As far as I can tell, The Cascades is one of Port Vila's closest and most popular tourist attractions. It's basically a crystal blue river flowing down the side of mountain, with many waterfalls and pools. Most of the pools can be easily accessed for swimming. And a number of the waterfalls act as mini waterslides.
It costs 1000 Vatu to enter (about $13 AUS). It takes less than 15 minutes to walk from the bottom from the top, but you can easily spend a couple of hours if you take your time and head off the trail to the lookout etc.
Taxi drivers will charge 5000 Vatu (around $70 AUS) from any of the resorts to The Cascades and back. Outrageous!! You are far better off to take a bus for 100 Vatu ($1.30 AUS) each way.
The Ekasup Cultural Village Tour is definitely worth doing...
The tour costs around 3600 vatu (about A$40) including transfers and refreshments and goes for about 3 hours. You will get to spend some time in the village and learn about the lifestyle and previous cultures in the village.
The kids at the village are gorgeous too...and very friendly... :)
The markets in Port Vila are amazing... You can find so many things to buy from yummy fruit and vegetables to locally made clothing, wood carvings and jewellery.
The prices are fairly good and the people at the markets are all very friendly without being pushy.
Your bus will pick you up from your town hotel and you then head off around the Island. First stop is at a nice beach where you can go for a swim and look at the reef with all the colored fish. Then you stop for morning refreshments, freash jiuce and fruit all very nice,you will also have time for photos of the locals.
Then its back on the bus to Epule Village where you are taken on a traditional outrigger canoe ride up the river to the Village. At the Village you are greeted by traditional custom dancing and you have time to explore the village and buy some timber suvoners. This is a magical experience, so don't forget your camera! After here its of to another local village for a wonderfull lunch right on the beach, the food was freash and plenty of it. Then you glimpse more local life, small villages and beaches on yor way home here you pass Klems Hill Lookout which provides a superb view over Mele Bay, Hideaway Island and Port Vila town.
A very injoyable day out and a wonderfull insite into the local people.
Hideaway Island (also known as Mele Island) is a very small island just out of Port Vila. It is a 200 vatu bus fare out there and costs 500 vatu to get onto the island. The ferry is free though.
The snorkelling is fantastic at Hideaway although the beach is coral not sand.
Hideaway also has the world's only underwater post office that you can mail a special postcard from. You will have to dive underwater just a little way to post your card.
Efate is the main island in Vanuatu with the capital city (town) of Port Vila. It isn't the biggest island but has the largest population. The island also has a lot of villages and things to see and do.
Iririki Island is a resort island right across from Port Vila. It has a free ferry across for guests and visitors...and you can eat at the restaurant even if you aren't a guest.
The accommodation ranges from bungalows on the waters edge to rooms amongst the gardens.
The view of Port Vila from Iririki is great too...
I discovered this delightful grass hut on Mystery Island and just had to have my photo taken beside it. It was actually a toilet........."No-one will know it's a toilet! Just take the photo"..........well just about everyone said when they saw it was " Is that a toilet?"
The Mele Cascades really are gorgeous!! The water runs over limestone and is crystal clear.
The cascades are about a 10 minute drive north of Port Vila and it costs around 200 vatu to get out there by bus. Once you arrive you will have to pay a 1000 vatu fee to get into the cascades too...and if you are lucky you will get a guide.
You can swim in the cascades and look around as long as you like once you are there... You will also find plenty of locals cooling off around the cascades.
Meridien Charters host some sail and snorkel days and half days which are really enjoyable. We did a half day trip. Most of the morning was spent in the water swimming with and feeding the beautiful tropical fish and looking at the coral. We then went on to the beach where our guide showed us how to open a coconut which we all tasted, followed by a short bushwalk. Then it was back into the water for a leisurely swim back to our boat. The hosts on this trip were very friendly and helpful, and all snorkeling gear is provided is you don't have your own.
Kava is a local drink that men traditionally drink only after dark and before they have dinner. You can try it at one of the many Melanesian Feasts that are on during the week, or be adventurous and head to a Kava Bar! We did both and they were both very different experiences!
Kava comes from the stalks of a pepper plant. The trick is to gulp it down quickly and try to avoid tasting it! ;-) It's not the nicest taste in the world but it's just one of those things you have to try! It has a numbing effect on your entire mouth, and can make trying to talk afterwards very interesting! ;-)
Kava has been known to have medicinal qualities, and the best thing is that it doesn't give you a hangover!
From Mele Cascades, a steep road takes you up the hill. From here, one can visit Klem's Hill Lookout, which is aggressively advertised with colourful cardboard signs arresting one's view on the road.
Entering the property, one is immediately aware that this is a property that has some pride in it - fruit trees dot the lawn down to the lookout.
The view itself is quite nice, giving one good perspective on Vila's layout. I was immediately accosted by a precocious young resident who offered to 'give me a tour'. Donation accepted, she extracted a rather stunning green iguana from the cage. It stayed on my palm in a torpor with no hint of unease. "Have a look through its ears", she proudly offered. "You can see right through its head to the other side." Intrigued, I bent down and peered through a strange translucent membrane and confirmed that this was indeed the case.
Tanna Island is about a 50 minute flight south of Efate. It is definitely worth the visit if you can afford it...
The island is famous for it's live and very accessable volcano - Mt Yasur. But there are also many other things to see and do on Tanna Island...I would definitely recommend a 4WD tour around the island...you will see some fantastic villages and amazing people. :)
Kim and I were soooooooooooo excited about our trip! We had saved long and hard, and even the plane trip up to Sydney from Melbourne to board the ship was exciting - our first time in Sydney. We did not know what was in store for us on the ship - but we just knew we were gonna have a good time! Little did I know I was gonna find a husband!
This is us about to board the ship in Sydney.
Mele Island (often referred to as Hideaway Island) is a cute little island a shortish drive from the capital Port Vila.
This little barge potters back and forth between the mainland and the island, ferrying passengers. From the mainland, the water is a little murky from the fine sediment, but this quickly gives way to really beautiful turquoise water. Daytrippers pay a nominal fee for entry to the island after they step off the barge.
Hideaway Island Resort is an affordable island holiday but I just managed a day trip as I was on a tight schedule. It is pretty much what one expects - a strip of nice sand, a bar serving drinks and food, plenty of people sunbathing, a dive shop, and a reef offshore.
I wanted to dive but didn't arrive early enough for the first run, so I just hired some snorkelling gear and hit the reef. It's a simple reef flat with patchy coral, but there are plenty of fish to amuse most people - sergeant majors, small surgeonfish, some parrotfish.
The water is really very nice indeed but the setup is a little tame and touristy for my taste (I had to dodge and weave my way around around a particularly loud and obnoxious wedding party which I had the misfortune of being stuck on a plane with on the flight to Vanuatu). However, it is very relaxing and the staff seemed very nice. I noticed they had a blackboard offering village visits and the like.
More Regions in Vanuatu