Wednesday, January 5, 2011


And so I'm back. Back to Australia and back to work after a wonderful 10 night stay in Vanuatu. In good news, this also means I'm back to blogging. What better way to resume my writing in 2011, but with a brief run down of our time away?!

My entire family ("entire" may lead you to believe we're a large family, but "entire" really only consists of my folks, my beloved and myself) decided to get away to Efate for Christmas and New Years. We've all visited the island a number of times. In fact, this was my parents' fifth visit in around 6 years (I suspect that immigration are starting to get suspicious!). This time, was the first time that we decided to stay in a holiday house (sadly not our own) in a more remote part of the island and hire a car - an Isuzu ute that came in very handy for transporting locals and their goodies. These were two excellent decisions, as I no longer much care for big resorts with (what's the collective term for bogans?) a throng (thong?) of bogans! For all non-Aussie readers here's some more information on the fascinating individuals who make up the subspecies of bogans!

I digress! Our time away was truly relaxing and invigorating. It was such bliss to escape the silly season Down Under and truly unwind. Despite escaping festivities at home, we still managed to eat (blog post still to come with thoughts on my eating experiences, including reviews of a number of restaurants in which we dined), drink (G&Ts proved a hit in the humidity) and become particularly gifted cribbage and scrabble players during our time away.

Trip highlights included:
The glorious vista we enjoyed from the property in the sun,
in the rain,
at sunset, 
and early in the morning

We were thrilled by the newly paved round island road - trust me, this is a significant improvement on the previously potholed and oft precarious driving conditions.
Did I say previously precarious driving conditions?? Perhaps it is still a tad dangerous...

In any case, said road enabled us to better explore Efate. Furthermore, my beloved and I were overjoyed by our easy access to the stunning Blue Lagoon - undeniably one of our favourite places on earth.
On our penultimate trip to Vanuatu, we spent an entire lazy morning at Blue Lagoon, without seeing another soul. In fact, I was reluctant to mention the destination, as it seemed so precious and untarnished. However, it seems that my special spot has been "discovered" (yes, yes, I realise it was "discovered" quite some time ago!), with numerous tourists and locals frequenting the refreshing waters on both occasions we visited in December. I guess I no longer have to be quiet about this one!  

Other activities (although sadly photo-less, as we felt that we had captured enough images during previous trips), included snorkeling at Hideaway Island and Tara Beach Resort, a dip in the picturesque Mele Cascades, a lap-lap lesson with the local family who looked after our name a few...

We particularly enjoyed sharing a vodka (or two...or three) with local artistic icon and friend, Aloi Pilioko. This was the first time we visited since Aloi's partner Nicolai Michoutouchkine sadly passed away. We were delighted that he has continued to paint and found his most recent works to be vibrant and inspiring. I was thrilled to purchase a new addition to our humble art collection - our second "Pilioko" (my parents already have four, including a stunning 2x2m canvas, which adorns the lounge room). His work emanates a kind of naivety that really resonates with all of us. 

The Port Vila market (as always) was a joy

...and the "boys" had a great time with new years eve fireworks, which have been banned in Australia for some time. 
Finally, as cat lovers, we were overjoyed to be joined by these little guys (and Mum) on our first night. Over the subsequent 10 days, we did all we could to ensure they will have the best possible start to life. 
I don't hold high hopes for these little guys, but will leave my passionate animal activist thoughts to another day. If this isn't the best photograph of kitten ever, I don't know what is:

So there you have it, folks. A very brief outline of our most recent holiday to beautiful Vanuatu. I've skimmed over so many details and would be happy to answer any questions more thoroughly - ask away! In the spirit of this blog, I also promise a rundown of our dining experiences (the good and the bad) in the next week - keep your eyes peeled!


  1. Looks so amazing! We have just booked our first holiday in Vanuatu and can't wait to go. I was just wondering about renting a car and driving around the island, but I was worried about the roads. Looks like we have nothing to worry about. Where is that blue lagoon? Is it safe to swim there? I am always so nervous about sea creatures. eeek! :)
    And that is DEFINITELY the cutest kitty photo ever!!!

  2. Hi Laura, you must be so excited! I just saw on your blog that you'll be staying at Sunset Bungalows - it's a very relaxing place - we stayed there 18 months ago and I have highly recommended it since. Say 'hi' to Annie there for me :)
    Absolutely nothing to worry about with the roads (with the exception of some smaller potholed roads, which you just need to take slowly).
    The Blue Lagoon is on the south east coast of Efate. It's very close to Eton beach (which is well marked on maps). When driving from Port Vila you'll see a sign pointing right to a driveway that says "Blue Hole" (from memory). Turn down that driveway, give the local family 300VT (approx $3AUD) and enjoy. You can definitely swim there without fear of sea creatures, as it's a partially fresh water lagoon.
    Hope you have a ball, Laura! :)

  3. thank you so much!!! Yippee! I am even more eager to go now. I haven't left Melbourne since moving here 6 years ago and I so badly need to get out somewhere :). I am so eager to see that blue lagoon and take a looot of photos! :)
    By the way, I wonder if that Annie still works there at sunset bungalows. I read some comments of erakor island and there seems to be an Annie working there now. I was wondering if that is the Annie who used to be at sunset bungalows.. hmm.. I think I have been reading too many things at Tripadvisor already. LOL!

  4. Tripadvisor is such a great source of info - especially the forums! I'd be interested to know if Annie has moved over to Erakor - she was such an asset, so I wouldn't be surprised if she was "poached". Hope you have a wonderful break from Melbourne's awful Summer (where is the sun?!?!) and I look forward to reading about your experiences :)

  5. Annie was over at Erakor in October 2011 she is a gem.

  6. Thanks for the update, Anon - I hope she's doing well over there - what a kind-hearted, delightful person she is! :)

  7. Hi, we are going to Vanuatu in September, I just saw a pic of the water inlet/beach with the high rock formations surrounding it and was wondering where that is?? It looks magical!

    1. Hi Anon, thanks for your post. I hope you love Vanuatu!! That picture is taken from a holiday rental property, Sanddollar - see:
      I have stayed on Efate a number of times and once at Sanddollar. It was picturesque and quite isolated - very relaxing! :)

    2. Hi Georgia, thanks for the reply :) I'm looking very forward to Vanuatu, and will no doubt love it! It's hard to stop myself from researching all the things about Vanuatu, as my Fiance is one who very much wants to be pleasantly surprised on the Honeymoon, while I am a "planner"! But I just HAD to find out where this spot was! We'll definitely look into it!

    3. Awesome - I hope you have a fabulous honeymoon! I too am a planner, so I totally get your need to suss everything out before heading over there :)