Rowa Islands

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Rowa Islands
Rowa Islands ISS002.jpg
Astronaut photo of Rowa Islands (2011).
Womtelo Map-Banks-Vanuatu 1000.png
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates13°37′00.0″S 167°31′59″E / 13.616667°S 167.53306°E / -13.616667; 167.53306Coordinates: 13°37′00.0″S 167°31′59″E / 13.616667°S 167.53306°E / -13.616667; 167.53306
ArchipelagoVanuatu, Pacific Ocean
Area2.0[1] km2 (0.77 sq mi)
Highest elevation5 m (16 ft)
ProvinceTorba Province
Population0 (2012)
Ethnic groupsNone

Rowa Islands (also known as Reef Islands) are an uninhabited archipelago in Torba Province of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean.[2][3] The Rowa are a part of larger Banks Islands archipelago. The islands are a natural border between Melanesia and Polynesia; they are one of the most beautiful places in the South Pacific Ocean and an integral part of a vast system of atolls and reefs.


Rowa Islands consist of 15 picturesque coral cays between the islands of Motalava and Ureparapara in northern Vanuatu. The neighboring islands are Mota Lava and Vanua Lava. The estimated terrain elevation above sea level is some 5 metres.[4][5] A large horseshoe-shaped coral reef fringes the islands. At a low tide, the water between the five islands located in the lagoon is so shallow that one can walk the distance among them. The vegetation on the islands is low and bushy. Of the whole group of islands, trees only grow on the main island of Rowa, making it visually taller than it actually is.


These low-lying islands have been uninhabited since 1939, when the local people had to leave the place after a severe tropical cyclone. They relocated permanently to neighboring islands of Ureparapara, Vanua Lava, and Mota Lava. Their traces can still be seen on the main island of Rowa—stone walls of settlements and gardens.[6]


There are 15 islands in the archipelago. Among them are Anwet, Enwot (has the ruins of the old village), Lomeur, Moïe, Wosu, Wotansa, Rowa (the main island), Ro, Sanna, Peten, and Lavap (the smallest).[6]


  1. ^ "Vanuatu". Haos Blong Volkeno. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  2. ^ Coiffier, Christian (1988). Traditional Architecture in Vanuatu. Suva, Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies. p. 5. ISBN 9789820200470. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Traveling Luck for Rowe Islands". Traveling Luck. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Rowa Island". Geoview. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Rowa atoll". Island on Map. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Reef Islands, uninhabited paradise of the Banks". Positive Earth. Retrieved 5 August 2018.