Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Hot Stay on Volcanic Island; Short Getaway Big on Action and Adrenaline

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Hot Stay on Volcanic Island; Short Getaway Big on Action and Adrenaline

Article excerpt

Byline: WORDS: Chris Calcino

WE ARE halfway over the Coral Sea when I spot the burning gaze from across the aisle a[pounds sterling] quite a feat considering I have the window seat.

aWhat does he want?a I wonder.

aWho is he? Do I know those eyes from somewhere in Vanuatu?a

Iam not about to stare back.

Nothing good can come from making eye contact with strange men on public transport.

It is a mystery, and one that I have to work out.

Half-crazed with exhaustion, I replay the events of the past five days through my mind...

Barely a moment passed between touching down in Port Vila and my ascent up a mountain at the islandas centre.

I had been told I would need all my wits to survive this aadventure holidaya, but my limbs still buckled as I peered over the edge of the cascade.

aWeare climbing down that?a I asked our instructor, a former IT worker from Australia who set up the islandas first abseiling business.

He smiled and looked at his apprentice Grasshopper, so named because of his barefooted ability to bounce from rock to perilous rock.

Fair enough.

We checked the ropes and launched off the waterfall, feeling its full force as it crashed upon us.

aI used to have a boring life in Australia,a our instructor told me.

aNow I donat.a

Day two brought us back to the airport, towing light packs and a healthy sense of trepidation.

We were bound for the island of Tanna, a land far removed from Western civilisation and yet primed to become the Pacificas next major tourism hot spot.

Besides the shy, smiling people, the sun-kissed beaches and impenetrable jungles, Tanna has one major drawcard.

Mount Yasi is the worldas most accessible active volcano a[pounds sterling] and I donat say that lightly.

After a 15-minute climb up a winding cement path, we were at the precipice.

Below us we could see the spectacular and terrifying inner-workings of the earth, a constant churning of hot lava and sulphur clouds that culminated in violent bursts every few minutes.

I was almost ready to start a volcano cult before we were called back to camp (actually beach-front bungalows with hot water and all the trimmings). …

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