“Fantastic bucket list day out!”
DATE OF VISIT
16 July 2015
WOULD WE VISIT AGAIN
Definitely! There are multiple ride types to choose from, so if you can, definitely do more than one!
Ride times and lengths vary. Check the CHAP website for more details. http://www.clubhippiquevanuatu.com
Our Erakor Half Day Tour cost 9,500 Vatu per person (about AU$115). The Erakor Full Day Tour costs 10,500 Vatu per person (about AU$128). A 2-hour Rainforest Ride will cost 5,500 Vatu (about AU$67).
Club Hippie Adventure Park (CHAP) is situated on over 600 acres just 10 minutes from Port Vila, between panoramic hills and a blue water lagoon. With acres of coconut plantations, rain forests, waterfalls and white sandy beaches to explore (including the beautiful Erakor Beach), and over 50 horses and ponies to choose from, no matter what level of experience you have on a horse, the staff will find one to suit you.
You can purchase food and drink before or after your ride, and toilet facilities are available at CHAP but not on the ride itself.
You will need to wear closed in shoes, longer shorts (at least 3/4 is recommended to avoid not just rubbing but also sunburn!), a cap for under your helmet (if you want) and plenty of sunscreen.
We were provided with our choice of either soft drink or water, and countless fresh coconuts were cut for us by our guide as a snack while sitting on the beach. Lunch wasn’t provided with our half day tour, so depending on which tour you are doing, check when you book whether any food is provided. Your guide will take a backpack so you can take your own drinks and snacks with you. You will get hot on the ride, so keep hydrated!
We left from CHAP HQ at about 10:30, after mulling over whether to go the velvet hat option in the tack room. Safety helmets are a must on the ride, as are hair nets, unless you are wearing your own cap under the helmet which you are more than welcome to do.
The weather was slightly cloudy, which ended up being perfect for the ride as it does get quite hot through the bush and you will work up a bit of a sweat once you get comfortable on your horse and work up to a trot – or faster for those with enough experience.
Out to Erakor Beach takes about an hour or so, up and down hills, through small villages, cow paddocks and bush, until you finally hit the dirt road which is the last 5 minutes out to the beachfront. Even in cloudy weather, the colour of the water would still be stunning, though we were fortunate to see it in all its glory for much of the time we were there. The sand is soft underfoot, there is plenty of shade to relax under, or if you’ve gone that far then you really need to dip your toes in the water. What better way to do that than on the back of your horse! Your guide will remove the saddle and blanket from your horse and have them ready to cool off by the time you strip down to your swimmers, which it’s recommended you wear underneath your riding clothes.
It is truly an unforgettable experience to ride bareback into the ocean, and definitely not something to be afraid of. Your guide will make you feel so at ease, and the horses have obviously done this plenty of times before and definitely seemed to enjoy their time cooling off. There will be plenty of chances for photos while you are in the water, and some of our best shots from the day were taken by our guide on our camera. This was particularly lovely as a family group to get some shots of all of us together.
We didn’t see too much fish life while swimming, but the water was very refreshing and after we all came back out dripping we sat with our guide, Campbell, for at least an hour while he talked about the Vanuatu islands, local villages and customs, how to cook the perfect fish, etc. This hour was a real highlight of our day; we learned so much that we had never heard before and it felt quite humbling to have this information passed onto us. If you get the chance, ask for Campbell as your guide – you won’t be disappointed.
Unforgettable. Fantastic. Bucket list material. So many words could describe the experience but nothing is really adequate until you do it for yourself. Highly recommend!!