Mt Yasur is the world’s most accessible and active live volcano. Despite constant and increasing volcanic activity over time, tours to Mt Yasur continue. Local tour companies offer “flyovers”, day tours and the most amazing night tours. The Volcano really comes alive at night, promising you a natural firework show that you will remember forever.
Diving and Snorkelling
Tanna is surrounded by a coral coastline dotted with deep blue, rock pools and blue holes, teeming with colourful marine life and live coral gardens. Wearing reef shoes is a must in Tanna, as many blue holes are accessible only by walking across the rocky coral shoreline. Take a short boat ride out to Lemnap underwater cave, duck dive under the cliff wall and drop into a stunning 60 metre wide grotto. You will swim amongst a myriad of sea life in the clearest of turquoise seas. For the more adventurous, dive the wreck of “The Fijian” a sailing boat that sunk in 1916 and lies in only 20 metres of water.
The beaches in Tanna vary from volcanic black sands, through a mix of white coral sand to white sandy beaches. Beaches are dotted with the most amazing shells and bleached coral, creating heaven for any avid shell enthusiast. Port Resolution, with its white sandy beaches and deepwater harbour, is a favourite for visiting yachties. Nearby attractions include Shark Bay, (yes there are real sharks here), hot springs and freshwater lakes and Turtle bay, where turtles come to lay their eggs.
People travel from all over the world to explore the ancient caves on Tanna Island. There are blue water caves, with snorkel access only, underwater caves that require a leap of faith to enter, and caves that come with their own skeletons. An experienced guide will explain how these caves were formed and the local legends associated with them.
Fishing, Boating, Kayaking
Fishing tours can be organised at your resort with local fishermen, usually in a small aluminium dinghy. It is a good idea to bring your own fish hooks, lures and heavy lines as supplies are limited on Tanna. Local game fish include Marlin, Wahoo, Yellow fin Tuna, Barracuda and Skipjack, all fish caught are given to the local village who may in turn sell them back to the resort for your dinner that night. You may even catch some lobsters.
Sea kayak or outrigger canoe tours offer an interesting alternative and an opportunity to visit local blue holes and dive right in. You may even sight a whale or two.
Popular surf spots just off the reef in Tanna include Port Resolution and Lenakel.
With its clear turquoise seas, Tanna offers some amazing swimming opportunities. Whether you enjoy a calm float in blue hole or an ocean swim beyond the reef, you will return feeling refreshed and relaxed. Each year these gorgeous calm seas attract local and international competitors for the “Aniwa and Tanna Swim Safari”.
There are some pretty good walks on Tanna but few or no tourists using them. Walking on Tanna is a cost-effective means of getting around, a means of exploring the island and there are some challenging mountains to climb in the south. Tanna terrain offers rugged mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, clear streams and is sparsely populated. There is a road but it is lightly trafficked and not all-weather. You can often catch a passing truck in the morning or the afternoon. Remember to be self sufficient, take your own food and water, let the resort know where you are going, and the best advice is to take a guide with you.
Mountain Bike Hire
To discover Tanna, up close and personal, hire a mountain bike and design your own tour. There are many fascinating village, beaches and points of interest within an easy ride of your accommodation. Ask your resort to pack a picnic for you, grab your swimming gear and head off for a day of relaxed discovery.
Tanna has some good sealed roads and travelling around the island by 4wd is a fairly comfortable experience. However if it has rained heavily recently you could be in for some off road adventures.
Cultural Village Tours
To experience a way of life that has been largely uninfluenced by western culture, you can take a cultural tour to a number of Kastom Villages. Here locals will share with you their local customs and culture, their knowledge of traditional medicine, dance, crafts and styles of cooking. Some of the tours available include: South Tanna Cultural Tour, Ipai Custom Tour, Black Magic Tour and Yekel Custom Villages.
John Frum Cult Village Tour (Friday Evenings)
Join in the dancing and enjoy the celebration of this unique cult. These Tannese people were encouraged by the WWII soldier John Frum to turn from Christianity for the promise of a better life with the addition of Western goods such as radios and coca cola. John returned to America and his followers are still awaiting his return and the bounty he will bring. If you visit on a Friday you will be privy to the weekly ceremony when John Frum members conduct rituals including raising flags and marching in unison, holding the belief that mimicking these American acts will lead to the delivery of magical cargo such as radios, jeeps, fridges and other manufactured items owned by American visitors during WWII.
Hot Mineral Springs
Hot mineral springs are renowned in the South Pacific for their relaxing and therapeutic properties. The hot springs are warmed by Mt Yasur Volcano. They flow over the beach and into the sea at Sulphur Bay. This is a popular location for the local villagers to do their laundry and bathe in the hot water.
Within minutes of arriving on Tanna Island you will discover the wild brumbies roaming the grassy plains. There are a number of horse riding tours available and can be booked through most resorts. Explore the island’s beautiful landscapes on horseback with rides available along beaches, into the forest and to one of the world’s largest banyan trees.
Seaplane and Helicopter Tours
Discover Tanna Island from a higher perspective and take a helicopter or seaplane tour. Tours depart from Port Vila and bookings are essential.
Trying Tannese kava is quite an experience. If you haven’t already tried kava, it’s a strong herbal drink made from kava root that is a major component of traditional Melanesian culture. These roughly made Kava bars can be identified on the roadside by their hanging lanterns. The experience is one to be tried at least once.
Due to transport challenges, Kava export is a slow growing yet profitable trade in Tanna. The kava root is sourced straight from the Jungle where it is then ground into a fine powder and added to water to produce a dirty coloured liquid. Kava is traditionally used in custom ceremonies and at the end of the working day. Due to its relaxing effect kava is ideal for: relaxing muscles after a busy day working, calming of nerves, reducing anxiety and giving a sense of well being and contentment. Perhaps this is the reason why Vanuatu was recently voted “The Happiest Place on Earth” by the Happiest Planet Index.