With summer over, it’s time to think about your next opportunity to get together with your kids and grandkids for lots of family fun and memorable moments – especially if the little ones are still at that lovely stage where they’re experiencing things for the first time.
Why not do what other 60-pluses are doing and try a big family holiday? There’s been a growing trend over the past few years for multi-generational breaks, as more families discover that it’s a great way for grandparents, parents and grandkids to enjoy new experiences together, all on a relaxed timetable and in a gorgeous setting.
More people does mean more careful planning, though, and picking the perfect destination is particularly important because it needs to have attractions for the adventurer in the family, as well as the laid-back sun-seeker and the nature-lover – and, of course, adults as well as children.
Plus, you’ll want accommodation with plenty of space for everyone and equally easy travelling times for family members coming from multiple locations.
Sounds like an impossible ask? Not if you choose Vanuatu for your multi-generational family holiday. Vanuatu has so much to see and do – which you’d never guess if you’ve only explored Vanuatu on a day-trip from a Pacific Islands cruise – that it makes an ideal destination for family groups.
Here are 10 great reasons why Vanuatu is the perfect place for your multi-generational holiday.
As one of Australia’s closest neighbours, it couldn’t be easier to get to Vanuatu.
Jump on a quick flight – two and a half hours from Brisbane, three and a half hours from Sydney and four hours from Melbourne to Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila on the island of Efate – and you’ll be poolside with a cocktail in hand before you know it.
You can fly direct from most capital cities in Australia, so there’s no risk of a toddler tantrum mid-airport during a lengthy layover.
The last thing anyone wants to do when they’re on holiday in a tropical paradise is worry about what to cook for dinner. Or argue about who’s going to do the washing up.
With a host of restaurants and cafes in Port Vila, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes dining out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but if you’d rather some home-cooked food at your accommodation, you can’t go past K2 Kitchen, which delivers family-sized feasts. K2’s food is so good, it gets a five-star rating from Tripadvisor’s seasoned traveller reviewers.
If you’re travelling with a big brood, Vanuatu has you covered. There’s a right-size option for every multi-generational family of holidaymakers, thanks to an abundance of self-contained villas and standalone holiday homes and villas. (Making sure you have enough comfortable beds and plenty of space for alone-time is paramount when it comes to ensuring everyone ends their stay happy rather than grumpy!)
Villa 25 in Port Vila is great for families who like their privacy when not together, because it offers three entirely self-contained villas (offering accommodation for up to 16 people) clustered around a shared pool and right beside a private beach – so when you’ve had plenty of family fun in the water and want a siesta, you have your accommodation to relax in.
There’s even in-room childcare available so you can get some real quiet time, plus 24-hour concierge at your beck and call.
Turtle Bay Beach House is another option that allows you to be together and apart, as it suits you. The property on the island of Espiritu Santo has two cottages plus a two-bedroom beach house that accommodates up to 12 people, and all provide a real tropical island experience. Air Vanuatu offers direct flights to Santo from Brisbane, while travellers from other Australian cities will need to jump on a plane in Port Vila to get to the island.
Take in your surrounds from the overwater deck or relax with a good book in a hammock as the kids play outside, then at the end of the day, let the guys cook up a barbecue while you plan your next day’s adventure.
If you’d prefer to share one big house, there are some fab options too, including the Gudfala Beach House (which has great self-catering facilities and accommodates up to eight people), the Reef House (an architect-designed property that accommodates up to 12 people) and the Boat House (private beachfront just steps away from reefs for snorkelling, with accommodation for up to 14 people).
All three properties are within easy reach of Port Vila, which helps keep your travelling time down, and you can find even more holiday-home options here.
While it’s all well and good to jet off overseas with the grandchildren in tow, sometimes a little kid-free time is called for.
Most of Vanuatu’s major resorts offer a kids’ club to keep your youngsters busy during the day and some offer baby-sitting services in the evening, allowing the adults in your party to enjoy a cocktail or a meal in peace.
