Rennell

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Solomon Islands Rennell and Bellona Province Rennell

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Introduction

Kagaba Bay, W.Rennell

Kagaba Bay, W.Rennell

© dadmin

The island of Rennell in the Solomon Islands is a destination for the intrepid. Lake Tegano, in UNESCO World Heritage listed East Rennell, is the largest lake in the Pacific and the centre of tourism activity. Rennell is home to several endemic species, including Bare-eyed White-eye, the Rennell Starling, the Rennell Fantail and the Rennell Shrikebill among others.

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Geography

Rennell is the world's largest raised coral atoll at a size of 660 km². The island consists of raised coral limestone, dominated by Lake Tegano (Lake Tegano), a large brackish lake on the eastern half of the island. The western part of the island is a relatively flat landscape with rolling hills.

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Villages

  • Tigoa is where the airstrip is located next to Tupuaki is the provincial capital of Rennell and Bellona.
  • Niupani, Tegano, Hutuna and Tebaitahe are all the four villages located on Lake Tegano.
  • Tahaanuku, Kanaba, Matangi, Labagu and Kagaba are all along the road from Tigoa to Lake Tegano.
  • Kagua is near Tigoa in the opposite direction to Lake Tegano.
  • Lughughi is near the seashore at the end of a smaller side road leading out of Tahanuku.

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Sights and Activities

Lake Tegano

Lake Tegano

© Ian Puia

  • Lake Tegano is the largest lake in the Pacific at 27 kilometres long and 9 kilometres wide. At the western end of the lake, there are about 200 islets. In addition to the unique wildlife in the area, there are also the sunken remains of several Catalina seaplanes from WWII. Some of them are in shallow water.
  • There are various caves with streams running through them that can be great for a refreshing dip. Ask around with the locals to get someone to take you to one.
  • Canoeing in a dugout canoe is a nice way to drift around Lake Tegano.
  • Snorkeling can be done at various places around the island. Diving is also a good possibility, around some of the wrecks at Lake Tegano for instance, but you will need to bring all your own gear.

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Events and Festivals

National public holidays in the Solomon Islands are as follows:

  • New Year's Day - January 1. Most of the celebrations for New Year are around Honiara. However, the resorts around the country, especially beach resorts, generally organize something for tourists. If visitors find themselves along Mendana Avenue in Honiara, they should keep an eye on personal possessions, particularly when a crowd is around.
  • Good Friday to Easter Monday - Easter is an important celebration in most areas of the Solomon Islands, especially in larger cities when Christianity is practiced by the majority of the population. Honiara usually hosts a fun run during this day, and going to Mass is a wonderful way to get involved with the people.
  • Queen's Birthday, June 10
  • Independence Day - This is one of the most important days of the year for locals. Independence Day in the Solomon Islands occurs on July 7 each year. Basically, thousands of natives flock to the capital city, Honiara. Here, a range of parades, performances and celebrations are held. Tourists will need to book a hotel in advance if they are going to travel to the capital during Independence Day celebrations.
  • Christmas Day - On the 25 December, Christmas brings much joy to the people of the Solomon Islands. Most locals will move back to their home towns outside of Honiara, or visit relatives who live in the rural areas. Honiara becomes quiet for a few days. Nevertheless, churches and community halls usually hold an event or gathering on Christmas, so tourists shouldn’t feel left out.
  • National Day of Thanksgiving, December 26

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Weather

Rennell experiences typical tropical humid weather with high, regular temperatures ranging from 23 °C to 32 °C. Annual rainfall on the island is somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 mm, with a dry period between May and June.

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Getting There

By Plane

Rennell's airstrip is located in the flatter western half of the island. Solomon Airlines flies to the island twice a week with Twin Otters[1]. For the average visitor, air travel is by far the most convenient option.

