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just back from vanuatu

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wagga
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just back from vanuatu

just wanted to post a brief trip report as I enjoyed reading about other peoples trips and tips on this forum before I went.

my partner and I went for an 8 day relaxing break. We normally travel for longer and further afield but this year we could only squeeze a week off for some relaxation closer to home.

We flew Air Van syd to melb which was fine- got our first dose of "island time" waiting for the immigration people to arrive.

We stayed at Tamanu - which was perfect for us and what we were after- out of town, private, simple, relaxed, tranquil, great food- brilliant chilli mud crab (except for a couple of things that were spoiled by drowning them in cream- prawn bisque, seafood lasagne), gorgeous swimming in a rockpool. (see my review) would not suit everyone but after visiting 4 other resorts for meals etc I was even more sure I'd chosen a winner.

We had a great $990vt lunch at Chill- my prawn/ mango/ macadamia salad was excellent. we also visited another day for coffee (much better than au peche mignon in my opinion).

We visited Iririki the resort was mostly empty and our lunch of burgers in the Bali Hai restaurant was underwelming.

We had dinner one evening at Villa Chaumeires- gorgeous candlelit setting, loved the fish and good food.

We had lunch at Breakas one day which was very interesting as I had considered staying here- glad we didn't. I'm not sure if it was typical of the Breakas guest profile but there were a lot of loud, posing 20somethings monopolising the pool area and making the handful of older couples appear uncomfortable. lunch was ok not spectacular and the staff seemed to have a great deal of difficulty coping with a minor problem with our credit card.

We had dinner at Eratap one evening- great food, classy resort- easy to see why it is No. 1 on trip advisor hotels list. Not too large (12 villas) away from port vila, nice location would onsider staying here although much more $$, and resorty than Tamanu. Restuarants (Villa Chaumeires, Eratap, Tamanu) were all similar prices

We rented a car from World Rentals for 2 days- no problem for them to pick-up/ drop off from Tamanu and drove round the island. The main round island round was in excellent condition- mostly paved, unpaved sections wide and smooth- easy for 2wd. The only bad bits of road we encountered were the loop to Tamanu and the track to Eratap- pretty rough hopefully their turn for roadwork is not to far away. Easy to visit any of the round island sights without a guide, easy driving, stop and go as you please, no "three's a crowd" (if taking a guided trip)

I am worried about the cascades- having never been before I can only guess that it is a new developement but there is another large building over hanging the lower pools and being sandwiched between the road and developement didn't ad to the tranquil natural experience of the cascades.

Port vila itself didn't do much for me- humid compared with being on the coast, deisel fumes etc. I certainly recommend staying out of town. Enjoyed the markets, bought some snacks etc. Interesting driving through the villages. saw a dance/music performance one eveing

Great weather, great time. The Tusker beer was good

Food (both in supermarkets and restuarant) and accommodation appeared very similar in price to what you would find in any Australian tourist region for the equivalent standard.

Re my earlier post about coconut crab- I didn't have any, some places didn't have it on the menu (eg Tamanu) some offered and explanation of why it wasn't on the menu (eg Eratap) and some still featured it (don't know if it was actually available as i never saw anyone else with one either.

flew home with pacific blue- no probs there either. prices were about the same with both I just picked what suited us better times wise.

I wish the trip advisor review section would list the resorts under "restaurants" too since they are open to guests and a review of the restaurant may be quite different to the accommodation review.

Melbourne
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1. Re: just back from vanuatu

Great report, Reins76 - thanks! :)

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: just back from vanuatu

Thanks reins76, your report was factual and pretty much everything in agreement with what I would say myself.

Just one point. If you ask for a "white coffee" or "cafe au lait" at Au Peche Mignon you'll get a better coffee than if you ask for a flat white. But I do know that they use a milder roast of Tanna coffee than most of the other cafes around town so perhaps you like the stronger espresso roast.

Tamanu is really good value compared to other places in the vicinity so I'm pleased to see you point that out.

I shall inspect the review for the rock pool story.

Happy travels,

Jen

wagga
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3. Re: just back from vanuatu

hi jen,

can't remember exactly what i said about the rock pool but for a bit more detai if you walk to the right along the beach (when facing the beach from Tamanu) after about ~150m? you come to a rock wall, next to this is a nice "kiddy" sized pool. if you keep walking another ~200m? in front of a coulpe of holiday houses (usually empty) the trach gets a little overgrown for ~30m then you pop out onto a small run of sand between the rocks. at low tide the reef is exposed between the pool (about chest-shoulder depth) and the ocean. at higher tides the reef is covered but still gives protection from the waves (and the pool is over head depth).

i feel a bit like i'm exposing a secret but i guess that is the nature of the forum.

further along still are a couple of other pools that have been cut into the rock- i suspect you would need permission to swim in these but i think it is likely it would be given.

check them out the next time you visit tamanu for lunch on a warm day

Brisbane, Australia
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for Vanuatu, Port Vila, Espiritu Santo
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4. Re: just back from vanuatu

Thanks reins I will :)

5. Re: just back from vanuatu

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