By Deb Sapatos
Opening Hours: Every day from 9am – 5.30pm
Cost: $100 Adult $20 Child
Getting there is a little tricky but following these directions you will be fine. The Vilu War Museum is west of Honiara. It is an open air museum that contains decaying US and Japanese aircraft and artillery from the Second World War.
As a guide we used our trip meter beginning at ROVE Police Station. Beginning our trip west out of Honiara, it is the normal road to Visale. At approx. the 21km point you will cross a bridge, 500mtrs after this you will cross another bridge (this is your marker). Another 500mtrs there is a left turn down an unsuspecting road and if you have done your trip meter accurately you’re heading in the right direction.
This road is not used often and may seem as though you have gone off the beaten track into the abyss but travel a further 500 mtrs from the main road turn off it begins to open up and if you look to your left you will see another road, this road takes you into the Museum Grounds. As you drive into the parking area you will view the wreaks on your right and a grey well made building, this is the Museum.
Below are some images from Google Earth (Lat: 9°19’7.80″S Long: 159°47’37.36″E)
This is not a free view museum and the caretaker has an uncanny knack of appearing within a few minutes of your arrival. As a gesture it is advised to have your entrance fee ready to go and the correct amount as he does not have change. Have a chat with him as he is very knowledgeable of the wrecks and the Museum. He will open the shed and walk around with you if you so desire.
The Museum is home to various US Aircraft namely:
- Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless (wreck)
- Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat (wreck)
- Lockheed P-38F-1 Lightning (wreck)
- Mitsubishi G4M3 (wreck)
- Vought F4U-1 Corsair (wreck)
It also houses the humble memorial to HMAS Canberra, sunk during the battle of Savo Island (colloquially known as the ‘battle of Sitting Ducks’).
All in all, a great afternoon out.