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Pack your sense of adventure for a change of pace with our list of iconic Vanuatu waterfalls, some easier to get to than others... 

 

If you’re looking for cookie-cutter holidays, maybe look elsewhere. Vanuatu’s charm lies in its access to swathes of untouched islands, all a plane ride or boat trip away. On some, there are no cars or electricity, and limited infrastructure. Instead, there are volcanoes to climb, waterfalls to discover and night skies vivid with burning clusters of white stars.

 

Mele Cascades, Efate

Perhaps one of Vanuatu’s most famous waterfalls, Mele Cascades is also its most accessible, just a 20 minute drive outside Port Vila. Join an expedition with Evergreen Vanuatu if you don’t want to hire a car. This cool sanctuary is accessed by a jungle path, meandering through dense foliage to reveal a natural waterpark. The freshwater cascades run over limestone rocks and luminous rock pools offer a cool alternative to your resort’s swimming pool. Like most of the other falls, there are steps carved into the rock’s surface for easier footing, but pack your reef shoes for better grip. Take your time to climb to the top, where the tallest cascades drop more than 40 metres. Hang out in the sapphire pools carved out of the stone. When your soul has been washed clean, head to the cafe nearby for lunch with a river view, leaving life’s urban grind far behind.

 

Take the plunge at Vanuatu’s must-see waterfalls.

 

Lololima Falls, Efate

Another treasure on Efate, this hidden gem is close to the Mele Cascades but is often far quieter, offering you the chance to feel like a true castaway. Take the day to explore all the nooks and crannies of this river valley, poke your nose into caves hidden behind sheets of water, and soak in the cool pools with views over the valley below. Vanuatu Ecotours acts as the perfect chaperone to get you to the falls which are on private property, a small price to pay to avoid the crowds on cruise ship days. 

 

Take the plunge at Vanuatu’s must-see waterfalls.

 

Mount Hope, Espiritu Santo

Espiritu Santo is Vanuatu’s largest island, brimming with destinations well worth braving the odd mosquito bite to experience. Check out the Mount Hope Waterfall, where the fun starts with the journey. Book a guided tour from Luganville which takes you through the jungle to the Mount Hope River. Pull on your life jacket and reef shoes before jumping in the water to float downstream, winding through a limestone gorge overhung with thick vines, fringed ferns and mossy trees. The river flows at a gentle pace, eventually reaching your destination, Mount Hope Waterfall. Here you can climb the falls and take a break halfway as the water runs all around you. This is a far less strenuous but no less exquisite alternative to Millennium Cave, the perfect compromise for those who want an adventure but aren’t ready for the challenge of caving.

 

Take the plunge at Vanuatu’s must-see waterfalls.

 

Nazareth Twin Falls, Tanna

Vanuatu’s Tanna Island is intriguingly traditional, with raw terrain and a sun-drenched way of life. Visitors are drawn to the island for its natural wonders such as its active volcano and incredible Blue Cave. But at the opposite end of the growling, flame-filled mountain is the cool, refreshing escape of Nazareth Twin Falls, an often overlooked and underrated cascade. Within walking distance from Isaka village (where you can see traditional dance performances), the cascade can be accessed either by car or foot along a winding creek bed, skirting around the river and winding through the thick forest. Your accommodation can help to organise a waterfall tour. The Nazareth Twin Falls flow down the rock face into a deep swimming hole, offering a welcome respite from the thick humidity. 

 

Take the plunge at Vanuatu’s must-see waterfalls. 

 

Millennium Cave, Espiritu Santo

Best described as arduous, the navigation to Espiritu Santo’s Millennium Cave isn’t for the faint-hearted. However, armed with a sense of adventure, a pair of reef shoes and a can do attitude, this excursion proves a memorable experience. Join a four-wheel-drive tour from Santo’s largest town Luganville for a 45 minute drive to Nambel village. Here the 1.5 hour hike commences through canyons, over boulders, up steep ladders, across bamboo bridges and through rivers. The end result is oh so worth it. Snack on fruit growing along the way and listen as your guide explains the tropical flora thriving in the humidity. Float along the river in parts, past many a cascade including the impressive ‘Hidden World Waterfall’ churning up the dark water. Millennium Cave itself is one of Vanuatu’s most spectacular natural wonders, an enormous dark dome replete with flying bats. A porthole punctures the rock’s ceiling, letting in a shaft of filtered light which illuminates the way. This is a journey to dine out on! 

 

Take the plunge at Vanuatu’s must-see waterfalls.

 

Siri Waterfall, Gaua

Located on the island of Gaua in northern Vanuatu, the Siri Waterfall is the tallest in the archipelago, the perfect destination for a taste of adventure. As you fly into the airport you’ll see the rugged coastline and dense jungle that covers most of the island, with small villages and gardens dotted throughout. The best way to see Gaua is by foot, either on full or multi-day hikes. Meander through untouched rainforests and learn about the rich culture imbued in the very tapestry of local kastom. This is more than a tourist attraction, it’s a way of life. At 120 metres tall, the Siri Waterfall claims the title of the highest in the South Pacific. Enjoy a leisurely swim at the foot of the pounding cascades and a picnic lunch before starting the walk home. The 8 hour return trek will take you through coconut plantations, local gardens and in and out of rivers.