From cascading waterfalls to pristine island beaches and Blue Lagoons, Port Vila is one of only a few places in the world where you can have so many once in a lifetime experiences within a couple minutes from each other.
View of Iririki Island from Port Vila Harbour ©David Kirkland
Located in the rainforest of Mele village, Mele Cascades is a unique eco-friendly and multi-tiered waterfall. The water flowing from each rock pool is unbelievably clear that you would almost be tempted to drink from it. Depending on your fitness level, it takes about 20 minutes to traverse to the top tier waterfall. The pools are ice cool and refreshing, and a dip is the perfect reward for that short hike on a hot day.
Cascades, Port Vila, Vanuatu
There are no real steep hills to climb only gradual inclines that meander through a rainforest like scene. The streams of cool water are a tease where the path crosses shallow streams at various points along the walk, building anticipation and enticing you further. The pathway is steady and, in my opinion, suitable for most ages. For the parts that might seem a little risky, the land owners have done well to build slip-free reinforcing and provided rope support into the landscape in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the natural environment.
Cascades, Port Vila, Vanuatu
At the entrance there are well maintained restrooms and a cafe. Mele Cascades is only a 20-minute drive from Port Vila town Centre. If you prefer you could catch the local bus or taxi to take you there or go with Evergreen Vanuatu who provide tours to the Cascades. There is a fee to be paid at the entrance to the Cascades but it is definitely well worth the experience.
Just a 15-minute drive from Port Vila town Centre, the famous Beach Bar Fire Dance is possibly the best way to spend your Friday evening. This one-hour show starts at 7pm and is deserving of its immense popularity. Made up of a group of young local talent who call themselves Vanua Fire; this is island fire dancing like you’ve never seen. Unlike traditional fire dancing, this show can be likened to a contemporary theatre performance with different themes and acts that seem to tell its own story.
Beach Bar Fire Dance, Port Vila, Vanuatu
The upbeat music is supported by a live in-house DJ making it very funky and well-rehearsed. These fire dancers spin fire sticks, fire poi’s, fire hula hoops and breathe fire. You can even expect the odd fireworks thrown into the mix. The show is free to watch but the talented group are an initiative of their own and are well- deserving of any donations. The audience are given the opportunity to donate at the end of the show.
Pele Island, Vanuatu
Pele Island is one of Vanuatu’s more beautiful islands with historical and local living experiences to offer its visitors. It takes about 25 minutes from Port Vila town Centre to Emua Wharf on the north side of the island, and a further 10 minutes by boat to Pele Island. More than its golden sandy beaches, swaying palms and turquoise waters; it’s the simplicity of life, the happy children and ultra-laid back lifestyle that really captivates you about Pele. Even the animals seem to be in tune with this lifestyle.
Snorkeling, Pele Island, Vanuatu
Once you have settled in, the local tour guide will brief you on the island, its facilities and from that point on – it feels like home. You are free to roam the island, its local village and use the beach to swim, laze or play. Pele’s surrounding waters were declared a marine sanctuary in 2003 so snorkeling is the perfect way to get up close with the abundant tropical marine life. Ensure you visit Pele Island as soon as you have a chance as the island is part of a climate change adaptation programme which means, there could be a real possibility it won’t be around forever.
This is another highlight of Port Vila that is simply surreal you won’t want to miss it. The colours of the lagoon are ridiculously beautiful, possibly one of the more amazing things you will see. Before you jump in, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature and soak it all in. It is no doubt one of those picture- perfect moments you want etched into your memory forever. Relaxing and refreshing, the Lagoon is a mixture of fresh and saltwater. Tall trees and rope swings give you that added thrill when you plunge into this natural wonder.
Blue Lagoon, Efate Island, Vanuatu
The Lagoon usually has a handful of people but tends to be busier on cruise ship days. Only 35 minutes from Port Vila town, the drive out to Blue Lagoon is also relaxing and almost therapeutic, especially as you meander your way through those open roads. Nothing but green hills, plantations, fresh air, beautiful beaches and miles of open sea.
Fiji Airways flies twice weekly from Suva to Port Vila on Wednesdays and Sundays, and four times weekly from Nadi to Port Vila on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Vanuatu’s Leading Indigenous inbound tour operator, Evergreen Vanuatu provides both half day and full day tours to the Mele Cascades and Pele Island. Also explore Scuba Diving in Vanuatu
(Source: Fiji Airways, By: Aulden Warbrooke and Jade Lee)