A journey of fire and magic in Tanna

A journey of fire and magic in Tanna
By admin


The fluorescent eruptions of Mount Yasur, without question one of the most accessible live volcanoes in the world, are most spectacular at dusk when red hot lava spurts out of the ash-coated crater into the darkening sky.

Many visitors make the 35 to 45 minute hop by plane over to the island from Efate just to witness the unique fire show, but it’s well worth sticking around for a few more days to see what else is on offer.

Take a magical journey

Leave scepticism and shaky nerves by the pool before heading to the Black Magic Village in the lush highlands. Hidden among the trees are a range of surprises that will draw visitors in to the traditions and the folklore at the roots of Tanna society.

Become one of the colonisers of yesteryear by standing face with the local people for the first time. While visiting, guests learn about the island’s herbs and plants and their uses, the rites of circumcision, take part in a traditional love spell and then become part of the tribe – spears, grass skirts, kava, dancing and all. 

 

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Spend a day in a village

Once you’ve got to grips with Vanuatu’s mystical side, a visit to Lekalangia Cultural Village offers a more practical look at the day to day running of village life.

Visitors are guided through the undergrowth to join the women and the children of the village in a thatched hut as they prepare a traditional meal of lap lap with root vegetables which is then served up for lunch. Afterwards, the kids play games before the men of the village welcome the group to their separate area where they demonstrate how to make fire before sharing knowledge about life in Tanna.

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A quirky encounter

A different type of cultural experience can be found at one of the John Frum villages on the north east side of Mount Yasur. Tanna is renowned for its cargo cults and here the inhabitants believe that World War II soldier John Frum will return from the US bearing a magical cargo of radios, jeeps, fridges and other items possessed by American visitors to the islands during the 1940s.

A weekly ceremony is held in John Frum’s honour that includes the raising of flags and marching in unison.

Perhaps even more fascinating is the Prince Philip Movement, a religious movement based around Yaohnanen village which centres on the belief that the Queen’s husband is the pale-skinned son of a mountain spirit.

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Underwater adventures

Unspoilt coral fields offer some excellent snorkelling for visitors, with crystal clear waters filled with tropical fish and the odd turtle or dolphin.

White Grass Ocean Resort offers guided snorkelling visits to Turtle Reef, or you can head along the dramatic coastline by boat for the chance to duck dive into an underwater grotto filled with bright turquoise water and even brighter shoals of tiny fish.

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Rest and relaxation

For those who prefer to lounge on a beach, Tanna offers some fine options particularly for travellers that don’t mind stretches of soft volcanic black sand. However, there are still some white sand beaches to found, for example at Port Resolution – the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in Vanuatu.

At Sulphur Bay, hot spring water heated by the volcanic interior of Mount Yasur spills into the ocean with the warm liquid said to possess healing qualities.

WiFi coverage is sporadic at best, so visitors to the island should prepare to ditch their mobile devices and relax beside the pool or ocean – and in Tanna, that makes perfect sense.

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Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

tanna vanuatu

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