27 July 2015

a little side trip...

Wow, I have to admit to a fairly major oversight. I completely forgot to tell you all about our major side trip. We went off for a little three night trip to Bonaira Beach Resort on Naviti Island. It was very different to here, but very nice, even if the food wasn’t as good. We had so fantastic sunsets and even managed to get a bonus cache!! This wasn’t the reason we went there, but when we arrived and I discovered that the next closest cache was only 3km away, it was just too hard not to go and get it.  Here are some photos.

The coral and swimming here was nice too....

21 July 2015


When we arrived here at the Fiji Orchard I was a little shocked with how flash it is.  That was Sunday and I have now well and truly adjusted to it.  We have one of 6 luxury garden bures. They seem to me to be of Japanese origin. Although they are a few years old, they are really comfortable. The front opens completely and it’s almost like being outside.
The pool here is just gorgeous. I am happy to say this place doesn’t even allow kids.  The food isn’t ace for me, but I am a bit fussy and I have no complaints.  Anyway I can’t say enough nice things about here. So nice in fact, that rather than booking an entire second week somewhere else, we have picked a small island to visit for 3 nights, then we are coming back here.

Here are photos (in no particular order). 

17 July 2015

underwater photography is hard`

Today was out last day on Tanna and our last real day in Vanuatu, as our flight back to Fiji leave really early tomorrow morning.  WE had enough time before our flight to have an other snorkel.  This time we knew just where to go and we got some really good shots, but it's quite hard because:

  • I don't have my glasses on
  • The bloody fish never stop moving
  • Snorkels aren't always the easiest things to see out of
  • The cameras screen is tiny.
Enough excuses, here are the shots from today.

harder than it looks
on to Fiji tomorrow

14 July 2015


The next adventure was the much anticipated trip to the Yasur Volcano!! The drive there was a little harrowing, the roads here basically just tracks. Pretty bad tracks. The tracks are the reason they still make 4WD’s as you certainly don’t need them at home. We travelled most of the trip at less than 30km/hr. And of course, although the volcano is only around 20km away, as the crow flows, it isn’t a direct route, and there are a few fairly substantial hills between here and there….. Did I mention the roads? Anyway, we made it, and even thought (much like a bushfire) the volcano makes it’s own weather and it was pretty shit awful at the top, it was f$%^&ing AMAZING!! And stinky and gritty. And LOUD! I did some pretty impressive little movies on my camera for the loud, but you will have to make do with this collage of photos. You don’t get to experience the sticky or gritty, so consider yourself lucky on that account.

blue cave

The first of our amazing adventures today was the Blue Cave

We took a tour about 9 or so km up the coast to the blue cave.  It was low tide, so we didn’t have to swim under water to get in.  It was really pretty inside.  As Neil said when we were in there, it’s going to be pretty hardtop take a bad photo in here.  So I think the photos say it all in this case.
The Blue Cave

13 July 2015

Photo test

If this works, it is a photo from Lelepa Island

Lelepa Island

Well, Lelepa was certainly a case of saving the best til last.  This was a really great trip, we both had the best day.  The young blokes running the tour were really nice, the snorkelling, once I got over my little issue with putting my head in the water and breathing without panicking, was totally amazing.  It also might have spoiled me for snorkelling for a while, as I suspect it is going to be pretty hard to beat.  The lunch was very tasty.  We then went to a cave which was pretty impressive.  From there it was on to the second even impressive snorkelling place.  This one was off the boat, which kind of freaked me out, as you couldn’t put your feet down, but I survived.  Lastly we went to the village on the island to have afternoon tea and shop.  At least with these souvenirs you could tell a lot of them were made on the island. After that it was back to the bus.  We were about to pull up when our driver got a phone call to say we had left our bus driver back on the island, so Neil and I got an extra bonus trip to the island and back, just us :)
*** Note ***

We are on Tanna now and the internet is quite shit.  I am not even going to attempt to load photos.  I’ll try and put a few on Instagram, so look there.  

11 July 2015

Port Vila

So I’ve been a bit quite after my last blog post, mostly cos we have been busy doing stuff here in Port Vila. We have had a few drives on the insane road in here, and are more used to it now.
On the day after we arrived, we did nothing… we wandered down the road to the next door accommodation and had dinner there, since our place has no restaurant (un be knownst to me when we booked…. Oh well)  When we walked back, in the dark, we saw heaps of cool creatures.  (land crab, coconut crab, massive snail and dragon fly)

The next day we headed into town in the mad bus.  It has a couple of massive cracks in the windscreen, no back windscreen and one of the side windows is tape.  Surprisingly, it is the worst bus we have seen.  Most of them are actually in quite good nick and the owners seem to take a fair bit of pride in them.  There is only one cache in Port Vila and we picked that up today.  Eventually, about 30 minutes late, the bus turned up, and it had magically morphed into another bus.  No, it was getting repaired and the man had sorted us out a lift.  We had dinner down the road again, as there really aren’t a heap of options.  At dinner we discovered that a set of fellow guests is a family from Thornbury.  They live about a km from us, they know the nephews and go to the same school.  Bloody small world.
The road

