Halmahera is by far the largest island in all of the Spice Islands, and its northern point the most northern in the archipelago. The island is scattered with an array of unique birdlife, volcanoes, gorgeous beaches and very rich culture and makes a visit here worthwhile and rewarding.
Getting to Halmahera isn’t as difficult as you might think, although the majority of travellers to the region come via the neighboring island of Ternate in the east. Wings Air fly to Tobelo in the north, direct from Manado in Sulawesi. If you are the more adventurous sort of traveller then take the boat from Manado. The KM Elizabeth leaves the port of Manado everyday Monday at 4 pm.
Tobelo due to its airport is probably the most visited area of Halmahera. The town itself doesn’t have a lot to offer the visitor however and the surrounding areas of Tobelo are a lot more attractive for the traveller. If you do find yourself in Tobelo for a while then you should definitely enquire about visiting the small scattering of islands just off the coast. These small atolls are beautifully picturesque and offer some fantastic snorkeling on the pristine coral reefs.
Getting around the island can be a challenge in itself due to its sheer size. The most recommended way to do this would be to hire the services of a driver for the duration of your stay on Halmahera. Of course for those on a budget there are regular bus services connecting the rest of the island.
Galela can easily be reached from Tobelo within a day and this district will reward you with some outstanding discoveries Halmahera has to offer. The district has numerous villages that will give you an insight into daily life. There are also some amazing coral reefs off the coast so don’t forget your swimwear and snorkel. For the more adventurous, a climb up Maluku‘s most impressive volcano is a must. Of course, remember a guide is always wise when attempting to climb any volcano in Indonesia.
If you do find yourself on the northern tip of Halmahera and you are an avid surfer, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with some of the waves you’ll see here. Head to the town of Loloda for the surf and you will find yourself in your own private surf playground!
Southern Halmahera is a little more difficult to access as there are no airports in this area. If you manage to arrive in this area you will probably find yourself in the district of Weda. It is actually going to be the new capital of the Maluku, controversially replacing Ternate in the north. The town itself is rather dirty but offers some amazing islands off the coast with some of the best reefs in the area.
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