the original Bali Hai
inspired James Michener's mysterious island of Bali Hai in
his novel Tales of the South Pacific. The island
is a large active shield volcano, rising to 1496m above sea
level. It's Vanuatu's second highest island with crater lakes
on the summit and cloud forests on the upper slopes. East
Ambae is wet and the west is a rain-shadow area.
west and northeast are densely populated. Elsewhere there
are few villages. The centre for PENAMA province is at Saratamata
in the northeast. Ambae is famous for its aelan
taro and Melo-Melo kava.
is an excellent place for hiking and walking and there are
secluded beaches in the south. Not
many tourists visit Ambae even though it's close to Santo
with frequent and inexpensive transport links.
At Saratamata, there are two places
Guest House, Saratamata
around Ambare, we feature:
Transit House, Lolowai
Malomatugu Guesthouse by the Sea,
Duviara Guesthouse, Duviara
Conservation Area, Ambanga
Rose and Jeffry's Paradise Garden
Toa Palms Bungalows, Ndui Ndui
more densely populated areas on Ambae there may be local guesthouses,
often owned by the church or community. These are not promoted
to tourists and we haven't visited them all. Ask around and
you shall find somewhere to stay.
U.S. Peace Corps volunteers used to camp at Devil's Rock. It's a nice, quiet
place with sand beaches, coral reefs and sea turtles. There
were plans to build bungalow accommodation here. Contact us if you can provide an update.
Ambae has three airstrips. Fares are summarised below (July
2010). Tourists holding an international Air Vanuatu ticket
are entitled to a 20% discount on internal fares. Exchange
Rates. Ambae has lots of flights, so check the latest
Air Vanuatu schedule
Port Vila fare
There are one or two ships per week between Luganville and
Ambae. A one way fare is about 2000 Vatu to west Ambae or
2500 Vatu to the north of the island. Exchange
Rates. The crossing takes three to four hours but more
than half a day can be spent servicing the villages around
the island. Note these are cargo boats with limited facilities
for passengers. One exception is the L/C Sarafenua which has
a lounge with plastic chairs (and no clear spaces to lay down
and have a sleep!).
Simonsen Wharf in Luganville (past the big wharf, on the road towards
the airport) is a good place in to find ships for Ambae. It's
also a good idea asking someone from Ambae in Luganville.
also pass by Ambae en route from Port Vila to Santo and stop
at most places on the northeast and west of the island. Good
places to find ships are Ndui Ndui in the west and Lolopuepue
and Lolowai in the north. In
2009 the L/C Brisk was servicing
Lolowai and she has a reliable schedule.
Ambae has extensive road networks in the west and northeast
but the rugged coastline prevents a complete round-island
road. Some truck fares are listed below. Exchange Rates
||Charter fare (Vatu)
|Walaha - Ndui Ndui
|Ndui Ndui - Devil's Rock
|Lolopuepue - Lolowai
|Longana - Ambanga
updated: April 2012 by Stephen.