Vanuatu & New Caledonia Adventure


Get the perfect mix of South Pacific rest and play on this 13-day adventure. In Vanuatu, you’ll snorkel around the protected coral reefs of Pele, hike to the rim of Mt Yasur and learn about the John Frum movement in Tanna. In New Caledonia, you’ll feel the mix of Melanesian culture and French influence in Noumea, admire the natural beauty of Blue River National Park and Giant Fern Park and experience the longstanding tribal Kanak traditions with an overnight village stay. Add in plenty of time to relax beachside with your like-minded travellers and this’ll be an island excursion like no other.

14 days, from

$5,409

per person

GROUP SIZE

8 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: TESVC
Style: Original
Theme: Expedition

Details

Countries Visited:  New Caledonia Vanuatu
Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights), Village Bungalows (3 nights), Traditional Fare (1 night)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Boat , Plane
Included Meals:

  • 13 breakfasts
  • 10 lunches
  • 5 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 8

  • Travel to the home of the John Frum movement in Tanna, learning about how these indigenous villages have incorporated WWII iconography into their religious traditions.

  • Gaze in awe at the diverse landscapes of New Caledonia, from the mighty Kaori trees in the Blue River National Park to lush rainforest and endemic plant species in the Giant Fern Park near Farino.

  • Hike to the rim of Mt Yasur, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and in the evening watch the smoke and lava billowing create a natural fireworks display (from a safe distance, of course).

  • Snorkel in the clear waters around Pele and see the remarkable coral reef that is protected as part of a marine reserve.

  • Visit a remote tribal village in the New Caledonian foothills and experience the day and night living in local Kanak tradition. Learn of the lifestyle and customs of these communities and spend the night in a traditional fare house.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Port Vila

Halo! Welcome to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at 5 pm at your accommodation tonight. If you arrive with time to spare before the welcome meeting, maybe head to the heart of the city for Port Vila's produce market and the waterfront promenade, just a short walk away. There's also the option of hiring a sea kayak from the hotel and taking to the ocean for a true taste of the Pacific.

Day 2: Port Vila – Rentapao River

Today, you'll discover some of Efate’s best spots. A 25-minute scenic drive will take you to the exclusive kayak base on the Rentapao River. Experience Vanuatu’s rainforest and village life as you paddle its safe waters for 3 hours. After a French-style lunch at the river’s edge, transfer upstream to the river cascades, a great place to swim, relax and shake off any jet lag. You'll be back at your hotel by mid-afternoon, allowing ample time to discover more of Port Vila and choose a place for your optional dinner tonight.

Day 3: Tanna

It is an early morning start today for your Air Vanuatu flight to the legendary southern island of Tanna. From there, it's a short transfer to your beachside bungalow, your home for the night. After an included local lunch, begin the first of your amazing Tanna hikes. High on a ridge overlooking the coast is the world’s largest banyan tree. Your path there will loop back through scattered villages, food gardens and rainforest – a great opportunity to meet ‘the happiest people in the world’ going about their daily lives. Hiking time may be from 1.5 to 3 hours total depending on the route taken. Arriving back at your bungalow, enjoy the sunset and maybe a cool drink at a local bar, and keep an eye out for whales that cruise along the coast from July onwards. You'll have dinner as a group, before spending a peaceful night in your beach bungalow.

Day 4: Tanna – Mt Yasur

Get ready for a big day today! Start with a drive across the spine of the island to your new accommodation and a John Frum village hidden in the rainforest at the foot of a smouldering volcano. Road conditions permitting, you'll have a short dip in the Sulphur Bay hot springs before travelling to Port Resolution, named after one of Captain Cook’s ships. After lunch, return to the foot of the volcano and hike along a rutted road to the rim of the volcano (a driving option to the crater carpark is also available for those who would prefer). Throughout the hike, you'll feel the ground shaking and hear the volcano rumbling, and finally, as you arrive at the crater rim in the late afternoon, you'll be amazed at the firework show that awaits. Return from the volcano in the evening for a late dinner at your beachside bungalow.

Day 5: Tanna – Port Vila

This morning you'll head into the jungle-clad hills to a ‘kastom’ village. The community here has long rejected modern life and conserve many aspects of traditional lifestyle. Learn about traditional rites of passage along with their proud links to Prince Phillip as your leader guides you around the village. While life around them is definitely changing fast, it's an interesting insight into a community that's at the cusp of making decisions about their future, and how tourism can help to conserve long held practices. Have lunch at a local cafe in town and a stop at a coffee shop brewing local beans before returning to the airport for an afternoon flight back to Port Vila.

Day 6: Pele & Nguna Islands

After the spectacular culture, rainforest and volcano on Tanna, today you head to a pristine tropical island, renowned for its marine conservation area. It's a scenic drive via Efate’s west coast to the boat landing, stopping at coffee roaster along the way, followed by a short boat ride to Pele island. After a local lunch on the beach, you'll go snorkelling (weather permitting) in the marine conservation area. Expect lots of fish, maybe the occasional turtle and plenty of hard corals and small canyons and crevasses to explore. Around sunset, take a boat over to neighbouring Nguna for a village walk before returning to Pele. There is also the option to take on a more challening 3-hour volcano walk once back on Pele. Your accommodation for the night is at beachside bungalows on Pele hosted by the village women.

