Crystal Blue Resort Marine Conservation Park

Pacific Ocean was pounding the beach the resort sits upon the day we visited. Amongst the crashing dark blue waves, lay an aqua blue calm strip of water. I have no doubt the snorkelling in this area is good, but the idea of snorkelling in between the thunder of the sea, didn’t appeal to us resulting in a polite decline on the invitation.

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This is a nice area which exudes a somewhat isolated feel. Maybe it’s the drive down the track to the resort, or perhaps the long frontage, then again it could have been the waves rolling in from open ocean to pummel the shore.

Whatever the reason, the feeling of isolation was further enhanced by a lack of people. The only human life around, were those who worked at the resort and conservation park. Given this is a large, sprawling resort, slowly being restored, the size was magnified by the small handful of people.

Lack of people was a good thing though, with a personalised tour, just for us. We were guided around the resort area to view the concrete tanks with different age turtles being grown until they reached their release, back to the wild, size and age.

Iguanas’, flying foxes, chickens, all were on display in their own enclosures, Although we did wonder if they were aware they were also on the menu in the restaurant! Iguanas were happy to socialise and pose for the camera.

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Between the resort/park and the pool of sharks mingling with the three oldest turtles, there lies a village where Ni Vanuatu who work at Crystal Bay, reside during their work tenure.

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Pigs, from little tackers through to a couple of massive ones, live in their own pens at the edge of the village.

The final stage of the tour, is the pool of massive turtles and a lot of reef sharks and a ray. The opportunity exists to swim in this pool, which apparently some people take. The number of sharks was a little off putting

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I did negotiate the steep steps down to the pool to meet the turtles, the biggest around 80 years old.

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Our guide demonstrated sand drawings, which he completed in no time at all. Outlines were neat, tidy and cleverly put together.

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There is an entry fee here, around AUD 20 each which included the tour, snorkel and feeding the big turtles. Swimming with the sharks, ray and turtles did cost more and is available at high tide if you are interested. Families will find plenty here of interest to the kids, when you stop by for a tour. The resort itself still looked a little run down and basic, making a stop on an island tour probably a better choice than staying on site.

Keep in mind also, this is not the location of the blue lagoon, which is a different area on Efate altogether.

Mele – Cascade Waterfall

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Cascading water twisting yet seamless, runs next to and below your feet whilst negotiating a path on non slippery rocks, your goal being the ultimate last big waterfall.

Breathtaking. Yes there is an uphill walk involved, however, if you have been to Efate and not visited Mele, then your travels were not complete. The water here is unbelievable as shown to us on leaf, by our guide.

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However you visit this memorable part of Efate, maybe by tour or on your own, just be sure you do it. This is a truly stunning landscape.

Upon reaching the top waterfall you can indulge in a massaging free shower, wallow in the rock pools, use the rocks and water as natural slides, or simply enjoy the beauty. There is a lot of uphill in this trip, you do not have to be an athlete, just be prepared for some exercise before your evening cocktail!

I will say, this is worth every step. Surprisingly the rocks are not slippery, even with water cascading over, you can keep a good footing.

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Our guide could fold a leaf, then, with a few well placed bites, produce some amazing artwork.

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This is a case you may find a guide or personalised tour is worthwhile. The information on medicinal plants, history or anything else you may learn, is most definitely worth it.

The right spot on your walk will give you an uninterrupted view of Hideaway Island.

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Mele is definitely worth a visit, I recommend this area.

Blue Lagoon, Efate

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Photo really doesn’t do the gorgeous colour of the wonderfully blue water justice. A popular spot with the kids, especially with a tarzan rope to jump into the water from, making for some huge, and at times painful sounding, swinging leaps!

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You may visit this on one of the island tours, it’s certainly worth having a swim, even if only to say you’ve swum there. Overall we found it to be a nice little set up with seating areas dotted around, and change huts available for use. There are a few rocks to walk on as you go into lagoon, which may be easier with reef shoes, doesn’t last long though as water does get deep very fast.

Consider an early visit if you are travelling separate to a tour, as this area can fill up pretty quickly. There were a few fish around but not enough for snorkelling. However that was probably due to the jump rope, I doubt many fish would be hanging around waiting to be a target for jumpers! Maybe early with no-one else around you would see more. There was an reasonable entry fee of around AUD 5., handed over at the rustic little entry hut.

These gorgeous local children were fascinated with seeing themselves inside the camera, As always it was heartwarming to see such a simple thing become a huge source of amusement.

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