Vanuatu Welcome

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The unassuming accountant from the back rooms of a big Sydney merchant bank regularly spent his lunch hours browsing in Dymock’s CBD book store.

He always made a beeline for the Lonely Planet section, reading avidly about far-off holiday places. At the same time, the investment bank’s high-profile traders no doubt discussed multimillion-dollar deals dining on prime beef and pinot at swish harbourside restaurants.

The young turks putting together dynamic projects would not have guessed they might soon spend their bonuses escaping high-pressure jobs at a luxury South Pacific resort … like the one being quietly planned by their humble bean-counter colleague.

Today the accountant, Tony Pittar, and his wife Louisa have swapped the 9-5 life and city traffic snarls for the pleasures of Vanuatu’s seaside. Four months ago they opened Eratap (“Hidden Village”): their own South Pacific resort, a boutique enclave of just 12 luxury villas built from scratch, set on golden sands just outside the capital, Port Vila. The couple, both only just nudging 40, made the move while their sons, Nelson, 6, and George, 5, can enjoy growing up in a more gentle environment.

Vanuatu, formerly New Hebrides, blends Melanesian, French and British culture, lying due east of Cairns-Townsville in line with Fiji. Eratap is already said to be Vanuatu’s finest resort. It’s set on golden sands and turquoise sea, the villas – around a swimming pool – carved in natural hardwood timbers with rendered exteriors, thatched vaulted roofs and designer appointments.

Configurations are one, two or three bedrooms, free-standing, air-conditioned, with screened windows. Each villa has uninterrupted beach and ocean views, spacious deck and sun lounges, separate living and sleeping pavilions, modern bathroom, private outdoor shower, bar fridge, tea/coffee making, DVD/CD, wi-fi and safety deposit box.

When your flight touches down on the main island of Efate it’s just a short road transfer, or a scenic 10-minute helicopter ride, landing on the beach outside your villa! Tariffs cover land transfers, breakfasts, snorkelling directly off the beach, kayaking, and shuttle to Vila – a town of more than 30,000 – for markets and sightseeing in the French Quarter and Chinatown. Boating and fishing at Eratap is rated superb; visits to the village community offer a fascinating insight into its Melanesian heritage.

Go for luxury as a couple, or on honeymoon. Or enjoy a villa for six for around $115pp a night. Never more than 30 people at most will share your paradise.

First visit www.eratap.comand click the Rates/Packages tab. For inquiries email Visit your travel agent to tie up flights via either Qantas/link or Virgin/Pacific Blue.

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