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The Wonders of Vanuatu incorporating the Island of Espiritu Santo

Photograph: ©David Kirkland

From May 12-20, 2015 Red Hill Probus visited Vanuatu. Unfortunately a cyclone had swept through several of these islands some six weeks prior. Therefore, there was originally some degree of uncertainty about going. However, we could not have been more wrong! In fact we had a fantastic trip and everyone just loved the experience, meeting the friendly island people.

Firstly we visited the island of Espiritu Santo where it was untouched by the cyclone, staying across the water at the charming Aore Island Resort. The attached cottages were most comfortable and the food excellent. In the evenings we were entertained by the children’s water music and a band on the beach as we enjoyed a seafood buffet, swimming and snorkelling by the reef were other pleasures. A historic tour of the island with the American connections to World War II, plus a canoe trip and blue water hole experience, made for another interesting day.

Flying on to the capital Port Vila on the Island of Efate, we were able to see for ourselves some of the damage to the vegetation and houses. However, roads had been repaired, bridges reconstructed and the regeneration of the land was remarkable. Businesses were open as usual, some roofs awaited the regrowth of palm fronds for thatching, but the infectious enthusiasm and courageous spirit of the people was paramount. A positive improvement was that more electricity was being extended to villages where it had not been installed.

We visited several villages where we were made most welcome on our “around the island” tour. A high point was our meeting at Emua Village with the committee and children of the kindergarten and primary school. We brought gifts and sporting equipment which were much appreciated by the delightful children, who sang songs for us. Trade Travel is sending over desks to help equip their school.

The island of Tanna (an optional town) is a “must-see” The four-wheel drive through remarkable, rejuvenating landscapes of fern and jungle, leading to a moonscape before the towering volcano, was truly awesome. Climbing to the summit was an experience I’ll never forget, as it rumbled and hurled up rocks. Later towards sunset, the small plane which took us to Tanna flew around the volcano several times, enabling us to look into its glowing heart.

The people of Tanna need our support, though some resorts are using the next few months for refurbishment and extensions, others like Aore Resort and Le Lagon (at Port Vila) are fully operational. We did not experience any shortages of food; facilities and swimming complexes were of a high standard; transport around the island was safe and well organised with competent drivers and guides.

This is a holiday our club recommends. It has been a lesson to us to find out for ourselves, without being influenced by sensationalist media or negative “hear-say” reports. Thank you Trade Travel for your encouragement and excellent escort Grant McGlashan. You have provided us with a great holiday once again!

Red Hill Probus Club

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    • Our recent Trade Travel “A Big Week Outback” trip with the Probus Club of Breakfast Point showed us how important it is to look at the country in greater depth. Travelling with the Probus group enabled us to delve beneath the surface and see real outback families and experience the outback in all its many and varied facets. We would recommend the Trade Travel “A Big Week Outback” to all.Client of Trade Travel
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    • The girls in res are brilliant, when I need a quote or booking I go straight to them, knowing they’ll give us the best possible price and they know exactly what we need.”Val Henry
      Tour Coordinator for Donald Simpson Centre

    • Our "FAMIL" program is an excellent way for Group and Tour leaders to go and experience a destination first hand. You get to sample the airline, meet the accommodation and touring providers and sample the local cuisine. It is a WIN/WIN situation and a lot of fun!Mark O'Brien
      Trade Travel Director

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