Move along. Nothing typical to see here.
It challenged every preconceived idea I’d ever had about Vanuatu being a ‘typical’ South Pacific nation. So naturally I jumped at the opportunity to visit it again last month and whilst I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be as exciting the second time around, all fears of the mundane were banished the minute I heard it roar!
To stand on the crater’s edge of an active volcano as it belches and spits molten lava high above you is one of those surreal moments in life that you can never prepare yourself for. When the earth beneath your feet rumbles and the smouldering crater bellows into action sending forth its thick sulphur and ash laden cloud, you can’t help but be humbled by its power, its might and its fearsome brute force.
Let’s hear it for Mother Nature.
It’s not just the fact that you are witnessing Mother Nature at her most mesmerising, but that you do so directly from its ash laden peak surrounded by boulders of discarded lava, with absolutely no barriers to protect you except common sense and the experience of your local guide who knows where ‘it is best to stand today’ taking into account the wind direction and the Volcanoes anger level. “If this was anywhere else in the world we’d be parked 20 kms away and viewing it with binoculars” a colleague noted to the hearty agreement of all in earshot.
As one of the world’s most accessible active Volcanoes, there is absolutely no excuse not to tick this once in a lifetime experience off your bucket list. Vanuatu is only 3 ½ hours flying time from Sydney and a mere 2 ½ hours flying time from Brisbane, with Tanna less than an hour’s domestic flight from Port Vila. The popular White Grass Resort is located on the western side of the Island, 2 hours drive from Yasur. Tours depart daily from all resorts, subject to weather conditions and the Volcano’s ferocity.
A few tips before you embark on this amazing adventure:
- The road to/from the Volcano is an unmade dirt road and it can be quite (and in some instances very) rough.
- Given the altitude the evenings can get cool and during Vanuatu’s winter (Jun – Sep) I am talking ‘take a jumper or fleece, long pants and closed in shoes ’ kind of cold. Some resorts will transfer you to/from in the back of a converted ute which makes it even colder!
- You drive most of the way up the Volcano and walk the last 5 – 10 minutes up the steep incline. Reasonable fitness is required to make the journey and shoes that are good for walking in.
- If it is raining you cannot visit the volcano simply because the vehicles cannot access it. Therefore allow more than a 1 night stay in Tanna to ensure that you have the maximum opportunity to visit it. Apart from anything else, Tanna is one of THE most culturally abundant Islands in the Pacific and the Volcano is just one of the many ‘must see’ attractions available.
- Take a torch from your resort! The track back to the vehicle is littered with boulders of previously expelled lava and are tricky to avoid in the dark.
Exhausting adventure. But worth it.
You return to your resort at about 8pm. You ache in places you didn’t even know you had from being tossed around in the back of the land cruiser on your journey to and fro. You are filthy from the ash. You smell of sulphur. You are exhausted…and starving. And you’ll swear black and blue that your visit to the Volcano was hands down one of the best holiday experiences you have ever had! Click here for our latest holiday packages for Tanna