|Bombs away off the coast in Port Vila, Vanuatu.|
Vanuatu is one of the ultimate get-away-from-it-all destinations. It's a choose-your-own-adventure trip where you can decide to remain stuck on your sunlounger listening to the sigh of the palm trees or venture beyond the confines of the resort to learn more about life in the Southwest Pacific island nation.
|There are many beachside resorts in Vanuatu where you can do as little or as much as you like.|
|Locals visit the Port Vila market to buy takeaway meals that they bring home ready-to-cook in banana leaves.|
|Dancers arrived in Port Vila for the National Festival of the Arts, a celebration of cultural diversity.|
|The crowd at the cultural festival await for the pigs to be slaughtered and offered as part of the 'peace feast'.|
|The National Festival of the Arts offers a great snapshot of traditions and customs still practiced all over Vanuatu.|
|The dancers clump together waiting for their turn to impress the other clans and villages.|
|Chief Mur-Mur, of Mangaliliu, of the island of Efate.|
Meet and greet with the chief
When we arrive at the village, Chief Mur-Mur is standing in the jungle welcoming the 12 Maoris from Rotorua who helped secure the island nation's first world heritage listing of Chief Roi Mata's Domain in 2008. "Nem blong mi chief Mur-Mur," says the chief of the village, who has a grandson attached to his hip and welcomes us as if we were family.
Chief Mur-Mur's village is near to the now-abandoned site and the delegation are here to guide him on how to ensure the destination remains sustainable as a tourism venture and proffer advice on how best to preserve the site's cultural significance.
|A re-enactment of life before Chief Roi Mata brought peace to the island nation of Vanuatu.|
|Seeing this haka performed on the dirt floor of the village remains a highlight from my travels.|
Maori chiefs from the Tamaka Maori village in Rotorua perform a haka in the village.
|The feast we shared with the Maori delegations and local villagers of Mangaliliu.|
|The whole village converged to watch the Maori guests perform a haka.|
|The soaring walls of Fels Cave, on Lelepa Island.|
Sculpture by the sea
After the feast, we travel by boat through turqouise-green seas over to Lelepa Island scrambling over boulders and up the stairs until we reach Fels Cave, an enormous eggshell-coloured rock formation.
While the exterior is rippled and curved and incredible, the walls of the cavernous space are burnished and smooth and soar, like ice cream cathedrals, some 55m above us.
Today, you can take a Roi Mata tour to the village, an hour's drive northwest of Port Vila and hear the story about the revered chief who was reportedly poisoned by his own brother in the early 1600s.
The tour also steers visitors to the cave where Roi Mata was said to have taken his last breath.
The large chamber cave also features engraved rock art as well as ominous dates scratched into the wall, historical graffiti that announces the arrival of missionaries in 1874.
|Happy smiling faces greet us at the village of Mangaliliu.|
|Making a splash at Mangaliliu.|
|Such a treat to be invited into a local village to meet the families who call Mangaliliu home.|