9° 25' 60S Long 159° 58' 0E Matanikau village is located at the mouth of the Matanikau River on the north coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Also known as Matanikao. Today, the area has expanded into a larger settlement and includes Chinatown to the south.
The Matanikau River is a river that runs roughly south to north with the mouth on the north coast of Guadalcanal to the west of Honiara. During the battle of Guadalcanal, th the Matanikau River formed the
western edge of the American perimeter for the early months of the battle.
The Matanikau Sandbar was located to the east of the mouth of the Matanikau River. On October 24, 1942 seven Japanese Army
Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tanks from the 1st Independent Tank Regiment advanced eastward and were disabled by the Marines. Afterwards, the six tank hulls were demolished by the Marines to prevent them from being used as defensive positions by the Japanese. The seventh Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank was partially submerged and remains in situ. The remains of the other tanks were buried in the sand or otherwise
disappeared since the war.
On August 12, 1942 a U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) patrol led by Colonel Frank Goettge (pronounced Gech-ee) patrolled to the west bank of the Matanikau River. After the U. S. landing on August 7, 1942 the Marines got intelligence from a Prisoner Of War (POW) that Japanese forces at this
location were willing to surrender to the Marines. Instead, the patrol was ambushed and killed.
Destroyed October 24, 1942
Hill 73 (American Memorial, Skyline Ridge)
Hill near Matanikau River. During the night of August 18-19, 1942 the Marines bivouac on this hill for the night. and were attacked at dawn by the Japanese. Today, it is the site of the main American memorial on Guadalcanal.
Two hours by foot from Honiara on Guadalcanal is
the spectacular double-sided Mataniko Falls. The falls thunder into
a cave full of stalagmites and swooping swallows and bats. During WWII,
the cave was a hide-out for Japanese soldiers trying to avoid capture
by the Americans. Start out on the 1.5 mile road from Chinatown
to Tuvaruhu. Cross the river at Tuvaruhu, and proceed along the top
of the ridge. The trail is often steep, and you might do better with
a guide after Tuvaruhu.
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October 18, 2018