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 Luminous waterholes tucked away amid dense jungle, coral reefs teeming with marine life, the haunting tune of a conch shell horn lingering along white beaches. Welcome to the astonishing island of Efate; alive with possibility. Home to Vanuatu’s capital city Port Vila, most international flights arrive here, but this is an island well worth hanging around for. Leave your watch at home – you’re on island time now. 


 Don’t Miss

  • A visit to a traditional village - where you’ll be captivated by an ancient way of life.

  • Climbing gushing waterfalls to soak in their natural pools.

  • The flaming splendour of a fire show.

How To Get There

Direct flights to Port Vila take three hours from Sydney or Brisbane and 3.5 hours from Auckland. From Port Vila’s International Airport you can also connect to other islands in Vanuatu via domestic flights.

Useful Tips


Things to Do and Top Attractions in Efate and Port Vila

Snorkelling in Havannah Harbour

Sling the fins and snorkel in your bag for a trip to Havannah Harbour. Around 30 kilometres north of Port Vila, this secluded, deep-anchorage port is earmarked by the locals as the place to go when the sun is shining (which is most of the time). The snorkelling is fantastic, with warm, calm waters. Hire a car or jump in a local minibus destined for Gideons Landing — a beach where segments of ‘Survivor’ were filmed. If you’re lucky enough to be staying locally at The Havannah, slap on a wetsuit to dive around one of 17 scuba diving sites locally, accessible within a 15-minute boat ride — or join a daily cruise on the Coongoola to visit secluded coves and snorkel with astounding visibility. After delving into the dazzling underwater universe, snack on Wahoo Bar’s famous tuna or try the oysters at the slightly more upmarket Francesca’s Beach Club


Guide to Port Vila and Efate


Exploring Waterfalls in Vanuatu


You hear Efate’s waterfalls before you see them. Tucked away in the jungle, it’s a short hike through the foliage to find yourself standing in front of their thundering splendour. For that perfect Instagram shot, Mele Cascades is perhaps the most famous of Vanuatu’s waterfalls; offering the crème de la crème of scenic backgrounds. Just a 20-minute drive from Port Vila through Mele village, the cascades are a surreal natural water park, with turquoise rock pools, hidden caves and gushing waterways. Not far away are the Lololima Waterfalls; perhaps a more closely-held secret than Mele but no less inspiring. This tiered masterpiece offers small plunging drops and limestone caves just begging to be explored. Join a Vanuatu Ecotours trip to the falls and trek through the jungle, before jumping in the refreshing  water; spritzed by the mist of the waterfall’s spray. Watch the kids frolic in the water for hours, far from the buzz of technology. This is the perfect antidote to too many screens; colouring a family holiday in Vanuatu that’ll remain etched in your memory for years to come.


Guide to Port Vila and Efate


Meet the Locals 


The Ni-Vanuatu are some of the friendliest people in the world; happy to share their home and the rich tapestry of island life. To mingle with the locals, be sure to ride on one of the minibuses that roam across the island. Visible with their red ‘B’ on their number plates, the buses aren’t fixed to specific routes but travel according to your destination on a first in, first served basis — almost like an island-style ride share. In Vanuatu, it’s all about the journey. Flag them down roadside and sit back for some prime window gazing.

Meanwhile, for a thrilling display of showmanship, be sure to catch a fire dance, which offers a spectacular fusion of flame twirling antics and athletic circus tricks, backed by a hypnotic soundtrack. Check out Beach Bar’s weekly Friday show, or ask around for a range of hotels where the dancers perform during the week. For a country birthed in fire with its still-active volcanoes, there is a poignancy to the show; the sparks flying around the local dancers, the glowing embers rich red in the tropical air. 

For a more traditional experience, a visit to a cultural village is a must. Communities like Ekasup Cultural Village offer glimpses into a different life, forged from the very earth beneath your feet. Here the Ni-Vanuatu people generously share their fishing and hunting expertise with humour and warmth, enthralling adults and children alike with their ancestral dances and sand storytelling.


Guide to Port Vila and Efate


Experience Local Life 


North of Efate lies beautiful Pele Island, with powdery white beaches, magnificent snorkelling and an absorbing peek into a way of life guided by swaying palm trees and gentle ambitions. The laughing children, relaxed adults and sweetness of daily island life on Pele are perhaps the most enthralling aspects of a visit here — beyond the tasty coconuts, tropical fruits and picture-perfect scenery. The island is accessed by a ten-minute boat ride from Efate’s Emua Wharf, which is an hour’s car trip from Port Vila. Explore the island, its four local villages and relaxed beach with dreams of a life far-removed from the daily grind; a life dictated by tides and schools of fish. Pele’s surrounding waters were declared a Marine Protected Area in 2003 so snorkelling is the perfect way to get up close and personal with the abundant tropical marine life. 


Guide to Port Vila and Efate


Relax Beach Side 


The perfect Vanuatu family holiday combines both activity and relaxation, and Efate is ideally situated to serve up the latter on a silver platter. For ultimate salty vibes, make your way to Eton Beach; a brochure-style paradise with dazzling white sand and child-friendly rockpools. Situated on the eastern part of the island, it’s a 40-minute drive from Port Vila. Privately owned by locals, the beach has a nominal entrance fee which goes towards its upkeep. Sandy inlets offer a picturesque place to paddle, while the smooth, protected shoreline is snorkelling magic. The beach is only a couple of kilometres from the famous Blue Lagoon; a huge, azure swimming hole fed by the ocean at high tide and ringed by twisted tropical trees with Tarzan rope swings. 


Guide to Port Vila and Efate


Guide to Port Vila and Efate



Catch a Big One


Vanuatu’s coast is an angler’s paradise, boasting an enormous array of species dotting many a fisherman’s bucket list. If you have older children, a Vanuatu fishing charter could be a family-friendly activity, or perhaps a chance for fishing-mad parents to sneak off for a little bit of R&R away from the kids. Check with your accommodation for kids’ clubs or recommended nannies. 

From yellowfin and dogtooth tuna to wahoo, mahi-mahi and the big kahuna — the elusive and highly coveted Indo-Pacific blue marlin - Efate is the ideal springboard for all casting pursuits. For world-class inshore reef fishing, expect to find specimens like coral trout, queenfish and mangrove jack. However, for the ultimate adrenaline thrill, the chase of game fishing calls. Enthusiasts will be tempted by the Mike Tyson of the fish world: the blue, black and striped marlin, which test the talents of professional anglers with a fight to write home about — often weighing in at well over 100 kg.