By Boat

There are occasional boat services travelling to Lavanggu in Eastern Rennell. You can check the schedule at the Rennell Bellona Provincial office located on the 2nd floor of NPF Plaza in Honiara. The trip takes a day and a half from Honiara. Conditions on boats in the Solomon Islands are basic at best and sleeping on deck is the norm. Limited cabin space is also available.

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Getting Around

By Car

There is only one road on Rennell and only several vehicles that drive along it. The 46-kilometre-long trip from the airstrip to Lake Tegano takes about 3 hours in good weather, providing all goes well. Transportation is in the back of a pickup truck - don't expect a cushy ride, the road is rough and the vehicle will likely be packed with other people.

By Foot

Once you are settled in your village, most transportation will be by foot.

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Sleep

There are several lodges on Rennell, mostly around Lake Tegano, although there are also some options in West Rennell, near the airstrip.

PropertyLocationTypeEmail
Tengano LodgeTengano Village, Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthousejhkaituu@yahoo.com.au
East Rennell HomestayNiupani Village, Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouserwhstours@yahoo.com
Henuagoto LodgeWest Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthousepugeika@yahoo.com.au
Neitasi Eco LodgeTepaitahe Village, Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouse
Tahamatangi Eco-tourism LodgeLake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouse
Kiakoe Lakeside LodgeLake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouse
Moreno Guest HouseTigoa, West RennellGuesthouse
Nukuma'anu Guest HouseTigoa, West RennellGuesthouseEmail: jhkaituu@yahoo.com.au
Kisa Home StayTegano Village, Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouse
Mata’ake LodgeHutuna Village, Lake Tegano, East RennellGuesthouse

[2]

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Keep Connected

Internet

Getting on the internet in the Solomons is starting to become more easily achieved, in particular in Honiara. Outlying areas still have limited access due to their remote locations, but this is changing quickly through a growing wifi network and solar powered internet stations.

There is an internet café called PFnet in Honiara on the 2nd floor of the NPF Plaza.

You can also purchase a prepaid wifi or dial-up service through Our Telekom's Bumblebee service. Access is granted by buying a scratch-card which will give you a username and password.

To access the dial-up service, the number is number to dial is 141, nationwide. One card will give you 120 minutes of dial-up access and is valid for 30 days. The cards can be purchased from any Telekom office.

The "Always-on" service allows you to connect by wifi from one of the hotspots around the country (currently in Honiara, Western Province and in Auki). There are two access types, either a 2-hour card or a 7-day card. Look for a "Bumblebee Broadband" logo. The cards can be purchased from any Telekom office in Honiara and from the offices in Gizo, Ringgi, Noro and Munda.

Both the prepaid dialup and "Always On" cards can also be purchased from several retailers around Honiara, including the major hotels.

If you are in the Solomons for an extended period of time, you can also sign up for post-paid plan on a minimum 12 month contract.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The calling code for the Solomon Islands is +677. No area code is required to reach Honiara. To call out of the Solomon Islands, use the exit code 00, followed by the destination country's calling code.

There is a growing GSM network (900MHz) in the Solomons operated by Our Telekom. You can get prepaid SIM cards to access the service at SB$50 including $20 credit. [3] Base stations are spreading throughout the islands, even in some fairly remote areas.

Our Telekom has international roaming agreements with Australian networks Telstra and Optus as well as Papua New Guinea's Telikom PNG Limited.

Emergency numbers to know are:

  • 911 – Ambulance
  • 977 – Search & Rescue
  • 988 – Fire
  • 999 – Police Crime Stop

Post

The main post office is off Mendana Ave in the capital Honiara, open 8:00am to noon, and 1:00pm to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, as well as Saturday mornings. There is only postal delivery to post office boxes or poste restante.

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References

  1. 1 Sourced Jun 09, Solomon Airlines Schedule
  2. 2 Moreno Guest House rates sourced Sep 2008: Visit Solomons
  3. 3 Prices Sourced May 2013: Our Telekom

Contributors

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This is version 34. Last edited at 13:27 on May 29, 19 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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