Kolombangara Island Walking and Trekking Itineraries

 
KIBCA has compiled the following suggested itineraries to help visitors take in the key walking destinations on Kolombangara Island. Suggested times are for people of moderate fitness and limited walking experience. More experienced and fitter people could reduce the times by 30% or more. All walks require a guide.
See Activities on Kolombangara for information about what to expect and download the Walking Maps for an overview of walking tracks and attractions on Kolombangara Island and tracks close to Imbu Rano Lodge.
Separate track notes and maps describing each itinerary will be compiled in the coming months. Until then, contact KIBCA if you need more information.

Easy – 1-2 hours short rainforest walks from Imbu Rano Lodge
Short trips for those who want to quickly see some of the nearby sights without too much effort.

  1. Cool creek grotto
    A short easy walk along the main ridge then down into a small creek line with an interesting mossy shaded grotto dripping year-round water into a small pool. The last few steps into the creek are steep and slippery.
    Walking time: 25 mins each way for total of approx 1 hour
  2. Vila River and return
    A short but steep walk down a spur near the lodge leading to the volcanic crater fed Vila River, the largest river of Kolombangara Island. After the 130m descent, rapids and pools at the bottom of the trail make it a great place to enjoy the riverside rainforest or cool off and be pummeled by the water.
    Walking time: 25 mins each way for a total of approx. 1 hour
  3. Giant trees and Landslide Lookout
    A gentle way to quickly take in the main sights close to the Lodge. An easy walk along the main ridge, then a side-trip to a grove of giant trees, a small lookout over the lagoons of New Georgia, a burial site and then to a larger lookout created by the 2007 earthquake that offers sweeping views of the Vila River valley and Mt Rano. Return via the direct ridge trail.
    Walking time: 60mins there and 40 mins rtn for a total of approx. two hours
  4. Pig Camp via Landslide Lookout
    A short easy walk along the main ridge to a small day-use clearing. Continue on 15 mins from the previous walk to the giant trees and landslide lookout so that you reach Pig Camp, a flat area used recently as a camp for pig hunters. A pig jaw hangs from a tree at the camp.
    Walking time: 75 mins there and 55mins rtn for a total of approx. two and a half hours

Half-day walks (or easy day walks) from Imbu Rano Lodge
A half-day walk for those of reasonable fitness and some walking experience, or take the whole day if you want to take your time or this is new to you.

  1. Pig Camp, and Kolombangara Stone
    View the key sights along the gently climbing main ridge to the crater rim that are within close proximity to Imbu Rano Lodge. Follow the walk to Pig Camp, then continue on for over an hour through mossy montane rainforests to reach the Kolombangara Stone - an impressive carved stone that is resembles the profile of the Kolombangara Crater rim. The stone, called Patu Kolo in the local Nduke language, has deep cultural meanings to Kolombangaran people. Patu Kolo Hut lies 5 minutes past the Kolombangara Stone and, with its lagoon views and a nearby creek, is an ideal place for lunch, birdwatching or to stay the night. It involves a total 270m gently undulating ascent.
    Walking time: Two hours each way for a total of about four and a half hours with a half-way stop.
  2. Vila River and Waterfall side creek
    A cool way to see the Vila River and a major side-river waterfall that involves easy river crossings and bank walking. After a short climb down to the Vila River, follow the river upstream and take a major left river branch. Then walk along river banks, crossing the small river many times, and pass old village sites. Cool off at Myles Falls (temporary name) with its plunge pool and fern-lined cliff walls. Return via the same way.
    Walking time: Two hours each way for a total of about four and a half hours with a half-way stop.
  3. Vila River and Rokhana Hut
    Enjoy the changing scenery of the Vila River and visit the sago palm walkers hut. After climbing down to the Vila River, follow this river upstream for about two hours. Mostly flat rainforest bank walking with about four river crossings, or you could follow the river channel to enjoy rapids and more numerous crossings. Pass the extensive terrace wall ruins of the former Mali Village. Lunch or rest at Rokhana hut, a small shelter built by KIBCA for overnight walkers from local sago palm. Return the same way.
    Walking time: Two hours each way for a total of about four and a half hours with a half-way stop.
  4. Vila River and Strangler Fig Ridge to Pig Camp
    A scenic loop that involves some climbing to sample both the Vila River and the main ridge. After descending to the Vila River, follow the river upstream to a major river junction on the right where a ridge leads back to the main ridge. Take the well-graded climb rising 270m, with two short steep but non-slippery sections, past a major burial site, views of Mt Rano and a stunning clump of five enormous strangler figs. Meet the ridge at Pig Camp and return along the gently descending ridge. The reserve direction is also popular.
    Walking time: A four or five hour round trip.

Full day walks from Imbu Rano Lodge
Longer full-day walks for those with reasonable fitness and endurance. Allow longer if you want to explore or take your time.

  1. Vila River, Strangler Fig Ridge, Pig Camp and Kolombangara Stone
    A classic scenic loop that takes in the Vila River and the main ridge, and adds a side-trip to the spiritual Kolombangara Stone and nearby Patu Kolo Hut and creek.
  2. Vila River Rokhana Hut and Crater entrance pool
    A longer walk up the Vila River to the entrance of the Kolombangara Volcano crater. Pass Flying Fox Cave and see the tonnes of debris from the 2010 earthquake landslide that scoured out a side-creek canyon and blocked part of the Vila River, forming a deep pool at the crater entrance. Fast and fit walkers may reach the waterfalls at the centre of the crater and return in a day.
  3. Vila River and Rokhana Hut, Strangler Fig Ridge and Pig Camp
    Combine a classic loop to the Vila River and the main ridge but spend more time on the Vila River with a side trip to Rokhana Hut.
  4. Kolombangara Stone and Crater rim at Mt Tepalamenggutu (1,708m)
    Reach the cloud forests, the top of the crater rim and second highest peak of Kolombangara Island. A hard walk for fit people that requires a long climb but offers impressive views of the crater and distant islands. Can be completed more comfortably as an overnight walk, staying at one of the two campsites on the way.
  5. Vila River downstream to Ringgi
    Follow the Vila River all the way to Ringgi township following the easy-to walk river channel and crossing frequently. See the river valley forest change from mature unlogged forests near the lodge to regrowth forest recovering from logging in the 1960 and 70s. Can be combined with the Waterfall side-creek trip for fitter walkers.

Overnight walks – 2-3 days
Longer walks to reach inside the crater centre or the highest peaks on either slippery river rocks or roughly cut trails that require an overnight stay.

  1. Crater centre and Crater Waterfall from Imbu Rano Lodge
    Follow the Vila River through the narrow cliff-lined entrance to its source inside the Kolombangara crater. The highlight is the two waterfall in the centre of the crater which are ideal for lunch and a swim. Camp near the waterfalls at Kongu Rano Shelter or one the way there/back at Rokhana Hut.
  2. Mt Veve (1,779m) from Imbu Rano Lodge or Poitete
    The great Kolombangara walking experience. Climb the highest peak on Kolombangara and the highest mountain in Solomon Islands outside Guadalcanal. A steep climb and then steep ups and downs as you traverse the centuries-old crater rim cloud forest starting either from the east at Imbu Rano or the north, from Poitete. Could walk through from Poitete to Imbo or reverse. This experience will last you a lifetime.
  3. Mt Rano (1,698m) from Iriri Village or Hambere Village
    A popular walk to quickly reach Mt Rano and its extensive views over Western Province. Requires an overnight stay at Professor Camp above 1,000m altitude.