forest, seem to attest to a time when Gaua supported a much larger population than it does today. Trekking on Gaua is strenuous, but Lac Létas and the Siri Falls are well worth the effort. The falls drop into a densely forested area, shrouded in the misty spray from the falling water.

Gaua is the second largest island of the Banks Group. It was formerly known as Santa Maria. Some accommodation is available. You can get to Gaua by air and ship from Luganville. Speedboats ply the routes between Gaua and the neighboring islands. Gaua Island is 400 km north of Port Vila.

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