Heart-Pumping Adventures in Vanuatu

9 August 2016

Forget lying on a beach with a book and cocktail, and try these top adventures on your next holiday in Vanuatu. You'll have a blast driving a buggy through cow paddocks on the outskirts of Port Vila, and be in awe as you fly in a twin-propeller plane over remote islands.

If the sea has your heart, you'll love kayaking to a stunning blue waterhole on Espiritu Santo, and scuba diving one of the best wreck sites in the world, the SS President Coolidge. Whatever your adventure of choice, Vanuatu has you covered.

A Flight to Remember

Steaming Mt Yasur in Vanuatu. Fly over a steaming volcano. Picture: Vanuatu Tourism

If you love the adrenaline of riding in a small plane, you won't want to miss the chance to squeeze into a seven-seat Cessna for a flight over Vanuatu's remote northern islands. Hop aboard in Port Vila and soak up the views of stunning reef, teeming forest and a steaming volcano as you fly low over Efate, Ambrym and Pentecost islands. Make sure you have your camera ready to capture the beauty and drama of this off-the-beaten track adventure.

Welcome to the Jungle

If that's not exciting enough, how about jumping into a narrow river and climbing a waterfall? You can do just that through Oyster Island Resort, a quick boat ride from Espiritu Santo. The resort's friendly tour guides will pick you up and take you on a bumpy ride in the back of a ute through humid rainforest.

The real adventure starts, however, when you arrive at Sarakata River. You can jump into the water from a road bridge about 10 metres above, and then catch your breath as you chill out for 30 minutes while floating downstream.

Your heart will start racing again when you have to swim quickly to the base of Mount Hope Waterfall and scramble up slippery boulders as water rushes over your feet. If you have reef shoes, wear them.


More Vanuatu adventures:

Land Diving in Vanuatu

Wining and Dining in Vanuatu


A War-Time Wreck

Two divers explore the wreck of the SS President Coolidge in Vanuatu. Dive the SS President Coolidge. Picture: Vanuatu Tourism

For more watery fun, sign up for a tour of one of the most accessible scuba dive wreck sites in the world – the SS President Coolidge. The former US troop carrier is within swimming distance from Espiritu Santo, and a quick boat ride from Aore Island, where dive company Aore Adventure Sports and Lodge (PADI certified) is based.

The Coolidge ran aground on reef in 1942, after hitting two underwater American mines. The ship is now a spectacular artificial reef with plenty to see, including coral-encrusted military trucks, ammunition shells and medicine bottles.

Accessible to all levels of diver, this is one adventure you won't want to miss. Book two dives to really explore this underwater grave.

Blue Hole Wonders

Take things down a notch with a kayak to Matevulu Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo. Hire a kayak from Oyster Island Resort, across a small channel from the mainland, and paddle down peaceful Riri River.

You'll spend about 45 minutes gliding underneath a forest canopy before reaching the large sapphire pool. Return to your childhood and give yourself plenty of time to launch into the water from a rope swing attached to a bank-side strangler fig.

Paddock Pounding

Swap the kayak for a four-wheeled, open-top buggy and set off on an off-road adventure on the outskirts of Port Vila. Leave the bitumen behind for a journey across rolling farmland and through semi-rural villages with Buggy Fun Rental.

Good luck dodging the cow paddies and mud on this Jungle Safari Tour that promises to show you a side of Vanuatu away from resort pools and cocktail bars. Make sure you wear dark clothes, as you're guaranteed to get dirty.


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Vanuatu.


Jennifer Ennion

Jennifer is a freelance travel writer, who specialises in the outdoors and soft adventure, including activities such as snowboarding, hiking, paddleboarding, scuba diving, kayaking, camping, caravanning and surfing.