Day 7: Pele & Nguna Island – Port Vila

This morning there's the option for a round island walk on Pele or to head back to Nguna for a hike. The round island walk will take you along beaches and exposed reefs as well as through plantations and communities. The Nguna hike will reward you with spectacular views of the surrounding seascape. Return by boat back to Efate for lunch at a restaurant. Savour your memories as you take in the lovely views across to the islands on the drive back to Port Vila, but this time along the east coast road, meaning you also get to do a round-Efate tour. There are lots of roadside markets to explore and plenty of photo opportunities. Stop for a swim at the sublime Blue Lagoon. Arrive back at your Port Vila accommodation for your final night together in the late afternoon or early evening. Finish the trip with an optional farewell dinner, a fantastic way to finish your Vanuatu adventure.

Day 8: Port Vila - Noumea

After breakfast, say goodbye to your leader and any group members who may be finishing their travels here in Vanuatu. Then, head to the airport for a flight to New Caledonia (not included). Once you’ve touched down on the laidback shores of Noumea, you’re free to explore New Caledonia’s main city at your own pace.

Day 9: Noumea

There are no activities planned for today except for another welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, so you'll have the day to explore. Perhaps visit the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Museum of World War II or St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. The market at Port Moselle is a great place to go people-watching, as well as see all the tropical produce, seafood and souvenirs on offer.

Day 10: Blue River National Park – Noumea

After breakfast, join your small group on a drive into the secluded Blue River National Park. This spectacular slice of nature in New Caledonia’s centre is a sanctuary of local flora, wildlife and biodiversity. Deep red earth contrasts with striking green mountainscapes and lakes in this provincial park, which is approximately 9000 hectares of untouched national land. Head deep in the park on foot and in a 4WD, stopping by the Guepyville and Drowned Forest lookouts across the wooden Perignon Bridge and along the Cagou Birds Trail, hopefully spotting iconic Caledonian birdlife. Find a scenic spot by the riverside and enjoy an included French-style picnic provided by your guides. Continue into the rainforest through the Giant Kaori trees dotted through the canopies, looking out for the cagou birds high above and then maybe stop for a refreshing swim. Later, return to Noumea for a free evening.

Day 11: Kanak Village

Today, leave Noumea behind and drive to Boulouparis. When you arrive, hop on a boat with your group for about 30 minutes to the natural marine reserve of Tenia Island. From here, you can choose to go on a self-guided snorkelling adventure with the colourful fish or, alternatively, head out on an island walk. When you’ve had your fill of activities, sit down for a picnic lunch with your leader before heading back to Boulouparis. Drive to Bourail, where you’ll spend the night, stopping at Fort Teremba on the way – this old prison once housed convicts in the 1880s! Your night is free in Bourail, so maybe ask your leader where the best local eats are.

Day 12: Bourail

This morning after breakfast, you’ll head out to see some of the highlights of the seaside, including Turtle Bay and Nera Beach. Go on a few short walks and lap up the gorgeous ocean scenery. Head to the picturesque Poe Beach – a UNESCO World Heritage site – for lunch with a view. The beach is only 2 km away from the barrier reef, so this is a gorgeous spot for a swim, too! After, you’ll visit the Parc des Grandes Fougeres, or Giant Fern Park, for a guided walk deep in the lush rainforests. Your local guide will take you through parts of this World Heritage-listed site, featuring around 13,000 species of fern, 70% of which are endemic. Later this afternoon, head to a remote Kanak Village for a memorable night with local villagers. Deep in the foothills of New Caledonia’s mountain range, these villages are a haven for nature lovers. You’ll be welcomed into tribal culture, learning about the customs and traditions of the local people. Tonight, you’ll stay in simple dormitory-style accommodation in a fare (village house) and be treated to the traditional dish bougna for dinner.

Day 13: Farino – Boulouparis – Noumea

This morning, you’ll have breakfast with the group and then head out on a walk to a local waterfall. When you return to the village, take some time to learn about daily life here – Kanak communities across New Caledonia comprise around 44% of the island population and share significant connections to spirituality and the land. You’ll sit down with your hosts for a homemade lunch of local, organic food, which is a great chance to swap stories. Later, say goodbye to your hosts and return to Boulouparis to visit a boutique where locally produced organic soaps and cosmetic products are sold – including essential oils made from naiouli leaves and other New Caledonian plants. After exploring the shop and maybe purchasing a souvenir to bring home, return to Noumea for the night.

Day 14: Noumea

With no activities planned for today, you’re free to leave the group after breakfast this morning. That doesn't mean your Pacific Islands adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time in Noumea, we'll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).