Travel Diaries, Vanuatu
A humbling and incredible trip where we made new friends, lived simply and didn’t sweat the small stuff.
We shot our stunning Summer campaign in Vanuatu and loved it so much we just had to go back and explore the other islands with two girls who embody the spirit of our brand; Kiani Dobbyn and Josie Prendergast. This time we ventured to the largest island; Espiritu Santo (or simply known as Santo). It’s a whole lot more rustic and rugged than Port Vila and has a whole lot of secrets we might just share with you.
So... how do we get there?
Vanuatu is only a short 2.5 hour flight from Brisbane which makes it incredibly accessible and easy to get to! Air Vanuatu flew us there in comfort, let us take 9 foot longboards and were super accommodating with our bags and bags of bikinis. Santo is the first stop, before the plane ventures on to Port Vila and we all had love heart eyes as we started the descent and saw the bluest water and hundreds and thousands of pretty palm trees.
We could've stayed forever ...
We were lucky enough to stay at ‘ Moyyan House By The Sea’ which is a small boutique style accommodation option and could not be situated any closer to the shore. Our stay here was quite simply….perfect. Moyyan features faré style rooms with wooden shutters that let you feel the sea breeze as you sleep as well as your very own private deck and over-sized hammock.
Devouring all kinds of tropical fruit for breakfast became a daily ritual and dinner time was always made difficult with too much freshly sourced produce on the menu to choose from. We didn’t manage to see any Dugongs but they live right out the front and are often spotted frolicking in the welcoming warm waters.
“When it comes to surf, the island of Santo gets the best surf from November to April”
Contrary to popular belief, there is surf on Vanuatu but mainly on the island of Efate. The surf season is best from March-December when deep Antarctic lows send solid Southern swells to the South Coast. However, the island of Santo gets the best surf from November to April but a little less consistent. We may have gone too early in the season, and with little wind we didn’t find much. Josie managed to find some small bumps right out the front on a shallow reef. With her nimble and graceful style, she managed to manoeuvre around the rocks and got some sweet rides.
No surf no worries...
When there's no surf in Vanuatu there is plenty of other things to do. From snorkelling and swimming to horse riding on the beach and visiting the blue holes, we were spoilt for choice on this island paradise.
There are some spectacular sights under the sea...
Fabrice from Island Fishing Santo took us out on his boat one morning and we got to see and experience so much more. Having gown up in Vanuatu he filled us with knowledge on the history of the islas and made us feel super grateful to be where we were. He took us to the best snorkelling spots, took us to the island he grew up on and showed us some spectacular sights.
Champagne Beach is one of those bucket list places because it’s home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. Spending the day there playing with the local children is definitely one that will be marked on our memories forever. They didn’t speak a word of English but we managed to communicate in other ways; mostly by laughing, sharing food and riding tandem on the surfboards.
Other magic spots to visit...
The Blue holes literally took our breath away, in more ways than one. They are formed by springs of fresh pure water rising to the surface which results in a deep hole in the limestone. The Nanada Blue Hole was the highlight, surrounded by lush tropical jungle, bungalows to sit and enjoy a coconut in and cute wooden piers for the perfect photo. Port Olry is a tiny village on the North West side of Santo and we cruised up there for a day, stopping at local fresh fruit stalls, having turns trying to balance in the Outrigger canoe and finding secret swings and salt-washed wooden piers.
Beach horse riding, bucket list ... tick!
Because the surf was so flat we opted to go for horse rides along the beach which was a magical way to spend our last day. Our horses were not only happy and healthy but they LOVED the water as much as we did…We often had to remind them we were on their backs so they wouldn’t lie down in the pools. The ranch Megan has created as part of Santo Horse Adventures was simply amazing to see.
Spending a week in Santo didn’t feel like long enough, it was a humbling, inspiring and incredible trip where we made new friends, lived simply and didn’t sweat the small stuff. Paradise in the Pacific; our very own backyard. Now is the time to Discover Vanuatu