There’s a wide range of resorts in Vanuatu so finding something in your budget, with all of the facilities you prefer, is easy. You can view some of the most popular resort options here.
There’s no shortage of swimming spots in Vanuatu, with tranquil, turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches in every direction.
Eton Beach on the eastern coast of Efate has shallow waters that are crystal-clear, so perfect for smaller children to swim. For the bigger kids and adults, Eton Beach is close to the famously beautiful Blue Lagoon , which is a perfect swimming and picnic spot. Just because you’ve clocked up a few decades doesn’t mean a rope swing into the lagoon isn’t fun!
If you do make your way to Espiritu Santo, its Champagne Beach is renowned as one of the best beaches in the South Pacific. You’ll pay a small fee to use the beach, with the proceeds going back to the local community to pay for upkeep of the area.
There are so many sights to see but thankfully, getting around Vanuatu is simple and convenient. If you don’t fancy driving, your resort or villa will be happy to arrange group transport options to ferry your whole family around.
Or you can hire a car (choose from Hertz, Europcar and World Car Rentals among others) and map out your own journey along the quiet, sealed roads, stopping along the way to explore ) local village life, swimming spots and make sure you stop at roadside stall to pick up some fresh fruit We recommend a roadtrip around the whole island of Efate (the drive itself is only 3.5 hours) it makes for a great day trip with stops.
Better still, get in on the island spirit and hire a Mini Moke to zip around Port Vila in – the kids will love it and so will you!
No multi-generational holiday would be complete without some child-friendly activities to keep the younger members of your group engaged, and Vanuatu has plenty.
For the action fans, the Vanuatu Jungle Zipline will have everyone soaring over the canopy of jungle, offering stunning views over Mele Bay. Or why not hit the water and take a family kayaking trip with EcoTours, paddling down a river, stopping for swims and a swing on the Tarzan rope along the way?
The options are endless. Take an off-road adventure in a fleet of buggies, discover the underwater post office or take a guided snorkel tour. The only downside is that you may need a holiday from the holiday you’ve had because there are too many tempting activities and who wants to miss an opportunity to make memories with their grandchildren?
The Ni-Vanuatu people are known for their gentle, caring nature, welcoming visitors with wide smiles and even bigger hearts.
As soon as you step off the plane, you’ll be greeted by friendly locals who’re happy to share information on how to get the best out of your visit to Vanuatu or just have a chat, and the same type of friendly but laid-back reception will continue for your entire stay.
You won’t find the high-pressure sales techniques or unexpected additions to your bills that are common tourist traps at other tropical destinations, so you can just relax and enjoy yourself.
As you’d probably expect of an island paradise, Vanuatu offers more natural beauty spots than you could possibly cover in a single vacation.
None is more beautiful than Port Vila’s Mele Cascades, a popular swimming spot that features a series of terraced pools on the side of a hill, leading up to an impressive 35-metre waterfall that flows into a natural plunge pool. The stunning spot is an absolute must-do, if only for the photo opportunity! Make sure to also check out Lololima Falls too if you are chasing waterfalls with the family.
We travel for a chance to experience a different culture – and doing so is a great learning experience for kids. Several of Vanuatu’s islands are only a short drive or boat-ride from Port Vila, yet offer the opportunity to meet locals operating traditional industries and undertaking centuries-old in unspoilt surroundings.
Lelepa Island, for example, has “no electricity, cars or worries”, while Pentecost Island is the home of the original bungee jumpers – yes, really! Every year between April and June, local young men prove their virility by leaping headfirst off a wooden tower with just a vine attached to their legs. Just don’t let the grandkids get any ideas…
Vanuatu is quite unlike anywhere else on Earth. It’s like a greatest hits of the world’s most spectacular experiences – all in the one place. A trip to Vanuatu is less about a simple list of things to see and do – and more about how Vanuatu makes you feel.