Natalie Gruzlewski was in her absolute element when she was told she was going to Vanuatu. When she went a little further from Port Vila to Hideaway Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary she was totally over the moon.
It's as close to a Robinson Crusoe-style island escape as you can find in the South Pacific. There are no phones or faxes, except in the office, but there are pristine waterfalls and even an underwater post office as an unusual way to keep in touch with home.
The small coral atoll is surrounded by clear turquoise water, coral reefs and thousands of vibrantly coloured fish, calling for visitors to don their snorkels and flippers or scuba gear and dive right in from the shore.
Many visitors are daytrippers but if you choose to stay there are 17 waterfront bungalows in the Melanesian style. There are one-bedroom bungalows, semi-attached one-bedroom bungalows and twin and quad-share rooms with shared facilities. The two-bedroom villa has its own pool. It's all ecologically friendly and sits amongst original tropical trees and foliage.
Most of the staff members are from a local village so are actually the landlords. They take pride in the place and are naturally warm and friendly.
If you aren't interested in diving there is still plenty to do. There are lots of tours and activities such as game or reef fishing, visiting the Cascade Waterfalls or playing a round of golf. Beach volleyball and sailing are good choices or just relaxing at your accommodation could be just what you need. Choose constant action, complete relaxation or a combination of both. It's up to you.
Meals are served in the On the Beach bar and restaurant. Imagine sitting with your toes in the sand and crystal waters gently lapping nearby and enjoying fantastic food that won't break the bank. A simple burger, slice of cake or pie or a huge plate of fresh seafood whatever takes your fancy. Most ingredients are from the markets or local suppliers and just let them know if you have special dietary requirements or desires.
Bruce the chef has worked around the world and now calls Vanuatu home. He's a local character and enjoys sharing both his food and humour with visitors.
Hideaway Island, 15 minutes from Port Vila in Vanuatu.
Hideaway Island Resort rooms start at $105 a night. Quad share rooms are $45 a night. Both include breakfast.
Pacific Blue, international airline of Virgin Blue, has flights to Port Vila.
One-way fares from:
- Brisbane $249
- Sydney $269
- Melbourne $339
- Adelaide & Canberra $349
- Darwin $389
- Perth $459
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.
Prices correct at April 15, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Hideaway Island Resort
Ph: +678 22963
Fax: +678 23867
Visas: Australians do not require a visa to stay in Vanuatu for up to 30 days. An extension of up to four months in a one-year period is possible.
Electricity: 220V to 280V at 50Hz using Australian-style plugs.
Time zone: GMT +11.
Currency: The vatu.
International dialling code: +678.
To find out more about the hot deals mentioned on the show, check out Holidays for Sale.