Port Vila and Efate Island

(Source: the Vanuatu Tourism Office website )

Efate is the main island of Vanuatu, where the capital Port Vila is situated and is the metropolitan of where majority of commerce and tourism take place.

The island has a rugged coastline and rolling verdant countryside, fast flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, isolated sandy bays and lagoons. The interior is verdant rain forest cut only by a few walking tracks to remote weather and radio beacons.  Havannah Harbour on the north side is a spectacular natural haven and consequently used during World War II as a naval rear base by the entire U.S. 7th Fleet. It is also the site of some extraordinary archaeological digs and gruesome discoveries.  There are numerous types of accommodation scattered around Efate Island or for just a day trip in mind you can hire a car or aircraft or take a bus around the island.  Day and overnight charters are available to the nearby islands of Hat, Pele, Moso, Nguna, Lelepa and Kakula Islands.

The capital Port Vila is located around a magnificent natural harbour offering stunning views of Iririki, Ifira islands, and a look out all the way to Malapoa Point. The international airport is a 10 minutes drive from town and all major resorts and hotels.

The potpourri of expatriate cultures is reflected in food styles served in over forty restaurants and cafes - French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Melanesian and Mediterranean. You can buy an Aussie meat pie or American chilli dog, sip cappuccino in one of the many outdoor cafes or purchase pates and salads from a patisserie in a supermarket to fill your picnic hamper.

Night life in Vila has blossomed steadily, the atmosphere fun, and caters for all ages offered by the resort hotels, night clubs and pubs, several casinos and more. You can stroll along the waterfront, or darkened back streets late at night and feel safe. Passing locals are likely to wish you a soft 'Good night', or perhaps strike up a friendly conversation.

Shopping is fun, easy going, and hassle free! There's no such thing as a hard sell or pushy salesman. Prices are fixed and bargaining is not a part of the friendly lifestyle.

Efate Island is the international gateway with six international airlines flying to Port Vila. Regular return flights are scheduled via Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Noumea and the Solomon Islands.

A variety of tours to experience the history, significance, and beauty of the environment, culture, and people of Efate can be organized.  You can stroll the markets and decide to do something in the afternoon like visiting a cultural village, jet skiing across the harbour, hiking, or abseiling down the waterfall, buggy riding through various terrains, and more.  If you feel lazy, and want to try the local hot plates whilst mingling with the locals, the women at the city market can serve you a delicious lunch with banana, sweet potato, or manioc on the side for a taste of the local food at a low cost.  There is something for everyone to do!

 

PORT VILA – WHAT TO DO?

Source: Melanesian Tours

After you have visited the open air markets, cultural museum, craft markets, duty free and local shops, kava bars, swum in the hotel pool, read a book, had some French pastries, improved your suntan, checked your emails at an internet café, written post cards, and dined out at some great restaurants - what else can you do?  PLENTY!  Here’s a list of other things to see and do in Port Vila.  Some tours and activities may not be available at certain times. Check with our booking coordinator for details.  Adults are usually from 12 years and over. 5 to 12 years old are child rate. Under 5 year olds are free on most tours. Cruise ship visitors must book day tours through the cruise ship company.

There are new tours and activities arriving in Vanuatu every year.  Speak to our booking coordinator to book your tours.       

 

40 Things to do on Efate Island

1. Port Vila Discovery Tour takes you all around Port Vila and a little bit further out to get your bearings. A minimum requirement of 2 people. (With all return airport transfers we offer a complimentary introductory bus tour of Port Vila).

2. Abseiling. Several options down Mele Cascades. Fantastic tour guides. 

3. The Secret Gardens (formerly Mele Botanical gardens) Cultural Centre and Native Reserve.  A unique setting to find out about the history of Vanuatu, wildlife/ fauna/flora etc.

4. Blue Water Shark/Turtle Feeding.  20 minute drive from Port Vila to Blue Water Resort.

5. Eratap Cultural Village and Turtle/Shark feeding.  Departs 9:30 am returns 1:00 pm. A fantastic experience with a cultural village that is a ‘hands on’ experience. Minimum of 4 people.            

6. Private BeachBeaches in Vanuatu are privately owned. You cannot just go to the beach for free, you have to pay access fees. We can arrange access to a beautiful beach about 20 minutes from Port Vila with shade, white sand, ocean waves, excellent snorkeling ledge, and a bure shelter.  It’s a great day for the family.  A picnic lunch can be supplied with 24 hours notice. Pick up is 10:30 am and transfer back at 3:30 pm

7. Ekasup Cultural Village 9 am or 2 pm. 2 ½ hours.

8. Ekasup Village Feast.  Fridays only. 5 pm transfer. A good alternative if you want a Melanesian local village setting.

9. John Frum Cult Evening.  Fridays only. Departs 5 pm and returns 6 pm. 1 hour only.  See natives in full custom dress, singing and dancing.

