Healing means different things to different people. When it comes to families, a break from routine is a necessity; a break from the house, the endless jobs, school, lunches, after school activities, dinner, bedtime….. Then there is work…..
As parents, as humans – we are exhausted.
It is quality time spent together that is so desperately lacking in our hectic lives. Many of us are looking for a place to chill, to completely, utterly – rest. Not to think beyond the daily dinner choice. To be pampered. To have all needs catered for. A place to relax and recharge the body and mind.
We found the perfect place. Our healing elixir.
Erakor Island in Vanuatu
We have recently returned from 7 nights in Vanuatu and it was the perfect destination to relax, reconnect with my children on a simplistic level, reconnect with my husband on an emotional level and to switch off our busy minds. We returned reunited and motivated to live a more wholesome, healthy and simpler life. Let’s hope we stick to that plan….
We stayed on Erakor Island Resort, located a few minutes from Port Vila, which is just a 2.5 hour flight north-east from Brisbane and 3.5 hours from Sydney; and yet it is a thousand miles from our usual frenetic existence. It’s a very simple, no frills resort but what it lacks in finesse it is stacked with rustic charm and ambiance. And coconuts.
Situated just off the mainland, Erakor is only a few minutes ferry ride across a crystal clear lagoon. It is an unspoiled 16 acre island paradise surrounded by white sand and coral beaches, sandy paths and coconut groves. All villas are waterfront with the lagoon just steps away from your own terrace.
Kayak, sail, swim or snorkel straight off the beach, enjoy a treatment in the day spa, or relax with a cocktail or freshly squeezed fruit juice under a coconut palm. The tone of the island is set in its peace and tranquility, a place to choose to do, or not.
The accommodation is what made me book this resort. All rooms are located with water frontage, hammocks and lounge chairs. To complement the tranquility of the island, most rooms don’t feature telephones or televisions. The villas are ideal for families and choices ranging from waterfront loft villas to a 4 bedroom beach house. There aren’t many, so you want to get in early. The rooms are simple, rustic and ambient. I would suggest staying on the lagoon side to avoid the wind from the ocean.
Garden Room – are a great economical option motel-style rooms that are positioned half way along the island, less than 10 metres from the water. The rooms have an ensuite bathroom, choice of king bed or twin king singles, tea & coffee making facilities and there is a large outdoor nakamal (gazebo) area to relax and enjoy the Erakor sunsets.
Garden 2 Bedroom – are also positioned half way along the island, with their front patios just metres from the blue lagoon waters. They have 2 separate bedrooms, bathroom, choice of king bed or twin king singles and tea & coffee making facilities and you can sit and enjoy an afternoon cocktail in the outdoor nakamal (gazebo) and enjoy the Erakor sunsets.
Lagoon Villas – are nestled throughout the island, surrounded by coconut palms and screened with tropical gardens. The open-plan king bed and sitting area open to the timber deck and look directly to the blue waters.
Oceanfront Spa Villas – are privately positioned further along the island and are perfect for a romantic retreat. The villa has separate bedroom and sitting area, breezy front deck with daybed for an afternoon siesta, corner spa, bicycles for your morning ride to explore the island and more!
Beachfront Deluxe Spa Villas – are spacious and feature a spa bath big enough for two to relax and soak up some Island time whilst sipping a glass of bubbly and looking out across the mesmerizing blue lagoon waters. Decorated with a Melanesian theme, the timber louvres invite the natural light and ocean breezes.
Waterfront Family Loft Villas – are ideal for families or friends sharing and can sleep up to 5 people with a kingsize bed in the open-plan area and 3 singles in the mezzanine loft upstairs. There is also space in the main area for portacot or rollaway single for little ones. Timber doors open straight to the deck and great water views. This is the room we stayed in with three single beds in the upstairs loft.
Sunset 2 bedroom Family Loft – has room for all with two separate bedrooms plus mezzanine loft sleeping area. There is a spacious living room with comfy lounges and TV channels and DVD movies and board games to enjoy on lazy days. Get up each morning to the awesome view out to the Pacific Ocean and relax in the evening with the amazing red and pink sunsets, right there in front of your holiday haven.
Aqua Blue Beach House – a beautiful 4 bedroom holiday home right on your own private beach. With warm sparkling waters, spectacular snorkeling at your door step and nestled among lush, tropical gardens. Modern Melanesian design comprising of a huge indoor outdoor living area and 4 big double bedrooms. The 50m2 of covered Patio offering 180º panoramic views.
Aqua on Erakor Restaurant – is surrounded by the aqua waters of Erakor Lagoon, the view is entrancing and sunsets mesmerising. Open from 7am till late, you can start the day with the breakfast buffet and end the day with a succulent seafood platter or sizzling Santo eye fillet steak. There’s taster plates to share while you are enjoying drinks on the deck and live music on the weekends.
Breakfast is included in most rates. A small buffet is laid out and you order hot meals directly off the menu, we almost always created our own version and the chef was most obliging. You can choose from the a la carte menu for lunch and dinner and features café fare, fresh local seafood and Santo beef prepared by the International Chef and served under the stars or in the restaurant suspended above the crystal waters of the lagoon.
Calypso’s Juice Bar –You can grab refreshing juice, light lunch or snack, fresh fruit or ice-cream at this little hut on the beach. The Calypso Beach Crew will deliver your order right to your sun lounge!
Special Dinner Options
We enjoyed a night of group fun at the Melanesian Feast night. It’s such a shame Vanuatu doesn’t offer this in local restaurants. It’s always an organised ‘theme’ and kind of expensive, yet the food is unique, healthy and lovely. This night was excellent with an exceptional fire show, well worth the attending it was truly spectacular.
Pizza, popcorn and movie night was another fun night out on our little coconut island. The kids movie came on first, followed by the adults. Popcorn was followed by all you can eat pizza, served to you on your lounge chair. The pizza was cooked in a woodfired pizza oven and was my son’s favourite meal on the island.
Vanuatu is famous throughout the South Pacific for its deliciously fresh and organic cuisine and claim to have the best beef in the world. The cattle roam freely in green pastures and are raised without antibiotics, hormones, growth stimulants and are free of disease – they are very happy cows! With year-round rain and a volcanic landscape, Vanuatu’s soil is arable and nitrogen-rich, a combination that produces grasses which are long all year round, hence the cattle don’t feed down at the ground level, where the parasites are. Between 8,000 and 9,000 head of cattle are processed annually at VAL Pacific (local meat processing plant), with two thirds being retained for the local market and the rest for export to destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and Japan.