Ghizo Island, one of the New Georgia Islands, is home to the town of Gizo, provincial capital of the Western Province of the Solomon Islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Gizo is the second largest town in the Solomon Islands, although it has the appearance of a shanty town. The main street runs along the waterfront lined with small stores and an open air market. Views in most directions show palm tree studded islands ringed by coral reef and clear waters. Diving hightlights are the intact Japanese transport Toa Maru, and three WWII aircraft.
Bush walks can be arranged to WWII land sites or to Saeraghi village along a scenic coast line to Gizo's most famous beach. Stop at Gilbertese and Melanesian villages along the way, where traditional life still continues. Alternatively visit Skull Island - step back in time to the days of head hunting, where you will visit a shrine composed of the skulls of chiefs and warriors, travel through the picturesque Vona Vona Lagoon. At Simbo Island you can take a bush walk, climbing the volcanic crater, and watch the locals cooking megadpode eggs in thermal ponds or a boat trip to Nusa Simbo to view cascading vines and ferns down dramatic volcanic cliffs.
Western Province is perhaps the most visited region of the Solomons. It is home to many Melanesian and some I-Kiribati (settlers from the Gilbert Islands in the 1950's and 60's) tribes who appreciate and welcome visitors. The main two languages are Marovo and Roviana, although there are many other languages spoken, too. The people of the Western Province produce famous carvings from various woods and stone. Woven bags, baskets and mats are also ancient village arts and are available for purchase.
The Western Province was also an area feared for head hunting in the 19th Century. The use of human heads or skulls was central in the burial customs and death beliefs of many of the Marovo Lagoon islands' people. Frequent raiding took place between islands in search of heads which were used in many rituals including burials and the launching of new Tomoko (war canoes).
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