Ancient Cultures and Landscapes of Vanuatu

Ancient Cultures and Landscapes of Vanuatu

From $6,820 AUD


Discover why Vanuatu is often referred to as the “happiest country on earth” during your 12-day expedition voyage on board L’Austral.

Vanuatu is home to a unique blend of ancient traditional villages, picture perfect beaches, accessible active volcanoes and coral reefs teeming with life. It offers an idyllic setting for anyone seeking adventure or wanting to relax on a tropical beach fringed with palm trees. The largest Island, Espiritu Santo, is the highly fictionalized locale of James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific and the subsequent Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. Join your expert expedition team, selected for their knowledge and experience, along with local guides to explore these unique destinations by foot, zodiac or local transport.

This bespoke experience will showcase the astonishing diversity of cultures, landscapes, flora and fauna across the archipelago. Experience Vanuatu on board the luxurious L’Austral and discover one of the world’s great adventures in waiting.

Please Note: your voyage prices include flight Brisbane / Honiara + transfer

Trip Name
Ancient Cultures and Landscapes of Vanuatu
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition / Cruise Ship Length: 142 metres Passenger Capacity: 264 (200 in Antarctica) Built: 2011 This superb mega-yacht with 132 cabins is the result of the expertise of the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and French sophistication, as interpreted by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. L'Austral has a unique atmosphere, a subtle blend of luxury, intimacy and well-being. A sleek silhouette softened by elegantly smooth contours and large, arched windows opening up to the sea and the light: so many features come together to give L’Austral her distinctive shape. Precious materials, discreet elegance and a perfect balance between chic and casual, combine to make you feel as if you are on your own private yacht. A design blending tradition and innovation, where a nautical mood has been subtly recreated. Precious materials in smoothing neutral tones are brought to life with splashes of cheerful reds. So many personal touches create the spirit of a “private yacht”. Cuisine Loyal to the great French tradition, the haute cuisine on board is worthy of the finest restaurants, where discreet, attentive service is the hallmark. Our two restaurants welcome you for breakfasts, lunch and dinner. The Gastronomic Restaurant, with a capacity of 268 persons, is situated on Le Liberté Deck and serves you French and international cuisine accompagnied by fine wine. On the Grill Restaurant, you will have the opportuniny to eat outside and enjoy buffet lunch and themed dinner. Life On Board Whether you want to join other guests in the theatre or games area (Wii™ consoles, etc), or relax on your own in a quiet corner of the library, L'Austral has been designed to meet the needs of every guest. Everything has been done to preserve the independence of each guest to suit their personal tastes: lounges for lectures and shows, a spa in partnership with Sothys™, but also more intimate spaces such as the library and internet corner. Comfortable cabins, nearly all with private balcony, are available for families either as triples or as communicating cabins. There is also a games area with Wii™ consoles, children’s menus, and a baby-sitting service. Just as if you were on a private yacht, your time is your own to do as you please. Fitted with the latest equipment (Kinesis Wall, running machine) and in partnership with the famous Sothys™ brand, the Beauty Centre on L'Austral welcomes you for some unforgettable moments of relaxation and pampering (beauty treatments, hairdresser).


