Jodie Hill a Senior Consultant with helloworld in Jannali, New South Wales was so excited when she heard she had won a trip for her and her partner, not only to Vanuatu, but to somewhere she had always wanted to visit, the magical, volcanic island of Tanna.
Sadly, Jodie’s trip was postponed as a result of the 2015 cyclone that devastated parts of Vanuatu, but fortunately, Jodie was able to visit Vanuatu recently and you can read her Vanuatu and Tanna reports over the coming weeks, with this the first report being of her flight to Vanuatu with Air Vanuatu in their stunning Boeing 737-800, so this is Jodie’s story!
Jodie’s Vanuatu Story
I was so excited when John from Global Travel Media called me to tell me that I had won a trip for two to Vanuatu and even better to Tanna, a place I had always wanted to visit and now I was going there and on a prize winning trip sponsored by Air Vanuatu, Tourism Vanuatu and operators on Tanna – I knew it was going to be amazing!
Sadly, although all the plans were in place, the trip was thwarted by the devastating cyclone Pam hat hit Vanuatu on March 2015, crossing right over Tanna, so the trip had to be put off until they were ready to accept visitors and I could also find time to go as we were so busy, with many of enquires for Pacific holidays, including Vanuatu, which I can tell you is absolutely open for business and so is Tanna!
I really felt I was already in Vanuatu when we checked in at Sydney Airport and at the gate, and we could see the colourful graphics on the outside of the Air Vanuatu 737-800, said to capture the true essence of the Vanuatu islands, the sea, sand, mountains and vegetation.
That was also definitely the case when we boarded the flight to Port Vila, with calm interior colours, leather seats and the welcoming happy smiling faces of the crew on the Air Vanuatu Boeing 737-800 aircraft, a celebratory drink that we were on our way to Vanuatu, a light snack, and with a full flight and great service from the crew, after a snooze, a very speedy only 3.5 hours later we were flying over the beautiful blue waters around Vanuatu before we landed in Port Vila.
I was amazed how quickly the flight passed, but after all Vanuatu is the closest tropical destination to Australia and from Brisbane it is only 3hrs, so how close is that for getting to paradise!
Air Vanuatu now has a new Next-Generation 737-800 which features the airline’s refreshed interior and the signature elements of Boeing’s innovative Sky Interior with modern sculpted sidewalls and windows, larger pivoting overhead stowage bins and LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness, which will make flying to Vanuatu with Air Vanuatu an even more pleasurable experience.
We were only staying one night in Port Vila on the way out as we were flying to Tanna, a place I had really wanted to go for ages, so early the next morning we were back at the airport for our adventure to Tanna Island.
Ducking our heads into the Air Vanuatu De Havilland Canada Twin Otter, [more pictures in my later articles] a twin engine turboprop for the one-hour flight to Tanna Island was a new and novel experience for us as this was probably the smallest commercial aircraft we had been flown in with my seat on the last of the plane’s 5 rows with just 8 passengers and the pilot.
It was certainly a personal flying experience as you were so close to the open cockpit and I was glad my earbuds buffered some of the engine noise, but the views as we approached Tanna were amazing, as was the lading at Tanna on what seemed a tiny airstrip hanging on the island on the edge of the ocean, and a tiny terminal, but hey this is Tanna – the frontier of our exploration of this amazing, magical volcanic island.
On the way back we were lucky to try an Air Vanuatu ATR 42, a much larger aircraft and the welcoming and friendly crew amazingly still had time to serve refreshments during this quick 40-minute flight.
More stories to come from Jodie from Vanuatu and Tanna over the coming weeks, so watch out for Jodie’s Vanuatu and Tanna adventures!
An on location report from Efate and Tanna, Vanuatu by Jodie Hill.