26th Sept- 6th Oct 2018

Overview

“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light” – Dan Brown.

Travelee “SOAR Perspective Trek” is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get outside your comfort zone, change the way you look at things, and see life from a different perspective. Soar is an adventure of the body, mind and spirit where you will get to experience the real Vanuatu with an inspiring, dedicated and specialised team of three.

This trek is designed to get you off the beaten track and away from mundane life as we know it. You will experience primitive untouched villages and ancient cultures while hiking across the island of Malekula. We will visit the beautiful Maskelyne Islands by canoe, view the dugongs and live off the land in our special Survival Phase. During this phase, we will be learning survival techniques by our ex-SAS survival guide, Olly, and will learn the basics of constructing your own shelters, building a fire, and how to hunt and catch your own food with Survivor castaways El and Lee.

The icing on the cake is the magnificent Ambrym Island, where we will hike to the Marum volcano and come face to face with the bubbling lava lake. It is in this spiritual place were we will leave our past behind and step into our new found perspective filled lives.

Day 1: Brisbane to Port Vila – Grand Hotel

Day 2: Port Vila – Southwest Bay – Melip Village

Day 3: Melip Village – Farun Village

Day 4: Farun Village – Hokai Village – Peskarus Village

Day 5: Peskarus Village – Gaspard Bay – Sakoa Island

Day 6: Sakoa Island – Vulai Island

Day 7: Vulai Island – Peskarus

Day 8: Peskarus Village – Ambrym Island – Marum Volcano Camp 1

Day 9: Marum Volcano Camp 1 – Marum Volcano– Port Vatu

Day 10: Port Vatu – Craig’s Cove – Port Villa

Travel day

Day 11: Port Vila – Brisbane

El

El has served with the Australian Army for 13 years. During this time, as a Health Technician and a combat medic, she deployed to Banda Aceh on a humanitarian mission following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. She then deployed to Western Australia as part of the Aboriginal Community Assistance Program and furthermore to Padang, following the 2009 Earthquakes. El posted to numerous locations in the UK as part of an exchange program, and went on to complete a two-week peace keeping exercise in Lithuania. In 2009 El transferred to the Royal Australian Army Dental Corps as a Dental Assistant. In 2014 El was awarded a scholarship to France in recognition for her outstanding and inspirational work as an Australian Soldier.

Following postings to Sydney and Darwin, El arrived in Brisbane where she founded her own charity Exercise Stone Pillow , raising funds for and awareness of Veterans and their families. In 2016, El was nominated for Australian of the Year for her hard work in both the Army and for Veterans in need.

In 2016 El Competed in Australian Survivor and got 2nd runner up and met her now partner Lee Carseldine. Survivor has motivated El to use her experience as a platform to transform women as she has been through hardship, perspective and experience.

Lee

Lee is a retired professional cricketer who played 132 matches for Queensland and also travelled extensively playing professionally in India, England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and Bangladesh. In 2004 Lee was forced to retire after back stress fractures and disc problems. He had a spinal fusion and then complications resulting from a life threatening infection but this did not stop Lee from learning to walk again and making a remarkable cricket comeback in 2008.

Lee retired from Cricket in 2012 and now assists past players in their transition out of the game. Shortly after retirement Lee completed his Double Master’s degree in MBA and Finance and then launched ‘Droneit Group’ which is a media and training company that specialises in drone technology. Lee maintains a strong focus on fitness and despite his past injuries; he uses this as his driving force to have completed a number of personal achievements including marathons, triathlons and the Kokoda track.

In 2016 Lee pushed his body and mind to the limit where he came 2nd in Survivor Australia and met his partner El.

Olly

El’s brother Olly has served with the Australian Army for 22 years, 7 as a member of the Special Air Service Regiment (SAS).  On leaving the Army, Olly joined the Queensland Police Service as a sworn officer and then the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service as a Fire fighter. Through these professions, he developed high levels of experience in leadership, survival, emergency response, risk assessment, and teamwork. Olly has served with the SAS in both Afghanistan, Iraq and Border Protection Patrols.

Olly is currently serving in Far North Queensland Regiment as a Patrol Commander. While serving in the Australian Army, Olly has instructed and facilitated Australian and international troops in jungle warfare, and was recognised for his skillful tracking ability. He was awarded the Australia Day Medal for his contribution to Jungle welfare wing. Olly has been noted for his leadership while in the 51st Battalion namely in his role mentoring and leading the high number of indigenous troops that are found in the remote outstations in Cape York and Torres Strait. This is something that Olly has developed over time and is well regarded amongst the indigenous troops.

With a passion for the jungle, bush tucker and survival, Olly will facilitate a trekking experience that will surpass your expectations.

