Diving Efate (Port Vila)

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Efate (Port Vila), Vanuatu

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Country: Vanuatu  Area: Vanuatu

Water Temp: 25 - 30°C (77 - 86°F)

Visibility: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

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Vanuatu is made up of 83 Island. Vanuatu has been voted the friendless country in the world, it is only a short flight from New Zealand and Australia with many interesting sites to visit and things to do.

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Efata is the most accessible and most populated island in Vanatu, and has the third largest landmass. The majority of life revolves around the capital city, Port Vila, which receives approximately 60 000 tourists annually. Efate offers fantastic diving, great restaurants and world-class fishing all against a laid back tropical backdrop. On land activities range from lazing on the beach to wandering the back streets to abseiling over the stunning landscape. It makes for a great family diving destination.

Most of the dive sites in Port Vila are a quick distance from shore, and there are plenty of opportunities for wreck dives. One famous site takes you to the Star of Russia, a stunning 84m sailing boat that was built in the 1850s and sank during a cyclone 100 years later. It is also possible to dive to the Tasman Sea Plane that sits at a depth of 40m.

Angelfish, Credit

If you are not in to wrecks then explore our pristine reefs such as Twin Bommies which is home to some large Potato Cod or visit the Cathedral here where you will most likely come across a large school of some very large Humped Head Mari Rasse. Setting sail to the reefs
that surround some of the smaller off-shore islands takes divers to a few quieter reefs, with vibrant coral and large schools of fish.

Wrasse, Credit


Annual temperatures in Efate remain fairly constant, while the humidity fluctuates.

During the wet season (November – March) the island becomes very humid with temperatures ranging between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius. During the remainder of the year, humidity drops to roughly 40% and temperatures range between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

Water temperatures range between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

Marine Conservation

The Department of Environment and Conservation manages environmental policies for Vanuatu, in hopes of establishing ecologically sustainable development throughout the islands. The government passed the Environment Management and Conservation Act No. 12 in 2002, which aims to further development administration, assessement and laws surrounding the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

The region saw a marked decline in the sea turtle populations in the late 1980s, due to hunting,harvesting, urbanization and pollution. This prompted a surge in conservation efforts, which were very successful in protecting the species. In 1996, an average of 30 turtles were killed annually in each village. In 2005, an estimated 1 – 2 were killed per village annually. Non-profits continue to recruit volunteers to assist in turtle conservation initiatives, ensuring the population remains protected and continues to grow.

Today, shark poaching remains a large threat to the region’s biodiversity, in addition to urban development and pollution.

Other year round Marine life

You can see schools of cuttle fish pretty much all year round.


Information & photos kindly provided by: Nautilus Watersports

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There is no shore diving in Port Vila.

Dive sites range from 5 – 40 minutes boat trip away from the shores of Port Vila. The sheltered Mele Bay is a great spot for beginners, while the outer reefs with steep drop offs and strong currents are well suited to experts.

Underwter beuty, Credit

The Star of Russia, the Tasman, the Konanda and the MV Smemle Fenderson are some famous wrecks, all located within Mele Bay. Hideaway Island and the Cathedral are slightly further afield, but come highly recommended.

The tunnel system of Tukutuku is one of the area’s most famous sites, given the frequent spotting of dugong, grouper and shark. The volcanic plugs of Hat Island and Paul’s Reef are also very popular, given the rich diversity of marine life and consistently clear waters.

Butterflyfish, Credit

A day trip to the offshore island of North Efate is also a pleasant way to spend the day – and avoid a few of the crowds.

Night dives are run by most operators, and occur largely in Mele Bay.

Liveaboard Diving

Numerous liveaboards depart Port Vila for multi-day trips through the Vanatu Islands, enabling you to explore some of the outer islands of the archipelago, in addition to the waters surrounding Tanna and Espiritu Santo.

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How to Get There

There are roughly 11 flights each week from Australia, departing from Sydney and Brisbane on ir Vanatu and Pacific Blue.

Aerial View, Credit

From New Zealand, there are 4 flights weekly run by Air Vanatu and Air New Zealand.

The international airport in Port Vila is roughly 13 minutes from the city center, with taxis and busses connecting the two at all times. Pre-booked airport transfers are also an option.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Efate has built itself a reputation for some truly great dining opportunities. With restaurants preparing everything from local specialities to spectacular beef wellington, there is guaranteed to be a variety of restaurants that cater to every palate and budget. French cuisine is incredibly popular in Efate, given the French colonial roots, with Le Café du Village preparing a decadent champagne and lobster breakfast. Roxy’s on the Lagoon serves up some of the best seafood, while La Pizzeria is a great pace for a pizza, osso buco or a fish curry with friendly expats. Kanpai Bar and Sushi Japanese Restaurants brings in a bit more diversity with a fantastic range of Japanese food, while Jill’s Café serves up a classic
American breakfast.

Eratap, Efate,Credit

There is a decent nightlife around Etafe, with Trader Vics maintaining a reputation as one of the best bars in town. The enormous beer garden includes a disco and a sports bar area, and frequently hosts live bands. It is also worth stopping by an ever popular kava bar (nakamal) in the evening, which is essentially a village clubhouse. Here, kava is drunk from an empty coconut shell. The drink itself is made from the root of a kava plant and has sedative and anesthetic properties.

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Family Activities and diving for Children

As long as the child is 10 years old then they will be able to go for a Discover Scuba Dive or even complete there Jnr Openwater Course.
Activies that the family can do together Parasailing, Jet Boat Rides, Fishing, Snorkelling, Horse Riding, exploring the villages and the list goes on.

Hideaway Island, Credit

Other Activities

Mainland activities draw just as many visitors to Etafe as the offshore activities do.

If seeking adventure, numerous operators run abseiling and parasailing trips and several stables that run horseback tours through the rainforests and coconut plantations. Deep-sea fishing is also incredibly popular here. Hiking to Mele Cascades carries visitors into the rugged centre of Efate, where you can enjoy a drink and a swim at these stunning waterfalls.

For those visiting with families, it is possible to enrol children over 10 in a Discover Scuba or Junior Open Water Course. Younger children may prefer to explore the ocean by way of a waterway tour on a local barge, or on a snorkelling trip to one of the neighbouring islands. Kayaking is another popular family-friendly activity, with IslanDreams Glass Bottom Sea Kayaking offering children the opportunity to peak below while they paddle.

The island also has a tennis club, golf course and a number of spas.

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For divers always check out what it will cost to hire dive gear as it is not that expensive, it may just be cheaper that paying excess luggage.

The people of Vanatu are often remembered for their warm hospitality and kindness. Shopping is a pleasant experience, with very little pressure to buy the items while you browse. Their culture and customs more broadly are fascinating, and a village tour is always a highlight for guests.

The waterfront of Port Vila, Credit

There is a hyperbaric chamber in Port Vila, and it is the only one in the whole of Vanatu, which is supported by a 24-hour emergency medical service. There is also a dentist and a number of private medical clinics.

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