South China Morning Post article by Christina Pfeiffer
Hot spots: Trees and Fishes, Vanuatu
What is it? The tranquil waterfront retreat on Vanuatu’s Havannah Harbour is an off-the-beaten-track hideaway. The sheltered bay was used as an American naval base during the second world war but is now becoming a haven for movie stars. Cate Blanchett owns a waterfront property here and Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted cruising the bay on a private yacht.
Is it hard to get to? The area might seem remote – Port Havannah is located on the northern coast of Efate, Vanuatu’s main island – but it is only a 30-minute drive from Port Vila’s international airport. Or take a seaplane or helicopter, which offer scenic views of Efate’s picturesque coastline.
What do we do when we’re there? A clue is in the name: the main reason to stay here is the fishing. The retreat has a 32-feet boat, the Azzurra, that takes guests on full-day fishing trips. Skipper Andrea Traverso has been fishing these waters for dogtooth tuna, yellowfin, wahoo, sailfish, blue marlin and red bass since he was a child and the vessel is fast and stocked with top-quality equipment.
What if you’re not a keen angler? If you love nature and adventure, there’s plenty here to take your fancy: the retreat is a good base from which to hike and kayak. For a bit of snorkelling or diving, there are amazing underwater spots around Moso and Lelepa Island. A short drive away are the Cascade Waterfalls, a lovely place to cool down with a refreshing dip after you’ve worked up a sweat hiking. And there are few pastimes more pleasant than whiling away an afternoon with a good book in a hammock by the water’s edge …
What about the rooms? The resort is rented out on an exclusive basis and can accommodate up to nine people in three rustic cabins with comfortable beds, timber decks and trendy designer bathrooms complete with huge lava bathtubs. There are no television sets or minibars. But those who simply must stay up to date with stock-market prices will be pleased to know there’s decent wireless internet and mobile reception, and those who perhaps wished they hadn’t can drown their sorrows at the open-air tropical bar.
What about the food? The main dining area is an open-air bure on the beach. Meals are hearty and home cooked. You won’t go hungry and the food is prepared with the freshest local produce, such as organic meat, fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms. Of course, the best thing about dining here is eating fish you’ve caught yourself.
Is there a spa? Not as such, but services – aromatherapy massages, hot stone massages or an invigorating green tea body scrub – can be arranged in the cabins or in the garden.
What’s the bottom line? The rate for an exclusive reservation is A$285 (HK$2,300) per person per night (based on a minimum of four and maximum of nine people). That includes breakfast and dinner. Fishing costs a flat A$1,450 per day and includes refreshments and a light lunch.
Trees and Fishes Private Retreat is at Rana Beach, Port Havannah, Port Vila, Vanuatu, tel: 678 775 3058, www.treesandfishes.com
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