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exploring pacific island ports on a day visit from a cruise

exploring pacific island ports on a day visit from a cruise

Old Feb 23rd, 2019, 12:20 AM
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exploring pacific island ports on a day visit from a cruise

Hi. Going on a Pacific Island cruise. And there are day stops each at Noumea (3-10pm) and Lifou (8-5pm). and then Port Vila (8-5pm) in Vanuatu Though the holiday is more about the cruise experience, I'd like to maximize the day visits to these ports.

It's a family with kids trip...kids between 8 - 13 years old. ANd no, we have not been to any Pacific Islands islands before .

1) How would you recommend we spend that time on land in these 3 ports ? Of course, we need to get back to the cruise ship on time... probably best to plan for about half an hour to get down the cruise ship ; and be back an hour before departure time.

2) WIshing we could do some snorkelling. But not sure if the ports are the right venue for snorkeling and if we have enough time.

3) Any must try local food ? Any recommended restaurants in these ports ?

4) If you know of any local tour guides with websites/contact info that you recommend, do let me know. Might be easiest to go thru that. Though there are such packages at the cruise ship, I'd rather go on our own vs many other passengers as organised by the cruise ship

Thank you very much

ERic
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Old Feb 23rd, 2019, 12:25 PM
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In Noumea we took a shuttle bus from the ship to the tourist office in town. There is a 'train' (Le Choo-choo) which does a tour of the town and the adjacent areas which we enjoyed - about an hour. We bought the tickets at the tourist office at half the price quoted by the ship. You could get a taxi to one of the beaches - there is a nice beach area with lots of restaurants etc about 15 minutes away.
Lifou was basically a beach with some market stalls. There is a nice walk uphill to a small church with views across the island. The tender pier was a fair way from the town but some of the locals were offering tours in slightly beat-up vehicles.
Port Vila - the ship docked too far away from town to walk so we could either get a shuttle bus or take the water taxi across the lagoon into town. Water taxi was $5 each and just an open boat with an outboard but much more pleasant than sitting in a crowded bus. The town has a market area, shops and restaurants. Iririki resort is on the lagoon and I believe you can pay a day fee to use their facilities and beaches.
Hope this helps with your planning.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2019, 07:50 PM
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thanks, marg. very helpful! good to know how much more expensive the cruise tours are! did you go snorkeling in any of the places ?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2019, 08:21 PM
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We're not swimmers so can't really help with that one. At Lifou, there were lots of people swimming on a beautiful beach so maybe you could hire gear there. I'm sure Iririki resort at Port Vila would have equipment for hire.
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Old Feb 24th, 2019, 12:09 AM
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We were in Port Vila a long time ago. Agree, try Iririki, which is just a 3-minute ferry from downtown Port Vila. We did not snorkel there, but just went over to check it out and have a bite in its restaurant.We went scuba diving at Hideaway Island, which is on the outskirts of Port Villa and home to a marine sanctuary. You could definitely snorkel there. The tradewinds were quite strong when we were there.
https://www.tourismvanuatu.com/tours...ay-island.html
We stayed on Erakor Island outside of Port Vila. We also stayed on Bokissa Island, a dive resort near Luganville on the Vanuatan island of Espiritu Santo, which is known for its wreck diving.
I no longer eat beef, but back then I would eat it now and again, though I was never very fond of it. One night at Erakor, the choices were limted so I ordered beef steak. It was sweet, lean and tender, I ended up ordering it the next night as well.

Been to New Caledonia a few times. You might want to check out Amadee Island, Duck Island, or Ilot Maitre (home to the Escapade Hotel) in Noumea's waters. But you'll be arriving late in the day.
https://www.newcaledonia.travel/nz/l...ing/snorkeling
If you'd like to go to a nice swimming beach there's Baie des Citrons. There's also Anse Vata, but it didn't seem as nice or as clean. We didn't bother snorkeling in Noumea as we were interested in doing other things (Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Museum of New Caledonia, Aquarium of the Lagoons, and well out of town, Parc Provincial de la Riviere Bleue). We'd also already done some suberb snorkeling on Mare and snorkeling and scuba diving on Ile des Pins--will you be going to either of these islands? We've visited Lifou twice, but went scuba diving, which was great.

The indigenous Melanesian people of New Caledonia are known as Kanaks. Their most famous dish is bougna. I found it heavy and starchy, but worth trying. Otherwise, you can try New Caledonia's nice seafood and venison, French food and wine, and probably the Tahitian raw fish salad, poisson cru. We tried coconut crab on Lifou but it wasn't very good (but it could have been the way it was prepared).

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 24th, 2019 at 12:12 AM.
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