and happiness of the ni-Vanuatu people will leave an indelible impression on even the most seasoned traveller.’ Rob, Marc and the team are the experts at putting together special itineraries for those wanting to get to the outer islands, and Rob emphasises that Vanuatu is a great choice for groups such as tramping clubs, as costs are shared and these other-worldly adventures can be had without having to pay an arm and a leg. ‘Sleeping in village bungalows is another good option for the dollar-conscious,’ says Rob. ‘They are comfortable enough with home cooked meals straight from the garden or the sea, and I think that Kiwis are used to roughing it a bit given our own culture of holidaying in homebuilt baches and sleeping in tramping huts.’ One tour that Vanuatu Ecotours offers is a 3-day adventure on the pristine tropical islands of Nguna and Pele. ‘There is a long-standing marine conservation area around the islands and the start of the tour is a half day trek to an extinct volcano and some great snorkelling in that conservation area. There is a cute little beachside bungalow that we stay at and the next day we transfer to Pele for a trek around the island; think white sands and turquoise lagoon on one side and rocky cliffs and isolated coves on the other,’ says Rob. ‘There are other walks we can do for those wanting more or less, or if conditions aren’t right. But all up, it’s a favourite because there is so much jammed into those two small islands and they are only a short boat ride away from the main island of Efate.’ Rob also had six years in Papua New Guinea where, again, he ran an adventure tour business. ‘PNG offers its fair share of adventure – though not always the sort of adventure you want!’ smiles Rob. ‘But Vanuatu is not only safe and free from dangerous snakes and the like, but it’s just three hours from Auckland. To me, it’s a natural fit for Kiwis especially given our love of the outdoors and our sense of adventure.’ Currently Vanuatu is not a hot-spot for travellers from New Zealand, and the number of Kiwi visitors has been overtaken by longhaul and European travellers who have already discovered what Vanuatu has to offer. ‘My advice to Kiwis is brush off your tramping boots or walking shoes, leave the thermals at home, and come and taste a different kind of South Pacific experience,’ concludes Rob.