Vanuatu island Efate and its surrounds offer colours, sea life and a climate to melt all hearts. Join Annie Moffet as she and her husband surrender to romance and round up their favourite three resorts.
Iririki Island Resort
Iririki Island Resort is a haven of understated luxury. Stretching over 28 hectares on its own island, Iririki offers a number of spectacular spots to take in the scenery and sink your feet into the sand. At the water’s edge on the north side, you’ll find a chapel at which couples tie the knot, as well as idyllic gardens and views that stretch to where the horizon curves. Head to the hilltop – arguably the most beautiful lookout on the island, and a stunning place to get married or revel in newly-wed bliss. The simple, stylish waterfront fares that overlook Port Vila harbour offer respite from the tropical sun; here you’ll feel the gentle breeze and hear the lapping waves in surround sound as you drift off to sleep.
Erakor Island Resort
Five kilometres from Port Vila’s centre, a ferry takes us on a three-minute trip to Erakor Island, where Erakor Island Resort covers 6.5 hectares of sandy beach. There’s no better introduction to Erakor than by the local chief and his warriors, who lead us through a village thriving with local produce and vegetation. At the resort, each room is decked out with luxury modcons, and the waterfront spa villas feature an outdoor spa pool, daybed with overstuffed cushions, and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player.
After waking up to the sound of chirping birds, it’s just 20 steps to the lagoon’s edge. Erakor is a sea-lover’s delight, especially when you venture off in a clear-bottomed kayak. Whether you’re looking down 10 feet or 100, the water is clear enough to marvel at the textured maze of coral on the sea floor. I’ve never seen so many starfish – we play ‘Spot the starfish’, but agree to a tie after discovering a few dozen of the copper, gold and spotted creatures in a matter of minutes.
We finish our Vanuatu experience on the northwest coast of Efate Island, at the exclusive, boutique Havannah Resort. With 16 villas, it beckons all those who have romance on the agenda and you’ll feel cocooned in luxury. With a maximum of 32 guests across a few kilometres, you feel this is your very own paradise. The sea is at your doorstep, and some of the 16 private bungalows have plunge pools.
Book the three-course dinner and you’ll dine in privacy on the resort’s jetty while watching the sunset. Request the picnic lunch and you’ll be armed with a bottle of wine and a gourmet meal as you set off to explore Havannah Harbour: used during World War II, it’s home to some of the best wreck diving in the region.
Vanuatu beckons you to kick back and relax on a well-earned romantic break. It’s absolute paradise – you are on an island honeymoon, after all.