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Bellona

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Solomon Islands Rennell and Bellona Province Bellona

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Introduction

view from Aotaha cave, Bellona Island

view from Aotaha cave, Bellona Island

© All Rights Reserved travelmama

Bellona Island was the last Polynesian island to Christianize. The year was 1938. Since then, the people of Bellona Island completely transformed, but it took another 30 years before a handful of Bellonese achieved basic Western education. Bellona island is known throughout the world through the works of anthropologists, Tobern Monberg and Rolf Kuschel (Denmark). The island was named Bellona in the 19th century after Capt Edward Gardner's ship, Bellona. The original name is Mu Ngiki.

Bellona Island is a part of the Solomon Islands, an independent country since 1978. Nearby is Rennell Island with which it shares the same culture, language and ancestors. The two islands make up the Rennell and Bellona Province in the Solomon Islands.

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Geography

Bellona is located some 180 km South East of Guadalcanal Island. The island is about 10 km long and 8 km wide. It is bowl shaped; high rising cliffs and forest protect the middle of the island where Bellonese live.

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Towns (villages)

Bellona is the smallest of the two islands that make up the Rennell and Bellona Province. The main Provincial center is located on Renell Island (Tigoa, West Rennell). There are ten villages located on Bellona.

  • Ahenoa
  • Ghongau
  • Hongaubea
  • Matahenua/Matamoana
  • Matangi
  • Ngongona
  • Ngotokanaba
  • NukuTonga
  • Pauta
  • Tongomainge

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Sights and Activities

While visiting Bellona island, you can take the opportunity to visit the following historic places; places that are crucial to the history of the Bellonese people.

Aotaha Resort, Bellona Island

Aotaha Resort, Bellona Island

© All Rights Reserved travelmama

East to West

  • Aotaha (incredible cave) located on the foot of the highest point of Bellona Island.
  • Ngangomatangi: A newly established lodge with an incredible view. Beautiful and quite.
  • Tapuna caves: Where the original inhabitants of Bellona (Hiti) used to live, caves with incredible history. Brackish water where Bellonese people used for centuries before water tank was introduced.
  • Mangokuna: Another place crucial to the history of Bellona.
  • One Bay: The most beautiful part of Bellona island with a mile long beach, shallow beautiful water, and a calm blue water.
  • Ahanga: The end of the island (west), the lowest part of Bellona island. White sand and beautiful setting. Incredible sunset.

There are a variety of activities you could do while on Bellona including hiking, biking, photography, bird watching, watching sunset, watching stars on incredibly clear nights and watching cultural dances

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Events and Festivals

  • Sports (Rugby & Netball) tournament at the end of every year. There is also traditional dancing, the last of the dancers of the Rennell Bellona Province are from Bellona island.
  • Province Day is celebrated on the 20th of July

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Weather

The weather in Bellona is perhaps the most unexpected and dangerous of all the places on earth. The island is extremely dependent on rainwater and each home has a water tank that stores water for cooking, bathing, and hand-washing of clothes and cooking/eating utensils.

However, Bellona island lies right on the hurricane path, which makes the island extremely vulnerable to both hurricanes and droughts. Between March and September, Bellona often experiences considerable dry/no rain period. Severe drought flows by a serious low-depression that then turns into the a tropical cyclone.

The worst cyclones that hit Bellona Island (known)

1. 1979 : Cyclone Kerry
2. 1986 : Cyclone Namu
3. 1993 : Cyclone Nina

Since then, strong winds have occurred on Bellona, but not ones strong enough to be considered cyclones.

Toward the end of the year (November to February) and the first two months of the new year, rain may be relentless. However, because Bellona has no running river, the island absorbs every drop of water. In other words, long periods of rain don't affect Bellona Island.

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Getting There

There are only two ways to get to Bellona island. Rennell and Bellona province acquired a ship in 2005 (Mv. Renbel) that serves the two islands on a monthly basis. Solomon Airlines also serves Bellona island twice weekly.

By Plane

Solomon Airlines serves Bellona twice a week (Sunday and Thursday). Sunday is a late flight and Thursday is an early flight. You can make your own booking down town Honiara (Main Airline office) or online.

By Boat

Mv. Renbel travels to Bellona twice a month. There is however no fixed schedule. The main office of Mv. Renbel is located in down-town Honiara, Solomon Islands' capital. This office is often sent a travel schedule for Mv. Renbel on the radio or by notice posted on public boards around Honiara.

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Getting Around

Bellona is only 10 km long, and quite achievable to navigate on foot.

Bicycle

Bikes are an ideal way to get around Bellona. You can have a bicycle put on the boat to Bellona Island and pick it up when the boat gets there. Or you can rent a bicycle. If you stay at a Lodge or Guest house at the end of Bellona Island and want to go to the air strip or to the other end of Bellona, you would need a bike. Don't under-estimate this.

Truck

Two Provincial trucks serve the island. The blue truck is stationed at the Eastern part of the island and the white truck is based at the Western part of Bellona. These trucks serve the island on rental basis ($100).

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Eat

Guest Houses on Bellona Island provide their guests meals-mainly local food and basically sea-food. If you are not keen on trying out the local foods, you should bring your own.

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Drink

There is no running water on Bellona, only rainwater. But the islanders are accustomed to drinking coconut juice. If you wish, you can take your own mineral water with you to the island.

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Sleep

Aotaha Resort, Bellona Island

Aotaha Resort, Bellona Island

© All Rights Reserved travelmama

Bellona Island is free of the world's most venomous creatures and fortunately free of Malaria mosquito and parasite. There are mosquitoes all over the place. They are just annoying and won't make you sick. You may want to bring your own mosquito repellent or insect lotion or spray.

You can sleep anywhere you want... outside, on the beach, in your room, etc.

If you stay at a Guest House, you will get a comfortable bed and a comfortable room.

PropertyLocationType
Suani Rest HouseGuesthouse
Aotaha Cave ResortGuesthouse
Ngangomatangi ResortResort
Tauahiti Guest HouseGuesthouse
Tungua LodgeGuesthouse
Bellona Lodge (former Oki Oki)Guesthouse

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This is version 57. Last edited at 16:03 on Mar 21, 12 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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