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112-115 HWK42 Vanuatu LR

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112-115 HWK42 Vanuatu LR

  1. 1. 1 2 3 Relax... the kids are having a ball! Turtles, organic food, aqua lagoons and duty- free shopping... monique van tulder discovers why Vanuatu is one of the most relaxing holidays a family could dream of. 01 Dance to the island beat 02 Kids at play. Image by David Kirkland, courtesy Vanuatu Tourism 03 Branching out at Blue Hole 04 Local reptilian wildlife 05 Peaceful Holiday Inn Resort 06 Impossibly Blue Hole I t’s beautiful... but it doesn’t look like France!” announces 10-year-old Henry. As our plane begins its descent I realise my pre-holiday talk of Vanuatu being a French-settled nation was probably hazy and confusing for my son’s perception of where we were spending the next five days. As I stretch across from my aisle seat to peer out at plentiful palm trees and the meandering coastline of jade-green water and fringing coral, I agree with him. The landscape does not resemble a European country at all. As a family we’ve holidayed at many tropical destinations. I know well that the Pacific is a region where the days sway along to the rhythm of relaxation, offering the perfect contrast to the military-style life most families juggle during school terms. Within hours of landing at the capital of Port Vila our boys have already declared this to be a favourite holiday... and for children who plane hop to different destinations at least four times a year this is high praise indeed. Also set against the lagoon’s brilliant blues is Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa, which offers activities galore, from tennis to golfing, and the idyllic Oasis Spa. Eratap Beach Resort is usually an adults-only retreat, but they open up to all ages during school holidays for ‘family weeks’. Here you’ll choose from a bounty of cultural activities such as fishing, cooking and surfing. The Vanuatu variety What are holiday memories without people in the picture? My 12-year-old, Benjamin, articulates the Ni-Vanuatu perfectly. “Kind and friendly,” he says. “That’s why they are called the happiest people on Earth!” We feel part of a cultural feast in this Melanesian nation, with British, French and Portuguese influences evident everywhere. The boys get a thrill as we drive on the right-hand side of the road, and learn to show appreciation three ways: “tankiu tumas”, “merci beaucoup” and “thank you”. Eating clean “If Vanuatu was a food it would be organic,” says the charming bus attendant Maria on our drive into Port Vila. With this in mind we seek out the food market; a pristine, bustling hub where prices are fixed – no haggling – which makes for a relaxing stroll. Here we sample a surprise local favourite of fluffy, home-baked bread spread So, you may rightfully be asking, what made our Vanuatu experience so positive? The stay, rest (and play) Family-friendly accommodation abounds here, and the question for us was which to choose when travelling with older kids. Gone is the luxury of shuffling the kids off to kids’ club; we needed to be sure we get a chance to ‘flop’ while the boys would be safely zooming from activity to activity. Our choice? The Holiday Inn Resort, nestled on sheltered Erakor Lagoon. Thanks to a recently appointed Teens Activity Coordinator we happily relax in beach huts while the boys sail, kayak, swim in the two pools, join new mates for beach volleyball, and learn how to use a local bow and arrow. Plenty of dining options give them the freedom to pick their own times for a milkshake and burger, and they can even take themselves off to the breakfast buffet as they please, leaving us to enjoy a well-deserved lie-in. vanuatu 112 volume 42 2015 www.holidayswithkids.com.au vanuatu 01 02 03 04 05 06
  2. 2. We relax in beach huts while the boys sail, kayak, swim and join new mates for beach volleyball Keep in mind that bargaining is not cultarlly acceptable in Vanuatu, but the duty-free prices are competitive. Hot Tip Information www.vanuatu.travel Getting there Air Vanuatu flies direct to Port Vila from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Virgin Australia flies direct to Port Vila from Brisbane (connecting from other major capital cities). www.airvanuatu.com www.virginaustralia.com.au Stay Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu www.vanuatu.holidayinnresorts.com Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa www.warwickhotels.com Eratap Beach Resort www.eratap.com Report Card VANUATU 4 5 08 07 Tanna Island volcano. Image by David Kirkland, courtesy Vanuatu Tourism  08 Swimming with turtles (and sharks)  09 Beautiful Eratap Beach Resort  generously with peanut butter and jam washed down with sweet milky tea. Another day we return to lunch on traditional root vegetables wrapped in banana leaves (lap lap), and enjoy dessert in the form of giant punnets of raspberries. All fresh. All delicious. At French restaurant, Le Jardin des Saveurs, Henry tries frogs’ legs (interesting but bony) and escargots (like chicken), while we all make short work of silky crème brûlée. Keeping active The boys cannot believe their eyes. The hues of the Blue Lagoon run the gamut of azure; but it’s the rope that has their attention. Dangling breathtakingly high; they watch until they get the hang of it – jump to grab, swing out, let go – splashing deep into the glorious springs. During our time in Vanuatu we swim with turtles and sharks, snorkel among a visual feast of rainbow fish, zipline high above the jungle, picnic on pristine beaches, wade through waterfalls, and even visit a village where the boys help feed animals and marvel at the freedom with which the local kids move from home to home. In the end we simply run out of time and reluctantly save zorbing (rolling downhill in a huge ball), waterfall abseiling and a flight to Tanna Island (an active volcano) for next time. Relaxation With such a variety of easily accessible fun for the boys we find ourselves easily able to unwind. By our second day I have read beyond chapter one of a novel – previously unheard of – and I glance up and catch my husband’s eye. “Relax,” he says. “The kids are having a ball!” I can see that they are – so I do. vanuatu 114 115www.holidayswithkids.com.au volume 42 2015 07 09 The ideal place to stay — with kids. Keep the children busy with our exciting daily activities program, tennis, kayaking, hobie-cat sailing and swimming in our two huge pools and special kiddie pool. Kids love the Funtastik Kids’ Club with its new mini cinema, Kids’ Kitchen and PlayStations! Spacious family rooms. While the kids are busy enjoy Oasis Spa and the gym. Just a few hours from Australia and NZ and only a five minute cab ride to Port Vila township, Warwick Le Lagon Vanuatu is the perfect holiday destination. www.lelagonvanuatu.vu or visit your favourite Travel Professional enchanted family holiday e info.lelagon@warwickhotels.com LL045 Holiday with Kids Ad.indd 1 19/11/2014 1:37:24 PM With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise the tropical islands of Vanuatu are so popular for Australian family holidays. There are resorts with Kids’Clubs, multiple restaurants and excursions, with plenty of nearby activities to explore. A short flight from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne means no jet lag. Put your wallet away – hot meals, drinks and in-flight entertainment are all complimentary. The friendliest smiles in the Pacific await you! See your travel agent or visit www.airvanuatu.com

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