In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn
Tanna Holidays Overview — Other Islands — Outer Islands Travel Details
Tanna Island is one of the most southerly islands of Vanuatu, slightly cooler than Port Vila which lies a 45-minute flight to the north. The island is 565 sq-km in size with a population of 20,000, mostly living a very traditional lifestyle in kastom villages. Tanna is an exceptional island to visit for exploring the traditional way of life of the ni-Vanuatu as well as to climb Mt Yasur, the worlds most accessible active volcano which provides a delightful spectacle most nights.
Tanna Island Map
Without doubt, the most awesome sight in Vanuatu is the fiery explosions of Yasur Volcano, and it is this single sight that brings travellers to Tanna Island. It is an unbelievable and humbling site to watch the volcanic eruptions at night, but as with all things in nature, the show is not guaranteed. Yasur is the most accessible active volcano in the world and on good days explodes with regular punctuality. The force and consistency of these eruptions is measured from 0 to 3, with 3 meaning the volcano is too dangerous to approach, and 0 indicating that little will happen. Most days, the volcano indicates 1 or 2 with moderate activity, eruptions visible every fifteen minutes or so and generally offering exceptional viewing. But even if the volcano is placid, or you have more time on your hands, Tanna is one of the best islands in Vanuatu to experience the rich and diverse culture of its people.
Tanna Island lies a thirty minute flight to the south of Port Vila and is an explorer's paradise with the impressive and constantly active Mount Yasur Volcano on the east coast which draws in the tourists on day and overnight trips from Port Vila.
All accommodation providers on Tanna Island offer daily tours to Mt Yasur Volcano although it's a two hour bumpy 4-WD journey from the airstrip across the centre of the mountainous island to reach the volcano. The volcano is best viewed at night when its fiery eruptions light up the night sky. The other attraction of the island is its very traditional kastom villages scattered around the island and several put on dance shows for tourists.
Mt Yasur volcano is undoubtedly best viewed at sunset when the hot volcanic stones from the fiery beast can be seen tossed a hundred metres into the air and then showering back down to earth in spectacular fashion. Depending on the volatility of the volcano, tourists can climb the steep ash fields to the 361 metre high rim and peer down into the crater's belly. As it is a 2-hour drive across a rough and bumpy road from the west coast and airport, staying at least one night on the east coast is a good option. The east coast is more remote though and more difficult to explore, but there a couple of pleasant wild beaches notably at Turtle Bay around the point from picturesque Port Resolution Bay.
Outer Islands Travel Information
There are several daily flights from Port Vila to the White Grass airport on the west coast of Tanna which is a 2-hr drive by dirt road across the island to Yasur Volcano. There is no public transport on the island with sightseeing and airport transfers provided by accommodation providers.
The best place to stay if exploring the volcano is on the east coast which has quicker access - its a rough 2 hour journey across the island from the west coast and airport, which at night (when the volcano is best viewed) can be a nervy experience.