Wednesday 18 March 2015

to visit Vanuatu

OK, so maybe not right now, but I am here to convince you to....

I was, like many other people, sadden to read about the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam to the gorgeous island community of Vanuatu recently.

I was instantly reminded of the time I spent in this beautiful country back in 2011. 

The main food markets in Port Vila

The Republic of Vanuatu is made up of 82 small islands, with 65 of them inhabited and is situated about 1,750km east of Australia. A short 2.5hr flight from Brisbane will have you arriving in this South Pacific wonderland. The capital Port Vila is on the third largest island, Efate.

The markets where ladies have their hand powered sewing machines set up making dresses to sell to tourists

It was the January school holidays when I took off with a friend on a weeks holiday to enjoy some much needed R and R! I was originally meant to take the trip with another friend but as this was also the time that flooding was devastating many parts of Queensland, she was unable to attend. So I was grateful when another friend was able to step in at the last minute. Vanuatu is amazing but not really somewhere you want to travel alone.

Cascade Waterfalls are definitely worth a visit

We were also in the minority as it is not always a popular destination for single ladies, favoured more by honeymooners and couples. However this did not dampen our spirits whatsoever and we got stuck in to see the sites and take in every moment of this beautiful country.

We stayed at the gorgeous Sunset Bungalows that had decks hanging over the lake

While we were there there was also a cyclone, however by the time it reached shore it was little more than an extreme storm, with wild winds that stirred up the ocean. It meant the cruise ships couldn't dock for a few days and there was one sleepless night as the wind was quiet noisy. The next day there were a few trees and signs knocked down, but nothing compared to the devastation they are faced with at the moment. 

High winds causing rough seas.

We spent our days lazying by the pool, getting pampered at day spas, horseback riding and exploring the island.

One day hired a local driver to take us on a day trip around the island. We stopped off to watch a traditional dance show. 

I'm sure they were just saying hello!

This little cutie stole my heart!!

They were so cute and a little cheeky!!

Along the way we stopped at this little hut on the edge of the road which was a WWII Coca Cola Musuem. I don't remember this guys name but I do remember how much of a character he was and funny he was as he told us stories about all the things he had collected from around Vanuatu since the war ended and how he believes he has the largest collection of Coca Cola bottles.

This is how he wanted to pose for our photos

One night we went to have a traditional dinner and entertainment show.

My dinner is in there

My face after sipping the tiniest bit of Kava

Vanuatu was a fantastic getaway, affordable, close to home with a fantastic balance of sightseeing, things to do and relaxation time. I don't recall exact details of the costings but it was a little over $1000 for flights and accommodation (including breakfast) for the week and I remember commenting at the time that it was cheaper than a week at the Gold Coast.

So while Vanuatu is in a state of devastation at the moment, please don't forget about them. Having spent this time there and meeting some of the locals, I know they will bounce back, there is a reason they have been voted the happiest people in the world twice, but they are going to need our help. Consider adding it to your future travel plans, I promise you won't regret it and if you do, you weren't trying hard enough!

The sunset view from our Bungalow.

Linking up with My Brown Paper Packages for Wednesday Wanderlust and Ms Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday 

In case you've missed the news about this devastating impact of Cyclone Pam click here

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