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.

Lava adventure
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 know!).

Good things to keep in mind:
  • 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.

What goes up must come down
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 (the ‘cargo’).

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 tide.

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. Vanuatu Visitor Guide

Vanuatu Visitor Map