The Micro Nation of Nauru – Private Tour


  • Visit one of the smallest and most controversial islands on the planet
  • Discover historical WWI and WWII relics from hidden bunkers and secret caves in Nauru
  • Hike the entire perimeter of Nauru
  • Explore the old mine site of ‘Topside’
  • Snorkel in pristine waters

Explore one of the worlds least visited countries, Nauru, shrouded with its own fascinating history form both German and Japanese occupation, modern controversy and mystere.

Nauru delivers dramatic unexpected landscapes of piercing pinnacles left over from the countries wealthy phosphate mining era tangled with lush jungle and a pancake like island ringed with pristine reef. WWII relics can be found high on hill tops and strangled by undergrowth. War prisons, hidden caves bunkers… Nauru’s phosphate mining put the country on the map. It was the world’s wealthiest country per capita for a short period, before the island of ‘guano’ created from thousands of millennia of seabirds nesting here, became exhausted and the country’s economy plummeted. The controversial Regional Processing Centre is one of the few lifelines of income to the island of Nauru, but again, this is only a short term solution as the centre is now empty. An island with fascinating mythology, a generation who lived through the Pacific War with incredible stories to share and a nation looking to progress and rebuild the wealth they once had. This is an incredibly empowering educational experience and will really shape your impression of Nauru and life on the island.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 – Friday - Arrive Nauru

Welcome to Nauru! Flying into Nauru is quite incredible. This flat pancake like island nation, seems to just bob in the middle of the Central Pacific with ocean blue as far as the eye can see. Best known as a phosphate rock island and for the mining which raised and then destroyed the country’s economy as well as Australia’s refugee processing centre, Nauru is one of the smallest countries on earth as well as being one of the least visited with only 200 visitors a year!

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met in the arrival hall and transferred to your hotel for check in. Drop off your luggage and your guide will take you to Bay Restaurant for dinner (payable locally). This locally owned restaurant serves a seafood and Asian infused menu. Be sure to purchase a chilled beverage and sit out the back on the expansive deck! A wonderful welcome to your first night Nauru!

3 nights Ewa Lodge or similar

Day 2 – Saturday – Topside

Head downstairs to the local café where you can order a range of meals. (Not included). Be sure to stock up on any water or snacks you may need for your time in Nauru as it is not open on Sundays. Set off this morning as you head into the interior of Nauru. Your first stop will be the tranquil and lush Buada lagoon, the only body of water on the island. This is a very picturesque spot in the lower middle of the island. The lagoon is surrounded on all sides by dense palm trees and other vegetation. Once home to an abundance of Milkfish, this lagoon used to host traditional spearfishing competitions. Swimming is not recommended here.

Continuing on, see some of the old railway tracks which were used to transport phosphorus from Topside to the port for export. Venture into the tangle of trees as they strangle the piecing pinnacles made of sharp limestone. These pinnacles were once underground until the phosphorous around them was mined. Enjoy the brief shade as you meander through these towers and learn about both the German and Japanese occupation of Nauru. Under German occupation, Nauru was named Pleasant Island. The first site you will come to is the former German Communications Centre which was used a gas chambers to exterminate the locals not willing to work. An eerie site with a telling history, as you explore further into the vines, you will see prison cells – both above and underground which later became part of the Japanese prison.

Your next stop will be the double-barrelled anti-aircraft gun on the Command Ridge, before you drive further into the centre of the island via what is currently the local landfill site. Once you clear the landfill site either via vehicle or on foot (depending on the weather and road access), veer off road into the bush and scramble your way to two machine gun nests on the hillsides. For those feeling adventurous (and who are not afraid of heights), there is a further climb to the ‘Great Wall of Japan’ showcasing an incredible view over the lunar like landscape of pinnacles and the newly installed Chinese solar farms. Beneath you in the vegetation, are remnants of bombed aircraft and relics left over from the Pacific war. Continue on to the underground Japanese hospital where soldiers were once lowered in through the hole in the roof for treatment.

Drive past the Phosphate mine which is still operating at a limited capacity producing second grade phosphate. The mining equipment is very rusty and you can see the phosphate fumes when it is in operation which causes significant health issues for the locals who live in this district. You will also pass the former Regional Processing Centre which sits at the centre of humanitarian controversy.

