According to Sarah Crum from our Dunedin Flight Centre NZ store, Vanuatu is not just about beaches and cocktails by the pool. Having recently spent some time experiencing the wonders of Vanuatu, Sarah shares with us one of the most popular wreck dives in the world, and how she got up and personal with a live volcano on Tanna Island. All in our South Pacific backyard - Vanuatu.
Vanuatu not only offers pristine beauty and gorgeous beaches. There's also a diverse range of bucket list activities - dive one of the world’s best wrecks on Espiritu Santo, or stand on the edge of a live volcano on Tanna Island.
The island of Espiritu Santo is a 45 minute flight from Port Vila. Here in this paradise, lying not 50 metres off the beach is the 200 metre long, 22000 tonne wreck of the President Coolidge. An ex-cruise ship turned troop carrier, this wreck was sunk on the beach after the Second World War and now offers some of the best diving in the world. To dive it, we just walked in off the beach!
Also well worth a dive is Million Dollar Point where the US Army drove jeeps, diggers, trucks and thousands of tonnes of equipment straight off the end of a jetty after the war ended. Santo also offers pristine beaches like Champange Beach, amazing snorkelling at Blossom Bay, blue holes and Millenium Cave.
Espirito Santo’s main town of Luganville won’t give you boutique clothes shops or huge supermarkets, but you can find everything you need and the fresh food market is open every day. Taxi’s are plentiful and a cheap way of getting around.
A 35 minute flight south of the main island of Vanuatu, Efate, lies Tanna Island. Tanna is home to Mt Yasur, one of the worlds most accessible live volcanoes. After a 2.5 hour drive across the island on some pretty rough roads , a 10 minute walk up the side of Mt Yasur brought us to within 100 metres of red hot lava erupting into the air. As dusk falls the volcano came alive and we were rewarded with once in a lifetime views of fountains of magma erupting from the main crater.
Tanna Island is largely untouched by the 21st Century with power and internet something that some villagers only dream of. Cell phones however are the must have accessory - locals head off into the jungle with a machete in one hand and a cell phone in the other!
Be sure to visit the fresh market on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the main town of Lenakel. Tanna Island also offers excellent snorkelling at the White Grass blue holes and Lemnap Underwater Cave, horse riding on the White Grass Plains and a unique look at village life during a Kastom Village tour or the Black Magic tour.
Vanuatu is definitely a land of culture and unique experiences and, if you stray off the beaten track you will be well rewarded with some once in a lifetime experiences.
For more information on Vanuatu and Vanuatu Diving Holidays contact Flight Centre travel expert Sarah Crum at Flight Centre Meridian Mall, Dunedin. More than 600 travel experts nationwide. Call 0800 38 44 38