Up Close & Personal With A Volcano

9th November 2016

Ambrym Volcano Heli Tour

You may not have heard too much about Tanna Island, but as soon as you arrive in Port Vila anyone you speak to will mention that you simply must visit Tanna and its incredible Mount Yasur active volcano. From Vila, it's just a short flight (shorter than Auckland to Wellington) to White Grass Airport on the west coast of Tanna. From the runway, it's just five minutes north to White Grass Ocean Resort, the perfect place to base yourself while on Tanna.

Upon arrival you'll be greeted by smiling hosts who come bearing much-needed ice cold refreshments as they show you to your bure by the beach. When you're ready to start exploring, the tour to Mount Yasur conveniently departs from the resort. Prepare yourself for what is sure to be the highlight of your trip - climbing Mount Yasur, the most accessible active volcano in the world.

Rising 361m above sea level, Mount Yasur is located by Sulphur Bay, southeast of Mount Tukosmera. Its pyroclastic cone is largely unvegetated and the almost circular summit crater measures 400m in diameter. A stratovolcano caused by the converging boundaries of tectonic plates, the Indo-Australian plate moves eastward, being forced under the westward-moving Pacific plate. Although the volcano has been continuously erupting for more than 800 years, it can be approached safely and eruptions can be seen a number of times per hour.

Setting off from the resort, enjoy a scenic drive through Tanna and White Grass before stopping for a traditional welcome from the local children's choir - a beautiful and deeply moving experience where you will be blessed to visit the volcano. Continuing on your way you'll pass through picturesque rural landscape before stopping at the top of Mount Loanialu for a breathtaking photo opportunity of black sand surf beaches, Sulphur Bay and the volcano in the distance.

Continuing to pass villages and farms, the scenery gives way to ashy roadsides that signal your approach to the volcano. Passing over a rise, you feel as though you've gone from being on earth to being on the moon as the unbelievable volcanic landscape comes into view. Continuing past a sulphate lake and over ash you can see Mount Yasur in all its glory, smoke wafting from the top and the smell of sulphur in the air.

Arriving at the volcano it's just a 10 minute walk to the crater edge, but before you set off to the top be sure to stop and post yourself a keepsake from the only post office box in the world located on a volcano. Arriving in the afternoon, you'll enjoy fantastic views in the daylight as well as being able to watch the sky change colours as the sun sets. Stick around for the night show as molten lava ignites the sky. What a show it is! A glow begins to emerge from the crater before you hear a rumbling and then suddenly lava is shooting out from the volcano - all while you're standing right on the rim.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and if you ever visit Vanuatu, you simply must make the trip to Tanna to see the glory of Mount Yasur - you'll never be able to get so close to an active volcano so easily anywhere else in the world.