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Off the Beaten Track in Vanuatu

Published 9th Oct 2018

This destination is famous for places like Champagne Beach, the Mele Cascades and crystal Blue Lagoons, but there are so many amazing experiences that are less known yet equally as breath-taking if you’re willing to get off the beaten track in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is just over two hours by direct flight from Brisbane and for a destination that is so close, it has so many amazing sites and experiences that will truly make you feel like you have entered another world! Many attractions have become popular on cruise routes, but there are plenty of other places to visit that offer a more authentic insight into the Ni-Vanuatu culture and this stunning country.

Off the Beaten Track in Efate:

Cover yourself in the rejuvenating mud or take a soak to heal yourself in the thermal Nasinu Hot Springs at Takara. Located approximately an hour and a half from Port Vila, these naturally occurring springs are said to shed years off your appearance in a single visit. You can see these springs as part of a tour, or hire a car and take advantage of this natural phenomenon.

The next stop is a visit to the Ni Efate World War II Museum and then a snorkel at the sunken F4U-1 Corsair Fighter Plane. The museum itself is informative, suitable for all ages and offers a close up look of artefacts that have recovered from the surrounding area. Located approximately 10 minutes off-shore and sitting 3-4 metres below the surface, the plane wreck is reached by a small boat. There are plenty of small fish that have taken up residence in the wreckage, so if you’re not an avid history buff that’s ok too - this activity is a bit of history mixed with beautiful scenery and a little adventure!

Most people will visit the eastern side of Efate to go to the Blue Lagoon, and if you are heading in that direction make sure to drive slightly further north and stop at Eton Beach. This sheltered sandy cove is perfect for a relaxed swim, pack a picnic and a few tuskers and enjoy time away from the resorts and the crowds.

Off the Beaten Track in Espiritu Santo:

When you hear someone say they are going to Espiritu Santo, Champagne Beach will surely come to mind and while it’s an absolutely picture perfect spot, there is an equally stunning and less popular beach at Port Olry. Not only is the lagoon a magic shade of blue, there is also a delightful little beach bar and restaurant called Chez Louis right on the pristine sand. With waterfront tables, cold drinks, tasty food, kayak rental and bathroom facilities all at your disposal, you can easily spend the whole afternoon here.

A trip to Millennium Cave is an action packed experience that takes you through the tropical jungle in the heart of Santo. If you are staying in town, this is a full day tour from Luganville. Be prepared for about three hours of walking as this is not just a cave trek, you will also get to do some canyoning, swimming and visit local villages along the way. There is a level of fitness and mobility required, as you do have to navigate ladders, boulders and other obstacles. Make sure to pack your sense of adventure, good shoes and a waterproof camera; this lush jungle adventure has plenty of amazing photo opportunities along the way.

There are three ‘Blue Holes’ on the island located within a few kilometres of one another; the larger more popular one is called Nanda Blue Hole, it’s absolutely stunning and has lots of places to set up for the day. There are two smaller options, one called Matevulu Blue Hole, however arguably the most stunning of the three is Ri Ri Blue Hole. You can access all three by car, but you can also hire a kayak and take a paddling tour through the jungle to Ri Ri. You won’t be disappointed, this beautiful spot has rope swings into the crisp water, plenty of fresh water fish, wooden platforms to relax on and changing facilities.

Off The Beaten Track in Tanna Island:

Obviously you can’t go to Tanna Island and miss its active Volcano ‘Mount Yasur,’ however there is plenty of other amazing experiences to be had while you are there! Due to the rich minerals from the volcano and the natural creation of caves, Tanna is home to some unbelievable swimming, snorkeling and diving. The Lemnap underwater cave is a great addition to your itinerary, with the help of your flippers - duck dive down and find yourself inside an amazing blue grotto. Due to its isolated location, Blue Cave is never crowded and you can sometimes be there with only the people you arrived with.

There are plenty of authentic village experiences in Tanna, and getting an insight into local Kastom and traditions is truly a highlight. The villagers are welcoming and invite tourists to seeing how they live, which is often completely unchanged and unaffected by western influence. Get up close and personal while your Ni-Vanuatu guides explain Black Magic, traditional ceremonies such as coming of age and get an insight into how they plant crops and build their huts. If you are game, you might even like to try a bowl of Kava with the villagers!

After so much adventure, you will probably feel like a bit of relaxation before you head home. There is no better way to experience the amazing healing properties of Mount Yasur than at Nabisa Day Spa at Whitegrass Ocean Resort & Spa where they use locally made Volcanic Earth products. Try a Volcanic Ash Facial or a Volcanic Hot Stone Massage and experience the natural revitalising properties of Vanuatu.

Keen to see a different side of Vanuatu? Contact our specialists at Spacifica Travel to help plan your Off the Beaten Track trip to Vanuatu – call 1800 800 722.

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