10. Neptune Glass Bottom Boat.  Departs  2 pm every day . Reef viewing and snorkeling in the Pango Point area.

11. Big Blue Trimaran.  Reef snorkeling. Goes at 1 pm. 6 days per week.

12. Hideaway IslandSnorkeling packages that save you quite a bit of money. Include transfers/ snorkel hire; ferry ride; island entrance; welcome drink; bag of fish good and fish identification chart; snorkel trail and boat snorkel safari with a guide.

13: Erakor Island Feast.  Thursdays 5:45 pm.  A great night with locally prepared foods eaten at the restaurant over the water's edge. Fabulous entertainment. Welcome lei and drink.

14. Lelepa IslandA magnificent trip. A favourite of many people. Bus around to the other side of the island.  Banana boat ride to Lelepa chasing the dolphins.  Guided walk.  Swimming, snorkeling in various parts at shore and off boat, local village visit. A great day.

15. Coongoola. Day Cruising.  Abus ride to Havannah Harbour then onto the 74ft ketch Coongoola. Visit the turtle rookery, swimming, snorkeling, BBQ lunch on shore. A superb day. 

16. Echo Tours.  Customized small groups. He does walks, kayaking, bike tours. From easy to strenuous tours. Try the Cascades walk through private land and swim at the cascade. (not Mele Cascade, private cascades) Kayaking.  Bike riding.

17. Mele Cascades.  You can catch a local bus there and have a self guided tour to the Cascades or join a tour at 9 am or 2 pm.  Optional botanical gardens and lunch.

18.Ocean Kayaking.   Transfers, light refreshments, guide. Paddle to a small coral island and discover the beauty of the coral gardens. 15 minutes from town. At the end indulge yourself in an island massage.

19.River kayaking available.

20. Nguna Island Tour.  Day tour.  See the local village and experience the Ni-Vanuatu culture. North Efate.  45 minute drive and then banana boat ride to Nguna. Beautiful coral, fish, clear water. A beautiful Island which is well maintained.

21. Sailaway Cruise on a catamaran.  Sailing swimming in Havannah Harbour. BBQ lunch.

22. Around Island.  2 in 1 tour. Excellent Tour guide. Trip includes beach, village, dugout canoe ride, island kitchen lunch. Around the island in 1 day.

23. Buggy Rentals.  A variety of tour guided tours where you drive the off road vehicle. Other tours go to Horse riding or river kayaking. A really fun tour option.

24.  Sail Like A Pirate.  Learn or practice sailing a beautiful timber boat (pirate option available) with a great skipper.

25. Pele IslandTransfers, boat ride, entrance to island, village tour, snorkeling, swimming, out rigger canoes, kayaks, BBQ lunch, entertainment, afternoon tea and tropical fruits.

26. Blue Lagoon.  Golden Sands and crystal clear waters of the Blue lagoon. Private retreat.  Relaxing day under coconut palms, snorkeling, sea kayaks. Includes light lunch. Tea/coffee/tropical fruit. Goes every day 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

27. Horse riding.  Rainforest ride….2 hours 9 am or 2 pm.  Club Hippique. Sunset ride along the lagoon…..2 ½ hours….4 pm.     Cultural tour ride…9:30 am  …2 ½ hours.

28. Glass Bottom small submarine.  Ideal for children. 

29. Vanuatu Jet.  The ride of your life. 30 minutes in the harbour. Minimum height requirement 120 cm.  Paradise Cove trip and lunch option from 10 am to 2 pm.

30. Anita’s Weaving Classes.  Learn to make a bag. Everything supplied even a good laugh!! Takes 3 to 4 hours. Minimum of 2. Great for the whole family.

31. Meridian Sunset Cruise.  See the highlights of Port Vila under a starry sky, includes 3 drinks and nibbles. Leaves at 4:15 pm.

32. Blue Lagoon Cruise.  Ideal for a group if you are travelling together. A refreshing slow cruise along Erakor Lagoon with great hosts. Options apply.  Leaves usually at 4:00 pm Tuesday and Wednesdays

33. Eton Beach BBQ.  A family or group day out. Bus and driver for the day.  He cooks too! Morning/afternoon tea and lunch. 4,500 vatu pp. Minimum of 4. Yes we arrange a private trip for 2 at a price of 12,000 vatu per couple. A day in Paradise. 10:00 am – 3 pm

34. Scooter Hire. 

35. Air flight to outer Islands through Port Vila Air Club or Unity Air. Whole day or half day or 1 hour flights.

36. Jade.  Lagoon breakfast cruise (breakfast included).  Lunchtime explorer cruise ( no food).  Sundowner Evening Cruise (food and drinks).  Sunday BBQ.       

37. Parasailing.  

38. Helicopter rides for sightseeing.    

39. Sea plane Trips.  

40. Zorbing.A giant inflatable ball with you inside...spinning & rolling.