Mele Cascades, Vanuatu

Located around 15 minutes from Port Vila these natural waterfalls offer a great way to spend a few hours.

A great place to swim with several large pools available as you trek your way up to the top pool and waterfall. It takes around 20 minutes to walk from the base. Most of the walk is easy however you will need a basic level of fitness. There are some parts where you need to use a chain to climb up through the rushing water and it can be slippery. Shoes are a must – joggers are probably your best option, but reef shoes will certainly do the job.

There are toilets available near the entrance as well as a café and bar for food and drinks. There is an entrance fee of VT2000 per adult (around $25 AUD) and VT1000 per child, which we were happy to pay but it puts you off returning for a second visit.

There are plenty of pools you can stop at and swim on the way up – although everyone will naturally head to the top pool situated under the 35m waterfall. You can then pick out some of the best pools that you passed on the way up for a swim as you head back down. There is no time limit so you can spend as long as you want in the pools.

Go early if you want the place to yourself, especially in the top pool. Opening hours are from 8.30 to 5pm. If a ship is in town then you’d be better off waiting till another day, but you do have time to get in and out before the crowds. We arrived at 8.30 on a ship-day and had the place to ourselves for 2 hours. On the way back down there were bus loads of people on the way up.

If you are visiting from a ship then Mele Cascades is a good way to spend your time in Vila. You won’t be alone but there are plenty of pools to pick from for a swim.

If you are staying at Mele Beach or Hideaway Island it’s a 15 minute walk – past Mele village and the Secret Gardens to the base of the mountains. Or catch one of the many mini buses from Port Vila or your hotel. Most resorts provide organised tours but its easy enough to arrange yourself.

It’s a fantastic experience and one of the better attractions in Port Vila.