What to Do and See – Mystery Island (Vanuatu)
Mystery Island is a tiny, uninhabited island – a secret little gem at the far southern end of the Vanuatu group of island.
Mystery Island (or ‘Inyeug’) is one of the more unusual South Pacific cruise destinations. Once a landing strip used by the allied forces in World War II, today its only visitors are cruise ship passengers and Ni-Vanuatu who travel to and from neighbouring islands to sell handicrafts and tours.
As Mystery Island is only reachable by cruise ship and because of its remoteness the island remains relatively untouched, with no electricity, roads or telephones. At just 1 kilometre long and approx. 200 metres wide, Mystery Island is too small to dock large vessels. Cruise ships anchor offshore and send small boats to tender passengers to the jetty.
Even with only one day to spend here, there is plenty to do. Swaying palms, white sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters. Its surrounding coral reefs are home to reams of exotic fish.
- Population – Zero. No one lives on the island as it is considered taboo to do so. The locals come across from nearby Aneityum on the days when our ships call into the island. The population of Aneityum is approximately 1,200
- Currency – the local currency on Mystery Island is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV). Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 vatu denominations. Notes are not in circulation. Australian dollars are accepted. Credit and Debit cards are not accepted anywhere on the island.
- Weather – the climate of Mystery Island is subtropical – humid and sunny with occasional rain showers. Average temperatures range from 26° Celsius in January to 21° Celsius in July and August. The dry season is May to October.
1. Local Attractions
Market stalls hosted by locals from neighbouring islands are set up on and around the beaches. Wander through the beach village markets and meet the friendly happy locals their wares. Handicrafts, sarongs, woven hats, floral shirts and other locally made items are available for purchase from the stalls onshore. There is even a hair-braiding service.
BEWARE – Any souvenirs that are made of plant material or animal products must be declared to quarantine authorities on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Plant material such as certain seeds and animal products including feathers may be restricted or need to be treated at the owners’ expense on arrival in Australia or New Zealand.
Bargaining is not customary in Vanuatu.
If you get a little peckish – You have to try the freshly broiled lobster!!
The gorgeous Vanuatu children regularly perform songs for visitors.
There are also a number of local tours available including turtle, reef shark and ray snorkelling. You will see this hut as you head to the village where there is plenty to choose from.
2. Snorkelling – Underwater Wonderland
Definitely do not come here without a snorkel and goggles as the island is as gorgeous under the water as it is on land. Mystery Island is surrounded by coral reef and with a spectacular array of fish species including barracudas, clown fish and parrot fish and is an awesome spot for snorkelling. It’s warm, shallow waters are stunningly clear and offer plenty of opportunities to watch exotic marine life. The best snorkelling can be found at the end of the old airstrip, while the western side of the island is ideal for swimming.
If you aren’t game to venture out on your own – head to the tour office and book yourself a Snorkel Safari – this is a must do for anyone visiting this special island in the South Pacific. You’ll get to uncover and enjoy the underwater mysteries with your own guide. The crystal clear waters and spectacular coral formations make this a perfect way to enjoy the island
3. Walk or Paddle around the Island
Mystery Island is only 1 kilometre long and approx. 200 metres wide so you can walk or paddle around the whole island.
There are photo opportunities everywhere and only takes approx 30- 40 minutes to walk the entire island. There are some lovely walking tracks through the bush and around the airstrip which takes up the centre of the island. Alternatively, embrace the shipwrecked feel of the isle and make your way around the perimeter which consists of almost-continuous beach. This should take no longer than 45 minutes to an hour at most, and is a great way to get a feel for the place
If you are feeling a little bit more energetic then hire one of the paddle board and paddle around the island. Its great to see the island from another perspective and enjoy the tropical surrounds. Its approx $15 per hour.
4. Island Fun – Photo Opportunities
From little kids to big kids – once you have finished swimming and snorkeling, get you photo taken with the ‘island warriors’ in the “cannibal pot”. It will cost you $5 to get your photo taken but they will have lots of fun getting you to pose in different positions.
Or relax with a beach massage.
and of course if you are totally having to go to toilet – no need to make your way back to ship – check out these cute restrooms.