Vanuatu is an archipelago of more than 80 tropical islands. It spreads along 900 kilometres of the South Pacific region, to the west of Fiji and south of the Solomon Islands.
There is much to see and do on the island of Efaté.
Efate may not be the largest island but it is the most populated island and the hub for tourism, financial and commercial activities. The spectacular natural Port Vila harbour provides protection for the numerous yachts and sailing boats that come to rest and explore the shores. Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila while small, boasts boutique resorts and gourmet restaurants.
A truly untouched piece of paradise in the South Pacific, with soft white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, smiles from the delightful Ni-Vanuatu people, ancient custom villages, world-class international cuisine and a tax-free haven, it’s a lifestyle you want to live.
Valé Valé Villas are located on the secluded western shore of Efate, in the Vanuatu archipelago. Nestled in a calm bay hugged by a stretching white sand beach along the shore of Pango peninsula between pristine coral reefs, ValéValé Villas are a world unto itself a mere 10 minute drive from central Port Vila and only a 20 minute drive from the international airport.
Located just three hours from Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland, ValéValé villas are ideal for those wishing to rent a piece of paradise for an incredible vacation, or purchase a holiday destination for ongoing years of enjoyment.
ValéValé’s white-sand beach and its crystalline turquoise waters frame a gently undulating landscape. Here, nestled amongst palm trees, frangipani and wild orchids, sits a collection of villas that embrace their natural surroundings—the sun, its reflection off the water, the cooling Pacific breeze and the sounds of the sea. Here nature has provided the greatest gift of all; an unspoilt location.
Vanuatu culture retains a strong diversity through local regional variations and through foreign influence. Vanuatu may be divided into three major cultural regions. In the north, wealth is established by how much one can give away. Pigs, particularly those with rounded tusks, are considered a symbol of wealth throughout Vanuatu. In the centre, more traditional Melanesian cultural systems dominate. In the south, a system involving grants of title with associated privileges has developed.
Most villages have a nakamal or village clubhouse which serves as a meeting point for men and as a place to drink kava. Villages also have male- and female-only sections. These sections are situated all over the villages; in nakamals, special spaces are provided for females when they are in their menstruation period.
The traditional music of Vanuatu is still thriving in the rural areas of Vanuatu. Musical instruments consist mostly of idiophones: drums of various shape and size, slit gongs, stamping tubes, as well as rattles, among others. Another musical genre that has become widely popular during the 20th century in all areas of Vanuatu, is known as string band music. It combines guitars, ukulele, and popular songs.
Just 3 hours from Sydney
The climate is tropical with approximately nine months of warm to hot rainy weather and the possibility of cyclones and three to four months of cooler drier weather characterized by winds from the south-east. The water temperature ranges from 72 °F (22 °C) in winter to 82 °F (28 °C) in the summer. Cool between April and September, the days become hotter and more humid starting in October. The daily temperature ranges from 68 °F (20 °C) to 90 °F (32 °C). South easterly trade winds occur from May to October.
Vanuatu has a long rainy season, with significant rainfall usually occurring almost every month. The wettest and hottest months are December through to April, which also constitute the cyclone season. The driest months are June through November. Rainfall averages about 2,360 millimetres (93 in) per year but can be as high as 4,000 millimetres (160 in) in the northern islands.
Flora and fauna
Despite its tropical forests, Vanuatu has a limited number of plant and animal species. There are no indigenous large mammals. The 19 species of native reptiles include the flowerpot snake, found only on Efate. The Fiji Banded Iguana (Brachylophusfasciatus) was introduced as a feral animal in the 1960s. There are 11 species of bats (3 unique to Vanuatu) and 61 species of land and water birds. While the small Polynesian rat is thought to be indigenous, the large species arrived with Europeans, as did domesticated hogs, dogs, and cattle. The ant species of some of the islands of Vanuatu were catalogued by E. O. Wilson.
The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine molluscs. Coneshell and stonefish carry poison fatal to humans. The giant East African land snail arrived only in the 1970s but already has spread from the Port-Vila region to Luganville.
There are three or possibly four adult saltwater crocodiles living in Vanuatu’s mangroves and no current breeding population. It is said the crocodiles reached the northern part of the islands after cyclones, given the island chain’s proximity to the Solomon Islands and New Guinea where crocodiles are very common.
Many of the islands of Vanuatu have been inhabited for thousands of years, the oldest archaeological evidence found dates to 2000 BC. Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth. With a population of approximately 217,750, the country boasts 113 distinct languages and innumerable dialects. This amazing diversity is a result of 4,000 years of sporadic immigration from many Pacific countries. Although most settlers arrived from Melanesia, the larger built, lighter skinned Polynesia’s also settled in the islands.
In 1605, the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandez de Quiros became the first European to reach the islands, believing it to be part of Terra Australis. Europeans began settling the islands in the late 18th century, after British explorer James Cook visited the islands on his second voyage, and gave them the name New Hebrides.
In 1887, the islands began to be administered by a French-British naval commission. In 1906, the French and British agreed to an Anglo-French Condominium on the New Hebrides. During World War II, the islands of Efate and Espiritu Santo were used as allied military bases. In the 1960s, the ni-Vanuatu people started to press for self-governance and later independence; full sovereignty was finally granted by both European nations on July 30, 1980. Vanuatu joined the UN in 1981, and the Non-Aligned Movement in 1983.
With no written language, story telling, songs and dances are of great importance. Art, in its many forms, from body decorations and tattoos to elaborate masks, hats, and carvings are also a vital part of ritual celebrations and the social life of the village. Despite the introduction of European ideas, Vanuatu kept its cultural richness and diversity with rituals and traditional ceremonies as an integral part of today’s life. Similar to Australian Aboriginal stories of the dreamtime and Maori legends of the past, ni-Vanuatu culture also has its mythic legends.
One of the most exciting ceremonies to attend is the Naghol. This awe inspiring ancient tradition, also known as land diving, is the role model for the modern bungee jumping. Each year around the time of yam harvest (April/May), tall wooden towers (up to 70 feet) are constructed on Pentecost Island. The tower is held together by local vines, remarkably, not a single nail or any other piece of manmade building material is used. Young men dressed in traditional mats wrapped around their bodies jump from a platform on the tower, secured only by vines tied around their ankles. Up to 30 outsiders are permitted to watch the dives on the designated days. Legend has it that the first jumper was a woman. She was trying to escape from her abusive husband, climbed a tree and jumped. He followed her, leapt and died, unaware that his wife had secured liana vines to her ankles. For some time, only women participated in the dive until the male elders decided that they should dive to redress their shame and prove their courage.