FIRED UP: Mt Yasur erupts in colourful and dramatic fashion.
FIRED UP: Mt Yasur erupts in colourful and dramatic fashion. Contributed

Develop a taste for adventure

VENTURE off the beaten track this year and take up the opportunity to visit Vanuatu's outer islands.

With packages, booking support, and regular flights now available, there has never been a better time to explore them.

Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands, and outside the main islands are a number of gems waiting to be discovered.

From active volcanoes, to unique cultures and traditions, the outer islands offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and an unforgettable experience.

Malekula

Malekula is Vanuatu's second-largest island, and provides visitors with a fascinating insight into Vanuatu's history and culture.

Tourists are able to witness traditions of the Small Nambas and Big Nambas, and adventurous travellers can uncover old cannibal sites hidden in the bush on North Malekula.

Each August, Malekula is also home to the Nalawan Festival, where travellers can witness spectacular Nukofo custom dances, celebrations and ceremonies.

To book accommodation or tours in Malekula visit Malampa Travel.

Pentecost

Pentecost is famous throughout the world for the land-diving ritual (Nagol or N'gol), which occurs every Saturday between April and June.

The ritual, which influenced the invention of bungy jumping, sees local men and boys as young as seven jump from a 20-30 metre high, man-made tower with only a vine attached to their legs.

Day tours to view the ritual are available through Adventure World's First Footprints product collection, or can be booked in Port Vila.

Island Escapes, a luxury small ship cruise company, also offers packages which cover Espiritu Santo and South Pentecost, and are perfect for travellers looking to uncover the beauty of these islands.

Tanna

Tanna is one of Vanuatu's best-known outer islands, and is home to one of its most popular tourist attractions: Mt Yasur.

The island is only a short 45- minute flight from Port Vila, and from here, you will be at Mt Yasur volcano in less than two hours.

While in Tanna, a cultural tour to a Kastom Village will provide an insight into a culture largely isolated from the western world. For the adventurous, there's plenty on offer with stunning blue holes, underwater caves, some of the best coral in the South Pacific, and untouched waterfalls.

Visitors can also sandboard down the side of a volcano, or explore the island on horseback.

Tanna packages are available through Flight Centre, and Spacifica Travel.

Ambrym, Epi, and Banks and Torres

For the truly intrepid traveller, there are also opportunities to venture to Ambrym, Epi, and Banks and Torres.

These islands offer a fantastic mix of rich Ni-Vanuatu culture and customs, and pristine natural beauty.

Although not at present packaged in Australia, travellers can go to Vanuatu Travel to learn more about the accommodation and tour options available on these islands, or organise their travel on arrival in Port Vila.

How to get there:

Vanuatu is only three-four hours from Australia's east coast, with Air Vanuatu flying to Port Vila six times a week from Sydney, three times a week from Brisbane and once weekly from Melbourne.

Air Vanuatu also offers regular inter-island services from Port Vila, making it easy to explore Vanuatu's outer islands.

For more information on the holidays on offer in Vanuatu, go to Vanuatu Travel.

>> Read more travel stories.



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