Historical places in Australia and Pacific
This backyard shack museum is the only above-water attraction Munda can offer (there are heaps of supreme diving under water) and is surprisingly interesting. A local guy called Barney has collected WWII stuff from the jungle and is now showing it at his house. Here, you can see a wide range of aging military knick-knacks that were left behind by the American and Japanese forces. Anything from ordinary military objects like ammunition and hand grenades to personal effects like reading glasses and dog tags is on display. The museum is "officially" named Peter Joseph WWII museum after the first dog tag Barney found (the full name on the tag is Peter Joseph Palatini). Though this tag's owner has never been found, several other dog tags have been returned – mostly to surviving families, but one guy was still alive. The museum can be hard to find, but just ask for Barney.
The Solomon Islands were a major battlefield during World War II. The Allies had several airbases with crude landing strips made up by smashed coral (some of these strips are still in use today) from where they raided Japanese locations and ships around the atolls. The losses were heavy on both sides and as a result the Solomon Islands are sprinkled with wrecks of both warships and fight planes, some on very shallow water inside lagoons. You can dive Japanese transport ships, American dive bombers, B-17s and some wrecks can even be snorkelled. There are also plane wrecks on land, though those are often less intact. You can even paddle out to tiny Kennedy island off the coast of Gizo where John F Kennedy and his crew swam ashore when their patrol vessel PT-109 sunk.
This is South Pacific's Stonehenge. Three large stones, each weighing about 40 tons, arrange into a stone gate. It's believed that the trilithon was constructed in the late 12th century. There is of course a lot of myth connected to the place, but it had also been shown that it functioned as a calendar, aligned with winter and summer solstice, just like Stonehenge.
400 years ago the islanders placed a volcanic rock on this pile when the first son was born to represent a new generation. In the beginning it was only the royal family, but common islanders join in later. They stopped the practice about a hundred years ago and have since then used the Rock Wall as a depot for building materials. Today the 50 m long wall still stands, but the height has been strongly reduced to a few layers. The nearby village Makave is named after the wall, as Makave means take-a-stone.
Also near the Matafonua Lodge is this small collection of petroglyphs. They seem to depict people and animals, like a turtle. They're made on a slab of rock, which is under water at high tide, but exposed at low tide. By putting sand in the lines, it might be easier to work out the figures.
Englishman William Mariner was only 15 years old when he was captured by the Tongan king. He had arrived on the British pirate ship Port Au Prince (original a French ship) to the Ha'apai Group in 1806. The Tongans tricked the British to believe they were friendly by offering them food, but the Tongans slaughtered almost everyone except for Mariner and a few crewmates. After four years of living among the islanders, Mariner returned to England and his observations of Tongan culture and language was written down in what became the famous book The Tongan Islands, William Mariner's account. Today you can visit the beach where the ship Port Au Prince was attacked and burned. There is nothing there besides a memorial plate and a beautiful beach.
Sitting among colourful graves next to the road is the rusting leftovers from an earth-moving machine from WWII. It's still possible to see the outline of the catepillar track and the American maker's plate, which states that it was made by Northwest Engineering Company, Chicago.