Gau Island

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A photo taken by [NASA] astronaut of Gau along with Nairai to the north west. Gau large ISS006-E-38731.jpg
A photo taken by [NASA] astronaut of Gau along with Nairai to the north west.

Gau (pronounced [ˈŋau] ) is an island belonging to Fiji's Lomaiviti archipelago. Located at 18.00° S and 179.30 °E, it covers an area of 136.1 square kilometres (52.5 square miles), with a total shoreline that measures 66.3 kilometres (41.2 miles) long, making it the fifth largest island in the Fijian archipelago. Its maximum altitude is 738 metres (2,421 ft).

The Gau Highlands Important Bird Area is an area covering the entire forested interior (just over 50% of the entire island) and measures 5,200 hectares (13,000 acres). It contains populations of the critically endangered Fiji petrel, and vulnerable shy ground-dove and collared petrel. [1] The Fiji petrel's nesting habitat on the island contributes to its national significance as outlined in Fiji's Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. [2]

It has one airstrip at Lovu, on the southern tip of the island, which receives planes from Nausori International Airport. There are 16 villages on the island: Yadua, Vadra Vadra, Lovu, Levuka-i-Gau, Nukuloa, Nawaikama, Somosomo, Sawaeke (the chiefly village), Navukailagi, Qarani, Vione, Lekanai, Vanuaso, Nacavanadi, Malawai and Lamiti. There is one Secondary School on the island in Nawaikama, which also hosts hot springs nearby. Gau Island is widely regarded as one of the best Kava (Yaqona) strains in Fiji.

A marine research facility was established on Naviavia beach on the western coast of Gau in 2005 by the UK-based non-governmental organization Frontier, commissioned by Dr. Joeli Veitayaki of the University of South Pacific, a native of Malawai on the eastern coast.

Rugby sevens former player-coach of the Fijian national Sevens Team Waisale Serevi is a native of Qarani, a large village to the northwest, which also contains a post office and nursing station.

The first King of Fiji Seru Epenisa Cakobau grew up on the island, despite being born on the nearby island Narai.

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  1. "BirdLife Data Zone". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  2. Ganilau, Bernadette Rounds (2007). Fiji Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PDF). Convention on Biological Diversity. pp. 107–112. Retrieved 28 May 2017.

Coordinates: 18°4′S179°19.99′E / 18.067°S 179.33317°E / -18.067; 179.33317