Hidden in amongst the turquoise waters and peaceful lagoons in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands lies a small island called Gizo. Gizo, like all of the Solomon Islands, remains virtually untouched by the mayhem of tourism, and away from the town centre, life goes on as it did 500 years ago. As well as being the gateway for some world class diving, Gizo is a tropical treasure-trove blessed with sun drenched lagoons, white sandy beaches fringed with endless coconut palms, coral caves and volcanic islands.
The waters around Gizo are famous for having the most diverse and exciting diving to be found anywhere in the Solomon’s; some may even say the world. The gin clear wateropens up an amazing display of sea whips, giant gorgonian fans and an immense display of hard and soft corals. There is a vast array of fish & fauna plus some sensational World War II wrecks. Sharks, pelagic fish, turtles, and eagle rays are ever present plus huge schools of reef fish make the diving memorable. For the underwater photographer, the marine life is astounding and so spectacular, it is considered to have some of the most photogenic seascapes in the world.
With the 140m Toa Maru transport ship, WWII fighter aircraft, plummeting walls, Manta Ray dives, one of the ultimate big dives “Grand Central”, and the recently discovered “Hot Spot”, it all adds up to one of the best dive locations in the South Pacific.
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The Dive Locations
A twenty minute boat ride from Gizo is one of the South
Pacific's most popular diveable WWII shipwrecks. This is virtually intact
ship of some 140m (450') length lying on its starboard site. It was run
aground after suffering damage from an American attack. The dive starts
at an easy 7 metres and slants to 37 metres. Interesting artefacts adorn
this vessel that sunk before it could be unloaded. Some of the trinkets
include saki bottles, medical supplies, office equipment and rounds of
ammunition. The larger objects include bombs, a motorbike, a type 21 tank.
For the more experienced divers a guided tour inside the wreck to the
bridge, crew quarters, engine room and medical supply room is a must do
Central Station: If its underwater action you need then this
is the place. The most north-western tip of the Gizo islands is the merge
point for oceanic currents and it's here where the fishlife, big and small,
is at it's best. Large soft corals and fans adorn the walls while the
waters are patrolled by sharks, trevally and batfish. A relatively easy
dive for all levels of experience and there is no need to go deep to see
all the activity.
Fighter Plane: The plane is completely intact and lying in ten metres
of water. A comprehensive history of the plane is available and the dive
is high on the list for underwater photographers.
American Corsair Fighter
Plane: The pilot of this plane crashed into the sea at great speed and
the aircraft is in five recognisable large pieces around the 27 metre
level. However the attraction is not only the wreck but the fantastic
marine life on or around it. The reef slope back to the boat is interesting
and has its own attraction in a bommie called clown fish city at the safety
Pudding Island: Or Kennedy Island as it is known as, was named
after the late US President who captained the PT109 during the Pacific
War. This dive site offers shallow coral reefs for novice divers and great
snorkelling, as well as deeper drift dives for the experienced.
Manta Dive: An Adventure Sports Gizo exclusive, this site is
visited on request and if the time is right then it's one show you wouldn't
want to miss.
Beach Dive: For the devoted drift divers this can clock up to
1.2 kilometres. Start at the beach and watch the reef glide by on an armchair
ride to a coral reef delight.
Gap: The ultimate drift dive. Drop down on the outside of Naru
Wall and drift through the schools of fish that welcome you into the Gizo
Tree Island: This dive site would have to be one of the most
beautiful reefs in the Gizo area. Multitudes of hard and soft corals,
large gorgonian sea fans and multitudes of reef fish.
Spot: This small pinnacle, one of our discoveries in 1995, comes
up to 5m from the oceans depths of 300-400m. On the swing of the tide,
pelagic's come into
feed on the shoals of bait fish that congregate in
and around this off-shore dive site. It is also the home of the most interesting
pink iridescent anemone.
Japanese Zero: Although not originally found in Gizo
Harbour, the plane still makes an interesting dive with resident lion
MARU 11: Sunk in 1988 after hitting a reef entering the Vona
Vona Lagoon. This 100' Japanese tuna fishing vessel is still completely
intact with propeller and all equipment on board. The dive site is more
advanced at 140', positioned mid lagoon away from any reefs.
Yellow Corner: The yellow corner is an extension of Naru
Wall. As you drift to the south along the wall, a large knoll extends
out into the deeper water. This knoll is covered with small yellow soft
corals. Out of all the dive sites we dive, this is the only one that features
yellow corals. For the more experienced diver, when the current is running.
Petaj: Originally commissioned as the coastal patrol
boat ML 805 during WWII. She was purchased and sunk in front of adventures sports dive
shop as a 'house reef' for the purpose of training dives and easy access
to night dives from the shore.
NON DIVING ACTIVITIES
Ghizo Island: Go by boat or walk to Saeraghi village along a scenic coast line to Gizo's most famous beach. Stop at Gilbertese and Melanesian villages along the way, where traditional life still continues.
Sail boat hire to enjoy a holiday at your own pace
Walking tours are a must with local story many Wilson Hivu, who will take you through his village and into the bush, discovering traditional foods, garden methods and medicines. With breathtaking views from Gizo's hilltops you will conclude your walk at an historical site from days gone by, where elders of the village made custom money from fossilised clam shells.
Kennedy Island: A beautiful small island where US President JF Kennedy and crew of the PT109 were shipwrecked during WWII. Great for snorkelling and beachcombing.
Skull Island: A great day trip to step back in time to the days of head hunting, where you will visit a shrine composed of the skulls of chiefs and warriors. Travelling through the picturesque Vona Vona Lagoon and jungle river tour, the day is completed with lunch alongside the lagoon at Zipolo Habu Resort on Lola Island.
Simbo Island: Bush walk, climb the volcanic crater, and watch the locals cook megadpode eggs in thermal ponds. A breath taking boat trip to Nusa Simbo viewing cascading vines and ferns down dramatic volcanic cliffs. This trip is dependent on favourable conditions.
WWII Tours: For those interested in war history, you can visit an American Tank, Japanese Gun For and partially submerged wrecks, or just browse through our books and information folders accumulated from personal research in the US Naval Archives.
Kolombangara: A large dormant volcano peak awaits the fit and adventurous trekker. Venture into a natural rainforest towards the breathtaking rim.