Drive past Parliament House and the High Court. Your guide will return you to your hotel, where you are at leisure for a late lunch and perhaps an afternoon wander in the shallows amongst the pinnacles (wearing reef shoes of course) or take a swim in the newly formed boat harbour for a swim with the locals. There are plenty of locals fishing around here too if you wish to check out their catch of the day. This afternoon, one of the Nauru Airlines planes comes into land which many of the locals pause to watch at the runway as the local roads surrounding airport are closed due to the jet blast.

Day 3 – Sunday – Island Exploration

Sunday’s are a very sleepy day in Nauru. If you are an early riser, you may wish to walk around the entire island (19km, approx. 3 hrs) before the heat of the day sets in. Meet your guide and set off on foot to one of the highest points on the island. Climb up between the pinnacles to a former Japanese bunker with the most incredible view over Anibare Bay. Formed by the underwater collapse of the volcano that underlies Nauru, you will see the large arc shaped bay and if the sun is shining, the colours from up here are incredible.

Head towards Yaren, the busiest part of town and the closest district to a capital city and see the rusting counter leviers which were bombed in WWII. In the distance you can see the new counter leviers which transfer the baked phosphorus onto the incoming cargo ships. The new cargo ship harbour is between the two and was constructed by the Chinese. This is the biggest cargo port in the Central Pacific and has been built deep enough to house two Chinese submarines.

Your next stop is the sobering Nauru war memorial. A fascinating site as it differs significantly to most other WWII memorials who commemorate fallen soldiers. During WWII, when the Japanese occupied Nauru, they wanted to evacuate the population from the island for their ‘wellbeing.’ The population was slowly moved to Chuuk where many perished from malnutrition. The last vessel due to depart Nauru was coming into port to collect the last of the population when it was bombed by the Americans. This small population of Naruan’s now lived on the island during the war, some who are still alive today and have fascinating stories to share if you have the opportunity to chat with them. This memorial on one side, commemorates those who were shipped to Chuuk and did not return, and also those who did return. Further to this, there a glass cabinet with a scoop of sand and ashes from Chuuk for those who did not survive as their bodies were never recovered or laid to rest. Also in this cabinet is a piece of the vessel which was bombed.

The eerie story of this memorial is on the far side of the monument, under a plaque called ‘Lepers.’ This is perhaps on of the most inhumane stories from the Pacific War under Japanese occupation. Those were riddled with disease, disability and illness were promised a place on a vessel which would take the lame to be treated. Once aboard and only 1km from shore, the Japanese shot everyone on the vessel and pushed them overboard into the ocean to be sure they were rid of the ‘leppers’ and a portion of the memorial is dedicated to those victims.

Moving from war history to modern history, across the road from the memorial is a large empty concrete quadrangle which was used for activities to integrate the refugees into the community. Many refugees, once processed, stayed on the island of Nauru for some time. Many who ran local businesses, restaurants and bars which all contributed to the country’s small economy. Many married into the Nauruan community but most have now left the island. Those who still remain, are completely integrated into the local community.

Now, it is time to cool down and go below the surface. Grab your headtorch and venture into Maqua (Moqua) underground lake and cave. A vast cave network which is filled with fresh sea water via tunnels underneath the island. It is cool and refreshing down here and with a good head torch, you can see the extensive cave system.

Heading back towards your hotel, you will stop at the Anibare Ponds situated behind a local village where local children often play in the water. Here, your guide will share some of the traditional mythology stories that make up the Nauruan culture – ask about the story of Eigigu, the first lady on the moon from Nauru.

The afternoon is yours at leisure to enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants (not included). This evening, why not head to Western bay (located at the end of the runway), where the locals gather for sunset. Often there is a food truck here or locals preparing a beach BBQ who may invite you to join them!

Day 4 – Monday - Departure

This morning, you have the option to book a private fishing charter (please enquire at time of booking), from 6am – 10am. Nauru is known for its deep sea fishing. Surrounded by a shelf where the island simply drops off to 1km deep, you are not too far from shore when you have the opportunity to catch yellow fin tuna, marlin or red snapper. If the fish aren’t biting, why not jump overboard and snorkel over the shelf? If fishing is not your thing, this morning if it is open, you will head to the Nauru Museum for a history recap of everything you have learned over your time here. From here, you will visit a traditional workshop where log waste that is destined for landfill or waste is converted into local furniture and traditional wooden postcards and other handicrafts. At midday, head to the airport for check in for your onward flight.

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What’s included

  • Transportation as per the itinerary
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Services of local guide
  • Sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Visa cost, supportive paperwork and assistance
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Personal porters
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.