Do i require a Tourist Visa?

No! Australian tourists are exempt from acquiring a Tourist Visa when traveling to Vanuatu. You still require a passport which will be stamped at the customs office on arrival to Vanuatu. If you do not hold an Australian Passport, please follow the link to see if your country is exempt from a Visa. https://vanuatu.visahq.com.au/

Do i need travel / medical insurance in Vanuatu?

Yes, you do need Travel Insurance, and this is very important. You are responsible for organising your own Travel/Medical insurance. You will need coverage for medical evacuation, medical, theft, loss, cancellation etc. If you wish to organise your own insurance, please ensure the below are provided as inclusions. Travel Insurance MUST include Medical Evacuation and medical expenses including hospital coverage in Vanuatu and Australia. It can be a very costly experience for you if you do not have your Travel Insurance! We require a copy of your personal, Travel and Medical Insurance no later than 4 weeks before departure. Failure to have travel and medical insurance will prevent you from attending the tour.

What is the food like?

We will provide a mix of locally caught seafood and locally grown fruit and vegetables. The food is different to what most Westerners are used to, but it is very nutritious and suitable for the activities we will be conducting. It is also a good opportunity to experience the custom foods, the way they are cooked and the way of island living. We will have the opportunity to shop at a local supermarket prior to leaving Port Vila where you will have the chance to buy some of your favourite snacks. Please advise Travelee Vanuatu of any dietary requirements that you may have.

Do i need a porter?

An individual porter will be provided for the trip and will carry your heavy pack so that all you have to do is carry your day pack.

How do you help the local communities in the islands?

We provide employment for local families on the Maskelyne islands by way of porters, cooks and guides. Additional money is also imparted into villages via accommodation fees to guesthouse owners and fire wood charges. Aussie guides also provide first aid and basic health care where they see a need.

Can we give to the locals?

Whilst in the villages we recommend you do not give money to anyone, as this can generate problems between the locals. They live as a community and money needs to be shared between all in the village. If you would like to bring something for the villages, a gift that they can share is more appropriate, clothes, ball games, books, reading and writing material. First aid items are also very much needed (and appreciated) e.g. band aids, antiseptic lotions, strapping etc. Obviously you would not leave your prescription or strong medication with the local people as they are not accustomed to such medications. If taken without supervision they could cause harm. We also ask our trekkers not to wander around the villages in swimming costumes. Please cover up while walking around the villages, as a sign of respect.

What are the washing/cleaning/toilets/shower facilities like?

The facilities on the islands are very basic. Toilets are known as ‘long drops’ and ‘short drops’. These are simple, deep pits or short pits that have been dug in the ground for use as toilets. There are no toilet seats. These facilities have a roof and screen over them for privacy. You do need to take your own toilet paper (2 rolls). The shower facilities are a basin/bird bath arrangement or alternatively we carry a shower bucket, which is more popular. In the villages, most of the fresh water is caught in tanks or from wells dug by the locals. Along the trekking phase of the tour there are some fresh water creeks available for washing. Please bring some environmentally friendly soap. The locals will be more than happy to wash your clothes for a small fee of approximately $3 AU. Antibacterial Hand Gel is essential.

What do i need to bring?

We have a comprehensive check list to help you with the selection of your equipment. Please refer to our website for the Trekking Gear Guide list and printable checklist. Travelee will provide a suitable pack and two person tent for each trekker.

What happens to the rubbish on the islands?

It is essential that we all take good care of the environment that we enjoy. If you purchase soft drink from the local communities, then you need to crush the cans and carry them out with you. All rubbish is either burnt or carried out. Whilst trekking, please put your own rubbish in your backpack until you arrive at the next campsite. If you see rubbish on the islands, please pick it up and put it in our rubbish bags.

Do we have exclusive use of the campsites and guesthouses?

At this stage, Travelee is the only external company which runs tours in Malekula and the Maskelyne Islands, so the demand for campsites and guest houses is not high. Travelee has exclusive use of the guest house at Peskarus Island.

How many people sleep in each tent? What size are the tents?

Only one person per tent, unless you specifically want to share a tent i.e. partner/friend etc. The tents are 2 person tents and provided on loan by Travelee. Couples may prefer to use a 3 man tent we can also provide.

What is the accommodation like?

The accommodation on the islands is very basic. The Guest House accommodations are open air huts with no mosquito protection. Guest House accommodation is not always available, so we will camp at the best available camp sites. Tents provide privacy and mosquito protection.

Do we carry our own tents?

If you have a personal porter he/she would carry your tent. If you are carrying your own pack then you would carry your tent. Your personal porter will help you to erect, and pack up your tent each day.

