Vanuatu

Ultimate guide to things to do in Vanuatu with kids

Vanuatu is a wonderful destination for kids – who will be cherish by the locals and have countless activities to undertake across the islands. Vanuatu is home to isolated natural beaches, world-class underwater explorations, impressive natural phenomena, and unique cultural experiences. There are contrasts between the resorts and upbeat rhythm of Port Vila to the traditional untouched village life of the more remote islands. Now is the perfect time to visit Vanuatu – less crowded and tourist-heavy than many other Pacific destinations – the islands abound with unblemished beauty and ingenuity.

There are several blue holes to swim in; the bright blue is caused by crystal clear fresh water coming to the surface through layers of limestone and coral. Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office

The kids will love

Port Vila

The liveliest town in Vanuatu, Port Vila is full of interesting tours and adventure activities. The town is upbeat and features markets, restaurants, resorts and many activities to entertain all ages. Great sites include the Mele Cascades, natural pools and waterfalls, Ekasup Cultural Village, and the National Museum of Vanuatu featuring traditional culture.

Vanuatu volcano
Tourists stand on the edge of the crater of Mt Yasur - an erupting volcano in Vanuatu. Picture: Shutterstock

Tanna

This beautiful island is home to undisturbed natural landscapes and phenomena – secluded beaches, rainforest and hot springs; marine and wildlife sanctuaries run by local chiefs and traditional village life. A top feature is the captivating active volcano, Mt Yasur. The volcano is best explored with a guide, but you can also walk (about 45 minutes) or join a group vehicle travelling to the site.

Vanuatu family resorts
Iririki Island resort Vanuatu. Picture: Iririki

Luganville and The East Coast Road

Luganville is a great base for taking adventure activities across the island Santo – particularly diving and snorkelling. The East Coast Road, linking Luganville and Port Olry is an idyllic road trip – great for a day trip or spending a couple days staying at the secluded family-friendly beaches across the coast. Be sure to stop at Oyster Island for its welcoming family vibe and Champagne Beach for its turquoise waters and impromptu souvenir markets.

Best time to travel

The best time to visit Vanuatu is between April and October. The tropical climate means beautiful beaches, landscapes and temperatures between 18 and 28 degrees throughout these months. The busiest time for tourism is late May to July, coinciding with the Australian and New Zealand school holiday. It is best to avoid these times, where possible, and visit between August and October – crowds will be lower and better deals are available on accommodation and flights.

November to March brings cyclone season – it is advised to avoid travel during this period as transport is often delayed and weather conditions can be rough and dangerous.

Things to do in Vanuatu with...

Near Port Villa, you can hire a quad bike or buggy and take a muddy trip through the jungle, beach and villages. Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office

Getting around Vanuatu

Boat: Passenger boats run between most islands. There are two main companies, Big Sista and Vanuatu Ferry, which run between destinations weekly. Children travel for half price with company Big Sista.

Bus: Minibuses operate in Port Vila, Luganville and Malekula. These operate in a communal taxi-fashion, picking up passengers and travelling directly to their destinations.

Taxi: Taxis in Port Vila and Luganville are usually sedans and on all other islands and areas, are 4WD trucks with open-air trays on the back. Fares are dependent on distance and road conditions. It’s recommended to ask for the approximate fare to a destination before setting off. Fares are usually reasonably cheap, but when crowds from cruise-ships are in port, prices can hike up to 2 or 3 times the regular fare.

Car: Small cars and 4WDs are available for hire in Port Vila and Luganville, and are inexpensive. Insurance is added to the cost of hire for a small extra fee. Maximum speed limit does not exceed 50km/h.

Vanuatu
Vanuatu Holiday Inn. Picture: Holiday Inn

More about Vanuatu for families

Accommodation 

  • Port Vila has several resorts and hotels, many of which are family-oriented. These have discounts for children, as well as kid’s clubs, organised activities, playgrounds and can provide babysitters.
  • Bungalows and villas are great options for families on the more remote islands and areas of Vanuatu. These are often set among traditional villages or in idyllic secluded locations.

What to pack

  • A portable child carrier is recommended – strollers will be okay for Port Vila but impractical when visiting the more remote islands and areas. Fold-away car seats are recommended when planning on any car travel. These are usually available for hire, but may become in demand during peak season.
  • Baby and child essentials – baby food, nappies, wipes, et cetera – are available in family-friendly hub, Port Vila, but it is recommended to bring these items with you when travelling to more remote islands and areas.
  • Light clothing, beach gear, sunscreen, insect repellent and good walking shoes are essentials for exploring the islands. Light rain gear is recommended for the wet season between November and April.

Planning 

  • Pre-trip vaccinations for Vanuatu include Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. Malaria tablets are also recommended. Consult you GP for these vaccinations, tablets and any other recommendations.
What’s on?

The best annual events for families in Adelaide

Feb/March – Adelaide Fringe

You’ll find family and kid friendly shows at Adelaide’s wild and wonderful Fringe festival.

March - Adelaide Festival

Australia’s premier Arts festival showcases theatre, world-class musicians, dance, writers and visual art.

March – Adelaide 500

This motorsport spectacular is packed with action and entertainment for families. The 2021 Superloop Adelaide 500 will occur on revised dates in 2021.

March – South Australia History Festival

Enjoy hundreds of events such as talks to workshops exploring the local history.

March – WOMADelaide

Enjoy family friendly performances and workshops by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.

May – DreamBig Children’s Festival

This arts festival for schools and families is the largest of its kind in the world.

September – Royal Adelaide Show

Experience animals, rides, food and entertainment as the country comes to the city.

October – OzAsia Festival

Australia’s biggest Asian arts festival.

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