Located just three hours off the East Coast of Australia, Vanuatu is an 83-island haven for Aussie visitors. The lively capital Port Vila, on the island of Efate, is a bustling hub of colourful markets and the gateway to adventure holiday favourites – ziplining, snokelling, and four-wheeling.
Here’s our pick of what to do while on vacay in Vanuatu:
THE VANUATU JUNGLE ZIPLINE
If you’re staying in Port Vila, make sure you fit in the Vanuatu Jungle Zipline. As someone who’s a little afraid of heights, I was a bit apprehensive, but you forget all of that when you’re soaring over a canyon and taking in the breathtaking views of Mele Bay. It’s an incredible adrenaline rush and so much fun! You’ll be smiling the whole time, we guarantee.
We tried the Canopy Treetop Tour, which includes six ziplines and two suspension bridges. They cater for ages four through to 89, and will set you back about $110AUD per person if you’re over 18, and $50-60AUD for those under 18.
SNORKELING OFF IRIRIKI ISLAND
What’s an island getaway without snorkeling? We went out on the Reef Explorer, a semi-sub vessel with a viewing room in the keel of the boat, which is great if you’re keen to stay dry. If you’re up for a snorkel, the boat moors off the coast of the beautiful Iririki Island. As soon as you enter the water, you're surrounded by hundreds of tropical fish. The staff even provide the fish food so you can feed the marine life by hand!
*The Deets *
The Reef Explorer departs from Café du Village on the main street of Port Vila. The tour runs for approx. one-and-a-half hours, and will set you back around $40 for adults and $30 for kids.
Ecotours are a great option for any traveller looking for an outdoor adventure off the beaten track. Your guide Pascal will lead you down a gentle flowing freshwater river located about 30 minutes outside of Port Vila. The river is surrounded by lush, tropical forests, with the over-hanging limbs of the banyan trees giving this area a very Jurassic Park vibe. Finish the tour with a swing on the Tarzan Rope and an epic Island Fruit Platter.
The EcoTours River Kayaking guided tour will last around four hours (pick up and drop off included) and will set you back around $75AUD.
GUIDED BUGGY TOURS
This driving tour takes you on road and off road, through the jungle (things can get very muddy if it’s been raining) and onto a secluded white sandy beach. Here you can take a quick dip in the crystal clear waters, then you’re back on your buggy to get muddy once again. Make sure to wear clothes that can get dirty!
Off Road Adventures offers a range of guided buggy tours priced from $90AUD - $165AUD per person.
COCKTAILS + MORE COCKTAILS
Port Vila is not short on places to enjoy a cocktail or two. If you’re looking for a relaxing drink on the sand, Banyan Beach bar is right up your alley. It’s a tiki-style bar, reminiscent of what you would find in Bali. Most nights there will be a bonfire burning on the sand and pizzas served from a wood fire oven. You can also score a cocktail at the Ramada Resort Pool Bar, which is just the best idea ever. Everyone knows that pool + cocktail = heaven.
Banyan Beach Bar is attached to Chantilly’s on the Bay, which is located off the main street of Port Vila. A cocktail here will only set you back $12AUD. BARGIN!
Ramada Resort Port Vila is just a few minutes from the downtown Port Vila. The drinks here ranged from $12-$18AUD.