11 Extraordinary Vanuatu Adventures to Add to Your Bucket List
Looking to add a little adventure to your next holiday? Just a short flight away from the East Coast of Australia, Vanuatu is the perfect destination for thrillseekers.
Countless epic moments await in this South Pacific paradise. From exploring remote caves and waterfalls to diving beneath the ocean surface, here are 11 extraordinary Vanuatu adventures to add to your bucket list.
Dive into electric blue holes
With more freshwater waterholes than anywhere else on the planet, diving into one of Vanuatu’s blue holes should be on every Vanuatu bucket list. These swimming holes are typically hidden within tropical foliage and boast crystal-clear blue water warm enough to swim in year-round. Head to the popular Blue Lagoon just 30 minutes from Port Vila or venture to Tanna’s Blue Cave, which can only be reached by swimming along a secret sea passage. Look out for the rope swing, usually hanging from the biggest tree, waiting for thrill seekers to launch themselves into the calm water below.
Enjoy the pristine blue waters at the popular Blue Lagoon or other bucket list Vanuatu’s blue holes.
Stand at the edge of Mount Yasur
Standing at the edge of an active volcano is the ultimate Vanuatu adventure. Located on Tanna Island, Mount Yasur is known to be the world’s most accessible volcano. Join a 4WD tour across the ash fields and up the mountainside before hiking 10 minutes to the rim of the crater. Feel the heat as you watch the lava dance like fireworks across the sky. Those looking for an extra dose of adrenaline can also spend the day ash boarding down the slopes of the volcano – trust us when we say you’ll be talking about this Vanuatu experience for years to come.
Escape to Vanuatu’s remote outer islands
If you want to really get off the beaten track in Vanuatu, consider a multi-day tour to some of the outer islands. Experience village life on a trip to Nguna and Pele Island, where you sleep in a beach bungalow and enjoy home-cooked food from organic local gardens. Or venture even further afield with a visit to the remote Maskelynes archipelago, where you can snorkel pristine reefs, sail a traditional outrigger canoe and even swim with wild dugongs. Regardless of which tour your choose, both offer an insightful glimpse into the real Vanuatu.
Experience village life on a trip to Nguna and Pele Island, with a multi-day tour to some of the outer islands.
Soar through tropical rainforests at Vanuatu Jungle Zipline
Looking for Vanuatu adventures the whole family can enjoy? Head to Vanuatu Jungle Zipline, located just 30 minutes from Port Vila on the main island of Efate. Major thrill seekers will love the Big Zip Trek course, where you’ll soar through the jungle canopy on seven different ziplines. Another popular activity at Vanuatu Jungle Zipline is the Sky Bridge, which at 120 metres is the longest suspension bridge in the Southern Hemisphere. Overlooking Mele Bay and the stunning reef below, the Sky Bridge offers what is undoubtedly the best view in Port Vila.
Head to Vanuatu Jungle Zipline where you’ll soar through the jungle canopy on seven different ziplines.
Dive the WWII wrecks of Million Dollar Point
Following the Second World War, the American military dumped millions of dollars worth of US Navy equipment off the coast of Espiritu Santo. Today, scuba diving at Million Dollar Point is one of the most popular things to do in Vanuatu. Swim past cars, tanks and guns overgrown with coral, some of which are so close to the surface you can even see them via snorkel! Nearby is the shipwreck of the SS President Coolidge, which was hit by a sea mine in 1942. Local dive operators on Espiritu Santo can help organise dives to both of these popular sites.
Marvel at the Tarzan-like roots of the Giant Banyan Tree
Feel like you’ve entered another world when visiting Tanna Island’s Giant Banyan Tree. Standing 80 metres tall and over 100 metres wide, and covered in dangling roots that snake out into the surrounding jungle, this tree really is an amazing sight. Little is known about the actual age of the Giant Banyan Tree, considering it was already ancient when Captain Cook first arrived on the island in 1774. To see this massive wonder for yourself, join a 4WD tour from the main town of Lenacil to the nearby village of Leitouapam, where the local Tannese owners can lead you the rest of the way.
Standing 80 metres tall and over 100 metres wide, the Giant Banyan Tree really is an amazing sight.
Challenge yourself and explore Millennium Cave
If you’re up for a physical challenge, the Millennium Cave Tour offers an action-packed, adventure-filled day out on Espiritu Santo Island. This full-day tour begins with a 4WD ride from the main town of Luganville, followed by a bushwalk to the remote village of Funaspef. From here, you will spend approximately two hours hiking, canyoning and swimming to reach the cave. Keep in mind that this Vanuatu experience isn’t for the faint-hearted, as you’ll be scrambling up rocks and trekking through pitch-black caves, however, it’s well worth it to explore the beauty of Vanuatu’s largest cave.
Enjoy an action-packed, adventure-filled day out on Espiritu Santo Island with the Millennium Cave Tour.
Discover tropical paradise on Hideaway Island
Being a tropical island nation in the South Pacific, no Vanuatu holiday is complete without a beach day. Head to Hideaway Island, a small coral atoll located just 100 metres off the Efate coast. As a marine sanctuary, the fringing reefs surrounding Hideaway Island are teeming with vibrant coral and marine life, perfect for snorkelling. Keen divers can also join one of three scuba diving tours, visiting a few of the many nearby dive sites. Plus, Hideaway Island is home to a beachfront restaurant, a gift shop and the world’s only Underwater Post Office, where you can mail a waterproof postcard to your loved ones back home.
Head to Hideaway Island and join one of three scuba diving tours, visiting a few of the many nearby dive sites.
Ride a traditional dugout canoe down the Riri River
Many visitors to Vanuatu are surprised to learn that the islands are home to kilometres of hidden rivers that connect to those famous blue holes. For thousands of years, the native Vanuatu people have used the traditional dugout canoe to navigate these waterways, travelling to villages tucked in the island’s interior. Get a taste of this unique mode of transportation by joining a guided canoe tour down Espiritu Santo’s Riri River. At the end of your scenic journey through this winding river, find yourself at Riri Blue Hole, one of the most beautiful swimming holes on the island.
For thousands of years, the native Vanuatu people have used the traditional dugout canoe to navigate these waterways.
Go chasing hidden waterfalls in Efate
One of the best things to do in Vanuatu is take a dip in one of Efate Island’s tranquil waterfalls. Perhaps the most famous is Mele Cascades, conveniently located just 20 minutes from Port Vila. This tiered waterfall is almost like a natural water park, with gushing torrents, hidden caves and cool rock pools. Plus, the short trek to the waterfall offers great views over Mele Bay. Not far from Mele Cascades are the Lololima Waterfalls, a lesser-known but just as beautiful gem.
Experience gushing torrents, hidden caves and cool rock pools at the famous Mele Cascades.
Ride horses through the mangroves of Santo
Explore Espiritu Santo from a unique vantage point on a horseback riding tour. Trek through the island’s tropical rainforests, passing emerald lagoons, centuries-old banyan trees, dense coconut plantations and local Melanesian villages along the way. Many tours even take you onto the beach where you can enjoy a dip in the ocean with your trusty stead. After all, horses love swimming just as much as humans on a warm day in the tropics! Find that there are several treks and tours available on Espiritu Santo, most of which operate out of Luganville.
Trek through the island’s tropical rainforests from a unique vantage point with a horseback riding tour.
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