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Vanuatu, meaning "the land that has always existed", is made up of 83 islands which stretch over some 800kms of the Pacific Ocean, half way between Australia and Hawaii.
Vanuatu Diving: Dive In!
Beautiful Vanuatu, found in the Pacific Ocean between Fiji and Australia, is renowned for its lush and vibrant nature, clear warm waters, friendly people and fascinating culture. One of the best things to do in Vanuatu is take to the water for a snorkel or a dive. Under the water in Vanuatu lies an incredible diversity of dive sites, many of them easily accessible even for the novice.
Like the land above, the underwater terrain is mountainous, with huge cliffs, caves and intricate tunnels and is abundant with sea life, such as corals, sponges and thousands of fish. Numerous wrecks provide a wonderful playground to explore. There are planes, an old square rigger sailing ship, a destroyer and most famously the SS President Coolidge. With many dive sites close to the capital, Port Vila, you can dive in the morning, have lunch in a nice restaurant, and go on a cultural tour in the afternoon, for instance. Or just head back into the water!
For spectacular coral reefs and clear water drop-offs, cruise to the offshore islands of North Efate. Keen divers can see famous sites including some of the deepest offshore canyons in the world and often with exceptional water clarity. Or the family can just have a fun day sailing, snorkelling and beachcombing along deserted coves.
Cruising further through the islands further north of Efate allows you to experience the isolation and peace of remote places and see something of the culture of Vanuatu while diving the beautiful Maskelyne Islands, or even the world famous Tongoa wall, on the edge of a live volcano!
Then from Espiritu Santo island discover nearby attractions including Million Dollar Point, where military equipment was dumped after the war, the wreck of the destroyer USS Tucker, some world class reef diving, and the SS President Coolidge: this 22,000 ton luxury liner converted to troop ship sank fully laden in 1942, just a few metres off the beach. The ship still contains all kinds of military equipment and personal belongings abandoned as she sank, and even novice divers can enjoy her shallower outside sections.
If you've ever thought about diving, Vanuatu may be the perfect place to begin. Non divers, too, will find both land and water offers a variety and beauty of experience you will never forget.
Vanuatu Golf: Good Times!
In need of a break? Hankering to work on your swing? Why not escape to exotic Vanuatu and join in the fun at the Tusker International Golf Open?
The competition is held annually (usually in August) at the Port Vila Golf and Country Club, situated right on the beautiful Mele Bay. The course design has incorporated the existing palm trees and Mele Bay as natural hazards (the Par-4 ninth hole runs along water). The challenging course, fringed with tropical foliage, has strategically placed bunkers and small greens.
Port Vila Golf and Country Club has been the venue for many South Pacific Island on the course, enjoy the club house facilities and the view from its balcony overlooking Mele Bay. (There's bound to be plenty of Tusker beer available).
The course is only 10 kilometres west of Port Vila, so you can enjoy a variety of international cuisine at one of many restaurants, take a tour, or fit in some shopping. Both local handicraft shops or markets and excellent duty-free shopping are available. Vanuatu's warm clear waters are renowned for fantastic diving, swimming and snorkelling. There are many great dive sites close to the capital. (Rest assured the rest of the family will find plenty to do while you compete).
The Open offers a chance to hang out with the best, since the number of professionals attending continues to grow, yet the competition is open to any amateur with a handicap recognized by their own local club. In Vanuatu you'll find a gorgeous get away and an exciting golf holiday all in one!
Vanuatu has a population of over 200,000. Port Vila is the capital and largest city, with a population of around 40,000 people.
Over 113 different languages are spoken in Vanuatu. Bislama - the local form of pidgin English - has become the most common.
The traditional culture of the Ni-Vanuatu tribes is alive and well. Their vibrant oral tradition speaks of the sea, the islands, the tempests and volcanoes, the wildlife and pigs, and the origins of their fascinating rituals.
A daily event in Port Vila is the "kava" ceremony. In nakamals (kava bars) around Port Vila people drink kava together, contemplate life and chat as the sun goes down. Made from kava roots and drunk from coconut shells, kava is a popular drink in the South Pacific and an integral part of most ceremonies. Vanuatu has the strongest variety of this.
Vanuatu's main airlines are Virgin Pacific Blue, Vanuatu Domestic Airlines and Charters, Air Calin, Air Pacific and Air Vanuatu. Some of these have regular flights to and from USA, Europe, Asia and many other places. The international port of entry in Vanuatu is Bauerfield, only 10 minutes from the capital.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road in Vanuatu. Cars, 4WDs and jeeps are available for hire. Taxis are plentiful and are all metered although some may agree to a fixed rate. It is quite common for a driver to offer passengers a comparable rate to the bus. Mini buses offer a frequent though not timetabled service. Look for the letter 'B' next to the front license plate and simply flag one down and tell the driver where you want to go
Being Equatorial, Vanuatu enjoys a relatively consistent temperature year round. Coastal areas enjoy an average temperature of 27 degrees celsius in the warm season and 23 degrees celsius in the 'cold' season. In the evening during winter time, temperatures can drop to 13 degrees in extreme coinditions so it advisable to bring one change of warmer clothes in case.
The north of Vanuatu has a wetter more tropical rainfall environment with and average of 4000mm of rainfall per year. The south of Vanuatu is more sub-tropical and has much less rainfall at an average of just 2000mm a year. In between the north and south are some very dry areas.
May to October is the dry season and this is definitely the best time to go to Vanuatu - The days are bright and warm and the evenings are pleasantlyy cooler. From June to August it is still dry but is a bit cooler than May to October, this is a good time to go if you plan on doing any amount of physical activity such as walking around the islands and exploring by foot. It is always advisable to take at least one change of warm clothing.
The wet season is November to April this period has higher and much more humid tempetratures which always tend to bring mosquitoes. December to March is the Cyclone season, there is an average of 2.5 cyclones a year in Vanuatu.
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