Mystery Island, Vanuatu
A tiny, uninhabited island at the far southern end of the Vanuatu archipelago, 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.
Because of its remoteness, the island remains relatively untouched, with no electricity, roads or telephones. Instead it offers a Robinson Crusoe-esque experience, with swaying palms, white sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters. Its surrounding coral reefs are home to reams of exotic fish.
Just 1 kilometre long and around 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. The island hosts roughly 3 cruise ships a month but facilities on the island are limited.
How to Get Around
Mystery Island is only accessible by tender. Once ashore the island is easily explored on foot – it only takes around 30 minutes to walk around the entire perimeter.
Travel time from anchored ship
By tender boat:
- Currency - the local currency on Mystery Island is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV), although Australian dollars are accepted. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 vatu denominations. Notes are not in circulation.
- Time Zone - Mystery Island uses Vanuatu Standard Time. It is 11 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- 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.
- Snorkelling - surrounded by coral reef and with a spectacular array of fish species including barracudas, clown fish and parrot fish, Mystery Island is a great 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.
- Local Attractions - market stalls hosted by locals from neighbouring islands are set up on and around the beaches and offer a selection of goods ranging from sarongs to freshly boiled lobster. There are also a number of local tours available including turtle, reef shark and ray snorkelling. Ni-Vanuatu children regularly perform songs for visitors.