holiday · travel

Vanuatu: escaping the New Zealand Winter

I have just returned from an amazing week of holidaying in Vanuatu. I haven’t taken any leave from work all year so it felt like some much deserved rest and relaxation. This was my first time visiting any of the pacific islands and there was no better time of the year to go on holiday to a tropical paradise and I loved every minute. It was technically “winter” in Vanuatu but temperatures were a very comfortable 18-26 degrees Celsius which meant i got do ditch the puffy jacket and UGG’s for summery dresses and jandles (aka flip-flops or thongs depending on where you live).

11811397_10155954860900193_1235862177860844700_nIt was a slight culture shock no doubt.. the gap between the locals and tourists/expats is huge. Most of the population live in villages around the coast of the islands which consist of hundreds of shacks, roaming dogs, free range chickens and vegetable gardens. Beautiful hibiscus flowers in red, pink and white were everywhere, as well as butterflies and coconut and banana trees. A butterfly landed in my hair for a little rest there on my first morning. According to one of the locals this meant I had good luck. Who would argue with that?

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One of my highlights was spending the day driving around the island of Efate. First stop was a swim at the blue lagoon which was literally, the most beautiful blue lagoon, complete with rope swings, little fish and a cute white dog. Photos just don’t do it justice.

11836735_10155954763815193_1866412849135435968_nAfter that we stopped at a village where we got to meet the most adorable children were treated to a home-cooked lunch of delicious authentic local food. Probably the best meal I had while I was there, easily trumps all of the fancy schmancy food at the resort.

11822418_10155954862305193_513319044735050965_nAnother gorgeous place was the Mele cascade waterfalls. We were lucky that it was quiet on the day we went because apparently when a cruise ship stops by its packed. It was a 15-20 minute walk to the top of the spectacular waterfall where you can actually swim into a little cave behind the waterfall (if you’re brave enough to get past the pounding water falling on your head). I just wish I had an underwater camera!

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I would go back to Vanuatu again in a heartbeat. I would probably even consider living there for a few months or so. life is just so much more simple and relaxed there. It was nice to be in an environment where everyone was so happy and friendly and daily life wasn’t ruled by time as much as we are here in New Zealand. There is so much to do as well! I would have loved to have the opportunity to visit some of the surrounding islands but there just wasn’t enough time. Would recommend! Back to the daily grind tomorrow.

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