One of the popular things to do while in Port Vila, is ‘Around the Island’ (Efate) which depending on how your approach it can take as little as a couple of hours, through to a whole day. I suppose its like anything, its up to you what you take out of it ….. if you just sit in the car, watch through the window and never stop to get out, then its likely to be a pretty boring trip. On the other hand, if you get out, explore a bit, walk along some beaches talk to the local villages and stop at a few of the local restaurants and stops, then I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
To many, it seems that Vanuatu is one of those places that is difficult to get to, but a little bit of investigation proves otherwise. Most visitors to Vanuatu come from either Australia or New Zealand and a substantial number of flights are dedicated to these countries. Increasingly however, travellers from both North America and Asia and finding that Vanuatu is a great country to visit. Having intermediate hubs in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, along with New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea now makes it relatively easy for anyone from many countries to get to Vanuatu with only one or two stopovers from their main port of departure.
Getting a handle on what the weather is likely to be like is an important facet of travelling to Vanuatu. Vanuatu forms a long string of Islands which lie almost vertically and parallel to the lines of longitude and at a latitude of between 13 degrees and 21 degrees south. Because of its range in latitude, Vanuatu’s climate changes from its top (near the equator) to its bottom closer to New Caledonia. The Banks Islands near the top has high temperatures, high humidity, and rainfall all year – whereas Tanna Island in its Southernmost region has quite distinct seasonal changes and where the highlands can be quite cool in the dry season. The island of Efate (the main island where Port Vila is located) lies centrally and accordingly, has distinct seasons, but which are both generally warm all year.
Port Vila produce market is one of the biggest and best produce markets in the South Pacific. All the vegetables are freshly grown organic from the surrounding districts making the central Port Vila Market up there with the best of them. Not having the rich cultural history that has infused Asian cooking, there is not the array of spices and exotic greens present. However, Vanuatu is a country that is covered in lush vegetation and generous yearly rainfall, and as a consequence has areas of deep loamy soils ideal for the production of just about anything you want to grow.
Mele Cascades are a series of meandering waterfalls of differing sizes which jump down from the plateau immediately behind Mele beach. Go to the start of Devils Point Road, at its junction with the islands ‚ “Ring Road”, and turn to go away from the coast. The Mele Cascades entrance is located just at the bottom of the switchback road which climbs the escarpment and has been affectionately named “Klems Hill”.
“The Havannah” is one of only two tourist resorts around Port Vila which can justifiably call themselves four to five stars facilities. The trip out to the Havannah provides a great insight to the landscape of Efate. The drive up the switchback known as Klems hill is truly an experience, and would arguably be one of the steepest roads in the South Pacific. The view is exceptional though and on a clear day one can see right down along the Mele Bay coast, Port Vila and beyond. The road itself has been upgraded as a part of the Millennium project which saw the complete ring road sealed. The drive while steep in part, affords great views of the harbour.
The notion that you can wake up literally on the beach and your first view for the day is the sunshine sparkling on the ocean is something which is hard to take for granted. The noise of the surf breakers rolling in, different every day, mesmerizes humans in the same way the fish tanks and lighted fires at do at night. The ability to be sitting at breakfast and get excited because the fish are jumping as early morning dawn kicks in, appeals to simple basic human emotions.
The South Pacific has a way of enticing you back, again and again. Vanuatu is a unique place in the world where one can find a Country largely untouched and unspoilt by Tourism. Vanuatu possesses an abundance of sights and attractions. On top of this, the people are friendly, quick-witted and proud of their Country. It has been said that Ni-Vanuatuans are the friendliest people on earth, and in some ways this is true, and you often find yourself waving to strangers for no reason along your journeys.