Tag Archives: hideaway island

Our Trip to Vanuatu

This post is 2 weeks overdue but finally I managed to finish it 🙂

Finally when we landed in Vanuatu I felt really happy. As soon as we got out of the plane, I could feel the humid air against my face. I knew we were going to have a great holiday at this place.

The airport looked very rural. No big walls or modern equipments. Just open fields with a one story building. It was Christmas day but there were no decorations. We lined up to clear immigration and picked up our bags to go to our hotel.

We caught a taxi to our resort. We realised while in the taxi that we should have changed some money to Vatu as the taxi driver informed us that he won’t take Aussie dollars. When we had done our research we had found on the internet forums that Aussie dollar was good but it was different story there. We told the driver we would try to change our money at the resort.  So when we got to the resort a guy came to take our luggage and we asked him if we can change some money. He asked to give him the money and was backed in 5 minutes with the equivalent Vatu. The bad thing was the exchange rate seemed less than the official rate. We paid the taxi driver and checked in. It was when we were checking in that we were told the rate which made us realised that the guy who had seemed to help us change our money has cheated us a bit with a lower rate. Just 5 bucks in Aussie dollars but a lesson learned, never trust anyone easily. We later found he had exchanged the money in a nearby store and we got a better rate there.

When we reached our room I was really happy as it looked comfortable and clean. Lots of flowers were used to decorate the bed. Like any tropical place, it had tiled floor to help keep the room cool. We then relaxed, took a shower and went to explore the place. They seemed to have a nice restaurant, a bar and a beautiful pool. When we got back to our room we were hungry so we ordered room service. While we waited for our food, we watched TV. I was surprised to see many Australian channels available. I felt like I was still in Australia.

It took a while for room service to arrive but when it did it was really yummy. As it was already evening we decided to relax and plan our next few days. There were many brochures we had to go through to choose our activities but most of them seemed similar like island getaway with snorkelling and lunch. We thought it would be fun to start with a round island tour so we went to the reception to book our first tour.

Our tour, the Native round island tour, was supposed to be the next morning but due to a miscommunication between the reception and the tour organisers it was pushed to the next day so we went to the Hideaway Island instead. The place was only 20 minutes bus ride and 5 minutes ferry ride from our resort.

Once we were there I realised why everyone had advised us to take reef shoe with us. Thank god that we did. It was a beautiful island with beautiful blue water but the beach had very coarse rubbles washed out from sea along with death corals. It was near impossible to walk bare foot on the beach.  It was a warm day so I change and jumped into the water. It was just beautiful. This is the place where there is an underwater post office. We put our snorkelling gears on and swam with the fishes. We first started near the shore to get a hang of the waves and later were taken further in into the sea. It was really beautiful with so many colourful fishes.

Compared to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia I found that the corals were dead and brown but there were a high number of fishes and sea animals like sea cucumber starfish and sea-horse. I even got to hold a star fish in my own hands. Thanks to my waterproof camera we managed to take lots of beautiful underwater shots.

Our guide had a great trick to invite fishes. He had a bottle with fish food so when he dropped these food, the fishes came in large numbers to him giving us a great opportunity to take photos and allowing us to be so close to them.

Finally after having lunch at the island, we came back to our resort. We ordered room service again and enjoyed our dinner in front of the TV.

The next day we went for the Round Island tour  which goes around Port Villa to see different villages and their culture. It was a really informative tour as the guide was a native himself and was able to show us the real life in Vanuatu.

That evening we went to the town to have a wonderful dinner in a restaurant call Chill. I had lamb with some mashed potatoes while AS ordered chicken and vegetables. We finished off with a huge chocolate soufflé.

The next day was AS’s birthday which was really a good day for me. I surprised him with a cake in the morning during breakfast and then we went Abseiling. That evening we went and had a Melanesian dinner while the locals performed some traditional dances for us. It rained that night for the first time while we were there.

The day before we left, we went and did the helmet dive. It was a great experience to be with fish and sea creatures up close and personal. It was only for a couple of hours so the rest of the day we just relaxed, visited the local markets and had lots of fun.

Over all, this holiday was awesome. Will love to go back there one day 🙂

Click here for more photos.

Oceanwalker : Swimming with the fishes

One of the good things about a tropical holiday is that you get to swim in a blue sea with lots of fishes. I love going snorkelling and meeting the locals from deep down in the water. 

During this holiday I got many occasions to do that. When we were on Hideaway Island we were able to go snorkelling in the deep blue water with a guide. We also did some snorkelling by ourselves in Eton Village and other beaches as well. 

I always want to go deeper in the coral but with snorkelling it is not possible, but in Vanuatu, I found Oceanwalker. It makes it  easy to enjoy the view underwater. I had done something similar before in the Great Barrier reef in Queensland but I was excited to try it out again . 

The website describes Oceanwalker as 

Oceanwalker Vanuatu brings you this exciting and innovative tourism experience, allowing you to explore the underwater world of tropical fish and coral reefs up close, with-out even getting your head wet. 

The Helmet Dive is the next step after snorkelling and is a fun way to discover what lies beneath. 

Your adventure in paradise starts with a short walk down a ramp into the water where the purpose-built helmet is lowered on to your shoulders and in no time at all your underwater experience begins spending up to 20 minutes walking on the sea floor to a maximum depth of 4 metres. 

The day of the dive, we were picked up at the hotel and were taken to the dive area by the short boat ride. The day was just perfect with the sun out and the blue sky. At the dive area there were 4 people who were there to help us through this amazing journey. 

We had one more group, a family joining us for the dive. 

First we were briefed by our PADI qualified instructors with instructions about the helmet dive equipment and we were given a form to sign our life away. 

Then the adventure began with a descent to the short ramp in the water, where a helmet is fitted on the head and then off you go. It was really a fun experience because you don’t have to worry about swimming or breathing. Air is continually pumped into the helmet so the water doesn’t rise above your shoulder even when you are 4 meters underwater. 

We met lots of fish down there including Nemo and the zebra fish. It was so cool. One of the instructors was with us all the time so there was no fear of getting lost or anything. He even caught a fish in his hand twice and gave it to me but the fish just escaped from my hand. 🙂 It was really fun experience. I also got to hold a sea cucumber. 

There were so many fish around us that we felt like kids running after it. I really enjoyed the whole experience and was sorry that it ended after around just 20 mins. The memory will live in me forever. 🙂 Click here for more photos.