Vanuatu – Upcoming South Pacific Destination

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Mount Yasur in Vanuatu shows the contrast of lush rain forest and volcanic landscape. (photo by Stefan Heinrich via Wikimedia Commons)
Vanuatu wasn’t a destination I’d ever thought about until I read the Cash Peters book Naked in Dangerous Places. The author paints a very self-deprecating portrait of himself as a non-adventurous sort of character dragged deep into world travel by his heels. One chapter revolves around the South Pacific volcano called Mount Yasur.

Right then, Vanuatu forced its way onto my travel list. It’s one of many destinations in the South Pacific that offer cheap holiday deals. But its famous resident volcano set it apart. The chance to see volcanic landscapes was a huge part of the reason for my trips to New Zealand and Iceland – and neither disappointed. And its just one of many Vanuatu holiday ideas for adventurous travelers.

Vanuatu shares the volcanic allure, but with a few other interesting bits I cadged from Peters’ book. He depicts it as having just that right amount of development: Western travelers will have the basic amenities, but they won’t drown in touristy kitsch. At the moment, it seems like travel bloggers are overlooking it. So if you get there before I do, tell some good travel stories and watch curious volcano-and-tropics seekers roll right in.

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Mount Yasur shows its frisky side to appeal to adventurous travelers. (photo by Rolf Cosar via Wikimedia Commons)
As for Mount Yasur, I discovered a few tidbits that set it apart from any garden-variety volcano:

  • The glow from one of its eruptions brought it to the attention of Captain James Cook, who was the first European to visit.
  • Mount Yasur is central to the beliefs of the John Frum cargo cult. Never heard of a cargo cult? Imagine a pre-industrial civilization meeting an industrial civilization for the first time, the influx of manufactured goods and the deification who brought all this wonderful new stuff. There are at least three other cargo cults scattered across Vanuatu, and many others throughout the South Pacific.
  • Mount Yasur is easily accessible. But heed the local warning system, which ranges from 1-4 (the most dangerous).

What you have is a South Pacific holiday destination that’s cheap, interesting and adventurous. And since it’s still an up-and-coming destination, the odds are good that you’ll be one of the few people at any gathering telling travel stories about Vanuatu.

This post contains links to WanderingJustin.com supporters that can help you create your own South Pacific adventure. 

 

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Fiji Travel – Find Your South Pacific Island Adventure

Nadi is where your Fiji travel adventure starts. (By Henning Blatt)

Fiji has always seemed like a relaxing place to me – a South Pacific honeymoon travel destination with sparkling waters, all-inclusive resorts, couples massage.

Sure, Fiji is all that. But there’s an adventurous side to Fiji holidays.

Hiking for Dinosaurs in Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

Just ask Kayla, who calls her visit to the mountains in Koroyanitu National Heritage Park a "Jurassic Park" adventure. Judging from the photos, I can’t disagree. The green foliage is that stunning hue that electrifies my eyeballs – but hey, I’ve lived in a desert for 30 years. So what’s in the park? Epic hiking trails, waterfalls, low-lying clouds that cling to the mountain tops. That sounds alright to me! Visitors say it’s a great break from the beach -- in other words, a chance to get under some forest and cloud cover when you’ve had enough South Pacific sun for awhile. The only thing you’ll miss is a real dinosaur.

Hit the Rapids

Whitewater rafting is another Fiji travel highlight. We’re not talking about massive rapids that threaten to capsize you at every bend. But you’ll see fern grottoes, exotic birds and that feeling like you’ve turned back in time. For me, that’s one of the most valuable parts of a good adventure – just being away from the crush of crowds and feeling like you’re exploring. Sure, I know you’re not. But it’s still nice to let the imagination run.

Cave in for the Kava

I can’t write about Fiji travel without thinking about kava. Never heard of it? It’s a plant related to the pepper, and it’s prepared as a drink with some serious potency. I’ve heard about everything from a mildly numb tongue to full-blown hallucinations. You might want to read J. Maarten Troost’s "Getting Stoned With Savages" to get an idea of what it might taste and felel like. He certainly did get his fill of kava while in the South Pacific! It doesn’t sound tasty – but it must be a great way to produce a nearly unbeatable travel story while experiencing the true Fiji culture.

Get There!

Chances are your Fiji travel will start with a flight into Nadi International Airport. You can count on Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Korean Air, JetStar and Virgin Australia to get you to the South Pacific from some part of the globe. Fiji is a pretty easy destination to reach from Australia or New Zealand. If you’re from the U.S. like me, you just might have to drop into Sydney or Auckland before reaching Fiji (hint: You can turn that into a fun layover),

This post is sponsored by AllFiji.com.au. As part of a network travel blogs and sites, All Fiji helps network connects users Australia-wide with the travel information they are looking for. It’s a great source for Fiji travel information.