Dive right in
Vanuatu is a chain of 83 islands, and the best way to experience them is from the water – by boat, on a kayak or with a snorkel. If you’re staying near Port Vila, head to the Erakor Lagoon – the calm, shallow waters are perfect for kids and beginners and there’s plenty to see, including colourful starfish, and, if you’re lucky, dugongs. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a stroll along the seafloor with an Ocean Walker Helmet Dive – you’ll move among a menagerie of marine creatures without getting your hair wet.
Explore the capital
When you can drag yourself off the beach, check out Port Vila. Pick up some fresh tropical fruit from the local markets, buy handicrafts at the craft markets, take the kids to Wet ’n’ Wild for some more water-based action, or just kick back with a pampering session at the Volcanic Earth Day Spa.
For some of the islands’ very best swimming and snorkelling, take a day trip to Lelepa Island, about a 45-minute drive and boat trip from Port Vila. First up: a snorkel in the marine protected area, where the crystal-clear water is teeming with colourful coral and tropical fish. Afterwards, meet the locals, find a spot to chill in more than 65 hectares of rainforest or head to the Lelepa Caves to see the cave paintings.
Climb a volcano
Take an overnight trip to Tanna Island for a twilight hike to the active Mount Yasur volcano. Atmosphere Tours’ packages include a one-hour flight to the island and over the volcano, as well as accommodation and road transport to the crater. Anyone who’s reasonably fit is allowed to make the 15-minute trek to the volcano’s rim, but as there are no guard rails, it’s best suited to older kids.
For more on Vanuatu, visit Vanuatu Tourism's website. Air Vanuatu flies direct to Port Vila from Sydney and Brisbane. For family-friendly accommodation near Port Vila, try Iririki Island Resort, Erakor Island Resort or Holiday Inn