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Vanuatu – South Pacific Paradise

If you are after a tropical island holiday for the family or honeymoon then try Vanuatu.  Officially known as the Republic of Vanuatu, this archipelago of 83 islands, is located in the South Pacific Ocean near Fiji, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.  It is only around a 3 hour flight from the East Coast of Australia with Air Vanuatu.  You could even pop over for a long weekend.

Port Vila is the capital, on the main island of Efate.  There are beach and island resorts, mineral hot springs, cascading waterfalls and golf or horse-riding all within an hours drive.  Tanna Island is popular for its active volcano, gigantic Banyan Tree and wild horses.  Rainforest hikes, birdwatching and diving are best on Espiritu Santo.

Staying in Vanuatu doesnt have to cost the earth – there is a range of good quality budget priced hotels in town, but you will have to pay extra to be near the water.  The Moorings Hotel Port Vila is close to the harbour, and a 5 minute walk to the city centre.  This 3star hotel has a restaurant, cocktail bar and swimming pool.  The rooms are basic but clean with airconditioning and ensuite.  A bargain at just AUD$150 a night.

If you love to dive or snorkel, stay at Hideaway Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary.  A short bus and ferry ride from the city, this picture postcard tropical island is surrounded by coral and sandy beaches and turquoise water.  Stay in the 1 bedroom bungalows which can accommodate 4 guests, with ocean views and built in the ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style from local materials.  Enrol in a dive course, join the daily snorkel safari or lounge around on the beach sipping cocktails from the beach bar.  Stay for around AUD$250 a night.

If you are into something ‘quirky’ why not post a letter from the Underwater Post Office.  Purchase a special postcard from the island, fill it out on land, then swim down into the ocean to mail it!  The Vanuatu Post has also developed Volcano Post where you can post a volcano card with a volcano stamp from the top of the Yasur Live Volcano on Tanna.  Be careful though, dont fall in!

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