MAKE A QUICK PA­CIFIC GET­AWAY

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET VANUATU -

Maybe you vis­ited on a cruise or your par­ents hol­i­dayed there, but chances are you’ve pegged Van­u­atu as a flopand-drop des­ti­na­tion with­out know­ing all it has to of­fer.

And if your an­nual leave bal­ance is reach­ing HR-alert lev­els but you can’t con­ceiv­ably take a long break, the 3.5 hour flight from Syd­ney – only 2.5 hours from Bris­bane – means you can touch down and wind down fast.

“In­creas­ingly, Aus­tralians are look­ing for that quick get­away,” Van­u­atu Tourism Of­fice rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ge­or­gia Gregerson says.

“We’re not tak­ing as much leave and we want to have some­thing that’s re­ally easy.”

Post-Cy­clone Pam (which hit the ar­chi­pel­ago in 2015), re­sorts have been re­fur­bished, new ones have opened and vis­i­ta­tion is up 26 per cent.

“It def­i­nitely is for honey­moon­ers who want to go to a beau­ti­ful re­sort but then also be able to get out and do things to­gether … but in gen­eral, Van­u­atu is just re­ally amaz­ing for peo­ple trav­el­ling in pairs be­cause it does have a lot of bou­tique cou­plesonly re­sorts,” Gregerson says. CELESTE MITCHELL

AF­FORD­ABLE

Re­mem­ber the Beach Boys’ lyrics, “we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow”? Well, this is your own Kokomo, 10 min­utes from the cen­tre of Port Vila. You’ll wake up to the view over the re­sort’s in­fin­ity pool and out to the pri­vate beach be­yond your Beach­front Stu­dio, which is more of a self-con­tained apart­ment with kitchen fa­cil­i­ties. Stock up at the lo­cal mar­kets for ro­man­tic meals in but don’t skip meals at the on-site Cafe Villa or the chance to cook your own cut of Van­u­atu’s de­li­cious or­ganic beef at the com­mu­nal bar­be­cue. Grab a cou­ple of kayaks and pad­dle across to Erakor Is­land and up Sec­ond La­goon. If you’re more of a wave hunter, you’ll find a surf shop 10 min­utes away where you can hire boards and suss out the best spots to surf.

NASAMARESORT.COM

MID-RANGE

Built into the cliffs of Erakor La­goon, the Ra­mada Re­sort Port Vila opened in March, just a few min­utes’ drive from down­town Port Vila. Here you’ll eas­ily sink into the warm em­brace of Van­u­atu’s lo­cal life­style. Shop at the mar­kets to fill the fridge in your love nest and head out for snorkelling trips, kayak­ing, horserid­ing, zip lin­ing and more. Spa­cious Ju­nior Suites in­clude buf­fet break­fast and com­pli­men­tary Wi-Fi and if you’re keen to self-cater there’s a kitch­enette with mi­crowave, hot­plates and a dish­washer. But if you want to leave it all up to some­one else, sam­ple the lo­cal restau­rants down­town – and per­haps pop into a kava bar – oth­er­wise, the on-site Akiriki Res­tau­rant serves up Me­lane­sian and Poly­ne­sian­in­spired eats with a French twist.

RAMADARESORT.COM.VU

TOP END

Tamanu on the Beach knows the recipe for ro­mance: open-air bath­rooms, free­stand­ing tubs, mos­quito nets sur­round­ing the beds and a French Caribbean vibe. Re­opened in Novem­ber 2016 af­ter a $3 mil­lion up­grade and ren­o­va­tion af­ter dam­age sus­tained in Cy­clone Pam, the orig­i­nal six rooms have mul­ti­plied into 15 pri­vate vil­las that will make you want to dec­o­rate when you get home. The jewel in the crown of your Beach­front Plunge Pool Villa is its name­sake, with just mere sandy steps be­tween your pool and the Pa­cific Ocean. The re­sort faces its own white sand beach, 20 min­utes from Down­town Port Vila. Or­ganic South Pa­cific fare is served with fine din­ing flour­ish in the on-site res­tau­rant.

TAMANUONTHEBEACH.COM

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