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Nauru’s Top Landmarks: What to See and Do

Nauru, the third smallest country by area in the world, may not initially appear to have many tourist attractions, but it is home to several unique and fascinating landmarks. From historical sites to natural wonders, Nauru offers a variety of experiences for visitors. This article will guide you through the top landmarks you must see and the activities you can enjoy on this tiny island nation.

Key Takeaways

  • Command Ridge is Nauru’s highest point and offers panoramic views of the entire island.
  • Moqua Well and Moqua Caves are located near the parliament building and provide a unique underground exploration experience.
  • Buada Lagoon is one of the few places on the island where lush trees grow freely, offering a serene environment.
  • Anibare Bay is known for its beautiful beaches and is a popular spot for relaxation and water activities.
  • The Nauru Museum in Yaren offers insights into the island’s rich history and culture.

1. Command Ridge

Command Ridge is the highest point on Nauru, standing at 65 meters. For those who love a good hike, Command Ridge is a must-visit destination. The hike to the top of the ridge is challenging but rewarding, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the island and its surroundings. At the top, visitors can explore the remnants of Nauru’s past military occupation, including a series of tunnels and bunkers. Even if you’re not a World War II history buff, Command Ridge is one of the most easily accessed country high points in the world, lying a relatively easy 800-metre hike from the road. The former communications centre, now open to visitors, is particularly impressive. The interior is not well lit, so bring a lantern or torch to make out the faded Japanese writing on the walls.

2. Moqua Well

Moqua Well is a small freshwater lake located underground, making it one of Nauru’s most unusual natural landmarks. This hidden gem is actually an underground lake, surrounded by the Moqua Caves. The well has a depth of a few meters and covers an area of 0.2 hectares. It is the only source of drinking water on the island, which adds to its significance. Visitors can explore the nearby Moqua Caves on foot or take a guided tour to learn more about their history and geology.

3. Moqua Caves

Moqua Caves are a series of underground limestone caves located in the southwest of Nauru. These caves are a natural wonder, with stunning rock formations and underground pools. Visitors can explore the caves on foot or take a guided tour to learn more about their history and geology.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Moqua Caves is their connection to Moqua Well, the only source of drinking water on the island. The well is actually an underground lake, adding to the unique allure of the caves.

For those interested in geology and natural formations, the Moqua Caves offer a rare glimpse into the island’s subterranean landscape. Exploring the cave systems can be both an educational and adventurous experience.

4. Buada Lagoon

aerial view of river between rocky mountains during daytime

Buada Lagoon is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Nauru. The lagoon is surrounded by dense vegetation, providing a cool and shady escape from the tropical heat. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the walking trails that wind around the lagoon, or take a refreshing dip in the cool, clear waters. The lagoon is also home to a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching.

Although the lagoon’s water is too dirty for swimming, it remains a popular spot for photography and picnic lunches. No other bodies of water flow into this unique lagoon whose depths range between 78 and 256 feet.

5. Anibare Bay

Anibare Bay is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Nauru. The picturesque bay boasts crystal-clear waters and soft sandy beaches that stretch for miles, providing the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. The bay is also home to a wide range of marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.

Anibare Bay is the sole exception to the rule cited above about the absence of the classic Polynesian "sandy beaches, cool ocean breezes, and pristine blue waters" experience on Nauru. Here you’ll find a fine stretch of white sand surrounded by palm groves, deep and clean enough for proper swimming.

Activities

  • Swimming: The tropical beaches of Anibare Bay are perfect for swimming, thanks to the smooth sandy bottom and clear waters.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: Explore the rich marine life just a few meters from the shore.
  • Sunbathing: Relax on the soft sandy beaches and soak up the sun.

Dining

  • The Bay Restaurant: Specializing in fish dishes, but also offering pizza and Indian food. Located where the local fishing boats arrive, it’s popular with both visitors and locals.

