Activities on Kolombangara Island - Rainforest, Mountain and Crater Walks

Walking up the Vila River to the  Kolombangara crater center
1. Vila River near Imbu Rano Lodge
2. Mt Rano and crater rim from Mt Veve
3. Waterfall in Crater center
Endemic Kolombangara White-eye

Kolombangara Island offers visitors a choice of adventurous treks to the volcano crater and rim, birdwatching and quiet rainforest and river walks.

Guides can lead you on a selection of walking or trekking options. All start from Imbu Rano Lodge.

1. Short walks at Imbu Rano – 1 hour to two days – easy to medium

Explore the surrounding rainforest along gentle trails leading along the main summit ridge to visit tambu sites, the Kolombangara Stone, lookouts and creeks. Alternatively visit the crater fed Vila River via a steep 25min ridge to swim in the gentle rapids. Walk along the river banks to see ancient village sites, take a waterfall side trip or walk upstream and follow a loop climbing back to the main ridge. Other return routes are possible.

2. Ridge Walk to Crater Rim and Mt Rano or Mt Veve – 2-4 days hard

From Imbu Rano Lodge walk about a day to the crater rim at Mt Tepalamenggutu (1,708m) and another half day to reach the highest peak of Mt Veve (1,779m). This is an adventurous walk along cleared trails through the summit cloud forests, so allow two to four days return depending on your fitness and speed. There are three basic camps established along the way, each with water available, allowing several overnight options.

Mt Rano (1698m) on the south-western side of the crater rim, can be reached from the villages of Hambere or Iriri. The summit walk usually takes two full days. There is one camp with water near the summit.

3. River Walk to Crater Centre – 1-3 days medium to medium-hard

Descend to the Vila River from Imbu Rano Lodge via a short ridge. Walk about a day to reach inside the crater along rough paths and the river bed, crossing the river many times. Side creeks, old village sites and waterfalls can be explored in the valley as part of sidetrips or shorter options. You could visit the crater centre as a return trip in one day if you are fit and fast. There is a shelter in the Crater centre.

See our full list of suggested walking itineraries to see the best ways to visit all of the attractions on Kolombangara Island

Unique Wildlife

Enjoy undisturbed hill and montane rainforest, moss forest at higher altitudes and inside the crater and valley rainforest along the crater-fed Vila River. Kolombangara is famous for its locally endemic birds such as the Kolombangara White Eye, only found above 700m and locally endemic frogs. You can also see other Solomon Islands endemics only found at high altitudes and other interesting wildlife if you are new to the tropics. 

What to Expect

Walking can be extremely pleasant, provided you are reasonably fit and well-prepared. Expect cleared maintained tracks several hours from Imbu Rano, and narrower, roughly cut tracks and limited support further afield. Frequent river crossing and river rock walking is required when walking the Vila River, that’s usually ankle-deep. Be prepared for sudden rises of the river after heavy rain. The walk into the crater should only be attempted if there is unlikely to be heavy rain.

It is often humid and rains for short periods most days, but cooler than most parts of the Solomons due to the elevation. There are few mosquitoes at higher altitudes.

What to Bring

Boots, light shoes or sports sandals are suitable, but soles with a good grip work best. Closed shoes help avoid stings from black ants.  

Daywalkers can travel light with lunch, swimmers and a first aid kit. Expect to get wet from rain.

If you are staying at Imbu Rano, you just need your food, spare clothes and toiletries.

Campers need to be self-sufficent so bring your own equipment protected in waterproof bags including: 

  • tent
  • sleeping mat
  • light sleeping bag
  • torch
  • food (check if you need to bring food for your guides/porters)
  • first aid kit
  • cooking pots and utensils, preferably a stove and fuel
  • warm clothes (it gets down to about 15C near the crater rim)