Thursday, we had booked in a round island tour, however we were never picked up, largely because of the shitty road is my suspicion, so the host here offered to take up on one instead.  This turned out to be pretty good as it was just the two of us.  We saw some cool things, including a heap of the north of the island where the really bad cyclone damage happened.  There were some cool swimming spots, but it was a pretty shitty day and way too cold for me to swim.  On the way home I got dropped off at the restaurant down the road, to save me the walk and Neil came back with the torch.  Dinner was a bit shit, cold!!! The other nights had been great so that as disappointing.
heading north

over the top and south

Yesterday, the plan was to do nothing, then do a tour of Lelepa Island the next day, but these had to be swapped when we found we couldn’t go on Saturday.  So instead we headed into town to stock up on a few supplies, mostly cash.  The trip home was a totally mess with organising to meet the bus.  After sitting around for an hour, we found a normal bus and took that out to Tanna Coffee, which is nearish our place, but on the right side of the mud.  We had a look around there, then started the walk back to our accommodation.  We were picked up by a nice lady who lives down the road and she dropped us off, which was nice as the walk would have killed me.  She didn’t have a lot of nice stuff to say about the owner of the place we are staying and how he runs the place.
Later that night we took the bus of doom (mentioned above) to local bar, that I can only assume is fairly ‘bali-like’  We thought it was pretty awful.  We were meant to have been booked for, but that didn’t work out.  The food was ok, they had nice cocktails (which I forgot to photograph)  However they have a local group of fire twirling dude come in and put on a show.  We were expecting the worst, but it turned out to be pretty dam impressive and we got some excellent photos.  Back on the bus of doom, we got eventually, the road in the dark was even more fun, really.
fire show!!!

Today, we did nothing!!  It’s after 6 and my step count is just over 3500 and might hit 4k, but I doubt it.  The only thing I did today was ring the Lelepa Island tour dudes myself, as I am not missing out on that, we have made our own arrangements for getting picked up.  They involve me walking a little further, but I am not going to be mucked around and miss-out, particularly as we haven’t had a lot of luck with booking though our accommodation.
Tomorrow is our last full day here and we are having an all day tour of Lelepa Island, it should be pretty good, I just hope it’s warm enough to have a swim.  It has been pretty overcast today, with one a few small sunny breaks.  The weather forecasts here are a bit shit, so it’s sort of wake up and see how it is.

Monday, we are up bright and early, into the bus of doom and off to the airport for out flight to Tanna.  I had another look at the cache page today for the volcano cache (http://coord.info/GC1HW2K) and looking at all the photos I am soooooooo excited about that!!!

07 July 2015


So the traveling took ages. We left at 11pm ish from Melbourne and arrived at Nadi airport at just before 6am. I was slightly daised in my usual no sleep fashion. We did the usual stand in ques thing and finally made it out of the airport. 
We wandered over the the departure area and found we could leave our bags there for a small fee, which we did. The nice man out the front, Nikki told us about a place in town that had just opened were we could hang out until 11am when we had to come back and start the whole check-in process again for the flight to Vanuatu. Unfortunately the taxi driver didn't really know where this place we'd been told about was, so we were just dropped off in the middle of town, at around 8am and we sort of wandered around for a bit. It was pretty warm, which I know is the idea of the holiday, but phew!! I'm not used to it. Eventually, after we found somewhere to eat, we kind of gave up on being adventurous and found an other taxi to take us back to the airport. Yes, we whimped out. 
We found some horizontal surfaces and had some sort of sleep. Eventually check-in opened and we went through, got some food, sat around and only 20mins late, the plane boarded. We arrived and landed nearly 30 mins late as the weather here is a bit interesting at the moment. The virgin flight was cancelled. 
We found out host, and eventually our little mini bus. We went to the supermarket as our accommodations kitchen is out of action from Cyclone Pam. I didn't realise this. Bugger. 
I know I knew this before we left, but.... It really is 3rd world here. People live in huts. The roads and the road rules are just non-existent. The evidence of Cyclone Pam is everywhere. 
Driving to our accommodation part of the road used to be along the beach. It was washed away in the cyclone. The alternative road, if you can call it that, was an experience. I wouldn't have been comfortable driving it out car, which is all wheel drive, and we went along it in a 2WD mini van.... I'm amazed we arrived at all. I think it's part of the reason I am happy just to sit around here for the day, so I don't have to brave that road. 
It was only a section and apparently there has been a fair bit of rain. Who knows maybe it'll improve if it drys out a bit. 
Out little house is nice. Unfortunately it is painted yellow on the inside so it does make me look very ill. 
It's pretty overcast at the moment so any photos will look a bit shit. I'll take some latter. Ok. Back to sitting around now :)