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6. Anibare Harbour

ship near seaport

Anibare Harbour is located at the southern end of Anibare Bay. Constructed in the early 2000s with Japanese capital, it serves as a hub where you can watch local fishermen bring their catch to land. Anibare Harbour is not just a functional port but also a scenic spot that offers a glimpse into the daily lives of Nauru’s fishing community. The harbour is part of a larger project by Japanese architects aimed at enhancing the tourism potential of Anibare Bay. The beaches around the harbour are ideal for swimming, making it a must-visit location for anyone exploring Nauru.

7. Central Plateau

The Central Plateau, often referred to as "topside," is a fascinating area in Nauru’s uninhabited interior. This region was once the backbone of the island’s economy due to its phosphate mines. During the 1960s and 1970s, Nauru ranked among the world’s richest nations. Although the phosphate and wealth have largely disappeared, the Central Plateau’s unique landscape, which resembles the surface of the moon, is still worth the journey inland. Exploring this lunar-like landscape offers a glimpse into the island’s rich history and the environmental impact of extensive mining.

8. Nauru Museum

person taking picture of man wearing brown hat painting

The Nauru Museum is a small but informative museum that showcases the culture and history of Nauru. Visitors can learn about the island’s traditional way of life, its colonial past, and its struggles with phosphate mining. The museum also has a collection of artifacts and photographs that provide a glimpse into the island’s rich history.

9. Yaren

sea water and rocks by the beach coast during daylight

Yaren is Nauru’s de facto capital and a good introduction for a trip to this island nation. The district houses many public buildings spearheaded by the humble Parliament House. Tourists should not miss dropping by the Nauru Museum for a quick lesson about the country’s rich past. What takes the cake, however, is Moqua Well and its neighboring caves. The latter is an underground well, with its pristine waters a sight for sore eyes. The caves, meanwhile, will entice hikers. Yaren is small, but it has Mother Nature’s wonders in abundance.

10. Parliament House

Located in the Yaren district, near the airport, the Parliament House is one of Nauru’s major landmarks. While it may not be as grand as other parliamentary buildings around the world, it holds significant importance for the island nation. Visitors can even attend parliamentary meetings, which are usually open to the public. This makes it a unique opportunity to witness the legislative process in action and gain insight into the country’s governance. The Parliament House is a must-visit for anyone interested in the political landscape of Nauru.

Discover the rich history and stunning architecture of the Parliament House, a must-visit landmark on your next adventure. From its grand halls to its intricate details, the Parliament House offers a glimpse into the nation’s legislative heart. Ready to explore more? Visit our website for exclusive travel packages and detailed itineraries that will make your trip unforgettable.

Conclusion

Nauru, despite its small size, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural experiences that make it a fascinating destination for travelers. From the serene Buada Lagoon and the intriguing Moqua Caves to the panoramic views from Command Ridge, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the island’s rich history, diving into its vibrant marine life, or simply relaxing on its pristine beaches, Nauru promises an unforgettable adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the hidden gems of this Pacific paradise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-see landmarks in Nauru?

Some of the must-see landmarks in Nauru include Command Ridge, Moqua Well, Moqua Caves, Buada Lagoon, Anibare Bay, Anibare Harbour, Central Plateau, Nauru Museum, Yaren, and Parliament House.

Is snorkeling or scuba diving available in Nauru?

Yes, snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities in Nauru, especially near Anibare Bay where you can explore rich marine life.

What is the best time to visit Nauru?

The best time to visit Nauru is during its dry season, which typically runs from March to October. This period offers the most pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

Are there any cultural sites to visit in Nauru?

Yes, you can visit the Nauru Museum and Parliament House in Yaren to learn about the island’s history and culture.

What outdoor activities can I do in Nauru?

In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving, you can enjoy hiking at Command Ridge, exploring Moqua Caves, and relaxing at Buada Lagoon or Anibare Bay.

Is it easy to get around Nauru?

Yes, Nauru is a small island, making it easy to get around. You can rent a car, bike, or even walk to most of the landmarks.