As some of y'all are aware, Jenny and I have just recently spent a week and a bit having a holiday break in Vanuatu. I'll eventually get around to posting some photographs, but thought I might just say a few words about the place.
In brief, we loved Vanuatu. Although it was technically winter, the maximum temperatures were uniformly in the high 20s Celsius. We had some rainy days, but also enough sunshine to have come home very slightly tanned - which is all anyone wants these days, right? If the country has a dark side to it, we didn't see it during our time there. The water was warm for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking (none of these being activities that we claim to be especially good at, but we enjoyed them), the quality of the food on offer was high, and the water in Port Vila is fine to drink. Vanuatu may be a tiny developing country, but the standard of living is relatively high, and everyone we encountered appeared healthy and happy. Once again, there may be misery somewhere on the islands, but if so we didn't see any sign of it from our (admittedly privileged) vantage as Australian tourists.
One highlight was visiting the volcano (Mt Yasur) on Tanna island (quite a rigorous trek that is not for the frail or faint-hearted, though it's fine if you have even a basic level of physical fitness). At the time, Mt. Yasur was at level 2 in activity, allowing us to approach quite close to the crater and get a good look at the ash and lava bombs blasting up into the air almost continuously (at level 3, they would have been falling on our heads if we'd been standing in the same position).
We stayed at this place, Tropicana Lagoon Apartments, which I can only say nice things about. The hosts and staff were friendly and helpful way beyond the call of duty. So this para here can stand as a free plug for them.
I've gotta say that it was a bit of a wrench coming home, where it is a cold winter by Sydney/Newcastle standards, and where a whole lot of work awaits me. Photos are still to come, but meanwhile if any of my beloved readers are contemplating a trip to Vanuatu ... absolutely do not hesitate. For us, it was a slice of paradise.