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Page: May 2006 Vanuatu travel news - Round Island Relay - Historical Land Dive

The Travel Bug 15

Issue 15 - May 2006

Telecom Vanuatu Round Island Relay Prepares for July

Looking for a challenging break for your cross country club? Then why not combine great sun soaking tropical holiday, unique cultural experience and a good round island run, at the Telecom Vanuatu Round Island Relay. This 10 person relay challenge sets the course around Efate Island where capital Port Vila is located. The race starts at down town Post Office and ends at the entrance of the independence celebrations venue which usually holds a loud, from all the excitement, and cheerful public waiting to receive the runners.

This year, the Relay will take place on Saturday 29th July. Roads vary from tar sealed to rugged coral & dirt roads, passing through traditional villages, mountain rain forest, crossing crystal clear streams and through coconut plantations. Latter stages of the race take runners along the edge of coral reefs and white sand beaches offering some of the most breathtaking views you'll ever encounter. So whether your team is racing for a top place finish and cash prize, or simply aiming to get around Efate island, you will have a fantastic time in experiencing Vanuatu tropics, the local hospitality and friendship, and a unique South Pacific culture. For more information, contact Joe on (678) 22685. Email (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Tribal Drum February – March 2006)

Historical Land Dive Gets Underway

The 2006 Nagol Ceremony is has begun. The platform is made of wood and covered with leaves purposely to protect the platform from the sun drying it out before the ceremony. The leaves are removed by the jumper before the jump. The liana vines which are tied to the ankle and very elastic following the wet season, are shredded and the other end tied to the tower. It is also a fertility rite. Every year in April, when the first yam crop is ready, the islanders on the south of the island start building a huge tower for the land diving. It takes about 5 weeks to build, all materials come from the forest: lianas, branches, trunks.... Eventually a wooden tower between 20 to 30 meters high is erected. Each diver must select his own vine. Its size is of utmost importance and if it is only 10 cm too long, the diver could hit the ground and possibly break his neck. As the vines stretch at the end of the dive, the land diver's heads curl under and their shoulders touch the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop. For ONE-Day outing to Pentecost - cost covers return fares i.e. VLI/PENTECOST/VLI, admission fees to the jump site, picnic lunch + day use of the boat. Drinks and snacks available onboard. (For further information see Land Dive section on

New 4-Star Hotel and Casino for Port Vila

The 4-star Le Grand Hotel and Casino on the Port Vila waterfront in Vanuatu has been bought by investors in Iririki Island Resorts and Spa. The luxury 74-room property is adjacent to Iririki’s Port Vila jetty and has been unoccupied and looking for an operator since being built in 2003. It will offer guests spectacular uninterrupted views of the harbour, Iririki Island, and sunset views. Opening early July under of one of Vanuatu’s most-experience and long-term hotel General Managers, Sydney Grace who was formerly with The Melanesian Port Vila. Le Grand Hotel and Casino is a few minutes level walk from Port Vila’s duty-free shops, restaurants, markets and major tour operators, and will have a restaurant, 4-bars, 2-conference rooms, gym, and a choice of standard rooms, suites, executive suites and penthouses. Rooms will go on sale from early May through Australian and New Zealand travel agents. (Source: David Ellis Associates 03/04/2006)

2006 Christmas Island New Facility

KPC Tabwakea Community & FISHABOUT, is happy to announce a "new" beachfront facility, "The Villages," lagoon Resort. It will be available, June 15, 2006 at Christmas Island. The site is about 15 minutes drive from the International airport, toward the community of London. A few miles past the Northwest Point, a road leads to a beach on the lagoon, facing toward Motupua and Motu Tapu Islets. On a private beach awarded to Tabwakea Protestant Community, there will be two duplex bungalows, with four private units, accommodating 2 people per unit, with private bathroom and air-condition. It will handle 8 guests per week. This is phase one of the new resort project. The Community Manager of the lodge has promised to have the finest buffet meals and lunches to please every guest and meet their palate. With Air Pacific's Boeing 737 jet serving Christmas Island from Honolulu, the facility guests can count on more comfortable and reliable scheduled flights. Accepting only 8 anglers per stay allows the trained staff to provide the best service at "The Villages" and the best fishing program. (Source: Kiribati Tourism Office)

Further Australian Support to the Vanuatu Tourism Office

The Vanuatu Tourism Office has recently procured the services of a Graphic Designer under Australia's Youth Ambassador for Development program. Erin Harris has joined the VTO marketing Office to assist in reviewing and upgrading of the VTO website layout, implement database management systems, offer design support for new marketing programs and increase the VTO's capacity to implement online marketing activities. The marketing department along with Erin will also be developing a training workshop for local operators on how to design promotional material such as flyers and brochures. This will occur toward the end of the year. Erin will be with the VTO until mid December. The VTO Marketing Manager, John Cvetko has stated that he is pleased to be able to source the specific technical support required to implement these much needed programs in the VTO's promotional activities. This again highlights the Australian government's commitment to providing technical assistance which has a direct and positive impact to the ongoing development of Vanuatu. The VTO Marketing Manager role is funded and supported by the Australian Government under the AusAID program. (Source: VTO Tribal Drum April 2006)

Island Wedding for Hollywood Actress

One of Hollywood's celebrity actresses is the latest to have her wedding staged on the sandy tropical beaches of Fiji. Tori Spelling, the daughter of Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling, tied the knot with Dean McDermott on Sunday at the celebrity island of Wakaya. A Pacific news source stated that the non-denominational ceremony was attended only by the bride and groom, who were both barefoot and wearing white. Spelling said in a Newsweek website that she did not want to wait another day to get married, a sentiment shared by her new husband. "I've never had as much of a desire to get married and make a woman my wife as I've had with her. The feeling is overwhelming. We're soul mates." Spelling, 32, and McDermott, 39, met last year while filming the TV movie Mind Over Murder. Spelling was married at the time to actor-writer Charlie Shanian, who filed for divorce in October, a little more than a year after marrying the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star. The divorce was finalised last month. McDermott filed for divorce from his wife of 12 years, Mary Jo Eustace, in September. McDermott proposed to Spelling on Christmas Eve in Toronto. Spelling is starring in a fictionalised version of her story in VH1's So Notorious. (Source: Fiji Times 09/05/2006)

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