Maluku Travel Information - Aru Islands

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.

Getting There

By Air

In early 2010, Trigana has taken over the Ambon-Tual-Dobo route from Merpati, increasing frequency to 4 times weekly, and making the service more reliable. It remains an expensive flight though, both from Ambon and Tual!

By Sea

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.