Anyone been to Vanuatu ? Not just surf related. Thinking cost of living, quality of life, proximity of quality fishing to Port Villa, any experiences of this part of the globe would be appreciated.
It looks pretty nice on paper.
I'm aware of the South swell shadow provided by New Caledonia for most of the Northern parts - anyone been to the southern islands ? Not just surf related. Asking as a person looking for an Ex Aussie lifestyle.
Hey Blowin, I was there in May. Still pretty devastated from TC Pam, but the people are great, full of smiles, super friendly, alot like most other SP islands.
Cost of living, I found, was much the same as Aus.
I didn't do any fishing, but took the kids snorkeling and to swimming holes etc.
Had a couple of quick surfs at a fun right hander to myself, nothing brilliant, but good fun.
Would like to have checked out other islands in the chain, but was only there for the week and you'd probably need to be cashed up.
Oh, and the kava is great, still tastes like shit, but the strength and quality is top notch. Kava bars everywhere an a great way to meet the locals.
And there is a lot of expats over there doing some really good work with the recovery and rebuilding.
Was there about 5 years ago, loved it. Didn't surf or see anything surfable but was really just a trip to get away from everything with the wife, perfect place for that. Super laid back, genuinely happy friendly people.
Hasn't got the depth of character in the food like indo, but good food never the less especially seafood, some french influence also.
We never got off the main island Efate, got a driver to take us around the island, easy half day cruise so it's quite small and not a lot to do or see, but it was a hammock, book and beer trip with some snorkelling.
We stayed on Hideaway Island, a short public bus ride from the capital.
Would like to go back and check out some of the many other islands but imagine it's very basic out there.
Fishing charters available from Pt. Vila but not cheap. We went with some locals from Lelepa in a banana boat, lotta fun but only caught Barracuda. You can't really just go and fish off the beach or rocks anywhere you want because all beachfront is owned by a village, O.K if you get permission.
Nobody hassles you either, that's nice.
Regarding waves, I knew a guy who said he travelled all around the pacific after he got busted with 12 pounds of green. The judge said it was 5 years jail time or navy time. Anyway says the best waves he surfed were in Vanuatu, out there in the ocean far from land.
Went over a tsunami while on the ferry to Erakor Island many years ago, though it was only in hindsight we realised what had happened. A spooked boat driver and a disoriented crab at the back door of the bungalow were the only signs of the wave - and the newspaper headlines the next day of course.
Climbed the volcano at Tanna too which was pretty fucken cool. It was semi-erupting, sulphur and ash spewing into the air, plus the odd Kombi-sized lump of lava.
Waves? Only in huge souths and the odd stray tropical depression.
Thanks so much everyone, some great stories and helpful info.
I'll have to go and take a look for myself after that.
It's not like I'm going to let a few piddling concerns such as devastating cyclones, tidal waves or lava spewing volcanos deter me....ummmm, actually, now that I think about it...
My old man lived there for 12 years...visited him about 20 times during that period from about 1990-02...at various times of the year...there's definitely waves about...had some really fun sessions and a couple of pretty good set ups (no names sorry). Went through two solid cyclones but never found very good waves around them due to their close proximity. Medium sized swells were best I found for quality at most set ups and were mostly short period local stuff. Bigger long period swells were mostly shadowed but there are some spots which have openings at certain directions and although fickle can get really good...but that's all I'm saying!!!! Have fun!!
Have to agree with most other comments...the local Ilfira people are beautiful and friendly :-)
The currency runs about 1Aud - 80vatu these days I think...which makes it a similar cost of living to here...used to be way cheaper in the 90's but I recall the exchange was around 130vatu then.
Haven't been back in over a decade but hope this helps...cheers...
Went there back in the seventies,camped on the beach for a while ,found a few waves and and was shown a few secret spots.Lots of potential especially in our summer because all the reefs are really close to shore and throw in a couple of long point break set ups ............