(851sq km)

The Banks and Torres are Vanuatu’s northernmost islands. Geographically, they reach north and west to the Solomon Islands and, being nearer the equator, experience the highest rainfall and humidity. The main islands are volcanic in origin with active volcanoes on Gaua and Vanua Lava islands. The main islands in the Banks group are Vanua Lava, with 1400 inhabitants, and Mota Lava to the south - a beautiful island of jungle-clad craggy peaks plunging to the coconut-lined white sandy beaches. Gaua’s 1300 people live on the north-eastern coast. Here the local culture is still very much alive and unblemished by the modern world. Gaua has a stunning landscape with an active volcano, Mt Garet (797m), which towers over a crater lake in the interior. The Torres group to the far north includes six main islands, which are by far the most remote of the archipelago. Passing yachts and the odd interisland traders are the only source of contact for many. The Torres group is home to the coconut crab, which is sent regularly to Port Vila’s restaurants. Accommodation within Banks and Torres are Harry Memorial and Demsas guesthouse on Mota Lava, Leumerous and Wilkins guesthouses in Vanua Lava, and Wongrass on Gaua. There are medical clinics at Lembot on Gaua, Lekwel on Mere Lava, Vureas Bay and Sola on Vanua Lava, Veverao on Mota, Ngerenigman on Mota Lava and Lehali on Ureparapara. The only clinic is at Lunaragi on Loh island.