The Paringiju Lodge story – a dream come true for father and son
It has to be one of the best views in Guadalcanal, if not the whole of the Solomon Islands.
Sitting about an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Honiara, Paringiju Inland Mountain lodge is like being in another world.
And owner Stephen Riniu has big dreams to match the inspirational surrounds.
The lodge, which sits about an hour’s walk away from Tenaru Falls, is quite often the starting point for tourists looking to walk to the well-known tourist attraction.
It is also one of the few inland lodges in the country. And he is in the process of making it bigger.
“My dream is to build five bungalows this year, self-contained bungalows, so people can come stay,” Mr Riniu told SIBC during a recent tour.
“They’ll have air conditioning, and hot-water systems. Then I plan to build a swimming pool on top of the hill . . . it’ll be a good view from the pool.”
The lodge, which currently hosts guests in small rooms inside, took three years to build and opened last year.
It also allows day visitors a place to rest and have a cold drink after walking the demanding trek to Tenaru Falls or the nearby Bat Cave.
But, more importantly for Mr Riniu, the lodge was a long-held dream of his father’s he has been able to achieve.
And it came through a smart – albeit controversial for some – business decision.
“I got the benefit from the logging,” he said. “I needed the logging companies to make the road up to the Lodge. To get a bulldozer it would cost probably a million then to build the road it would cost another million – so I’m lucky the logging company came.
“We worked out a deal.
“You can get a royalty but you need a plan into the next phase in order to benefit from the royalties paid a lot. A lot of landowners get the royalty and then they just spend it on beer and things like that.
“My royalty from the logging has gone into the helping me build this thing for me and my children, and their children.
“And I’m very happy now.”