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Vanuatu

Vanuatu wrap up

longer post with some more details of our trip to Vanuatu 2012

sunny 28 °C
View Vanuatu 2012 on Wade85's travel map.

This is a lowdown on our experiences and info for any one looking to travel to Vanuatu.

Power
Prior to going over we could not get firm confirmation on what plugs Vanuatu used, I can say from our hotel and every point I saw were the same as Australia’s 3 Pin, 240v plugs.

Time
Vanuatu is GMT +11 so that means when Australia has daylight savings time it is the same time, when Australia reverts back to normal AEST it is 1 hour in front.

Money
Vanuatu uses the Vatu, which we were there the AUD was getting approx. 94.7VT. A few restaurants and shops accept the Australian dollars especially on ‘ship days’ – the days that cruise ships are in town. Usually when shops accept the AUD they use the rate of $1AUD = 100Vuv – so over time you actually lose out.

Waterfall (Cascades)
The Mele Waterfall AKA The Cascades, are amazing – some of the outlooks and views as the water winds its way down the mountain on the walk up, look photo-shopped. A lot of in town tour operators were charging quite a bit for this trip. It basically is a 10-15min ride in a local bus for 400VT each and then entry of 1000VT each for entry.

Hideaway Island
Hideaway Island is a tiny island located off Mele Beach ( a perfect afternoon stop after a morning at the Mele waterfall)

After a short boat ride from the Mele Beach (free) you arrive at the island, again entry fee was 1000VT each for day-trippers.

This was our first ever try at Snorkelling, Frankie had already told me he wasn’t very good at treading water, so I hired him a boogie board style bored with a glass window – only for him to cling onto. After an hour this became more of a hindrance and I went and got him a lifejacket from the dive shop on the island for free. To say he was fish-boy on the day is an understatement – he was out in the water looking at the reefs and fish for hours. The pinnacles of the day was the posting of our post card in the Under Water Post Office (http://www.hideaway.com.vu/postoffice.htm) along with Frankie’s spotting of ‘Nemo Fish in their Home!!”.

On the Island there is a hire shop letting you hire boards, snorkles and masks and selling the underwater post cards. Also available is a restaurant / bar under the shade for a night lunch too. The island also hosts the hideaway island resort.

Tours
Our first and only tour was to the “blue lagoon” near Eton Beach and the turtle sanctuary – this cost us 7000VT each for this – it was a 5 hour tour, including swim at the lagoon, light local fruit snacks, entry to both the lagoon and the turtle feeding sanctuary along with our driver and tour guide.

Transport
Buses
Local mini buses at the cheapest and easiest way of getting around Port Villa . They are basically group taxis, for in town travel it is only 150vt each, and it gets more expensive as your travel out. They usually only go as far out as the falls near the Village at Mele for 400vt each
Taxis
We found taxis a) too expensive and b) useless when you compare to the buses
Airport
The Airport, while not primitive is basic, no air-conditioning, 2 or 3 passport control windows and one scanning point on departure
Air Vanuatu
We flew Air Vanuatu both ways and I found them fun and friendly. The aircraft they operate for both legs was the B737-800. The inflight entertainment movie was set on a Vanuatu Promo loop, with radio stations available through headphones provided. Food wise was pretty basic with meals both ways having two options they were edible, just. I would love to fly with them again; they do heaps of internal Island hopping too, operation from the ATRs down to smaller aircraft.

Accommodation
We stayed at Mooring Hotel, which in on the edge of town allowing us to easily walk onto the town centre to the shops, cafes, restaurants and the casinos ☺.
Moorings has an onsite ‘nightclub’ which each time we looked didn’t have a single person in there, regardless we did not hear any of the music from our room. I would say the hotel was rated at the 4 star, despite tripadviser ripping pretty hard (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g294144-d630936-Reviews-Moorings_Hotel-Port_Vila_Efate.html)

Cyclone
While in Vanuatu we caught the tail end of the Fiji Cyclone Dalphine. We experienced horizontal rain at 0200-0300 on the day of the Fiji floods, but other than that we didn’t get negatively effected. Remember this is the pacific so Cyclones are common.

Our pictures are located here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/wade85/sets/72157629764812981/

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Posted by Wade85 23:26 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 6

Well what a day - went to hideaway island - binned our cheap crappy snorkels and hired from the island. Frankie was the true star today - first time snorkeling in the coral and although he can't float without his life jacket he was out on the water for 4 of the 4.5 hours we were on the island. I was a big chicken and could only go out with other people. We posted our post card in the underwater post office and really gave the Nikon aw100's underwater function a smashing today over 100 pics and videos. Will post se soon

Tonight was our last night and again headed to casino - I learned how to play blackjack - and after 4 hours we even came out again on top !!
Bye vanuatu !!

See u all back in aust!!

W

Posted by Wade85 07:01 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 5

Turns out the wind this morning was from
Fiji's Tropical Cyclone Delphine.. We has some residual showers and winds that kept us from snorkeling today. Fortuitous timing due to spending 3 hours catching up with old friends this morning

Dinner - best pizza was at the brewery opposite casino

Then a flutter at the roulette tables - doubled our money and then some - gotta love that.
W

Posted by Wade85 03:06 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 4

The morning was had wandering the town centre attempting to pick up our rented 150cc scooter - didn't eventuate - not a good sign when the hire man says 'won't be long.. Just fixing the brakes... Oh oops now the brake fluid is leaking.. Come back tomorrow I will do you a deal'.. 'Ahh nah mate she's right. I'll walk'. ..although he did offer one curious parting comment.. 'maybe it just wasn't meant to be.. It might rain who knows' . More on that later

Met a lovely local bus driver - little mini vans all over the city that cost only 150-400vt depending where u are going. His name was Karl and he got us out the the Mele falls (aka the cascades)- twin waterfalls that flow right down the mountain. We spent a few hours there playing in the pools and spray. Awesome time.

After the falls we walked the 5 kms to the ferry service to hideaway island - there is a nice little beach shack bar with free Internet!!! On the landward side of the ferry perfect lunch location after a walk in the humid afternoon. So as we tucked into lunch.. An
Afternoon shower drenched all and sundry. Hideaway island and trip
To underwater post office postponed.

Dinner at local steakhouse 'the flaming bull' now some will go mental at this but Frankie had the coconut crab. It is contentious due to the fact that they may or may not be endangered species. I offer no judgement either way, his argument was that they should not be so blatantly on the menu if they are.

Both awoken at 0200hrs by ferocious storm that after enjoying hearing the thunderous wind and driving rain ( total prose isn't it) we turned to the practicalities - moving bags as the wind was driving the rain under our balcony door, blocking said door with towels. Even had a discussion about the need to pack a 'go bag' in case an evacuation was called...

It's now 0300hrs and I am going to try and get back to sleep.. Hopefully
W

Posted by Wade85 14:51 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

Day 3

Shopped around Port Vila looking at scooters to rent for a few days.
Afternoon was our friends wedding on Erokor island which is a resort only a few mins across a short shallow inlet by boat from Port Vila. Needless to say both bride and groom looked amazing.

W

Posted by Wade85 14:00 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

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