Forget winter: cruise around Vanuatu

WHILE winter chills continue to bite, thoughts of exotic islands are more and more appealing.

One of our warmer neighbours, Vanuatu, has just announced a new cruise where you get to explore this wonderful country's outer islands, including the remote and exciting Pentecost, Ambrym and Asanvari.

Departing from Espiritu Santo, boutique cruise company Island Escape Cruises will operate its 10-cabin luxury vessel for the winter period, from now until October.

You'll see live volcanoes, rainforests, natural swimming pools and waterfalls - all good warm-up stuff for those trying to escape chilblains.

Annie Niatu, general manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, says the new cruise shows that Espiritu Santo is really emerging as a popular island option for Australian travellers.

“We are pleased that Island Escapes is opening some of the outer islands up for travellers to discover the beauty and intrigue of these islands,” Annie says.

Since Air Vanuatu began direct flights from Brisbane to Espiritu Santo last year, the destination has graduated from primarily a dive mecca to a popular island attraction.

It is drawing a new clientele with more boutique-style resorts opening each year.

“This month Ratua Private Island will also open, offering a level of sophistication that is being dubbed 'primitive luxury'.

“Moyyan House by the Sea has also proved popular for those looking for an island getaway close to Australia,” says Annie.

■ Go to www.vanuatu.travel and www.islandescape.co.nz for cruise information, prices and bookings.



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