Tanna - the Adventure Lovers' Dream
By Astral Summer
Confront your sense of mortality and stare down an active volcano. Be
captivated by cult ceremonies. Swim in dreamy underwater caves. Snorkel
amongst cobalt coral gardens. Reach untouched waterfalls. Watch over
wild horses, and get to know an ancient culture that remains largely
unchanged. You may know Vanuatu to be where bungy-jumping originated, but that’s just the beginning of the adventure story and your love affair with this magic place.
The island of Tanna
is Vanuatu’s most popular adventure destination, mostly due to the
fiery and always active Mount Yasur, which must be the most easily
accessible volcano in the world. Only an hour from the airport across
the black ash plains by 4WD truck, it’s just a short 10-minute walk to
the crater rim, where you can check out exciting displays coming from
the three vents.
The best way to view this active volcano is to venture forth in the late
afternoon and stay into the evening. As dusk falls, the dramatic colour
changes give an awesome display of erupting lava and fireworks (if you
come up with a word more apt than ‘awesome’ for this, then let us
Good things to keep in mind:
What goes up must come down
- The wet season tends to have the most spectacular eruption displays.
- Due to the force of the upwelling hot air, no one has ever
fallen in to the molten magma, but it also means you should be wary that
your camera tripod may be blown backwards if set too close to the edge.
Over the years of constant volcanic eruption, layers of black ash have
built up to create the perfect ash-sand surfing conditions. Surfing a
volcano – now that’s rad!
Love this life
Tanna’s 30,000 inhabitants have largely kept their original custom and
culture. Ceremonies, including the annual yam festival, circumcision
rites and marriages, are frequent events and feature the unique Tannese
face painting that is often seen in photos of Vanuatu.
Cult - your fix
Tanna is the home of the John Frum cult, which anthropologists term a
cargo cult where members believe that by performing magic and religious
rituals and practices, the deity will reward them with material wealth
At a John Frum village, villagers worship a figure said to be returning
from the US with worldly goods to give to them. The villagers celebrate
John’s prospective return on Friday nights with music and dancing.
Visitors are welcome. February 15 is John Frum Day.
Snorkelling at the Blue Hole
Check out the coral hole in the reef face at White Grass. Spanning about
100m across and 2-3m deep, it has a stunning variety of coral and
tropical fish to scope out beneath the surface.
Like something out of a pirate movie
Lemnap Cave is only accessible by boats departing from the Blue Hole and
sailing along the limestone coast. This underwater cave is a stunning
grotto, 60m in diameter with light through a 5m hole in the centre,
which turns the water a brilliant turquoise colour. The cave is
accessible by duck diving under the cliff wall, or by swimming at low
Wild horses roaming White Grass Plains
The island is a mixture of savannah, forest and rugged mountains –
stretching from the grasslands and scrub of the north-west to the
mountains and dense forest of the south-west. Hike the White Grass
Plains and watch hundreds of wild horses with a sensational panoramic
backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and coastline. The fertile centre contains
thriving market gardens that produce a vast variety of fruit and
vegetables, and the country’s best-known product, Tanna coffee.
Embark upon your own adventure. Order your free Jasons Vanuatu Visitor Map and Vanuatu Visitor Guide.