Historical places in Australia and Pacific
This WWII memorial site is right at the waterfront in Colonia. It's for Howard Allan Holding (and other brave men), who was killed in action in 1944. His plane, a F6F-5 Hellcat, and two others were shot down, while conducting a fighter sweep of the already battered island of Yap. Howard's remains have never been found, so he is still to this day missing in action (MIA). There are no flights remains at the memorial, just an information board. The junk in the picture is a restaurant belonging to the next door dive resort.
Another Japanese gun from WWII is hidden in the high grass near the airport. Not sure if this was the original location for the gun, or it has been moved to here.
High placed among the pinnacles stand this huge Japanese gun from WWII. The short, but tricky, hike from the road is equal interesting as it zigzags through a plain of pointy pinnacles. Start by taking the paved road towards the Buada Lagoon. After the big parking area, turn left where the dirt work road intersect. There is a barrier across the work road. Right after the barrier a trail to the left leads into the pinnacles. Follow the trail and you will soon see the gun appear over the tops on your right-hand side. It can be hard to follow the trail through the pinnacles, but the correct path will be white compared to the otherwise black surface of the pinnacles.
Nauru is the least visit country in the world, so any sightseeing can quickly turn into a DIY adventure with the lack of maps, signs or explanatory guides. However, the Japanese Jail from WWII is easy to find, if you have found the start of the trail to the Japanese gun, also from WWII (for directions, see Japanese Gun from WWII). Right before the barrier is a short trail leading into the jungle (not the same as to the gun). It's Indiana Jones style passageway with jungle covered limestones boulders. The space between the limestone has been filled with bricks to make a closed confinement. There is a gate and then a couple of buildings, all covered with vines and branches - and some graffiti.
As you circumvent the island of Nauru (19 km, 5 hours by walking), you pass a few old Japanese so-called pillboxes (concrete dug-in guard post) from WWII. Some are covered in paintings or graffiti, while others stand untouched. However, they are all full of trash.
The occupying Japanese forces dug this cave complex during WWII. It was part of their new island-defense strategy, which also included fortified bunkers and underground positions. Instead of stopping the Allies at the beach, the Japanese would only disrupt the landings at the water's edge and depend on an in-depth defense farther inland. The caves and tunnels have afterwards been cleared for unexploded ordnance, so today it’s open and anyone can venture into the pitch dark tunnels. Remember a flashlight (and to bend down).
Bloody Nose Ridge was the location for some of the most fierce fighting in the Battle of Peleliu. Here soldiers had to fight man to man, since they ran out of ammo, with huge casualties as a result.
One of the trails, which all start at the Japanese shinto shrine, leads up to the summit. There is a viewing platform with 360 degrees panoramic views of Peleliu Island. The summit is marked with a "World Peace" menhirs.
A small bunker with the doors open, so you can take a peek inside.
These are the ruins of the old Japanese communications center, Kaigun Sho. It was built in the shape of a cross and disguised as a field hospital to avoid being attacked. When the allies found out, they bombed it. Today, there are various remnants from the war, including tanks and guns, but else it's very tidy. You need a ticket, which can only be purchased at Airai State Office (else you risk getting fined 500 USD!).
The two story Japanese headquarter is tucked away in the vegetation not far from the landing strip. It has been heavily damaged, but most pillars stand and there are still some concrete slaps left of the first floor. So be careful, when venture in. Trees are growing from the balcony and vines are hanging down from the holes in the ceiling. There are also two small hangars and a bunker, all open for a peek.