North Coast - shopping
There are very few stores on Nauru; the only large store is Capelle & Partner on teh north coast. This is a type department store, with a wide range of imported products.
There is almost nothing to buy that is produced in Nauru, except for some paperweights made from Nauru phophate rock.
Visit the East Coast
The east coast of Nauru is the only part of the island that I would call beautiful. This is also the least populated part of the island.
It is possible to swim among the coral pinnacles here. But there is no real beach. In fact, if you are looking for beaches, don't come to Nauru; there is really only one small sand beach, and it is very dirty.
Visit the interior
Here is a photo of the coral pinnacles, near the Buada Lagoon. The phosphate was found between these coral pinnacles, and was built up from centuries of bird droppings.
Now that the vegetation of the interior is all gone, Nauru's temperatures have heated up. The heat and humidity in Nauru now are quite extreme for a small island.
See the phosphate train
When I was in Nauru in 2001, the phophate train was still bringing phosphate from the interior to the coast, where it was loaded onto ships. Here is a photo of it. It's a small train on a narrow track.
See the interior of coral pinnacles
It is impossible to discuss Nauru without talking about phosphate. In the 1970's, Nauru became one of the richest nations on earth, on a per capita basis, by mining phosphate from its interior. Now, its interior is mined out, and what remains is pinnacles of coral, which used to be hidden beneath the soil.
Unfortunately, the phosphates are now gone, the money has dried up, most of the savings are gone, and Nauru is quite a poor country again.
Here, the Air Nauru jet is crossing the main ring road around Nauru, on its way to the terminal.
Sadly, Air Nauru no longer exists, having gone into bankruptcy a few years ago. This might have been anticipated, as it had a very large jet, but very often only a few passengers. When I flew it, there were only 25 to 30 passengers on a very large plane.
Just because it's a Pacific island doesn't mean it's all beautiful beaches! Far from it, sadly. The beaches in Nauru are usually too shallow and rocky to make for good swimming, plus there is danger from strong currents, so you really have to be careful. However there are options if you know where to look.
1) Boe/Yaren beach - this is a nice beach and the shallows are OK to bathe in. You can swim properly in Boe Channel, although its pretty thin and you can't go very far out. It's just a few minutes walk from Aiwo.
2) Anibare harbour - the best swimming spot. A relatively new harbour which sees very little boating activity so it's still very clean and safe. It's also deep and wide, so you can have a proper swim here rather than just a paddle or bathe. It looks gorgeous in the afternoon, too. A short walk from the Menen Hotel or five minutes by car, 25 minutes by pushbike from the Od-N-Aiwo.
3) Aiwo harbour - an older and smaller harbour but also has little activity so your swim is unlikely to get uninterrupted. I've heard stonefish reside on the bottom, though, so don't dive to the sea floor.
4) Anibare Bay - promoted as Nauru's best beach. It certainly looks amazing, with all the coral pinnacles jutting out of the sea, but you'll struggle to find anywhere for a decent swim because most of it is too shallow and rocky. There's a not-bad area on the Menen Hotel-end of the beach. The Bay is a little bit further along from Menen harbour.Related to:
The number one attraction in Nauru is the "moonscape" in the centre of the island, known locally as Topside, where the phosphate mining takes place. After the phosphate is removed, only coral pinnacles are left, which creates a most bizarre landscape. Now that mining operations are scaling down, vegetation is returning to the area, so it is no longer the blazing white wasteland of yesteryear.
There are no tours and no public transport in Nauru so you'll need to either get a local to take you to Topside or have your own wheels. It's too far to walk from "town"or either of the hotels.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Not much. Well, if you like fishing and you've got a boat to use, they have great Tuna fishing. umm, what else.....I can't think of anything. In 2003 there was no night life. They had one bar at the hotel but that was it. There's a little China Town to browse around. Lots of little Chinese Restaurants to eat at. They're mostly small restarants with plastic chairs and tables. The power use to go out all the time so I was always worried about eating meat from any place that didn't have their own generator.
Other things to do
Moqua Well - I haven't been there but there's an underground lake which is good for swimming and also some caves to explore. I didn't go because I didn't have a torch. But apparently it's worth checking out, so head to Yaren district, then go to the M&M shop to the right of the airport and ask somebody in there to show you to entrance (you won't find it otherwise).
Command Ridge - the highest point in Nauru, from where you can see all around the island, as well as some war relics. Again, I haven't been there because I didn't realise I needed a car and by then it was too late. As with Topside, ask a local to take you or get a car and ask for directions.
Other war relics - there are Japanese pill boxes at various locations dotted around the coast. I also saw some rusted relics on Yaren beach. I just stopped for a look whenever I saw something that looked like a war relic. For more precise info, ask a local.
Do the circuit - A sealed road goes all the way around the island so you can drive, ride or walk around an entire country! A drive takes about 25 minutes non-stop. I guess a pushbike ride would take 2-3 hours and a walk maybe 6 hours. There is lots of nice scenery if not much to do and, going from either hotel, Chappelle's supermarket right at the top of the island in Ewa district makes for a welcome break at halfway around.
Buada Lagoon - a very picturesque spot in the lower middle of the island. It's a freshwater lagoon surrounded on all sides by dense palm trees and other vegetation. However the water is dirty and not suitable for swimming in. Still, a nice photo opportunity, and you can walk all the way around the lagoon as the sealed road circles it. To get there, take the road opposite the Od-N-Aiwo hotel, follow it until it branches, then go left. The road will lead you straight there.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Hiking and Walking
See Glenn's Shameless Self-Promoting Photo
Wait, you can do that here, in the privacy of your own home ! Here I am next to a plumeria (frangipani) tree, somewhere near the Buada Lagoon. Proof that I visited Nauru ?
See the Nauru Parliament buildings
Here is a photo of the Nauru parliament buildings. They are in the Yaren district, in the south, near the airport. Hence, some sources give "Yaren" as the capital of Nauru.
Nauru from the Air
From the air, you can see the entire island of Nauru. You can see its mined-out interior of coral pinnacles, with a coastal fringe of palms.
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