Morotai Island is located in the north side of Halmahera, North Maluku Province and is the northernmost island in Indonesia. The island was a hive of military activities during World War II with tens of sorties roaring daily from air crafts taking off and landing at airstrips along Daruba Bay, endless stamping of thousands of military boots marching across the island, and navy ships anchoring daily carrying supplies and reinforcement. Unfortunately, with its location along with the more vague history of World War II, Morotai island is almost obscure among Indonesian citizens.
Even so, Morotai Island actually holds so many charms that can steal anyone’s hearts. That is what makes the government plans to build various sectors on the island. Hope to make Morotai Island as an economic hub in Indonesia by developing many potential aspects, such as fisheries, tourism, and trade. The island of Morotai has also now been designated as one of Indonesia’s Top Priority Tourist Destination for intense resort development.
The best way to get to Morotai is on your own yacht or liveaboard. The nearest airport to Morotai is on the island of Ternate. Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air serve regular flights to Ternate. From here you must travel overland to Tobelo, in North Halmahera, then take a ferry to Daruba on Morotai. The sea journey takes around two hours.
Here we list down some interesting aspects of Morotai Island to combust your curiosity over this mysterious yet charming island.
As a nostalgic zone of World War II, Morotai Island left with warfare artifacts, be it cannonry, number of wrecks underwater, bunker, military base, etc. that can be found in these historical sites.
1. Zum Zum MacArthur Island
This part of Morotai Island was a military base of General Douglas MacArthur of America, leader of the allied forces in the Asia Pacific during World War II. The main reason this site is called MacArthur Island. Here you can find his former residence, hideout cave, and used helipad. You can also find MacArthur Monument to remembering his role in commanding Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing during World War II.
2. Nakamura Historical Sites
Morotai Island once ruled by Japanese battalion with 1000 personnel during WWII. But then Allied Forces consists of America and Australia troops sent 90.000 military personnel to seize the island. Later found in 1974, one of the Japan military personnel was still alive and hid inside Morotai Island for 30 years, named Teuro Nakamura. He’s a Taiwanese who voluntarily joined Japan military troops at that time. Based on his unique and heartwarming story as the last Japan soldier alive, locals then built his monument. Here you can also visit Nakamura Waterfall, place where Nakamura usually take water during his hideout.
3. Landasan Pitu (Pitu Airbase)
The base built by the Japanese army in 1944. There are 7 bases here which one of them already operated as Pitu Airport of Morotai Island.
4. Army Dock and Navy Base
This site used to be one of the most important sites for Allied Forces during WWII. Here was built military infantry installations, combat zone, hospital, and 5 marine docks. There was also a floating bridge for soldier distributed logistics from Zum Zum Island. You can find these army docks and navy base ruins at Pandanga Village.
One of the main attractions of Morotai Island is none other its natural beauty. You can visit many mesmerizing natural sites, from a white sand beach to waterfall spots.
5. Unique Dodola Beach
A clear white sand beach consists of Dodola Besar and Dodola Kecil. During high tide, the two Dodolas merge into one island and during low tide, it’s separated again. During the separation period, you can cross over the white sand as if you’re walking in the middle of the ocean.
6. More than 28 diving spots
Yup! Morotai Island indeed has amazing underwater beauty. You can find from pretty corals, colorful fishes, to abandoned shipwrecks spread over more than 28 spots. As diving becomes one of the main attractions in Morotai, there are some diving services operated by the locals.
7. Surfing at Tanjung Sopi
Tanjung Sopi has now become the most favorite surfing spots for surfers around the world. It is located in Sopi Village, the northernmost of Morotai Island. According to surfers who already had an experience here, Tanjung Sopi’s wave is one of the best waves in Indonesia for surfing. In order to experience that, the surfers even willing to stay at the local’s house as there are not many inns available at the village.
8. Chillin at The Waterfalls
Morotai is also a mountainous island, that’s why there are so many capes as well as waterfalls. One of the most visited waterfall sites is Air Terjun Raja (2-meter height), located at Raja Village near the city Daruba. If you want more adventurous and adrenaline rush, go to 50 meters Wayabula Waterfall or 10 meters Leo Leo Waterfall where you can experience a cliff-jumping.