Sitting on the utmost fringes of the tourist trail, Halmahera Island is one of the Spice Islands, the closest Island to Papua in the east and receives barely 100 tourists per year. A rarely talked about destination with some incredible highlights and enough volcano-infused adrenaline to keep any fanatic at peace.
The Halmahera government website www.halmaherautara.com can assist you with planning the reasons ‘why’ you want to go to Halmahera Island and can help you access Pulau Kakara. Kakara houses one of Halmahera’s only resorts and sits a small boat ride away from port Tobelo on the east coast. There are also pictures/articles depicting ship-wrecks lying just off the coastal shores, enormous green inland lakes and picturesque white sand bars being overrun by the incoming tide. All of these can be seen as a daytrip from either Tobelo or Kakara.
Should you contact the tourist office for information they are very likely to pass you straight over to Mr Yus who is the areas most advanced tour guide. We made requests about Halmahera’s diving and volcano attractions and in response we receive the telephone number of Mr Yus: 0852 40842579
After attaining his ‘rescue diver certificate’ in Manado in 2009, Mr Yus has returned home to Halmahera Island to begin running underwater and overland expeditions. He is currently the only person with access to scuba tanks on the island and can organise any form of transportation from self-drive motorcycle to tuk-tuks and will even draw you a map with the local highlights! This is loads of help in a place that has limited information. Mr Yus is a gentle speaking man with big ideas and an appreciation for the tourist industry; his prices are more than fair. He is quiet, respectful and willing to go the extra yards to keep guests happy. After a quick phone conversation he arranged to meet us at our hotel where he gave us several fantastic ideas, organised us a bike for the following day and left us to peruse over whether we could stay in Halmahera a few days longer…
-Dive amidst blue holes, WWII wrecks and explore the underwater volcanic vents of Galela Bay.
-Charter a boat to the North to explore deserted beaches and see waterfalls cascading onto the white sandy bays.
-Hire a bike and muse over WWII cargo wrecks resting in the shallows (Sosol beach in Malifut, 100km south of Tobelo), take the ring road around the beautiful Duma-Galela Lake where Ox carts are still in use or make a pit stop at Luari beach where you can see both the sunrise and the sunset. While motoring around Northern Tobelo maintain an eye on the hinterland to grab views of the furious Dukono volcano smouldering away. In clear skies the most spectacular lookout is on the bridge just after the volcanologist centre about 14km north of Tobelo. Stop a while to watch the locals collecting volcanic matter from the ash river.
-Consider whether you want to make the two day trip to climb and look inside the extremely active volcano of Gunung Dukono, We did and it was the scariest thing I have ever done. Listening to the volcano roar while peeking over the lip to see the burning red lava violently churn was heart pounding.