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Mt Yasur - Tanna island

Peering down into the rumbling, exploding lava storm of Mt Yasur is a sight you won't soon forget. The active volcano is so accessible that 4WD vehicles can get to within 150m of the crater rim. There are many tours that can take you up to see the old man, ask any locals on Tanna and they will be able to tell you the custom story of abu (grandfather) Yasur. Although you can also walk up without a guide (around 20-30 minutes from the base entrance), or join a vehicle going up, it's still best to go with a guide.

Port Vila

Set around pretty Vila Bay and a series of lagoons, beaches and offshore islands, Port Vila is a surprisingly compact but energetic town. It's a little rough around the edges, with a few traffic-clogged main streets offering up a supply of souvenirs, markets, and waterfront restaurants and cafes with some lingering French influences. Beneath this veneer is a good mix of holidaymakers, cruise ship day trippers, expats and yachties, along with the ni-Vanuatu drawn from all over the archipelago.

This is the liveliest town in Vanuatu, with an array of tours and adventure activities, excellent restaurants, bars, supermarkets, banks and markets. Port Vila is a place for comfort over culture, beach bars over basic bungalows – and that's reason enough to stay a while.

Mt Benbow & Mt Marum - Ambrym island

The guided climb up to the twin volcanoes is reasonably demanding and the view is often obscured by low cloud and volcanic smoke. But on a clear day the reward will be peering into an active crater and seeing the red-hot magma boiling below. Both volcanoes are closely monitored, and climbing is occasionally suspended on high-activity days and evacuation plans are always ready.