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Named "Martyrs' Island" by Presbytarian Missionaries at the beginning of the 19th Century, Erromango never quite lost its reputation as a dangerous destination. The sandalwood trade began shortly after the arrival of the famous explorer/trader Peter Dillon. As the wood was relatively inexpensive, it was exploited quickly, and nearly depleted in only fifty years time.

Erromango was subsequently one of the frequent stops for the "Blackbirders" who captured islanders for work on plantations overseas. Epidemics and disease followed contact with Europeans, which meant tragic depopulation on the island.

Kauri and other tropical hardwoods are still being exploited by some Malyasian logging companies, but local communities have been quite effective in their resistance to the unsustainable logging practices. They are well aware of the implications on their lives, environment and livelihoods if their forests disappear.

As a result of this concern, the creation of a Kauri Reserve is currently underway, with assistance from the European Union. This special area is undoubtedly a very important (and stunning!) attraction, and visitors will be able to experience the breathtaking beauty of ancient trees when the Forestry tourist lodge opens. Erromango is considered one of the best islands in Vanuatu for trekking or walking.

Erromango is one of the most suitable islands for the bushwalker. There are a number of possible walking routes, depending on your available time and fitness. A walk across the island from Dillons Bay to Port Narvin and then on to Ipota along the coast is an ambitious journey. A more interesting and challenging treck is the one from Dillons Bay down south to South River and across to Ipota via the Kauri Reserve. You will have to find a guide for the latter.

Dillons Bay is now a peaceful place where you can enjoy a lovely walk along the Williams River and take the chance to admire the few "sentawud" (sandalwood ) left of the once abundant species. The Meteson's Guest House is currently being renovated (tel 68677). Tours and guides can be arranged with the owner.

Suvu Beach is a white-sand beach close to Dillons Bay where you can explore caves with hand drawings on the walls and other historical ruins. This area is only accessible with a guide and by canoe or speed boat.

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