I’m back for another instalment of our adventures in Vanuatu! I hope you’re enjoying them! Today I want to share with you two of the absolute highlights of our time in Port Vila – our visit to the Summit Gardens and to the Mele (or Cascade) Waterfalls. Be prepared for lots of photos – and these represent just a minuscule amount of the photos I took on these two adventures!
I’m going to start with the Summit Gardens, which we visited on our last morning in Port Vila. The Summit Gardens is the largest tropical garden in the South Pacific (totalling 240 hectares!) and is 200m above sea level, so has amazing views back on to the Mele Bay.
It’s actually owned by an Australian couple, but largely run by locals (or Ni-Vanuatuans) and not only does it include an amazing array of beautiful plants and flowers, but it is also an essential oils distillery. On the property they grow a huge range of plants including sandalwood, tahitian limes, coconuts, mandarins and lemongrass, all of which are used to create a range of organic products like candles, skin care, soaps, perfume oils, lip balms and essentials oils. Everything they sell is made using what they grow and nothing else – you can’t get more organic and local than that! Needless to say I loved it, and after visiting the gardens I spent ages perusing the products and brought home a few bits and pieces to try out. Lucky for me they have recently started selling their products online, so if I love them as much as I have a feeling I might I don’t have to head all the way back to Vanuatu to restock (although, that doesn’t sound too bad either!). If anyone is interested you can check it out here: http://www.thesummitvanuatu.com (and no, I’m not being paid to promote them – I just really loved what they are doing!).
Anyway, back to the gardens! We were taken on a tour through the 12 sections of the gardens which included an orchid garden, sandalwood plantation, traditional plantings and terrace plantings. There was so much colour and a huge array of flowers of all shapes and sizes.
Imagine having access to such beautiful plantings and a garden like feeling back at home too. Although I do have a garden back at home and a canopy too but I like my garden and its trees well maintained thus, I take the help of Tree lopping Perth to maintain it. All these might just become a reality if you contact some great fibreglass planters who will take care of your needs and extend their tailored services.
I loved it so much I had to stop for a little dance!
The gardens have only been open to the public since November 2011 but they are already ranked as one of the must-do things in Port Vila and I can definitely see why. I would highly recommend checking them out if you ever find yourself in that part of the world!
Another definite must-do was the Mele Waterfalls, also known as the Cascade Waterfalls. These waterfalls are located not far out of Port Vila, so we flagged down a ‘bus’ and headed out there one morning. They were breathtaking. To get to the top of the waterfalls you follow a pathway that runs alongside (and sometimes across) the river as it steps down in a series of mini waterfalls and pools, which were all pretty spectacular as well!
Once you get close to the top is where the fun really begins! To get up there you need to climb through a series of pools by walking through the water and climbing up rocks. There are guide ropes (and sometimes helpful locals!) so it’s not too tricky – just a bit slippery which is nerve-racking if you’re like us and you don’t realise you were meant to leave your belongings (including your expensive camera!) in the hut before you commence this part! Ah well!
Once you get up there though – it’s incredible. There may have been more dancing at this point!
We then safely navigated ourselves back down to the hut, disposed of our belongings and climbed all the way back up to swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall. The pressure of the water when you are standing underneath it was insane – I could only take it for short bursts before I retreated to the relative calm of the rest of the pool! We took our time there – despite the water being somewhat on the cold side – and tried to drink in as much of the place as possible. It was amazingly beautiful and I feel really lucky to have been able to visit there. Do not miss out if you’re ever within cooee of Port Vila!
Needless to say, we were very happy little Vanuatu explorers that day!
Have you ever swum in a waterfall before?
If you missed any of my previous Vanuatu tales you can find them here, here and here!