Now, not many people have heard of Nauru. Most Australians have probably heard of it (as it is mentioned in the media occasionally) but possibly are unaware of where it actually is. The island is only 21 square km and with the world’s second smallest population makes it also the smallest Republic. During the 1960s & 1970s, Nauru enjoyed the highest per capita income of any sovereign state in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Unfortunately when the countries phosphate deposits were diminished so did the country’s wealth. Many Nauruans have now emigrated to either Australia or New Zealand leaving a population of fewer than 10,000 people.
Od-n Aiwo Hotel
This tiny island country has been used for years as the “Processing Centre” of refugees who attempted to illegally enter Australia by boat. This is where refugees were housed while their refugee status was investigated prior to either being allowed into Australia or deported back to their own countries (they were mostly from Afghanistan, Iraq & Iran).
The Australian Government brokered a deal that offered aid to Nauru in exchange for use of the island as a processing centre for refugees as mentioned above. This ended in 2008, however, the detention centre re-opened in August 2012. As of March 2019, according to the Refugee Council there are an estimated 300-400 refugees still on the island.
Japanese WWII Bunker in Nauru
Rocky beach formations
WWII Japanese gun emplacement
Phosphate mining has created a lunar landscape on Nauru
Well, that’s a bit of history about the island. Needless to say, very very few travellers or tourists visit Nauru, which is a shame because the island is well worth a visit. You certainly will get most of the beaches to yourself and the locals are extremely friendly. There are also some interesting Japanese WWII bunkers & gun emplacements on the island which attracts a few war veterans and historians. The fishing is stupendous here and it is extremely easy to organise a fishing trip with a local. You can also do a fascinating drive across the island to see the bizarre lunar landscape as a result of the years of phosphate mining. All in all its a great place to visit to get away from it all, but expect to mostly create your own entertainment.
You can get to Nauru from Brisbane, Australia flying with Nauru Airlines. You can also travel to Nauru from Nadi (Fiji), Tarawa (Kiribati), Honiara (Solomon Islands), Majuro (Marshall Islands) and Pohnpei (Micronesia). So if you are island hopping then it is a great way to see some of the more remote islands of this part of the Pacific. Accommodation on Nauru is available at the Menen Hotel, which is where we stayed, and Ewa Lodge which is located in Ronave on the north side of the island, however, these are a little isolated. Nearer to the main town is the Od-n Aiwo Hotel – which is cheap and popular with backpackers but if you want to be close to the town centre and facilities then this may be your best bet.
For more information on Nauru please visit the Nauru Tourism website.
Ever been to Nauru? If so, would love to hear your comments. For more images of Nauru visit our website.
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