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The Takuan beauty of Lake Loloru


BOUGAINVILLE is blessed with natural resources that are scarcely found elsewhere, from its evergreen forests to the white sandy beaches.

These blessings are potential tourist attractions in paradise, however they are virtually unknown apart from by the local people.

Roughly a 2 to 3 day walk from my place, Piano in Buin, lays the mighty Lake Loloru. The lake is situated on the border of Central and South Bougainville, between Kieta and Buin.

The scientific explanation for the crescent shaped lake is that it was formed from the crater of an old dormant volcano, however our ancestors have their own beliefs about the Loloru’s existence.

Local legend has it that an old woman lived at Lake Loloru with her little son.

They were a happy little family until there came a time where the boy got sick and, knowing he could not get better, he asked his mother to promise him that if he died she would bury him and wouldn’t clear his graveyard.

The son told his mother that he wouldn’t be gone forever; after one week he would return to her in the form of a special fruit tree that would appear in the graveyard if, and only if, she did not clear it.

The mum promised him to do everything as he wanted, but she didn’t.

After burying him she immediately cleared the graveyard and, after one week, checked graveyard to find it empty.

She cried and cried, digging her son’s graveyard deeper and deeper. The hole got bigger and began to fill with her tears.

As the hole filled up, the mother drowned and so the lake came to be the way it is today.

My people in the Buin area believe it’s a resting place for the dead. Local legend has it that a giant snake lives in the lake and is capable of causing harm to outsiders who enter the premises of the lake uninvited.

First timers in the Takuan wilderness can get scared because the place becomes so covered with mist, but this only lasts for a number of minutes. They say it’s a sign of warm welcome by the spirits.

Loloru is a sacred place and hunting on the premises of the lake is forbidden.

There are locals who know more about the place and are tour guides for newcomers, both Bougainvilleans and outsiders, that come to visit the lake.

Trees of different species create a forest landscape of outstanding natural beauty that allows mushrooms to grow and berries to ripen under its shady roof.

Like a stunning mirror of outstanding natural beauty Loloru reflects the splendour of the Takuan landscape in its water.

The scenery is as striking as paradise, and you cannot help but soak in the colours of the beauty around it. It is impossible to feel anything but tranquillity in a place that covers itself in pure beauty.

If ever by chance you happen to be there on your own the rushing of air through your hair and swaying of trees back and forth will make you feel that you are not alone on the lake. In fact, nature happens to be the best company of all.

Loloru is home to a wide variety of animal species, some of which are rare.

Every day the forest shines with a pleasant glow and powerful aroma as the inhabitants begin to emerge from their resting spots and carry on with their daily business.

The fluttering of butterflies and birds is heard as they drift over the lake lazily as it lies still in the heart of the Takuan Mountains.

People in south and central Bougainville believe Lake Loloru is the source of all the rivers that are found in these regions.

They say; “without the existence of the lake, then we would be just like any other parts of the province where you cannot find anything like rivers”.

Lake Loloru is indeed one of the many potential tourist sites in which the province can benefit from. They have the power to transform Bougainville in one way or the other.

Anytime you are in Bougainville don’t hesitate to explore the untouched environment of the south and central regions.


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Bruce Gledhill


Do you know if there are any recent proposals or reports addressing strategies to develop tourism activities and services on Bougainville? I would appreciate your direction to these. I am working with an Australian/New Zealand group keen to support economic development other than mining on Bpougainville.


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