Tanimbar Islands Travel Guide

The Tanimbar Islands are among the most remote group of islands in Indonesia, lying as they do in the southeast of Maluku Province, just a few hundred kilometers over the top of Darwin, Australia.

Also known as Timor Laut, the Tanimbar Islands consist of around 65 islands at the end of the arc of islands that start at Sumatra. It is rarely visited by standard tourists in search of beaches, but is renowned for its collections of rare bird species and is thus quite popular with ornithologists.

Yamdena is easily the largest in the Tanimbar Islands group, stretching over 120kms north to south. Saumlaki is the capital of Tanimbar Islands and has the airport. It sits down on the southern tip of Yamdena. Yamdena Island is pretty rugged and is loaded up with forested hills along the east and is lower in the west. It has some good walking and birdwatching.

Other islands worth looking at in the Tanimbar Islands chain include Fordata Larat, Selaru, and Wuliaru. Tanimbarkei, although nearby and often mistaken as one of the Tanimbar Islands, is in fact part of the separate Kai Islands.

Getting There & Away

Saumlaki Airport in southern Yamdena Island is the gateway to the Tanimbar Islands. It is a small airstrip yet receives flights from Ambon; the Maluku capital a few hundred kilometers farther north. The nearest major airport is actually that of Darwin International Airport in the Northern Territory of Australia. You can get to Saumlaki port by boat from Ambon but journey times are long.