Where is Vanuatu?

The Republic of Vanuatu (previously known as New Hebrides) is an island nation located in the romantic South Pacific.

This beautiful archipelago is located east of Australia, north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu is a Y shaped chain of islands that consists of about 83 islands with a total land area of 12,336 square kilometers.

The four largest islands are Espiritu Santo (3677sq km), Malekula (2023 sq km), Erromango (975sq km) and Efate (915 sq km). Efate is the main island of Vanuatu, where the capital Port Vila is situated and is the country’s main tourism and business destination.

 

Fast Facts about Vanuatu

  • Capital city (and island): Port Vila, Efate
  • Population: 206,000 approx (Census 2010)
  • Land area: 12,300 sq km
  • International telephone code: 678
  • Currency: Vatu (Vuv or Vt)
  • Languages: Bislama, English, French, Chinese and over 100 local languages
  • Greeting: Alo (Bislama)
  • Time Zone: +11 GMT
  • Power points are standard Australian/New Zealand type of 3-pin plugs, for 220-280 volts power/electricity supply.
  • Climate: Warm and tropical. Temperature range from 23C- 32C.

01

How to get to Vanuatu

Various airlines offer regular flights to Vanuatu, from New Zealand, Honiara, Australia, Noumea and Fiji.

Vanuatu is only 2.5 hours flying time north-east of Brisbane and 3.5 hours from Sydney, Australia. It’s a little over 2 hours from Auckland, New Zealand and less than an hour from Fiji.

The following airlines have regular scheduled flights to Vanuatu:

      • Air Pacific
      • Air Vanuatu
      • Aircalin
      • Pacific Blue

Qantas Airways acts as the sales agent for Air Vanuatu in all areas outside Australia, NZ, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Both Air Vanuatu and Pacific Blue operate direct flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Port Vila. Air Vanuatu also flies direct to Melbourne.

Air Vanuatu and Air New Zealand have direct flights from Auckland to Vila, and flights via Nadi (Fiji), Honiara (Solomon Islands) and Noumea (New Caledonia).

02

Flying distances to Port Vila, Vanuatu

  • Distance from Brisbane, Australia to Port Vila is 1904 km
  • Distance from London, UK to Port Vila is 16122 km
  • Distance from New York, USA to Port Vila is 13605 km
  • Distance from Fiji to Port Vila is 800 km
  • Distance from New Caledonia to Port Vila is 230 km
  • Distance from Auckland, New Zealand to Port Vila is 2218 km

03

Vanuatu Airports

Vanuatu has two international airports, Bauerfield, 6km from the capital, Efate Island and Pekoa 6km from Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo. International departure tax in Vanuatu is 3,000vt per person (over the age of 12) and is included in airfares.

Domestic airports are Bauerfield Airport – Port Vila, Siwo Airport – Emae, Pele Airport – Tongoa, Valesdir Airport – Epi, Laman Bay Airport – Epi, Pekoa Airport – Espiritu Santo.  A departure tax of 200vt per person is paid separately at the airport as it is not included in passenger tickets.

vanuatu map

Playgrounds, there are only a few children’s playgrounds in Port Vila, the most popular one is old but safe right, on the foreshore. Sports fields Rugby union, league and soccer are favourite pastimes amongst Ni Vanuatu and expats alike. Korman stadium has been closed down due to its dilapidated condition, but the fields are still in operation. Local schools also use these facilities for their sports carnivals and fetes.

Picnic spots and public BBQ’s, there are no council parks or picnic areas in Port Vila, you simply pack a picnic, portable BBQ, grab a blanket and set off to find your own private piece of paradise. There are some beaches that charge an entrance fee. Honeymoon Bay is a beautiful bay with beach huts and “Bush toilet” the entrance fee of 500vt (approx $7) is worth it, with its sparkling blue water, deep blue hole with amazing marine life including a rather large eel. Dugongs and turtles are often sighted in this bay and are quite friendly.

Vanuatu general store

General stores

General Stores are plentiful in Port Vila. Selling everything from fruit, toiletries, bread, household products and gas bottle refills. There are also local stands on the side of the road selling fresh produce and seafood.

Vanuatu hospital

Hospitals

With limited and outdated facilities the Port Vila Hospital isn’t a place you would visit by choice, but in the case of an emergency, skilled local and international doctors will treat you. There are anaesthetists, paediatricians and general surgeons. Insurance is still highly recommended, especially if a Medivac is necessary. There are good Medical Centres in Vila.

There is also an excellent mobile paramedic service (ProMedical).

There is a private hospital in Port Vila that offers quality care.

Public Toilets in Port Vila are scarce and not well serviced. Purchase a beverage at a local cafe or restaurant and use their facilities. These at least will be clean.

Swimming pools While there are no public swimming pools in Port Vila, most resorts provide swimming pool facilities. Most resorts are happy to allow you full use of their facilities even if you are not staying there, provided you purchase food or beverage from their restaurants or bars.

Kids clubs are available at the major resorts.

vanuatu health

Vanuatu Health

No vaccinations are required. Vanuatu is situated in the malarial belt so anti – malarial medication is recommended especially if you intend to visit the outer islands. Check with your doctor one month prior to departure. There are private and public hospitals in Port Vila and medical centres. In the unlikely event that you require extensive medical care, ProMEdical can arrange medical evacuations. There are no dangerous animals or insects on land in Vanuatu, however contact with some marine life such as stone fish, blue bottles, and sea urchins will be painful but easily treated.

