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10 jaw-dropping spots in Vanuatu to take your Instagram game to new heights

From isolated beaches to active volcanoes, this South Pacific island nation has them all.

Only a three-hour flight away from Sydney lies the stunning 80-plus archipelago of Vanuatu. There, you can find anything and everything the inner-wanderer in you desires – think remote islands, traditional culture and pristine diving sites.

Suffice to say, Vanuatu is a paradise that has to be on your travel bucket list – as well as on your Instagram feed.

Here are 10 places in Vanuatu which will make your Instagram (and life) the envy of all of your followers.

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@captyvate here – action sport and adventure videographer and photographer from Australia. If you are a restless go-getter like me who loves exploring, then you need to make a trip to Vanuatu a priority. I was blown away by the diversity of the islands and activities on offer; a true adventure playground. If you have any questions throughout my takeover, be sure to drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Enjoy and never stop exploring! Post 1 is from my first evening at Port Olry beach. It is the first image I captured from my week in Vanuatu – a composite of 2 images shot under a full moon. There is such little light pollution that as long as there are no clouds, you’re guaranteed a clear view of the night sky in Vanuatu.

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Mount Yasur

An explosive way to start off your vacation is a trip to Mount Yasur.

You can get within 150 metres of the active volcano’s crater rim by walking. First, jump on the back of a 4WD across the volcanoes’ otherworldy ash plains; then hike up the side of the volcano to stare Mother Earth in the face.

Once there, you can peer down into the fiery lava storm, giving you photo ops to set your IG feed on fire.

P.S. Don’t forget to bring a postcard to drop at Volcano Post, the world’s only postbox located on top of a volcano.

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“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.” . @piareierson dreaming big on the side of the active volcano #mtyasur on #tanna #vanuatu. . On another note, I was listening to the astronomer Fred Watson this evening talk about life in the universe. After explaining eloquently why scientists believe that it is unlikely we will find complex life elsewhere in the universe (as opposed to simple life which they believe to be abundant), his thoughts turned philosophical. Could it be that we alone can see and contemplate the expanse and complexity of the universe? Do we alone give the entire universe its meaning? It was, he said, as though we are out of place here – that this is not where we are supposed to be. . Indeed. . @nikonaustralia D850 + 14-24mm f2.8 @reallyrightstuff @nisifiltersaustralia . . . . . . #DiscoverVanuatu #AirVanuatu #volcano #nightsky #ig_nightphotography #universetoday #nightscape #fs_longexpo #longexpoelite #rsa_night #starrynight #milkywaygalaxy #stargazing #nikonphotography #focusaustralia #instagood10k #sky_marvels #ic_longexpo #amazing_longexpo #splendid_earth #longexposure_shots #night_excl #NightScaper #sky_sultans #sky_brilliance #milkywaychasers #milkywaypics

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You’re standing on a thin ridgeline of crumbling ash which cakes like fine sand around your boots. Below you, people standing on the flat ashplain which stretches out to the horizon are like tiny paint-flecks of colour on an oil slick, and above, the towering black pyramid of Mount Yasur rises. The loose arête that you’re climbing curves up toward the crater in a sinuous line, and every now and then huge whirlwinds spin out of the sulphurous cloud billowing out of the top of the volcano and march down the face towards you. It’s time to strap in and send it, carving black lines down the smooth obsidian slope of an active volcano. @henry_brydon ash-boarding down the face of Mount Yasur on the island of Tanna, one of the most accessible active volcanos in the world. It’s like sand-boarding, except the colours are flipped and the ground underneath you rumbles every time the crater spits out a lava bomb! What’s your most unique adventure travel experience? TAKEOVER// Joel Johnsson – @aesthetics.of.adventure

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Tamanu on the Beach and Spa

Vanuatu is its own slice of heaven, but if you’re looking for that extra step up, you’ll want to head to Tamanu on the Beach. Set on its own white sand private beach, Tamanu offers a selection of luxury French Caribbean style villas with all amenities within arms reach.

On the water, surrounded by beautiful fine sand, you’ll be forgiven for forgetting you’re only 20 minutes away from the town of Port Vila.

Tamanu on the Beach isn’t just a villa getaway, though. There is also Tamanu Spa, offering a range of relaxing treatments and utilising a range of vegan-friendly tropical spa products.

The Blue Lagoon

On the island of Efate, you can find a haven where #nofilter is needed.

Named the Blue Lagoon, the swimming hole comes in the most stunning shade of blue you’ve ever seen.

And if this lagoon leaves you wanting more, it’s actually not the only one! On Espiritu Santo island, there are several lagoons referred to as Blue Holes, which also boast unparalleled blue waters.

Millennium Cave

For thrill seekers, Millennium Cave, on the island of Santo, offers a breathtaking trek through the jungle.

The adventure takes you across creeks, along bamboo bridges, inside an underground river, before finally, through a canyon flanked by waterfalls. Amazingly, you can now fly direct from Australia to tropical Santo.

Sounds incredible? It looks even more so in pictures.

