One of the highlights of visiting Vanuatu is going to Mt Yasur Volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, which is one of the most spectacular volcanoes in the world.
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The John Frum Cult | A Litmus Test of Traveller Empathy.

12/10/2018

Melanesian Cargo Cults are seen as unique cultural quirks, and public displays and manifestations engender interest across a broad range of traveller typologies. Perhaps the best known today is the “John Frum Cult” domiciled on Tanna Island and Interest has continued as a consequence of such television programs such as “Meet the Natives”, and more recently the film “Tanna”. Imagery associating aspects of local culture with the fiery Mt Yasur Volcano help to portray an almost mythical civilisation set in a past era. So what is the John Frum Cult? There is a huge disparity between truth and publicity that is both disingenuous and discriminatory towards Ni-Vanuatu and Tannese people in particular.

Natural Disasters : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?  Reflections of Disaster Relief in a Small Island State.

Natural Disasters : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ? Reflections of Disaster Relief in a Small Island State.

07/05/2018

Natural Disasters are becoming more common in Oceania, and have caused major destruction on many remote islands. Pacific Island nations are not sufficiency resourced to build resilience within their communities. So what has happened on Tanna Island since Cyclone Pam caused such widespread damage in 2015 ? Did Vanuatu’s natural disaster mechanism work ?; and what are the short-term and long-term ‘needs’ of island peoples after such a disaster. This article discusses the case of Tanna Island after Cyclone Pam struck.

Natural Disasters, the Media, and Tourism : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?

Natural Disasters, the Media, and Tourism : Is it Callous Indifference, or Hopeless Impotence ?

01/05/2018

Our failure as a global society to provide any substantial headway after natural disasters is a tale of repeating lessons to be learnt. Do we as a society show a callous disregard and indifference to our fellow humans in the face of our own lives, or are we bombarded by so much media ‘news-bites’ that we have become hopelessly impotent. History seems to indicate that our performance is wanting, and while we want to know about the societies that we visit, we do little to help in times of adversity.

Esso Kapum, o neto do vulcão (Esso Kapum, the grandson of the volcano)

Esso Kapum, o neto do vulcão (Esso Kapum, the grandson of the volcano)

16/04/2018

Esso Kapum is a popular entity on Tanna Island, & sought after tour guide. “Gente Extraordinaria” sought Esso out to discuss what makes Tannese people happy. Esso is heavily involved in the tourism industry on Tanna, and discusses balancing life in tourism with Living on the Land, all under the shadow of Mt Yasur Volcano, the biggest tourist attraction in Vanuatu. While the clash of traditional and Modern life would seem to dent a happy existence, Tannese people appear able to balance life in the two worlds with a smile.

Pacific Cyclones | Are we listening yet ? Personal thoughts on Cyclone Winstone.

Pacific Cyclones | Are we listening yet ? Personal thoughts on Cyclone Winstone.

01/04/2018

Are we listening now ? It seems that humanity has inbuilt mechanisms to become desensitized to the full impacts of such natural disasters. We simply remove any consideration of ongoing effects from our consciousness. Now, after so many cyclones in a row, who was affected by Cyclone Pam ?, or Cyclone Winstone ? Written in the hours before Cyclone Winstone was due to hit Tanna Island, almost one year after Cyclone Pam, it is both a reflection and a contemplation of the future for Tanna.

Anyone for some Lap-Lap ? | Vanuatu  Cuisine

Anyone for some Lap-Lap ? | Vanuatu Cuisine

20/03/2018

We all assume that disaster response springs into action after a disaster and that aid gets through to those in need within a reasonable space of time. The critical point is that often major delays ensue, distribution is fragmented, and people in need suffer. While some regions receive aid expeditiously, others suffer for many weeks on end. If you are travelling to a Disaster Zone in the near future, think about taking a Food Package – It will be greatly appreciated. Better still, just take enough clothes and personal effects to fill your hand luggage and take a full food package as your main luggage.

Travelling to Disaster Zones ?  Think About Taking a Food Package.

Travelling to Disaster Zones ? Think About Taking a Food Package.

19/03/2018

We all assume that disaster response springs into action after a disaster and that aid gets through to those in need within a reasonable space of time. The critical point is that often major delays ensue, distribution is fragmented, and people in need suffer. While some regions receive aid expeditiously, others suffer for many weeks on end. If you are travelling to a Disaster Zone in the near future, think about taking a Food Package – It will be greatly appreciated. Better still, just take enough clothes and personal effects to fill your hand luggage and take a full food package as your main luggage.

