Vanuatu is the last place in the South Pacific Islands where the historical tribal lifestyle still exists. While the capital of Vanuatu is Port Vila on the Island of Efate, there are 82 more islands that make up the group and the more remote ones have little contact with western society apart from visiting cruising yachts, and in these regions the old tribal ways are still adhered to. Vanuatu is located between Fiji and New Caladonia and is one of the closest island groups to Australia. Flying time is only about two and a half hours from Brisbane. Languages spoken here are Pidgin English, English and Fench. Originally, Vanuatu was named the New Hebrides when visited by Capt James Cook in his second Pacific voyage. It had a period where it was jointly administered by England and France and obtained independence on July 30th 1980. During world war two Vanuatu was heavily involved in the Pacific war. Allied bases on Espiratu Santo and Efate saw considerable action and reminders of this war in the form of sunken ships and relics of the land bases are now tourist attractions.
The main tourist accommodation and resorts are scattered through the islands of Tanna, Efate, and Espiritu Santo. Port Vila is the main entry point and there are also airports at Lenakel on Tanna and at Luganville on Espiritu Santo. The islands of Vanuatu are volcanic in origin and today there are still six active volcanos in the country. The most active of these is Yasur Volcano on the island of Tanna. It is continually active and is famous for being the most easily reached active volcano in the world. Some of the Vanuatu Volcanoes like Kuwai and Lopevi have erupted with such violence in the past, that they have been among the largest volcanic eruptions in history. The highest of the mountains in Vanuatu is Mt Tabwernasana which is on Espiritu Santo. Many of the islands in the group are covered in dense rainforest.
As a tourist destination, Vanuatu is second to none. You can spend a few days on several different island hotels and move from resort to resort and the holiday activities are sensational. Divers will be delighted with the fantastic clarity of the local waters and the incredible array of corals and sealife. You can dive in coral caves, over sunken ships or around local islands where the underwater scenery will take your breath away. The beaches are just to die for, and when you think you have seen the best, another one will come up that is far better. Tours and cruises to Pentecost Island, you can see the original bungy jumpers. Here, local tribesmen jump from a tower constructed of poles tied together and a vine tied around their feet. This action takes place between the months of April and June.
The local currency in Vanuatu is the Vatu however nearly all local resorts and restaurants accept credit cards. The weather is tropical and the wet season extends from December to March. Vanuatu is really easy to get to with flights from Auckland with Air New Zealand, and from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane with Pacific Blue.
Vanuatu is a holiday destination that you will want to return to year after year.