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@captyvate here with the third post in my takeover. The Millennium Caves are the most popular tourist attraction on the island of Santo. It’s not hard to see why that might be the case. It’s the adult equivalent of a jungle gym. Starting with a brisk walk through traditional villages, you soon descend down wooden ladders toward a belittling opening in the earth. Be sure to take a torch because you’ll be spending half hour navigating through the depths of earth before emerging on the other side into a canyon. First time canyoning? No problem, there’s plenty of ropes and steps along the way. After the canyon, you’ll ascend back to the village to enjoy a refreshing selection of organic fruit.

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Jungle Zipline

Fear of heights? No worries. Conquer them in style at Vanuatu’s Jungle Zipline, a thrilling high wire activity in Port Vila. While securely strapped in, you’ll careen over the canopy of the Vanuatu jungle, admiring the stunning views over Mele Bay in the process.

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200 meters long, cool hay

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The Blue Cave of Tanna

A must-visit when you’re on the island of Tanna, the Blue Cave rewards those who explore its passageways.

Hop on a boat, grab a snorkel, and make your way through the seaside cave. At one point you’ll have to duck under a small ledge, but it’s well worth it to be treated to the gorgeous cavern on the other side.

Giant Banyan

In most places, you can climb a tree, but in Vanuatu, you can actually go inside a tree.

The Giant Banyan located in the nearby villages of Leitouapam on Santo is said to be one of the largest trees in the world. It’s so big that you can slide between its thick limbs and stand (or climb) inside its hollow centre.

Fun fact: Banyans are a type of strangler fig that grows by wrapping itself around a host tree. Eventually, the fig takes over and the host tree dies, which leads to the tree rotting away to ‘reveal’ the Banyan’s hollow core.

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What's the best way to climb a Banyan Tree? From the inside, of course! Banyans are actually huge strangler figs that grow from a single seed dropped in the crook of another tree by a bird or bat. The seed sprouts and sends spiralling tendrils down to the soil, which thicken and become trunks that wrap tightly around the host tree. Eventually the Banyan takes over completely, and the host tree dies and rots away leaving huge voids where it's branches once grew – the 'negative' of a tree, preserved inside another tree. In this particular Banyan, you can force your way into the centre, sliding between the thick limbs, to stand in a natural chamber where the host tree once stood. For the last photo of my takeover, I wanted to show you one of Vanuatu’s secrets. Since I found this place, I’ve done a bit of searching on the net, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else like it online, either photos or descriptions. In this day and age, where people in every country have camera phones and an Instagram account, it seems exceedingly rare to find something that is truly novel – a real discovery. But in Vanuatu, a place where almost 80% of the population still live traditional, subsistence lifestyles, with over 80 islands each with a different character and the highest linguistic density on the planet, it doesn’t seem so hard to get off the beaten track. Secrets like this one dwell (in this case) 15 minutes walk from your front door… Thanks to Vanuatu Tourism Australia for letting me share some of my adventures in the islands over the past week. To see a video of the inside of the Banyan tree or to keep following along on the adventure, head over to my profile. TAKEOVER// Joel Johnsson – @aesthetics.of.adventure

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Land Diving

Before millennials began throwing themselves off bridges for extreme bungee jumps, there was land diving. Found in the south of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu, land diving is a ritual in which people jump from 20 to 30-metre tall wooden towers.

Arguably the most extreme sport of the modern world, those brave souls taking part tie vines around their ankles before they jump, replacing the elastic bungee rope with a material from the natural world.

Although this is now a ritual dominated by men, it was not always the case.

The story behind land diving involves a woman tying lianas to herself and jumping from tree, knowing she was being followed by her husband, who subsequently jumped without vines and died.

The ritual is celebrated in April, May, or June, as it’s associated with the annual yam harvest – a good dive ensures a good yam harvest that season.

It’s a ritual not to be missed, with hundreds of spectators heading to Pentecost Island each year to watch the men of the island throw themselves from the wooden poles.

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Land jumping in Vanuatu👌🏻

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Basically every resort in Vanuatu

There’s no shortage of beautiful accommodation in Vanuatu.

From quaint seaside bungalows to cottages with private pools to world-class villas on stilts, there’s a place for every traveller to unwind, giving you the chance to choose your best #HomeAwayFromHome pics.

The local cuisine

What’s a vacation without capturing a few #FoodPorn photos?

In Vanuatu, you’ll be spoiled silly with Instagrammable food choices, such as a bowl of fruit by the sea, a glass of tropical fruit punch during sunset, or a seafood buffet as you watch Port Vila’s own fire dancers.

Pro tip: Try their national dish, a baked pudding called “laplap”!

Hideaway Island

Make a splash on Instagram with photos of this little beauty.

Around 100 metres offshore from Mele Beach, Hideaway Island is a favourite amongst divers and snorkelers for its incredible marine life, as well as the home of the world’s only underwater post office.

And last but not the least, the locals

Honestly, the best part of Vanuatu, alongside the pristine beaches and the lush rainforests, is its people.

Described as warm and caring, the Ni-Van will always greet you with a smile and are quick to make you feel at home. The Ni-Van were voted the fourth happiest people in the world.

A trip to nearby Vanuatu would not be complete without meeting a local or two.

Intrigued? Book your next holiday in Vanuatu. Lost At E Minor recommends staying at Tamanu on the Beach Resort and Spa, located on its own private white sand beach just 20 minutes from downtown Port Vila. Find out more at Vanuatu Travel.

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