Vanuatu, an entrancing archipelago spread across the South Pacific, is a worldwide favourite destination for tropical holidays. Its vibrant underwater wonderland, volcanic peaks and tropical forests remain relatively untouched by the rampant tourist trade – making it a fantastic destination for adventurers, family getaways, romantic escapes and luxe holiday!
A beguiling blend of old and new exists in Vanuatu: modern five-star resorts are juxtaposed against an enduring ancient culture. Vanuatu promises a rare holidaying experience steeped in the Island’s natural beauty, tradition and heritage. Vanuatu is one of our closest neighbours – it is located 1,750 kilometres east of Australia, just a short four-hour flight away. There are a number of major airlines which fly to Vanuatu direct from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. So basically, getting to Vanuatu is a breeze.
Vanuatu has a tourism industry that is healthy and raring; thus, it boasts of a smorgasbord of activities to keep you entertained. It can be a little overwhelming deciding what to do in Vanuatu, so it’s worth doing a bit of planning, and not just with regards to what cocktail to kill next. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Vanuatu attractions that are unique to this magical island. Enjoy!
The Top 5 Things to do in Vanuatu
Watch the Pentecost Island Land Dive: Best described as the precursor to modern bungee jumping, N’gol land diving is a ritual performed by the men in the southern part of Pentecost Island. The ceremony is held each spring between April and June, when the first yams begin to emerge from the soil.
The men attach two long elastic vines to their ankles, climb to the top of the tower, some of which are as tall as 75 feet, and jump. The vines, and the jumper’s hair, are supposed to brush the ground – displaying their virility to their potential mates. It’s their version of #beentheredonethat. You might have seen Karl Pilkington’s paltry attempt on ‘The Idiot Abroad’ – the locals really do make it look easy. But that said, it’s definitely something to watch, not try!
Climb an active Volcano: You read that right. Vanuatu is home to the world’s most accessible active volcano – Mount Yasur on Tanna island. This South Pacific volcano has been bubbling away for more than 800 years and is said to be the home of enigmatic man-god: John Frum. You can sit from a safe distance and watch the molten lava spurt, explosion after explosion, as it illuminates the sky. This spectacle is not for the fainthearted, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Go on, take a walk on the wild, very-hot-and-smoky side.
Swim alongside military jeeps and tanks at the Million Dollar Point: At the end of WWII, the US army dumped millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment into Vanuatu’s seas simply out of spite – so the French and British couldn’t have them. These war-time relics have created a fascinating, (also slightly spooky) underwater scene. You can snorkel among the coral-encrusted machinery, ghostlike ships and tanks, and explore one of WWII’s strangest legacies.
Visit a real-life cannibal site: Don’t worry, it’s no longer active… and the locals who live in this tranquil hideaway are decidedly friendly to tourists. The ancient Amelbati cannibal site is nestled in the thick jungles uphill from Walarano Village on Malekula Island. This sacred ground is where the Amelbati tribe carried out former cannibal ceremonies and buried their chiefs.
It’s a 30-minute trek through the lush greenery, coconut palms and cocoa trees to this isolated paradise, which is eerily quiet. Here you can stand among the spirits and soak in a part of Vanuatu’s history.
Kick back with some ‘kava’: It’s a drink renowned throughout the South Pacific, made from the powdered root of a pepper tree, it has an earthy flavour and calming effect. But Vanuatu does kava a little differently, you don’t have to be part of a special ceremony to try it. They have kava available in many local bars – just look for the bare light globes which indicate there’s kava inside. It’s one of those things to do only in Vanuatu. Just go easy though, kava is a pretty potent soporific and no joke.
Now, armed with our little list, go forth and check out great Vanuatu holiday deals and packages. This tropical island country has something fantastic for every couple, family and adventurer in store. Need someone to talk to air out holiday ideas? Talk to our South Pacific Specialists at 1300 991 751! Alternately, you can check out the season’s best Vanuatu holiday deals and packages right here!