Mystery Island, just south of Aneityum, is part of the Tanna Islands region in Vanuatu. It’s a common cruise stop particularly during the summer months from December to February. The crystal clear waters provide fantastic opportunities for snorkelling. If you’re not a keen swimmer though, you can still enjoy other activities around the island. Here are the best things to do on Mystery Island.

1. Snorkelling

You can go snorkelling anywhere around the island and be guaranteed to see fish. The water depth is approximately 1 – 4 meters. Although there is a deeper area where you can see slightly bigger fish. From the jetty, walk to the other side of the island, and then turn right. You’ll notice some darker waters about 100 meters away. Most of the fish will be swimming around the coral though and these can be easily spotted in the clear water.

2. Boat Tours

A few local guides at the jetty offer short boat tours around Mystery Island in case you don’t want to get wet. There are glass bottom boats, kayaks, and even deep-sea fishing. You’ll save a lot more money dealing with the locals than booking on a cruise line.

3. Market Place

Locals will set up their shops as cruise ships visit. They sell a variety of souvenirs, clothes, toys, and other local goods. The shops are most lively around lunchtime when most passengers have arrived from the ship. They generally accept Australian dollars.

4. Hair Braiding

Get your hair braided or plaited in Melanesian style. Prices range from $10 – $15. Kids with long hair love this!

5. Walk Around the Island

Mystery Island isn’t that big so you could easily stroll around the island in less than an hour if you’re quick. However, for casual walkers, it shouldn’t take any more than 90 minutes. Take in the scenery and breathe in the fresh air. There’s a subtle track that will take you around the island.

Mystery Island Map


Snorkelling Gear

Make sure you have comfortable snorkelling gear. Once you find out the whole island is full of swarming tropical fish, you could be snorkelling for hours! Also, keep an eye on your location. At times, there could be a strong tide.

Shelter from the Sun

A few huts or beach canopies are available to book from locals. But be quick, since there are other cruise passengers looking to setup base on the sunny beach as well.

Bring cash

The locals won’t have the luxury of credit card machines or ATMs. They do accept local or Australian currency though.


Watch out for spiders in the trees.

How to get to Mystery Island

You can only get here by boat. A number of cruise trips stop at Mystery Island including Royal Caribbean, Princes Cruises, and P&O Cruises.  They will take you to the jetty on their tender services.

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!