Vanuatu … Travel Photography

On Wednesday Mario and I arrived home from having spent 10 days in Vanuatu for some R & R. (: When we booked this holiday at the start of the year, we’d been saving to go somewhere further abroad but we decided early on that we needed a holiday sooner rather than later, and a shorter beach break seemed like a great option. We originally booked our tickets for July, but the day before we were due to fly out we found we couldn’t go (my friends on Facebook know why!). (: I happen to think it was all for a much bigger reason though because we met the most amazing people there, which of course we wouldn’t have had we holidayed earlier. This post is going to be dedicated to my most favourite images from the trip. I’d love to hear your thoughts about these images … travel photography is my favourite photography (it’s what got me motivated years ago when I lived in China) and I could spend hours pouring over travel photography books. I really love to just walk and photograph the people, the details about a country, and the culture too. (: I hope you enjoy them!

Erakor Island Resort was just a 5 min boat ride away …

Donald (on the left) was our friendly boat driver (:

Erakor Island Resort = Paradise (:

Our stay included the use of free watersports, so we took advantage of the kayaks and snorkeling gear (:

Meet Brian. Brian and Mario hit it off, and he would often come and join us for breakfast or lunch and play cards with Mario (:

My favourite time was spent photographing the kids around Port Vila (:

The colourful markets in the middle of town – I could have stayed all day with my camera (:

This is the national Vanuatu dish called laplap. It is prepared by pounding taro or yam roots into a paste, which is then placed on taro or spinach leaves. They are then soaked in grated coconut mixed with water. Pieces of pork, beef, chicken, fish or flying fox are added and the mixture is tied in the leaves from the laplap plant. Pretty tasty! (NOT that I tried it with flying fox though!)

There were starfish everywhere! The tide was out this day and I found these ones washed up on the beach right outside our door.

This was unreal! The locals were parading the All Blacks flag through town, and the noise and beeping was chaotic. Needless to say, I LOVED it! (:

Mele Village (:

I have no idea what they’re saying with their hands, but ALL the kids do it when you point a camera in their direction (:

This little fella on the left bit me on the finger too … kinda cute though! (:

These cute guys made me miss mine at home!

This is the Kava leaf. It’s made into an intoxicating liquid from pounded or groundpepper root mixed with water. I bought some at the airport on the way home and we’re going to try it with my brother and sister in law (watch out Karlos and Tina!) (:

This sweet, sweet man was so good to me when we visited the Secret Gardens. He can’t speak at all, but he showed me around the whole time I was there. Here he is demonstrating how laplap is made. I’m going to put together a small album for him with these photos I took and send it over – he was that nice! (:

Making fire …

Not sure what type of fruit this was, but it was quite sour!

Probably one of the funniest moments of our trip … our taxi driver took us to the ‘coconut man’ (on the right). He offered to climb a coconut tree for us, bag us one, and then sing us a song about the coconut tree, all for the sum of about $40 AUD. We politely declined, but in the end we paid him around $10AUD (after he kept haggling). Mario caught it all on video, and we now know the words to the song which we sang to him on our last day there. I like to think he was pretty chuffed (:

Mario caught this shot at a local Melanesian feast (:

Here’s the plane I took to Tanna Island to see the Volcano. Oh and I managed to fall asleep in it too … I pretty much have a cast iron stomach! (:

The view when we got to Tanna Island (:

A welcoming drink …

It took about 2 hours to reach the volcano in a 4WD. I sat in the back for part of the trip and watched the scenery change dramatically. It was almost eerie when we got close to the Volcano. There were lots of dark clouds and it looked like a desert. You could also feel the heat and taste the ash in the air. I believe this is the only active volcano in the world where tourists can get within 150 metres of it to view it. It was unreal!

The back of the volcano …

The worlds only volcano post box! (:

It really was amazing! As soon as I figure out my videos, I’ll post them here (:

Mt Yasur smoking away!

We stopped for a quick hello with these welcoming locals (:

Loved spending time with these boys from the local village (:

This wee fella was so cute! I asked him to run down the drive and back, and I adore how he did it with such pride. Love too that his feet are off the ground (:

And this little guy got a choccie from me … he was so cute (:

Mele Village …

Mele Cascade Waterfalls – nothing short of amazing. Mario and I had a swim there … it was just beautiful! My pics don’t do it justice, and this was only one of the areas we stopped at.

Haha! These boys were having so much fun jumping in the water off the side of the road (as you do in Vanuatu!!). They loved playing up for the camera, and I had a great time photographing them (:

Check out the dude running with his fancy headgear … seriously had me in stitches!

