Ua Huka Orientation & Arboretum

I had been hoping to go birding the next day with the guide, Geoffray Sulpice but because the Aranui cruise ship was in port, he was already occupied for the day.  Let’s start with an orientation of the island of Ua Huka.  In the map below, I have used red arrows to indicate the 3 villages – Vaipaee, Hane & Hokatu.  Each village is at the mouth of a small river or stream that flows through the valley into the sea.  The beautiful endemic Ultramarine Lorikeets can be found in these valleys.

Ua Huka highlights map

The northern side of the island is uninhabited, the entire population is in the southern coast where the villages are.  There is no public transport.  Tourists can either rent a car or horse and go around by themselves or get your guesthouse owner to organize something for you.  Maurice did this for us.  I forget what he charged for about a half day tour, it was around 2500 XPF-ish.


The first stop was the Ua Huka Arboretum which is a botanical garden and one of the best places for independent birding as it is open to the public and there is no entry fee.  It is located between the airport and the main village of Vaipaee, see the green arrow above.

IMG_9990There is a trail that leads pretty far back towards the mountain, the further back you walk, the narrower it gets and the more birds you will see.  As you walk through, enjoy many beautiful tropical flowers and plants.

IMG_9989 IMG_9942 IMG_9943 IMG_9945 IMG_9946 IMG_9948 IMG_9949


Those tiny dots are Ultramarine Lorikeets, must have been in a hurry to get somewhere!IMG_9959 IMG_9960 IMG_9962


White-capped Fruit DoveIMG_9966 IMG_9970


Marquesan Monarch, the other Ua Huka endemicIMG_9973

IMG_9952 This little guy is called a “vini” by the locals which is confusing as the scientific name for the Ultramarine Lorikeet is “Vini ultramarina”, but these birds aren’t even close.  I think they are Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. IMG_9977 IMG_9981


Long-billed WarblerIMG_9985 IMG_9988