Now, this is high on the bucket list of many people. Visit an active volcano. Mt Yasur makes this possible in the easiest fashion, being one of the most accessible active volcanoes in the world. Not only is it easily accessible, it is also very active. The day we went the eruptions occurred regularly every 3 or 4 minutes, sometimes even more frequently.
We stayed at Tanna lodge, which is on the western side of Tanna Island. Mt Yasur is on the East, but even so, it is only a little over an hours drive to the volcano. Tanna Lodge have their own tour vehicles. In fact when we were planning the trip we weighed up doing a fly in fly out tour with Unity Airlines. But after a few emails back and forth and having a good look, we found that the cheapest option was actually flying with Air Vanuatu to Tanna Island, staying for 2 nights at Tanna Lodge, doing the Mt Yasur tour with them as well. Not only did this allow us to have a great trip to the volcano, but we were able to enjoy more of the sights of Tanna Island without being in too much of a rush.
In researching this trip I had read reviews that said the roads were terrible and the trip was long etc. Really? The roads are rough, yes. but the tour is done in a 4WD Landcrusier which made it as comfortable as can be. The trip to the volcano had a variety of road surfaces, including concrete, compacted volcanic ash, soft volcanic ash and the inevitable potholes. We all loved it!
After driving up hill and down dale, stopping occasionally for a quick photo shoot, we broke into the open ash plains, with the magnificent Mt Yasur as the backdrop. Breathtaking is a good description.
This view sent a thrill through our group for what lay ahead of us.
This is the front? of the volcano, but the access is from the other side, so we headed off for the last leg of the journey. The road winds it’s way through forest, villages and grassland and eventually comes out at the parking area. There is a toilet there which is well worth using, just for the experience. From there it is just a steep 10 minute walk to the lowest viewing area. We stopped here, but you can choose to climb a ridge to the left to gain a higher vantage point. This is done on advice from the tour guides.
The tours are arranged to make sure you arrive before sunset. This allows you to gain the summit before dark. The eruptions are happening all the time, but it is as dark falls that they get more visually spectacular.
If this is not on your to do list yet, think about it carefully. It is an awe inspiring and humbling experience.
The drive back is quite exciting too. On the ash plains in the pitch dark the headlights do next to nothing and it is only the experience of the tour drivers who do this every day, that keeps you heading in the right direction.
Back to Tanna Lodge by 8pm, very hungry for the meal ordered pre tour.
Again. An awesome experience. All of us agreed it was worth the time, effort and money to get there.