Friday, July 31, 2015

Shore Day 3 - Port Vila

 Our third shore day was in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The cruise ship docks outside of the town centre of Port Vila so when you get off the boat there is not a lot to see. There is a market that is set up port side which sells tourist souvenirs and trinkets. The market runs the whole way up the main road into town. While we were waiting for our pre-booked shore tour we went to check it out. The locals were incredibly friendly and offered us rides into town but we told them we were waiting for our tour to the Mele Cascades. They reassured us that this was the best place to visit.
After a while our tour number was called out and we boarded the mini bus taking us to the waterfall. Driving around Port Vila is an experience in itself as there isn't much in the way of rule of the road in Vanuatu! Our route took us through the main town of Port Vila and through the outlying villages. On the way we spotted many areas that still showed the damage from the cyclone that had hit the island back in March.
We arrived at the cascades and made our way up the first set of steps where we were greeted by a local band who sang for us. We then continued the short walk across and river and to the base of the waterfall. At the final stage you can walk up the small cascades and pools and actually get under the waterfall. The hubby did this and said sitting under the waterfall gave him the best shoulder massage possible but being the clumsy person I am I just relaxed in the bottom pool and took some shots of the falls.
After we had all taken a dip, dried off and headed back down the trail we stopped for snacks and then our driver dropped us off in the main town. We made a bee-line for the duty free shop where we stocked up on alcohol at half the price you would pay in Australia. Next we checked out a number of numerous souvenir shops the grace the main street of Port Vila. We picked up a cute owl bag for our little niece and a beautiful wooden bowl with mother of pearl inlay.

We had planned to do a self guided walking tour of the town and check out the local sites but by this time we were a little tired so we headed for the undercover market in the centre of town to do a last little bit of shopping and then looked for a taxi. This is incredibly easy to find in Vila as any time that you stop on a street corner a kind local will ask you if you need a ride back to the ship.

On the way back to the ship our driver Benjamin asked us about our day and told us that the next time we come to Vila (and we loved it so much we will be back!)  we should pay for a local driver to give us a tour as for just $35 each we could hire a driver for the whole day!

Port Vila was by far our favourite port of call. The town was not as picturesque as the island paradise of Lifou but the town had a friendly, lively vibe that we just loved!

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