The Vanuatu Islands
Banks & Torres Island
The Banks and Torres are Vanuatu's northernmost islands.
Geographically, they reach north and west to the Solomon Islands. Being nearer the equator, they consequently experience the highest precipitation and humidity of all the islands, with an average rainfall of 3,900 mm per year.
As with all of Vanuatu, the main islands are volcanic in origin with active volcanoes on Gaua and Vanua Lava islands. Vanua Lava with its 1400 inhabitants, was once the trading base for exchanges with Solomon Islanders from Tikopia. The rugged interior looms up from the ocean to the 730m, apex of the active Sere'ama volcano . With such terrain and high rainfall, waterfalls are common - and spectacular, particularly Waterfall Bay on the west coast.
South of the volcano are two small lakes varying in water level and colour. Vanua Lava is also home to salt water crocodiles brought in the last century by Bishop Patterson. Only few of them survive in the murky waters of the Selva and the Tahiti rivers. To the south is Mota Lava, a stunning island of jungle clad craggy peaks plunging to long coconut trees lining white sandy beaches.
Nearby one such magnificent beach (so nearby it can almost be walked at low tide) is the classically beautiful Ra Island. From a distance, Ra looks like a thatch of greenery with coconut fronds pushing each other out of the way as they overhang the surrounding white sandy beach. The interior is studded with unusual rocks of enormous size. Ra is an excellent place to enjoy fresh lobster (weather permitting) and an ideal retreat for honeymooners and travelers looking to leave civilisation completely behind.
The local culture is still very much alive and unblemished by the modern world.