One of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean, Nauru is an isolated island nation in the Micronesian South Pacific just south of the equator and halfway between Hawaii and Australia.
Nauru is an oval island, just over eight square miles in size, has no official capital, and is the world's smallest island nation.
It consists of a raised plateau of limestone pinnacles in the centre where rich deposits of phosphate were discovered at the turn of the last century. The mining of these phosphates, although the mainstay of the island's economy, has done untold environmental damage. 80% of the island is wasteland with only a narrow fertile ring of land just inland from the sandy beaches of the coastline. Offshore is a coral reef.
The reserves of phosphate have all but gone leaving the national finances in tatters. Furthermore, rising sea levels could spell disaster for the villages on the coastline, where the majority of the population live.
To balance the books
an agreement has been reached with Australia. In exchange for aid, Nauru has an offshore detention centre housing asylum seekers wishing to enter Australia.
Being so close to the equator, Nauru's climate is hot and extremely humid year-round with little seasonal variation. Monsoon rains fall between November and February. The quantity of rainful can vary drastically from year to year. A wet year and you'll be swimming in water, but a dry year and a drought is inevitable. There are limited fresh water sources on the island and a lack of vegetation means less water can be stored by plants.
How to get there
The island's airport consists of a stretch of road that serves as a runway. Up until December 2005, when their last aircraft was impounded, Air Nauru ran a service from Brisbane via Honiara (Solomon Islands), Nauru (Nauru Island) to Tarawa (Republic of Kiribati). With the help of the Taiwanese government and Alliance Airlines, the company now operates a weekly charter flight on this route, but obviously travellers would be well advised to check details and availabilty in advance.
There is one artificial harbour which receives regular cargo ships but no designated passenger vessels.
Where to stay
There are only two hotels in Nauru.
The recently refurbished 119 bedroom Menen Hotel is a popular meeting place for guests and locals. It has a restaurant, a boutique and a weekly barbecue.
The OD-N-Aiwo Hotel is more a youth hostel than hotel. Run by a niece of a former president, the accommodation is simple and reasonably priced.
What to see
Nauru has little at the present time to recommend itself as a tourist resort. With the ecological problems caused by the mining, it is not even a picturesque island.
True, it has white sandy beaches, but in many places such as Nauru´s "best beach", Anibare Bay, swimming is difficult as the sea is too shallow and the beaches too rocky. The strong currents don't help either. The best swimming is to be had at Menen Harbour or Anibare Bay.
Car hire will allow you to explore the island fully. The plateau where the mining is done is worth seeing. Once the phosphate is removed all that remains is coral pinnacles giving the area a moonscape appearance.
Relics from the Second World War are also to be found all over the island.
Wallis and Futuna
The Federated States of Micronesia
Northern Mariana Islands
Torres Strait Islands
Micronesia (Moon Handbook)
The sixth edition of this travel guide is packed with the most current information on sightseeing options, diving and recreation, accommodations, and restaurants, as well as custom maps, colour photographs, fascinating sidebars, and a complete coverage of the area's culture, history, and social issues.
Buy the book Micronesia securely online via amazon.co.uk by clicking here