Can we bring food into Vanuatu?

Yes you can. You must declare your food and advise customs that it is for trekking. You may also buy your favourite snacks in Port Vila prior to departure to the Maskelynes.

How fit do you have to be to go on the Vanuatu adventure?

While you do not need to be an elite athlete, you do need to be in great physical condition, with good endurance and stamina.

When is the best time to go to Vanuatu?

The seasons are broken up into the dry season and the wet season. These seasons also have sub seasons which fringe the wet and dry season. The dry season is normally from late May to late October. Good conditions can still be expected in April and November. It is possible to get rain and consequently mud on the Track during any season or month.

What happens in case of an emergency?

Travelee carries satellite phones on all treks; we have an emergency evacuation plan which is implemented. On receiving a call for assistance we activate our plan and organise medical, travel insurance and evacuation plans. Contact us if you require further details.

How much money will I need on the Vanuatu Adventure?

On the tour, you need to take local currency (Vatu). You can organise to buy Vanuatu currency through your local bank before you leave Australia, or at the money exchanger at the International Airports. We would highly recommend that you have Vanuatu currency before leaving Australia. There are small shops in the villages on the tour where you will have the opportunity to buy souvenirs and extra food and snacks along the tour. Carvings, locally made jewellery, and woven mats and baskets are the most popular trinkets. You will also need money to purchase food while staying in Port Vila, as only the food while trekking is included in the trek price. There are no banking facilities on the Maskelyne islands to get money should you need it. Travelee recommends that each trekker brings 20000VATU ($200AU). Ensure that your cash is in small denominations as the locals will not have change for you.

Do we tip the porters?

Vanuatu is a not a tipping country, so tipping your porter is not necessary. However you may want to reward a job well done. Any of your excess clothes or caps, T-shirts etc. would be very much appreciated.

Travel documents

  • Please bring a copy of all airline tickets and travel insurance documents with for the duration of the trip.
  • Ensure documents are water proofed.

Passport

  • To enter Vanuatu, a passport valid for six months beyond the date of planned departure is required.
  • Take a photocopy of the photo page of your passport and keep it in a separate area in case of loss of your passport.

Visa

  • If you have an Australian passport, you do not require an entry visa into Vanuatu.
  • If you are not an Australian citizen, please see the attached link to see if you are exempt from acquiring a Vanuatu Visa.

Travel Insurance

  • You are required to organise your own travel insurance and provide proof of document to Travelee prior to departure.
  • The policy should cover the following; change in airline reservations, medical expenses, lost baggage, lost passports, air tickets and personal papers, and lost money. It needs to be possible to claim while in Vanuatu.

Cash

  • There are no ATM’s in the Makelynes so it is advised that you carry some cash for souvenir purchases etc. 20,000VT should be sufficient.
  • Carry some small denominations because the locals will not have change to give you.
  • The exchange rate is cheaper in Vanuatu so wait till you get to Port Villa to change your money.
  • Port Vila has Westpac and ANZ branches. Use a Visa card.
  • Contact your bank before departure and let them know the duration that you will be in Vanuatu.

Cash

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping mat
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torches
  • Clothes
  • Gifts
  • Camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Fishing gear
  • Eating utensils
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medical kit

SOAR Perspective Trek Price – $4,900

Inclusions

  • All domestic charter flights in Vanuatu
  • 2 nights accommodation at the Grand Hotel Port Vila
  • Ferry/boat fees
  • 3 Australian Specialist Tour Guides
  • Survival Phase
  • Vehicle transfers
  • Village campsite/guesthouse fees
  • All meals while trekking
  • Personal Porter
  • Trek backpack (on loan from Travelee)
  • Tent (on loan from Travelee)
  • Life jacket
  • Gas respirator for Volcano
  • Travelee 42 Day Fitness Program prior to trip

Exclusions

  • International flights (Please book own flights with Virgin or Air Vanuatu)
  • All meals while in Port Vila
  • Optional boat trips
  • Snacks while trekking
  • Snorkeling gear

Terms and conditions

A deposit of $600 is required at the time of booking with full payment due 60 days prior to the departure date. If you fail to pay by this date you may lose your place on the specified trek and your deposit may be forfeited.

If you cancel your booking more than 90 days prior to departure your deposit will be refunded less a $100 administration fee.

If you cancel your booking between 30 and 90 days prior to your Trek you will forfeit your full deposit as stated on the website.

If you cancel 30 days or less prior to the departure date you will lose 50% of your booking fee but may in consultation, transfer your full fee to a subsequent expedition.

Ready for a life changing SOAR Trek adventure?

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