......But where are Mr. Roarke and Tattoo?
Look down onto the island from the airplane window and you will see a vast area of lush greenery and ocean blue. For a split second, you wonder if there is any civilization on this island.
The Whitegrass Airport is a tiny airport in the middle of a deserted field. Upon arrival, it would always be best to arrange your transportation to your hotel/guest house beforehand.
(No taxis waiting curbside on Tanna Island!)
Welcome to Fantasy Island!
Vanair is Vanuatu's domestic airline and has 2 (sometimes 3) roundtrip flights each day from Port Vila to Tanna Airport.
The aircraft is one of those small, propeller driven aircrafts and the flight takes about an hour.
Prepare for that "bump" in the road!
Tanna is a wild and remote place. To say the roads were a "little rough" would be a huge understatement!
Getting from Point A to Point B can be a hair-raising experience!!
Definitely a 4WD vehicle is the best and safest way to get around the island. It's the best way to get a close up glimpse of the mountainous interior and the lush vegetation.
And ohhhhhh......the potholes!!! The paved roads are full of 'em.
We spent the day cruising around a 4WD vehicle which was arranged by our hotel. It made getting through those normally "impassable" roads a breeze!
getting to Port Resolution
If you intend to go to Port Resolution from the airport, I would highly recommend doing so immediately. I stayed in Lenakel overnight after arriving thinking it would be no problem getting to the eastern side of the island in the morning, and ended up waiting an entire day for a lift. I was very, very bored and there is really nothing to do in the city of Lenakel.
Whitegrass airport ,Tanna.
Whitegrass airport is a very small airport with very basic facilities. I got seat number 16 B which is second row from the back .I’m not sure about their policy to assign seat for passenger that the one who come first get the better seat or the worst seat. In my country Thai airways will assign passenger who check-in earlier to sit in the front row cuz it’s better.But for my own experience in many countries, if I flew with very small airplane that boarding is from the rear exit ,they’ll assign passenger who come first to sit in the back of airplane then further to the front.I guess that they think it’s better seat cuz you can get off the aircraft first or something? I don’t know… but to get off first or last in poor country like this ..we’ll get our luggage about the same time anyway, cuz everything is manual as you can see in the picture.
Tanna petrol station.
Petrol in Vanuatu is expensive by world standards ,it's about 2 AUD$ (180VT) / litre.But I talked to people who live in another island which is not Efate ,..for example in Tanna ,Malekula and Ambrym...they said the petrol there is more expensive ,about 250 vatu for diesel and 300 vatu for benzine.This picture is a local petrol station in Tanna ,not far from Airport .My pick up truck driver filled up his truck there.
Second pic is same kind of truck that we got,no roof ...I was lucky to sit inside the truck together with a couple from Australia but 3 French had to sit at the back of truck ,just like that ..for 2 and half hours!! But they are young guys,( one is from New Caledonia ,2 from France) ,they seem to be ok with that ,now the one from New Caledonia is my new friend.
Flight from Port Vila to Tanna.
I flew with Air Vanuatu flight NF 240 From Port Vila to Whitegrass airport in Tanna.It was ATR 72 .If I remember well they served just one drink cuz flight time was only 40 minutes.There are quite many passenger on board ,about 75 %. The onboard magazine.. “ Island spirit “ is quite interesting ,with good articles and some nice map.
4 Wheel Drives
We took a 4WD with a cage on the back to Mt Yasur. It was a long trip from one side of the island to the other (although the island is only 15 kilometres wide). The roads are very rough and steep in parts so the trip is very slow. The views from the back of the truck are great though. :)
Van Air flies from Efate to Tanna each day. They have a few smaller planes, including the 20 seater that we went on. It was a bit of a squeeze but they managed to get us all on. :)
The locals usually pile into the back of a 4WD for travelling distances in Vanuatu... Not everyone has a car but usually someone in the village will have one at least. Everywhere you go you will find locals sitting or standing in the back of a 4WD...it isn't illegal over there.