Less than 4 hours from Auckland the beautiful islands of Vanuatu are emerging as a perfect family friendly holiday destination. You can expect a lovely Pacific welcome, stunning beaches and beautiful water, but Vanuatu offers a fabulous variety of activities, destinations and accommodation that allows you to enjoy a relaxing but adventurous family holiday.
Now an independent nation, Vanuatu was originally inhabited by Melanesians followed by a range of others including Portugal, Spain, France and Today Vanuatu is culturally diverse with more than 113 languages plus many more dialects. Luckily for us English is one of the three official languages.
A legacy of the diversity of people settling in Vanuatu is the variety in cuisine available – so there will be something for even your fussiest eater! An since Vanuatu is also a producer of amazing coffee beans you will be able to indulge your caffiene passion.
There really isn’t a bad time to visit Vanuatu as the temperature ranges from 23 to 30 degrees almost all the time. Luckily for us, the New Zealand winter months turn out to be the least humid in Vanuatu, so although still warm and sunny it’s more comfortable.
Exploring the islands
Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, is on the main island of Efate. The most populated of the islands, Efate also is home to the international airport. Air Vanuatu can fly you to the other main islands of Espiritu Santo and Tanna. Small domestic flights and ferries are also available. If you are travelling between regions, make sure you pay the local tax before you board.
The islands themselves are all quite small and while you can hire a car, walking, jumping in a taxi or bus or even hiring a bike are all easy options. If you see a van with a ‘B’ on the number plate that is a privately owned mini bus. Flag them down and they will be happy to help you out. They are likely to be happy to act as your local host and show you around some of the local attractions and villages.
One of the great things about Vanuatu is that there is a great variety of accommodation from self-catering apartments and house through to small hotels and resorts. Some of the resorts are adults only or no children under 12 years.
Things to do
Vanuatu has no shortage of experiences for your family from fully guided to self-guided, depending on how adventurous you are feeling. Here is just a selection of our favourites:
Diving and snorkelling
Vanuatu is a snorkelling and diving mecca. Take your snorkel and goggles and go it alone or book in with a local company. No matter your choice, it will be magical. For serious divers, WWII wreck on Espiritu Santo is a world renowned experience. If you are into surfing you won’t be disappointed as Vanuatu offers some incredible surf spots.
There are two main food markets and these are a perfect place to discover new tropical delights as well the local community vibe. Take small change and a bag (or buy a locally made basket) to carry your purchases in. In these larger markets you will also be able to try some local cooked treats. Outside of the main areas, there are also small markets and roadside stalls.
Indulge in some reef fishing or head out with a tour operator for a trip where you can enjoy amazing views, secret spots and delicious fish!
Swimming and rope swings
Enjoy fresh water in the array of stunning swimming holes and waterfalls plus an innovative selection of rope swings across Vanuatu. And of course there are hundreds of beautiful beaches.
Mt Yasur Volcano
The island of Tanna is not only home to the famous Tanna coffee bean plantations but also an active volcano. The kids will be fascinated by the sight of red-hot lava and steam and you can drive to just 150 metres from the crater edge.
Get up close and personal with the tropical forests that cover a lot of Vanuatu with a zipline tour.
Grab your reef shoes (essential!) and come and join in the fun that is an amazing family holiday in Vanuatu.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”