Day 1 - Day 1 - Honiara, Guadalcanal
Honiara is the capital city of The Solomon Islands, administered as a provincial town on the north western coast of Guadalcanal Island. Honiara comes from the local Ghari Language “naho-ni-ara” meaning 'facing the ara', the place where the southeast winds meet the land. During your stop, discover this city, its beautiful landscape, and the significant role it played in World War II. Particularly The Battle of Henderson Field, the last of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese in 1942. Alternatively, you can discover a traditional village, its culture and way of life.
Day 2 - Day 2 - At sea
Day 3 - Day 3 - Vanikoro
The French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded on Vanikoro after both his vessels, struck the reefs of the island in 1788. The complete disappearance of La Pérouse caught the imagination of the European public. Songs, stories and plays were written about the possible fate of the expedition. It is believed that some of the men were killed by the local inhabitants, while the surviving sailors built a smaller vessel and left the island, but were never seen again. Those that remained on the island died before search parties arrived in 1826. Today guests have the opportunity to head ashore to the infamous location of this historical event. Enjoy a welcome and cultural performance whilst pondering the fate of the expeditioners.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Ureparapara & Sana Island
Ureparapara, also known as Parapara for short, is the third largest island in the Banks group of Northern Vanuatu and formed by an extinct volcano cone that has been breached by the sea on its east coast, forming a spectacular 3km long harbour. During your voyage, your ship will sail into the natural harbour, affording guests spectacular views from the outer decks. You will also have the opportunity to go ashore for a welcome and custom dances. An opportunity to witness life in one of the remotest parts of Vanuatu. Very few vessels visit this part of Vanuatu and the local residents are eager to welcome visitors.The Reef Islands, also called Rowa, are a cluster of uninhabited coral cays between Mota Lave and Ureparapara, in northern Vanuatu, and enclosed by a large, horseshoe-shaped reef that protects an expansive lagoon with sandy shallows. The five small islands, including Sana, are mostly sand and coral cays built up over reefs. During your stop, you will be transferred ashore by Zodiac® to a wet landing onto a sand and rubble beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling from the beach.
Day 5 - Day 5 - Moto Lava
The Banks and Torres Islands form Vanuatu's northernmost islands where local culture is still very much alive and unblemished by the modern world. Mota Lava is a stunning island of jungle clad craggy peaks plunging to long white sandy beaches lined with coconut palms. The nearby island of Ra is classically beautiful, an ideal place for travellers looking to leave civilisation completely behind. You will have the opportunity to experience the ancient culture in this rarely visited group of islands. There will also be an opportunity for swimming and snorkelling from one of the many spectacular beaches.
Day 6 - Day 6 - Paradise Island
The majestic beauty of Espiritu Santo is what inspired James A. Michener to write his classic "Tales of the South Pacific." Michener would gaze across the sea and dream of "Bali Hai". Santo, as the island is colloquially known, abounds with natural beauty that remains largely unspoilt. From palm fringed beaches with powdery white sand, freshwater Blue Holes surrounded by natural rain forest, to Idyllic Islands surrounded by azure seas. Today Guests will have the opportunity to take a tour by bus to visit one of the famous blue holes, enjoy a traditional performance and learn about the important role the island played in WWII. There will also be ample time to swim and snorkel in the clear waters of Paradise Lagoon.
Day 7 - Day 7 - South West Bay
Malekula is the second largest island in Vanuatu and the most diverse, culturally and linguistically, with over thirty distinct languages spoken. Some of the best custom dances come from the island. The very friendly villagers will be proud to share with you their cultural heritage. Guests will be transferred ashore for a welcome and cultural performance. Afterwards, you will have an opportunity to witness traditional village life in Malekula, with demonstrations of traditional village practices such as weaving and Kava, and purchase genuine artefacts.
Day 8 - Day 8 - Ambrym Island
The island of Ambrym in Vanuatu is often referred to as the "black" island due to its volcanic ash and because of its 'black magic' steeped in mystery. In the villages, the ancient customs play a significant part in day to day living. The "Man blong Majik" are treated with the utmost respect and practice sorcery and magic beyond all imaginings. Ambrym prides itself on some unique characteristics, such as the magnificent tam-tams (or slit gongs) sculpted out of tree trunks, sand-drawing, black-fern masks and local dances. The most striking custom dance is the Rom (or masked) dance – where 9 foot covertly cloaked and masked 'spirits' stomp out ancient rhythms to the beat of the tam tam.
Day 9 - Day 9 - Lamen Island & Lopevi Island
The remote and seldom visited Island of Epi has the distinction of having both white and black sand beaches fringed by coral reefs. The 1.5 km long beach at Lamen Bay is considered to be Epi's finest and boasts plenty of good quality coral for spectacular snorkelling. The small population of nearby Lamen Island are always delighted to welcome visitors and showcase their culture.Lopevi is one of Vanuatu's most active and spectacular volcanoes. The volcano has regularly erupted for hundreds of years. You will have the opportunity to discover the culture of the Epi Islands, enjoy swimming and snorkelling in the clear warm tropical waters of Lamen Bay as well as view the active volcano of Lopevi from the comfort of the outside decks.
Day 10 - Day 10 - Tanna Island
A visit to Vanuatu cannot be complete without viewing the erupting Mount Yasur Volcano on the Island of Tanna. It is regarded as the world’s most accessible active volcano. Known for its spectacular persistent strombolian activity consisting of regular small to violent explosions, it has been in more-or-less continuous activity since Captain James Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. Often referred to as “the lighthouse of the Pacific”, the glow of the volcano apparently led Captain Cook to Tanna during the first European journey to the island. Today the volcano is considered a sacred area by members of the John Frum cargo cult, who believe their deity resides in the heart of the volcano.
Day 11 - Day 11 - At sea
Day 12 - Day 12 - Lautoka
Lautoka is the second largest city of Fiji. Located on the western side of the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometres north of Nadi. Lying in the heart of Fiji's sugar cane growing region, it is known as the Sugar City. Lautoka is the gateway to Fiji’s “Sun coast” a land of abundant sunshine, azure skies and dramatic grass-covered peaks chequered with sugar-cane fields, rural villages and quaint market towns.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$12,420Prestige Suite - Deck 6
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$7,370DeLuxe Stateroom
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$13,040Owners Suite
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$12,060Prestige Suite - Deck 5
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$6,820Superior Stateroom
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$11,180Deluxe Suite
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$8,050Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$8,280Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
13-09-201824-09-2018AUD$7,810Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4


    • Visit the last known location of the “lost voyage” of La Pérouse
    • Experience seldom visited islands in the “happiest country on earth”
    • Sail into the Caldera of Ureparapara.
    • Swim in the famous “blue holes” of Espiritu Santo
    • Discover the ‘Big Nambas’ tribes of Malekula
    • Watch the famous Rom dance of the Ambrym Islanders
    • Marvel at Vanuatu’s volcanic landscapes.
    • Walk to the rim of an active volcano and view a fireworks spectacle like no other.
    • Gain an insight into the History, culture, and incredible diversity of life from your expert expedition team.