All in all an amazing trip! And would  you believe I photographed two weddings and one proposal on top of a volcano too? Pics to follow very soon! (:


1 Donna Sullivan | 10.14.11 at 5:43 am |

Hi Leanne,

These photos are fantastic.


2 Monika Eisenbart | 10.14.11 at 7:02 am |

OMG Leanne those are awesome!!! Lots of great images. Can’t decide which one is my favorite, I love them all. This is truly beautiful place and those kids are just amazing, like each face tells a story. Beautiful!!!!

3 Sam@Shuttersnap | 10.14.11 at 7:26 am |

Lovely holiday photos, Leanne.

4 Deb | 10.14.11 at 7:56 am |

Hi Leanne, thanks for sharing. Love these Vanuatu shots. I was there this time last year photographing a wedding and luckily got to have a holiday at the same time. The best part of my trip was meeting the locals, going to the Port Vila Markets, hanging out drinking cocktails on the beach and just being apart of the local life. We did a lot of walking around and highlight was meeting some of the local kids playing on the beach – naturally we joined in and played duck duck goose. Thanks for bringing back the memories and sharing your great photos. Deb

5 Cass | 10.14.11 at 11:21 am |

Just beautiful Leanne! I want to go back now :-) Please post your settings, I’d love to know.

6 Renee Caldwell | 10.14.11 at 2:13 pm |

Gorgeous shots Leanne!! :) Not sure why, but the two cocktail shots are my favourtite ;-) Looks like you had a blast, I’m keen to visit now xx

7 lorraine | 10.14.11 at 2:32 pm |

These photo’s make me want to go on oversea travel again,Awsome photo’s hon ♥♥♥♥♥

8 Jacqui | 10.14.11 at 2:53 pm |

Awesome pics hun! I love the punnet of raspberries! They all look so friendly and colourful :) I want a turn now.
Must catch up soon xox

9 Debbie | 10.14.11 at 2:59 pm |

Wow what beauiful shots you took Leanne,made me feel like I was there ,xoxo

10 Lisa | 10.14.11 at 7:47 pm |

Wow – your photos are absolutely amazing! Brings back so many memories of our honeymoon :) looks like you guys had the nest time! Fantastic work as always Leanne, can’t wait to see the wedding pics too xo

11 Jenny Ruddle | 10.14.11 at 8:11 pm |

Wow Leanne, these are amazing, I feel like i was there too (wish I was). You have captured the place so well,love seeing all the locals and how they live. Especially love the shots with the kids jumping in the water, what an awesome action shot!!!!!!

12 Danielle Chambeyron | 10.14.11 at 9:06 pm |

Couldn’t have changed a thing you did leanne! Just amazing.. Got to say I love the long shot of the volcano and the ones of the waterfall and the beaches.. So jealous, amazing that you got to capture it in all it’s beauty!

Those kids are the best though, so interesting to photograph, i have a few shots from Thailand, I always love the look on their faces when you show them the photo.. They can’t grasp the concept of seeing themselves on the lcd screen. Priceless!

Glad you got home safe and sound!

13 Katherine Keough | 10.14.11 at 10:56 pm |

They’re amazing Leanne! I love the pink sunset.. would look great as a giant print on the wall :) The kids shots are especially great

14 mali | 10.15.11 at 10:37 pm |

Wow!! They look amazing Leanne! We were at Port Villa for our 1st anniversary with a few close friends a few months ago..but didn’t have much time to mingle with the locals as much as you did. Your picts and comments bring back memories of being in that beautiful Island:)
Thanks for sharing.

15 toni Raper | 10.16.11 at 7:36 pm |

amazing collection of travel images, truly amazing. makes me want to go there, so magestic and colorful and lots of willing subjects for portraits too!x

16 Wendy | 10.21.11 at 7:33 am |

Beautiful photos Leanne and great reading of all the adventures you had. My sister and I are heading there tomorrow for a week, cant wait. Regards from Auckland, Wendy

17 Blanca | 10.22.11 at 1:47 pm |

Amazing pics you got there Leanne

18 Jackie Bennett | 10.25.11 at 1:10 pm |

Wow these photos are great. It brought back a lot of memories for me – I got married on Erakor Island in June 2011. Did you visit Blue Lagoon by any chance? Amazing photo opportunity there.
Love your work Leanne!

19 Danielle | 02.27.13 at 9:15 am |

You have done a great job at capturing what Vanuatu is all about. Thank you.
My mum has lived there for 6 years now so I’ve been numerous amounts of times and can’t wait to be back there next week.

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