HomeBlogs Aru: New Guinea in Maluku The easternmost corner of Maluku, the flat, forested Aru Islands are just off the southwest coast of Papua. They
are mostly of interest for their Papuan fauna, which includes
kangaroos, cassowaries, palm cockatoos and 4 species of birds of
paradise. Marine life is also very rich, and Aru's capital Dobo,
situated o the small island of Wamar, has long been a busy regional
trading centre for pearls, sea cucumbers, shark fins and the like. The
local people are racially and culturally more Malukan than Papuan, but
they still preserve some interesting traditions, and are among the
friendliest in Maluku. Few tourists ever visit Aru. Since the main
way to get here is via the Keis, it would be foolish to come here for
beaches, even though a few decent ones can be found here and there.
Same goes for snorkelling - the relatively few good spots for that are
mostly very far from Dobo. There are virtually no facilities for
visitors outside the regional capital, but Dobo can be visited easily
enough. Same goes for the neighbouring part of Wokam, which has the
pick of Aru's few historical sites. For those interested in Aru's
unique environment and wildlife, both marine and terrestrial, remote
South-East Aru is the most interesting region.
flies from Ambon to Dobo via Tual in the Keis. The flight is heavily
booked, often cancelled, and to top it all, expensive! Trigana has
announced plans to launch flights to Dobo too, but these remain on hold
"until the airstrip is extended" - don't hold your breath.
A few Pelni ships call at Dobo between ports in Maluku and Papua, but they tend to come this way only once every 4 weeks. More
predictable is the car-passenger ferry from Tual in the Keis. In 2010,
the Aru-owned KM Lobster started serving that route twice weekly,
leaving Tual on Tuesdays and Fridays. It stops running when the sea is
too rough, most frequently occuring between Jan-March. There are also several Perintis ships that stop at Dobo on their way around SE Maluku or to/from Papua.