Shopping on Remote Pacific Islands ?  Freight – Getting the Goods There.

Shopping on Remote Pacific Islands ? Freight – Getting the Goods There.

19/03/2018

When we visit remote places, there is still an expectation of being able to buy commonplace things, with little appreciation of what it takes to get them there. Mostly, goods get distributed to outer islands by local ferry, in an archaic cycle carried out by old ferries and barges that seem more at home in the times prior to the World Wars. However taking the time to watch how the goods actually get to where they are supposed to be, leads to a new respect of how the islands make the best of, and adapt to the resources available to them. The casual observer is left pondering how those receiving goods, invariably receive every little item that they have had shipped.

The ‘Around the Island’ Trip – Efate Island, Vanuatu.

The ‘Around the Island’ Trip – Efate Island, Vanuatu.

04/03/2018

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.

Food | The Essence of Ni-Vanuatu Life.

Food | The Essence of Ni-Vanuatu Life.

27/02/2018

Food provides the best experiences for travellers to comprehend the “otherness” of another culture, and quickly illustrates the distinctiveness that differing cultures embody. Food, meals, toiling in the fields and rearing animals often only gets a cursory glance by tourists who mainly want the quickest route from attraction to attraction, but sometimes the greatest insights can be obtained by just sitting and observing everything around oneself at mealtimes. Travellers are more content to absorb what is presented to them and obtain a more global or substantive picture of the communities they are visiting.

Want to Step into the Past ? | Walk a “Kastom” Trail on Tanna Island.

Want to Step into the Past ? | Walk a “Kastom” Trail on Tanna Island.

16/02/2018

Kastom is extremely strong on Tanna Island and is still the main governance of Ni-Vanuatu life on the island. Travellers know very little about “Kastom”, and even less about the important role that kastom trails play in the relationship between different tribals and their social interaction. To minimize hostilities between tribes, kastom trails evolved which demarcated each tribes boundaries and often led from “Nakamal” to”Nakamal” of the various villages in a locale.

Vanuatu Flights – what are the best connections

Vanuatu Flights – what are the best connections

10/02/2018

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.

Chief Jack Kapum – A Vanuatu Coffee Visionary.

Chief Jack Kapum – A Vanuatu Coffee Visionary.

08/02/2018

Things that are profound, require the culmination of a substantial number of contributions from a significant number of people, but are nearly always instigated by a single defining action. The decision of Jack Kapum to cross the floor in the Vanuatu Parliament in favour of supporting coffee production on Tanna has proved to be insightful. After a unsure beginning, coffee cultivation on Tanna Island, Vanuatu is providing a future for many on the island.

Weather in Vanuatu ?

Weather in Vanuatu ?

07/02/2018

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 Food Market | The best in the South Pacific ?

Port Vila Food Market | The best in the South Pacific ?

06/02/2018

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.

When you really need to cool down | The Mele Cascades

When you really need to cool down | The Mele Cascades

06/02/2018

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”.

Take a trip to Klems Hill and ‘The Havannah’.

Take a trip to Klems Hill and ‘The Havannah’.

05/02/2018

“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.

Being by the Sea

Being by the Sea

19/10/2017

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.

Whats so Special About Tanna Island?

Whats so Special About Tanna Island?

05/10/2017

Tanna has one of the foremost attractions in the world (Mt Yasur), amongst a large variety of unspoilt beauty, and a unique people imbued in ‘kastom’ and culture. Tanna Island lies in the southern group of islands of Vanuatu, but has an identity, culture and landscape all of its own. Relatively undeveloped, Tanna offers travellers a unique insight into both its untouched tropical countryside, of lush bush, stunning views and massive banyan trees, as well as its rich village life, culture and ‘kastom’.

Why go to Vanuatu ? and What type of Stay do you Want ?

Why go to Vanuatu ? and What type of Stay do you Want ?

02/10/2017

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.

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By Greg Watt avid traveller and author of travel websites and blogs. For an insight into all things travel in Greg's life have a look at WATT's | About Us pages. Always with an opinion regarding travelling, you can keep up to date and share travel insights with Greg at Vanuatu Traveller's Facebook Page for things in the Pacific, or Traveller-Info's Facebook Page for things elsewhere in the world,  or with Greg himself on his Linkedin Page or  Google+ Page.

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