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Vanuatu the Pacific's 'happy place'

Published: 11:27AM Monday September 17, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Pacific Islands are always a popular holiday destination but Vanuatu is one with a bit of a difference.
A three-hour flight from Auckland, Vanuatu's culture, French influence and powder white beaches are among the many things enticing Kiwis there.
Julia Paley from House of Travel told TV ONE's Breakfast she thinks New Zealanders are attracted to Vanuatu because it offers beautiful beaches, lush tropical environment and beautiful culture - all on a scale that's "quite compact, quite boutique in a way".

While Vanuatu offers "everything that the Pacific offers in one nice little package" Vanuatuans have been voted as the happiest people on earth, Paley pointed out.

The blend of Micronesian culture with the French "and a bit of spanish influence" means beautiful food and cuisine "and it's just a glorious place," she said.

You can lie on a beach - and Paley rates Champagne Beach one of the most beautiful she's seen - or for the more active there's a shipwreck from 1942 to dive on.

A visit to the island of Tanna will bring you up close to a volcano.

"And it's not like Hawaii that flows lava, it's actually exploding. So you can see that." Paley said.

On the cost, she says Vanuatu is no more expensive than some of the other Pacific islands.

"Certainly when you're there the food and stuff is not as expensive as what you get in Tahiti which can be quite pricey."

Paley recommends Vanuatu for three or four days or a week-long holiday.

Find out more about what Julia Paley has saying on Breakfast's House of Travel Guide.