All the saucy details of the honeymoon!
I am kidding, I will spare you the saucy details of the honeymoon, cause lets be honest you all know what happens on a honeymoon.
So I was in charge of planning and booking a honeymoon and making it a surprise for India. Sounds real cute right? Well, thats what happened. But me being my last minute sort of self, I did leave it to 2 weeks before the wedding to actually get something booked in… but India didn’t have to know that, cause it was a surprise!
Once we were both back in Australia this is where all the plans started coming to fruition, after talks with many different travel agents and deals and quotes I found one which looked like it was going to be a good mix of relaxing, sun, beach, and activities to keep us entertained.
We got married Saturday 24th September and were lucky enough to organize leaving for the honeymoon the next day in the evening (Sunday). I would highly suggest leaving some time between the wedding day and leaving to go somewhere… the last thing you want to be doing after a massive wedding day is waking up at 4 am to head to the airport.
So it came to Sunday evening and India still had no idea what we were doing or where we were going. Throughout the whole process of it being a surprise, I made sure to keep it a mystery and playing multiple tricks in thinking we were going to go skiing or hiking… not the beach honeymoon India was after.
We arrived at the international airport from our chauffeur lift (thanks, Mum) and India realized alright so we are heading somewhere overseas… at this point, I was glad that she did actually pack her passport.
Next was checking in for the flight… We were flying with Air Vanuatu which gave the location of where we were heading away quite quickly. This was the first bit of information India had found out and started to get excited. After the whole check in process, the boarding pass also revealed where in Vanuatu we were heading… Port Vila.
So we got on our 6:30 pm flight at 8:00 pm as it was delayed… presumably still on schedule in “island time” and off we went. Air Vanuatu doesn’t exactly have a business class… we got one of the best two options they could give, an exit row or row 1 (which were the exact same seats as everywhere else) so we scored an exit row with that little bit more leg space.
We arrived at Port Vila around 10:30 pm local time where we were instantly smacked in the face by our old friend ‘humidity’ which we hadn’t experienced for a while since living in the UK. It was about 36 degrees and 90% humidity at 10:30 pm at night. We then headed for passport control, which was very relaxed but also hot. They had landing cards to be completed but zero pens. We were freshly married… we didn’t have a pen or were prepared for landing cards so we had to make some friends and borrow a pen. In the line for passport control, this is where India first discovered where we were actually heading in Port Vila. A small child pointed out the Iririki Resort poster/advert on the wall. India being the teacher overheard and turned to look at the poster. It has luxury pictures of individual Villas and pools on an island. India mentioned to me… “That looks nice…” which was conveniently where were-were actually staying. I said “Well that’s where we are heading…” which India didn’t actually believe until I showed her the booking confirmation for Iririki Island Resort. Once she was all excited, the family behind us asked if we had ever been to Vanuatu before. India of course being the talkative one, told them that it was our honeymoon and that we had been married the day before. As a wedding present, the man gave us one of his pens! It actually became quite useful throughout the week!
We arrived at our Villa at around 12:30 am that night, after taking a transfer organized for us from the airport to a small boat which took us to the island. The island was just off the main street of Port Vila, it was probably close enough that you could swim over if you really wanted. We made our own little villa home, cranked the air conditioning onto 23 degrees and went to catch up on some sleep.
The next morning we had a sleep in… but not to much of a sleep in cause we couldn’t miss breakfast which we got each morning. So we went down to our buffet breakfast and filled up on food and some island fruit. We then went for a walk around the island to explore what there was to offer. The island was great it had multiple pools, a snorkel area in the sea, water activities a lookout from the top and even a casino. There was a separate part of the island which were more catered to families/children as it had a big pool, which was great… kept the kids away from us. The first day we hung out round to pool where we discovered our brains had become British and we had forgotten sunscreen. We were born in Queensland and had forgotten to pack sunscreen… what were we thinking. Needless to say we got a bit burnt on the first day. So we heading for the mainland to check out the markets, find some sunscreen and get some lunch. We ended up having lunch at a restaurant on the water called Reefer’s Bar & Grill which was actually owned by an Aussie and gave us some helpful advice on where to get some sunscreen without paying a ridiculous amount. We then headed back to the resort and got some flyers and brochures from Lily the guest relations manager. As much as India and I love doing nothing we also can’t sit still and love to get out and do activities especially me being a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
So this is what the rest of the week looked like for us:
Tuesday was adrenaline day or as India called it Jacob’s day. In the morning we went on a tour in off road buggies which was great fun… the only problem we had was it was meant to be Vanuatu’s “wet” season but it hadn’t rained for about 5 months. We thought we were going to be covered in mud… nope, we got dust in every place imaginable. We got to drive the buggy around an abandoned golf course which was great fun for me hooning around preforming death-defying maneuvers which India was not impressed by. We then stopped at Turtle Bay which looks after turtles etc. We got to swim with the turtles and hold the little baby ones and wash the dirt of us. We had an island barbecue lunch before we had back into town.