 

 Vanuatu Education

PORT VILA

Education unfortunately there are no free public schools in Port Vila. There are a number of primary schools in Port Vila and some local villages also have small primary schools. Most Ni Vanuatu children do not continue their education beyond primary school. Due to low minimum wages, many local Ni Vanuatu children do not attend school or if they do attendance may not be continued. Port Vila International School offers local expat families an excellent education up until Grade 10, based on the Australian and New Zealand curriculum. Senior school education can be done by distance Education, however most expats families utilise boarding schools in Australia and New Zealand. Some expats, not just the French, enrol their children at The Lycee francais, for a multi lingual experience. Malapoa College is available for high school aged students who pass their final primary school exams.

The University of the South Pacific in Port Vila, is an educational institution co-owned by twelve Pacific countries. The Vanuatu campus is the only law school in the university, and it also teaches languages.

The APTC Australia-Pacific Technical College (School of Tourism and Hospitality and Health and Community Services) also operates in Port Vila. Offering vocational training for Ni Vanuatu.

ISLANDS OF VANUATU

The Islands of Vanuatu are surrounded by colourful coral reefs, deserted beaches and crystal blue waters, sparkling with a clarity that you can only dream of. Wherever you visit in Vanuatu, you will find no two beaches are the same. Each location offers something different. Quiet lagoons where dugongs wallow, black volcanic sands, white sandy beaches, blue holes for snorkelling, waves for surfing, deep water for diving amongst ship wrecks and impressive deep sea boating and fishing.

Vanuatu affects visitors in many ways, and everyone who visits this Island paradise, located so close to Australia, is touched differently by the experience, which is why so many return again and again.

The islands and people of Vanuatu have a charm that you simply won’t find elsewhere. With each visit, you will uncover and discover another amazing aspect of these relatively untouched islands. Each time creating different memories and experiences.

Whether you are looking for an escape from reality, family friendly resorts, children friendly activities, extreme adventures or honeymoon escapes for the newlywed or always wed, this island paradise has something for everyone. All within a few short hours air travel from the east coast of Australia.

Vanuatu is culturally rich, interesting, safe, friendly, affordable and must be experienced to be believed. Vanuatu simply is “The happiest place on earth”.

Vanuatu beach

 

Introduction to the Region

The islands of Vanuatu (previously known as New Hebrides) are volcanic in origin (active volcanoes can be found on Tanna, Ambrym, Ambae, Lopevi and Gaua), with lush tropical rainforests and mountain ranges, fresh water rivers, streams and waterfalls. This island paradise is surrounded by the sparkling clear waters of the South Pacific Ocean and protected by expanses of coral reefs that offer a snorkelling and diving experience not to be missed.

Where is Vanuatu?

This beautiful archipelago is located east of Australia, north-east of New Caledonia, west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu is only 2.5 hours flying time north-east of Brisbane and 3.5 hours from Sydney, Australia. It’s a little over 2 hours from Auckland, New Zealand and less than an hour from Fiji.

Which International airlines fly to Vanuatu?

Air Pacific, Air Vanuatu, Aircalin, Pacific Blue, Qantas Airways, Air New Zealand.

Travelling to Vanuatu

Citizens of most countries do not require a visa to visit Vanuatu. Visitors may stay up to 30 days with possible extensions of up to 4 months. Visitors must have onward tickets and current passports. Visitors must not engage in any form of employment or business activities without a relevant visa.

Water

Urban tap water in Port Vila is perfectly safe to drink. It does, however, have a high calcium content so those little white specks floating in your tea doesn’t mean the milk is ‘off’. It is advisable however, in the outer islands to boil your water or to drink bottled water. When travelling to the outer islands where supplies are scarce it is advisable to take along your own bottled water.

Vanuatu the tourist’s idealic destination

Efate Island; Is the third biggest island in Vanuatu with an approximate population of 50,000 multinational and Ni Vanuatu residents. Its capital city, Port Vila is the business and tourism Mecca of Vanuatu and hosts Vanuatu’s biggest port, Havannah where luxury cruise ships pull in week after week with tourists from the world over.

Cruise Ships

Want your holiday to begin from when you leave home? Grab a berth on a cruise ship bound for Vanuatu. Cruise ships offer a hassle free, relatively inexpensive, completely organised, fully inclusive holiday with a difference, where you can experience Vanuatu from sea and visit a few of it’s idealic untouched tropical islands. Each year over 50 cruise ships visit Port Vila, with departures from Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

Geography of Vanuatu

Efate is complete with lush tropical rainforests and mountain ranges, fresh water rivers, streams and waterfalls. This island paradise is surrounded by the sparkling clear waters of the South Pacific Ocean and protected by expanses of coral reefs that offer a snorkelling and diving experience not to be missed. As Vanuatu lies squarely on the top of the Pacific Ring of Fire, earthquake tremors can occur but are so small they go unnoticed. Every couple of weeks you get a little one that some people notice. In Bislama it’s called a ‘kraon i shekshek (ground he shake-shake). Once you have been there long enough you will “feel” one coming seconds before the earth begins to move. If the locals are not worried, you needn’t be.

Vanuatu Hiking Trails

Walking is the best way to get close to the sights, sounds and smells of the beaches, plantations, native villages rivers and jungle first hand. An experienced tour guide can help you trek safely through dense rainforests and discover caves, waterfalls, local villages, rivers and streams. Or grab a backpack, good walking shoes, hat and water and set off on your own adventure, you will be safe and find yourself welcomed by local villagers.

Charity work and Volunteer Programs

There are many international aid projects and volunteer programs operating in Vanuatu. Volunteers have the opportunity to work side by side with local Ni Vanuatu to work on projects that involve; education, construction, community development, youth development, and to improve health and hygiene levels. http://www.ivp.org.au