Welcome to Vanuatu!
Vanuatu, an archipelago nation of 83 islands dotted across a marine wonderland of natural beauty, enjoys a traditional life rather removed from the western world.
Relax on pristine beaches and take a dip in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean or be enticed by serene swimming holes amongst lush jungles. Visit friendly neighbouring villages and embrace the culture of their community life. Vanuatu is a natural paradise ready to be explored.
The island of Efate, home to the capital Port Vila, features varied landscapes of rugged coastlines, vast countryside, impressive waterfalls, stunning sandy bays and lagoons. Port Vila is set around a natural harbour and offers a range of exciting activities such as ziplining, hiking and snorkelling. Connect with the friendly locals by watching a cultural show, sampling fresh produce or purchasing handcrafted souvenirs at the local markets.
Tanna exudes traditional Melanesian culture (Kastom) and is known as the island of adventure. This charming island is teeming with a diverse range of spectacular sites around every corner. The iconic Mt Yasur is the world’s most accessible active volcano and is an impressive site to behold. A snorkelling adventure to the hidden grotto of the Blue Cave is a truly breathtaking experience and not to be missed. Marvel at the giant Banyan Tree, take in the “Kastom” at local villages, and explore hot springs and secluded beaches.
Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu's largest Island, is renowned for its world-class diving, spectacular blue swimming holes, fine white sandy beaches and lush jungles. Experience adventure, history, Melanesian culture and bare-foot-luxury on this extraordinary island. A diver’s paradise, explore various wreck sites including the legendary SS President Coolidge. Sip some bubbles on Champagne Beach or take a hike through dense jungle and cool off in the iridescent blue swim holes.
When to visit
Vanuatu enjoys endless sunshine year-round thanks to its sub-tropical climate. Mild temperatures and clear blue skies are typical throughout the year and swimming is also pleasant with sea temperatures varying between 22-28°C.
- The Winter season, April to September, is a cooler, drier period with an average temperature of 26°C. It is generally a popular time to travel, especially for Australians escaping the colder winter season.
- The Summer season, November to March, can be hot, wet and humid with an average temperature of 28°C. These months are part of the tropical cyclone season however, most resorts are located in the southern region of Vanuatu which benefits from less extreme climate conditions and generally experiences less rain and humidity. December-January can be quite busy due to the extended Summer holidays in Australia & New Zealand.
- The currency in Vanuatu is Vatu. $1AUD equates to approximately 80 Vatu.
- Most resorts accept major credit cards. ATM’s and foreign exchange services are available in Port Vila and Luganville.
- Tipping is not required and goes against local tradition, as does bargaining. A simple smile or “thank you” is sufficient.
- The electricity plugs are similar to Australia & New Zealand, running on 230V three-pronged plugs
- Light-weight casual clothing during the day is recommended. During the cooler months a cardigan or jacket may be required during the evening. Pack a water-proof jacket if travelling in the wetter months.
- Vanuatu’s town water supply is safe to drink however, if intending to travel to the outer islands bottled water is recommended. Bottled water should ideally be purchased in Port Vila or Luganville as supplies in the outer islands are limited.
- There are over 120 distinct languages and many more dialects spoken in Vanuatu however the three ‘official’ languages are English, French & Bislama. Bislama is ‘pidgin English’ with a few French words.
Australian passport holders do not currently require a visa for a stay as a tourist of up to 30 days but must hold a passport with six months validity from date of entry to Vanuatu. A confirmed on-ward or returned ticket is also required as well as sufficient funds. If you are a non-Australian passport holder, please check your visa requirements with the appropriate Embassy or Consular office.
Air Vanuatu is the national airline and operates domestic flights throughout the islands. The main routes connecting Port Vila with Santo & Tanna utilise comfortable ATR-72 aircraft. Beyond these routes, flights are operated by smaller aircraft with no assigned seating, and land on grass runways with no airport facilities.
Banana boats are regularly used to travel from larger to smaller islands. For longer journeys, time permitting, a trip on one of the boats of cargo vessels offers a different perspective, viewing a range of landscapes and experiencing a different side of Vanuatu culture.
In Port Vila, the buses are mini vans which seat approximately 10 people. There is an ample amount within the city and the license plates start with a “B”. Buses are used by locals, but considered to be very friendly, cheap and easy to use by tourists. Luganville has comparatively fewer buses but there are many taxis available which are reasonable in price.
Taxis are plentiful within Port Vila. The licence plates start with a “T” and fare is calculated per taxi so in some cases, with a small group it is cheaper to take a taxi rather than a bus.