Whether it’s lazing under palm trees on a secluded white sandy beach, or hiking to the top of a show-stopping volcano, Vanuatu’s Efate is the perfect getaway island for creating fun-filled, uplifting memories.
Lockdown has shown many of us how much we crave the freedom to explore the world beyond our front gate, experience different cultures and do things outside our humdrum routine. Exploring far-flung shores may be a while off yet. But closer to home, and yet a world away from our everyday life, Efate offers amazing experiences and postcard-perfect scenery. One of Vanuatu’s most populated islands and home to the country’s capital city, Port Vila, Efate is also home to a rugged landscape born from the belly of volcanoes, lush green rainforests and the warm South Pacific Ocean ringed with bright reefs. Only a three-hour flight from Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane, there’s an adventure around every corner on this gorgeous island and here are 10 fabulous things to see to start you planning.
Explore Port Vila Town
Wander along the waterfront, around the markets or just sit in one of the city’s many cafés and reset your watch to ‘aelan time’.
Take in the best views Efate has to offer at Vanuatu Jungle Zipline and enjoy the feeling of exhilaration as you fly through the jungle canopy. For a more relaxed but equally spectacular way to explore the rainforest, the new Vanuatu Sky Bridge allows you to view the fern valleys, canyons and hidden pools from 65 metres above ground.
Head over to Hideaway Island for some spectacular snorkelling among tropical fish and coral lying just a few metres from the beach. Finish the day with a cocktail watching the sunset with one of the most picture-perfect views you’ll ever experience.
Around 45 minutes from the centre of Port Vila, the spectacular Blue Lagoon offers lapis-hued swimming holes of limestone-filtered water, swing ropes and beautiful picnic spots in the jungle.
Set sail aboard a spacious 23-metre timber sailing ketch visiting secluded coves and pristine beaches of fine white coral sand, watching dolphins at play and enjoying swimming and snorkelling in warm, crystal-clear water.
The volcanic island of Pélé is a true tropical paradise. With welcoming locals, fringed reefs, spectacular hiking trails, deserted beaches and some of the world’s best coral formations and marine life, this relaxing and remote island is guaranteed to soothe the soul.
Explore hidden gems
There are so many exciting ways to explore the nature beauty of Efate. Take your pick from a buggy tour through bush tracks to villages, river kayak through the rainforest, mountain bike among coconut plantations or hike the extinct volcano of Nguna.
Kastom and culture
Although Vanuatu is close to New Zealand and Australia, it’s worlds apart in terms of culture with over 100 distinct languages and countless dialects, despite having a population of just 300,00. Cultural traditions are known as ‘kastom’ in Vanuatu, with locals upholding traditional ceremonies that have been a part of village life for centuries. A road trip around Efate allows you to experience the diverse cultural life of the locals and will give you a real insight into their way of life.
Take an Ecotour
Vanuatu Ecotours offer a smorgasbord of activities that will introduce you to the island’s tropical surrounds while keeping it pristine. Paddle in paradise with a sea and river kayaking tour, explore hidden waterfalls and limestone caves, take to the bushwalking trails with an experienced guide or enjoy leaving the tourist trails far behind with unparalleled off-road access atop a mountain bike. Local Port Vila tour guides share their knowledge with humour, grace and those classic Ni-Vanuatu smiles that light up your day.
Lelepa Island dreaming
Set in 160 acres of unspoilt tropical rain forest and palmfringed beaches, Lelepa Island showcases everything that makes Vanuatu the special island that it is: natural beauty, friendly locals and wonderful cultural traditions.
To book your Efate adventure, visit vanuatu.travel