Vanuatu, a chain of 83 tropical islands in the South
West Pacific, is only a few flying hours from
Vanuatu is an idyllic holiday destination
for scuba divers, as well as travellers seeking a little
adventure in paradise.
The semi-tropical climate has
a temperature range from between 23°C and 28°C. The
Melanesian people, known as Ni Vanuatu, have
populated the islands for centuries.
They are a
gentle, peace-loving people, intent on enjoying life's
simple pleasures. The native language spoken is
Bislama with English and French also widely spoken.
The capital, Port Vila, is a delightful, waterfront
town situated on the main island of Efate. Vila has
a cosmopolitan image offering great duty free
shopping, sidewalk cafes as well as an excellent
selection of fine cuisine restaurants. Accommodation
ranges from lodges and self-contained studio
apartments to tourist class hotels and deluxe
resorts - all within easy reach of the town centre.
The island of Espiritu Santo, approximately one-hour
flight north of Vila is a lush tropical get away
with the white beaches. Santo attracts divers like a
magnet, and this main attraction is to explore the
wreck of the "S.S.President Coolidge".
Tanna Island is approximately one hours flight south
of Port Vila. Tanna is a land of unique contrasting
landscapes boasting an active volcano, accessible by
4-wheel drive safari, centuries old customs,
mysterious cargo cults and beautiful wild horses.
Diving in Vanuatu is varied
and interesting, from the easy protected waters of the
marine sanctuary, to shallow reefs, deeper
drop-offs and sunken wrecks, all in crystal clear
waters teeming with fish life. Port Vila
offers a variety of dive sites and a variety of marine life, with running
currents bringing in the pelagic species.
The landscape beneath the water mirrors that found
above: mountainous terrain with plunging cliffs,
grottoes and overhangs, huge caves and intricate
interconnecting underwater tunnels and chasms
formed by frozen lava - and life abundant over
Port Vila: Port Vila offers divers a range of options and operators to choose from, each of which pick up
and return divers to their hotels. Many of the best dive sites are only minutes away.
Diving is well
supervised and interesting, with several sunken
ships in the protected waters of the bay.
There is the wreck of the 1874 built sailing ship "Star of Russia", a three masted sailing ship in
36 meters of water. An island trader scuttled in
the harbour "Konanda", and the ex-Qantas
Sandringham flying boat "Tasman". Further out in
the bay is the "Semle Federeson" now sitting in 36
meters plus of water.
Santo: The 33,000 tonne converted luxury
liner, the S.S. President Coolidge, sank during WWII after hitting a mine, and
now rests in depths of 21 - 70 metres. The
impressive wreck is one of the most exciting and accessible to
sport divers worldwide.
Getting You Started
Vanuatu is a ‘Y’ shaped chain of 83 Islands lying 2500 kms north east of Sydney. The islands vary from towering volcanic cones to others covered in dense rainforest. Some are raised coral islands with wide beaches and deep natural harbours.
The international country code for Vanuatu is 678.
Vanuatu is 11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Entry & Visa Requirements (subject to change)
Visitors who are nationals of Commonwealth countries, EU Countries, Fiji, Japan, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Switzerland and U.S.A. do not need visas to visit Vanuatu.
Medical & Health Requirements
Hospital facilities exist in Port Vila and in Santo. There are no dangerous animals or insects and there is a recompression chamber in Port Vila. No vaccinations are required but anti - malarial precautions are recommended for visits to the outer islands. Remember that some medications can make you sun sensitive, so extra care must be taken to ensure that skin is protected from sun burn. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken. (For further details contact Travel Vax on 1300 360 164).
The currency of Vanuatu is the Vatu. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted at most hotels.
1 AUD = approximately 85 Vatu
Baggage (International flights Ex Australia)
Air Vanuatu - 23kg + 7kg for sporting (Maximum 30kgs - Please note the sporting allowance does not include any connecting flights with other carriers).
Virgin Australia - 23kg (except Saver Lite fares - Nil baggage)
Some domestic flights in Vanuatu operated by smaller aircraft are often restricted to 16kg.
(Subject to change without notice)
The allowance is 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 1.5 litres of spirits or 2 litres of wine and 250ml of eau de toilette or 100ml of perfume.
The climate in Vanuatu is varied. Winter is the drier season with temperatures averaging around 23°C between April to October. In the wetter Summer season, temperatures average 28°C from November to March.
The emphasis is on light and casual clothing but not too brief in public places. Swimwear is not permitted in public areas. Remember to cover up at dusk and dawn to prevent mosquito bites. Sun protection is absolutely essential.
220 - 280 volts AC, Plug I – same as Australia.
(for further details refer to http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm).
Trading banks are ANZ, National Bank of Vanuatu and Westpac. Foreign currency is readily transacted. Banking hours are 8.30am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday.
Bislama, English and French are widely spoken throughout Port Vila. There are 115 ’Mother Tongues’ that are commonly spoken throughout Vanuatu.
Traditional ceremonies are maintained in remote areas but Christian influence is predominant.
The urban water is safe to drink from the tap. In the tropics it is important to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration.
Most shops close for ‘siesta’ between 11.30am and 1.30pm, except restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, banks and post offices. All shops open Saturday morning. The colorful market in Port Vila operates every day except Sundays for flowers, fruit and crafts. This is a great spot to meet the locals and find many great handicrafts.
There is no tipping or bargaining, it goes against local tradition.
The diving in Vanuatu varies from the Hideaway Marine Park, the numerous wrecks in Port Vila Harbour and the outer reefs around Vila. Espiritu Santo offers the amazing President Coolidge, the largest recreational diving wreck in the world. Average water temperature is 26°C. A 3mm suit is recommended. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.
A local tax of Vatu 200 is payable at the airport for departure on domestic flights within Vanuatu.