Tuesday afternoon the adrenalin continued as we head into the jungle to go Zip Lining. We got picked up from town in a 4WD which made the ascent up a very steep windy hill where the zip lining course was. It had a great view over Port Vila and could see the big cruise ship in the background. When the cruise ships were in everything became very touristy and we had to put up with some annoying families on the zip lining. But it was great fun and the longest zip line was a few hundred meters long.
And back we went to the island to have a real shower and clean out the dust and dirt, but also discovered happy hour where there were half price cocktails which happened at all the bars but consecutively one after each other which became a bit of a nightly occurrence of us getting half price cocktails.
We then got dinner off the poolside menu which was great and we sat near the pool and looked out to the sea eating our dinner and dessert of fried ice cream!
Wednesday we organized a tour or some other places in Port Vila by a tour company run by the locals called Evergreen tours. We were the only ones on the tour which was nice as we could spend as long as we like at each location. We went to a traditional village where they showed us around and some of the traditions of Vanuatu and the history. We discovered that they were badly hit by a cyclone around a year ago and everything had been re-built and the stories of how they hid in the roots of the big trees for cover. All around the island we were staying at boat wrecks were still scattered around the island.
We then went back to the turtle bay which was more enjoyable the second time as we weren’t covered in dirt and dust. And got some more photos swimming with turtles and feeding them paw-paw which I’m not sure is a normal thing for a turtle to eat.
We then went to Mele Cascade Falls, which due to lack of rain in the wet season was not running. It was a little bit disappointing but we still walked to the top falls and had a look around. We could have gone for a swim in the lower falls but it was very cold.
We returned to the island where we thought we would try the “classy restaurant” but we ended up ordering off the poolside menu but just sitting in the nice seats as the pool side menu was more to India’s tastes and had more variety.
Thursday we only had stuff planned in the afternoon and evening so we lazed around for the morning on the beach in the sun and decided that we would do some sailing. Upon asking the water activities guy whether he reckons we would make it around the whole island he said sure, so we gave it a go. Which was an experience in its self as the first half was easy sailing as they call it? We did come close to a sandbank and may have bottomed out at least once. Once we got on the other side of the island the wind wasn’t in our favor and we had to do quite a lot of zig-zagging to get back to where started to catch the wind. India got over that very quickly as were a very small boat in a very big ocean surrounded by big boats. But none the less we did make it alive and it was an experience. The good new though is our plans for the evening were relaxing ones.
We had booked massages at the spa at the resort which we went up there for and had our hour long massage where the lady who was massaging me beat me up with her hands while India’s was a bit more careful, after the massage we had organised a beach side three course dinner for our final dinner of the honeymoon. So we dressed up a little fancy and head down to where we were having dinner and it was nice over looking the sunset with our bottle of “honey moon bay” wine overlooking the sea. It was a very nice way to spend the final dinner of the honey moon with my new wife. We then stumbled back to our villa a little bit tipsy.
That night while we were asleep we were woken up by everything shaking which was odd, I thought oh wow I must still be a little drink and India thought I was moving furniture around… not sure why she thought that. But the next morning we found out it was actually a mild earth quake and is quite common around the area. So that was India’s first experience of the Richter scale where I made the whole earth shake for her… Enough of that, but yes we experienced an earth quake.
Friday, our last day and departing day. We packed our bags, got our breakfast, lazed around near the pool before heading back towards to the airport to fly back home. We had another week back home in Australia before heading back to the UK so we could spend some time with family and friends.
So that was the honeymoon I organized with a few weeks notice and India was “rather impressed” of how I did planning the trip.