Sights Ashore

Following are overviews of some things you can do in Port Vila, Noumea and Suva.

In Vanuatu we can recommend tour operators for attractions like Mele Cascades Waterfall, Hideaway Island for snorkelling, Club Hippique for horse riding, Ekasup Cultural Village and Around Island tours etc. There’s diving, fishing or parasailing, the wonderful Vanuatu Eco-tours, the Cultural Centre, markets and handicraft shops (no haggling), great duty free shopping (and pirate DVDs and computer games) or you can hire a scooter or a car. You might like lunch in a bustling restaurant or a quiet lunch for two in a romantic setting (yes, it is possible even when there are 1400 other passengers in town!). For more information on Vanuatu please visit our Go Vanuatu and Vanuatu A to Z websites.

In Noumea, there’s also a lot to do: Hop on the fun Le Petit Train for an orientation tour, take in the Tjibaou Cultural Centre or a discovery tour; head up to Parc Forestier (the Botanical Gardens Bird Sanctuary and Forest Park), have a leisurely lunch at one of the many great restaurants along the strip at Baie des Citrons – from there it’s only a walk to the Aquarium or the beach at Anse Vate for a swim or to catch a boat to Ilot aux Carnards (Duck Island). Because Noumea is French, topless bathing is de rigueur but it’s a no-no in Vanuatu. You can start from Place des Cocotiers (Coconut Square) in town and do a walking tour of the town (Saint-Joseph Cathedral, the markets, the shops etc) or you might want to hire a car and get out of town to explore on your own – car hire is surprisingly inexpensive – about the same for a day’s hire as a haircut.

The principal cruise stopover in Fiji is Suva – not on our list of favourite holiday spots but it can be exciting for a day. It’s one of the few places in the Pacific where the buildings are higher than a coconut palm. It’s the business capital of Fiji (about 170,000 people live there). There’s no beach in Suva so head to the bustling markets for food, kava and souvenirs, you’ll find some good restaurants and bars, for nature, head to Colo-I-Suva Forst Park, the Fiji Museum has a lovely garden and outstanding exhibits and, if you want to get off the beaten track, head to the Rewa River town of Nausori (19km from Suva). If you visit the markets in Suva, the Fijian ladies serve great fruit juice and the Indian men will undoubtedly try and sell you a boat with your name carved in it or similar. Unlike Vanuatu, where there’s no bargaining or tipping, you can haggle here as much as you like! For more information on Fiji – Fiji A to Z.