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Coordinates: 11°30′S 153°26′E / 11.500°S 153.433°E / -11.500; 153.433

Louisiade Archipelago
Vanatinai as seen from space. Yeina Island is also visible to the north (top).

Vanatinai or Tagula (formerly called Sudest) is a volcanic island in the south-east of the Louisiade Archipelago within Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. The reef fringed island is approximately 360 kilometres (220 mi) south-east of New Guinea. With an area of 865.7 square kilometres (334.2 sq mi), it is the largest island of the archipelago. Vanatinai town, the main settlement, is located on the northwest coast. The population of the island was about 2,300 in 1978. The principal export is copra.

The island is 63 kilometres (39 mi) long, stretching northwest-southeast, and up to 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) km wide. A wooded mountain range runs through the length of the island, with the summit, Mount Riu (806 m) near the center. The most important peaks of the range are, from west to east:

  • Mount Madau (269 m)
  • Mount Gangulua (439 m)
  • Mount Riu (formerly called Mount Rattlesnake) (806 m)
  • Mount Arumbi (350 m)

The island was the site of a gold rush that peaked in 1889. Gold was found in nearly all of the island's water courses.[1]

Rambuso Village is located on the north coast of the eastern part of the island, where Rambuso Creek flows into the Pacific Ocean. Entry through the reef to the harbour is deep and easy to see during daylight. Many visiting yachts and local trading boats use this protected anchorage. In 2010 the villagers assisted by visiting yachties rebuilt the wharf and causeway. The villagers new slogan is "Rambuso Creek the gateway to Sudest".

Several species are endemic to the island, including the aptly named Tagula white-eye, Tagula honeyeater and Tagula butcherbird.

The first recorded sighting by Europeans of Vanatinai Island was by the Spanish expedition of Luís Vaez de Torres on 14 July 1606.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ Pacific Islands Yearbook, 13th ed., Sydney, New York 1972
  2. ^ Hilder, Brett The voyage of Torres, Brisbane, 1980, pp.XXIV,24
  3. ^ Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, p.66.
  4. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.137.