Top Ten Vanuatuan Attractions

Top Ten Vanuatuan Attractions

V1Men looking for fish

       Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some 1,750 km (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 500 km (310 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. Europeans discovered the islands in 1605 with the arrival of a Spanish expedition led by Fernandes de Queirós in Espiritu Santo. In the 1880’s France and the UK claimed parts of the country, and in 1906 they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebridesthrough a British-French Condominium. An independence movement arose in the 1970’s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was created in 1980.

  1. The SS President Coolidge

    The SS President Coolidge was a luxury ocean liner that was originally built, along with her sister ship the SS President Hoover, for Dollar Steamship Lines. They were the largest merchant ships the US had built up to that time. In 1938, when the Dollar Steamship Lines collapsed, she was transferred to American President Lines. In 1941 she was converted to carrying troops in the South Pacific. Launched in February 1931, the SS President Coolidge was built by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in Newport News, Virginia, U.S. Prior to WWII, she was operated by the American President Lines as a luxury liner providing trans-Pacific passage and commercial service. The Coolidge was aimed at holiday makers seeking sun in the Pacific and Far East. During her time as a luxury liner, she broke several speed records on her frequent trips to Japan from San Francisco. Passengers had a luxurious experience on the ship with spacious staterooms and lounges, private telephones, two saltwater swimming pools, a barber shop, beauty salon, gymnasium and soda fountain. During WWII a mine struck and sank the ship off the coast of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. Divers see a largely intact luxury cruise liner and a military ship at once. They can swim through numerous holds and decks (earthquakes have collapsed sections). There are guns, cannons, Jeeps, helmets, trucks and personal supplies, a beautiful statue of “The Lady” (a porcelain relief of a lady riding a unicorn) chandeliers and a mosaic tile fountain. Coral grows around, with many creatures such as reef fish, barracuda, lionfish, sea turtles and moray eels. Lying on her side in 21-73m (70 – 240 ft) of water, the Coolidge is perhaps the most accessible shipwreck of this size and type. The wreck is one of the most desirable dives due to relatively shallow site, easy beach access, visibility. The depths involved mean that, with care and decompression stops, recreational divers can explore large parts of the wreck without specialized equipment. The massive expanse of the wreck, combined with the gradual downward slope, means that care must be taken monitoring depth, as the diver’s horizontal frame of reference may be skewed resulting in unaware continual gradual descent. The Times named the President Coolidge as one of the top ten wreck diving sites in the world
    Links: Top Ten Wreck Diving Sites, Top Ten Diving Sites, Top Ten Unique Swimming Destinations,,
  2. Champagne Beach

           Champagne Beach is a popular beach located on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. It is famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches, one of the best in the South Pacific. It is visited regularly by tourists and cruise boats from Australia. Its waters are very clear. Champagne Beach is located in adjacent and close proximity to Hog Harbour village on the northeast of Santo. This beach was named “Champagne Beach” because of the small gas bubbles that continuously rise from the volcanic sea floor creating fantastic underwater scenery, which is with combination of crystal clear water and extensive marine life is perfect for snorkeling and diving.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, Top Ten Oceanic Beaches,,
  3. Chief Roi Mata’s Domain

           Roy Mata was a powerful 13th century Melanesian chief from what is now Vanuatu. His elaborate grave, containing the bodies of over 25 members of his retinue, was discovered by French archaeologist Jose Garranger in 1967 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. Garranger was able to locate the grave on Retoka island by analyzing local folklore. According to legend, when Roy Mata conquered the land, his first goal was to unite the tribes. His reign is reputed to have been a peaceful one. Sadly, Roy Mata was poisoned to death by his brother, but his body was not buried on his homeland because the locals feared his spirit. To this date, the name Roy Mata is never used. In 2008, three sites associated with Roy Mata, on the islands of Efate, Lelepa and Artok, were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  4. Vatthe Conservation Area

    Links: Top Ten Volcanoes,
  5. The Nowon and Votwos of Ureparapara

           Ureparapara (also known as Parapara for short) is the 3rd largest island in the Banks Group in northern Vanuatu, after Gaua and Vanua Lava. It is an old volcanic cone that has been breached by the sea on its east coast, forming Divers Bay. Apart from this indentation, the island is circular in shape, with a diameter of eight kilometers. The land area is 39 km². The population was 437 in 2009.
  6. Yalo, Apialo and the sacred geography of Northwest Malakula

    Malakula Island, also spelled Malekula, is the 2nd largest island in the nation of Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean region of Melanesia. Its name, coined by James Cook, is apparently derived from the French mal au cul (literally, pain in the ass) and was inspired by the presence of cannibals, volcanic activity and other unpleasant features of the island at the time of its discovery.
  7. Lake Letas

           Lake Letas is the largest lake in Vanuatu, located in the center of the volcanic island of Gaua of the Banks Islands in northern Vanuatu. The lake is U-shaped, surrounding Mount Gharat on all sides except southwest. It is about 9 km long (north to south) and about 6 km wide, with an area of 19 km². It is situated in the center of the 20 km diameter island, and rests about 600 meters above sea level and it is about 360 meters deep. It is a fresh water lake with a temperature of 32° Celsius, where only eels and shrimps can survive. The water in the lake is not very clear, but has a greenish color. Water constantly flows out of the lake at a natural overflow located on the eastern side of the lake. The water flows about 3 km east to Siri Waterfall and then another 3 km through Namang or Mbe Solomul River before it reaches the sea. Local people say there is a canoe at the top of the lake which is used to cross the lake from the eastern side to get to Mount Gharat. The canoe is sometimes located on the eastern edge of the lake (near the water overflow), or sometimes on the north-eastern edge of the lake (nearest Gaua Airport). A rough estimate of the water flow rate out of the lake (during the dry season month of August 2006) was approximately 3 cubic meters per second. In the 1980’s it was suggested that the lake could be used as a resource for power generation to supply industrial developments but later the Tourism Council of the South Pacific has suggested that the lake should be included in Vanuatu’s protected area system.
  8. Links: Islands, Top Ten Oceanic Islands,,