"Heart of the Western Province" New Georgia by minstrel74
New Georgia Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 22 photos
New Georgia Island lies at the geographic heart of the Western Province and is a wonderful place to learn about the culture and history of the Solomon Islands. There's loads to see and do here. Relics from WWII are still scattered throughout the jungle and on the reefs. Evidence of headhunting can still be seen here as well, although the practice allegedly came to an end many years ago. Divers will be well-served, as there are many offshore wrecks to be explored. In many places, Melanesian culture is still very much intact--more so than on Guadalcanal. The island is also wonderful for bushwalking. The coastal scenery, friendly people, lush vegetation, and historical relics turn any stroll through the forest into a journey of discovery.
For those traveling to New Georgia by air from other parts of the Solomons, Munda will probably be your first stop. This is the administrative center of the island, and as such, is an excellent place to plan excursions to other parts of the island and the surrounding lagoon. The town's main offices and few businesses are located near the airstrip and extend down to the main wharf. If the town seems a little spread out and amorphous, that's because it is. It's actually broken down into several smaller villages which lie more or less along a single crushed coral road hugging the shoreline. This makes for a great coastal stroll and provides visitors with the opportunity to meet locals living in small, close-knit communities.
Don't expect much in the way of amenities here. Although on a map the town seems quite large, in reality it's little more than a smudge on the landscape. There aren't many places to stay, eat out, purchase goods, etc. You will be living very closely with the local people. For that reason, I was pleasantly surprised by Munda and thoroughly enjoyed my visit.
Visitors to New Georgia interested in the traditional practice of headhunting will want to pay a visit to this island, which lies across the lagoon from Munda near Kundu Point. Although small, this island is the home of a fascinating shrine filled with the skulls of headhunting victims from days gone by. There is also a beautifully-carved casket holding the skulls of local chiefs as well as some other artifacts of interest. Be sure to get a good guide to take you here, as they will be able to explain the history and culture of this area that is so important to understanding headhunting and what it meant to the local people. They will also be able to make sure that you pay the "custom fee" to the right person.
Guides can be arranged in Munda either formally through a tour operator or informally by asking around town (as I did).
- Pros:Lots of interesting cultural and historical sites; friendly people; spectacular terrain
- Cons:A few more tourists than other parts of the Solomons (still negligible, though)
- In a nutshell:One of the best places to explore the culture and history of the Solomon Islands.
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