24 July 2014
If you are staying on the main island of Malekula, which you probably would be, you will need to get boat transport over to Wala Island to do the tour. The boat is a traditional outrigger canoe, though if bad weather pops up (which it did on our trip), you will go over in a larger boat. Departure is from out the front of Nawori Seaview Bungalows, so it’s probably worth looking into staying at these bungalows for the sake of convenience. The boat trip over to Wala Island takes about 30 minutes.
You will be ably guided by Geoffrey, a local from the island who has lived there his whole life, and you will probably find it hard not to fall in love with the views from the second you set foot onto the sandy beach. On the day we toured, it was just two days before a P&O cruise ship was due to dock there, and preparations were in full-swing for their arrival, with over 2,000 people expected to hit the island. New thatch huts were being built, some with privacy screening (made from palm leaves) for traditional massages, and for those Aussies who like a drink or two, there were plenty of places being set up for that too! Apparently we have a bit of a reputation here for liking our drink, and prices for these items were clearly written in Australian dollars!
It is wonderful to be shown through the village and see how the locals live, prepare their food, etc, through to the ancient historical sites further in on the island. These sites are situated beneath massive trees that provide plenty of shade for the open area beneath, and this is where we were told about the reason for the site and the placement of large stone monoliths that have been there for generations, and all brought there by hand. You can’t fully appreciate this effort until you see the size of the boulders in person.
Our guide’s son accompanied us on our tour, and at one point we thought he was just having fun throwing a stick into a tree. It turns out he had a real purpose for this, and it was to knock down some fresh fruit hanging from the branches. The taste of this fruit was incredible, and it was such a buzz to eat something so fresh, natural and completely organic – it was like a cross between a pear and a granny smith apple, and shaped somewhere in between too!
We were also privileged to be given a personal tour of our guide’s own home and property, which looked over the channel back to Malekula. Views like that back in Australia would be worth millions. Here, it doesn’t seem like anybody thinks about it. His wife cooked us fresh corn on the cob, straight off the fire, while he chopped up fresh grapefruit, so full of taste and juice that it was literally running down our arms and dripping on the ground. Their young baby slept in a hammock made from a sarong hanging between two timber posts shaded by palm leaves – such a natural and beautiful sight.
Tours run every day as a half-day tour either in the morning or afternoon.
The tour costs 4,550 Vt per person, and a minimum of two people is needed for the tour to run. The price is all-inclusive with refreshments and meal provided.
Bookings are essential, and can be made through the Malampa Travel Call Centre on +678 48888. Let the team know we’ve referred you and you will be well looked after!