Visit the Big Cave
and Plantation House Restaurant

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Plantation Experiences


How chocolate Starts

Everyone loves chocolate and its making is a labour of love in more ways then one. Come see the trees, pods, beans and process right where it all starts here in our tropical paradise. We have some wonderful choc treats in store for you also.


Animal Encounter

The kids will love seeing our ducks, goats and chickens. The goats are milked twice daily and you can feed them any time. There's always a new batch of duck hatchlings to be found and a poddy calf or two in the home paddock.


Plantation Ramble

For a relaxing outing join one of plantation staffers for a ramble around the plantation lower plantation. See our abundant vegetable and herb gardens that supplies our outstanding Plantation House Restaurant.


Outback Adventure

Beyond the Big Cave up to our outback tablelands with sweeping views across to Luganville you venture on to find our secret gardens of ginger and pineapples and heavy stands of Arabica coffee. Trek further into the rainforest to experience the tranquility of the bush. Follow the well marked trails to the Coffeee Camp and Giant Banyan Tree.


Hire a Bike Explore

See Aore Island at your own pace on one of our 'cruiser' bikes. We provide a helmet and back pack and optionally a picnic lunch so that you can make your own way around our hospitable private island. Meet up with the local expats or drop in to one of the nivan villages. The roads are flat and well marked with hardly any vehicular traffic.


Aore Island Safari

Aore is a unique island and you can see it by 4WD on one of our safari tours traveling through the various private plantations around the island meeting the locals, visiting our Aore Island Mission and seeing some of the WWII relics. Your nivan driver and guide is a wealth of knowledge of the history and current affairs on the island.

A tropical family friendly paradise

family group

A unique Eco Experience
including the Big Cave

Freshwater Plantation is located on the northern side of Aore Island in the protection of the Segund Channel and less than a kilometre from San Michel on the mainland of Espiritu Santo. Santo, as it is known, is the largest of the 83 islands making up the Republic of Vanuatu. It is just 2.5 hours flight from Brisbane Australia. Espiritu Santo and its surrounding islands are steeped in history from its role as an Allied naval base during World War 2. European contact traces back to 1606 with its discovery and its unique naming by the Spanish. Formerly part of the Condominium of the New Hebrides it shares a French and British colonial heritage mainly in the planting of Coconuts, Coffee and Cocoa and cattle grazing. Freshwater Planation promises its visitors a unique variety of experiences, from the spectacle of its Big Cave compete with the island's largest bat colony, casual plantation rambles to its outback adventures. You can explore Aore with one of our safari tours or hire a bike and discover the island at your own pace.

We serve a sumptious lunch every day and have a licensed bar. Freshwater hosts events from time to time, such as Kava in the Cave on special occasions and we welcome your enquiry for using our facilities for meetings, reteats and weddings.
Click here to view the current menu.

Our History

The Plantation has an interesting history deriving its name from its role supplying the United States military with freshwater during its occupation of the New Hebrides northern islands during the second world war. The Americans, seeking a secure base for staging action in the Pacific, selected Espiritu Santo and the natural harbour of Segond Canal as the ideal location for a military base. The town of Luganville, as it is known today was built to accommodate up to 50,000 people. Throughout the war years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel were stationed at Luganville. In addition to building roads and erecting numerous Quonset huts, the Americans constructed 40 cinemas, four military hospitals, and five airfields. When the war ended, the Americans left almost as quickly as they arrived and Espiritu Santo returned to a peaceful, quiet existence. Remnants of the remarkable engineering feats achieved by the Americans during the war are still evident on Aore. Fuel and munitions bunkers, firing ranges and the public road around the Island are still there 70 odd years later.

James A. Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book based on observations and anecdotes while stationed as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy on the island of Espiritu Santo during World War II. The book, first published in 1947, inspired the highly successful musical play South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which opened on Broadway in 1949.

Today, the attraction and acclaimed restaurant is the creation of couple Klaas Sybranda and Maria Reid who retired to Vanuatu in 2013 and continue their efforts to turn Freshwater into a viable farming operation augmented by tourism that provides employment and training for a constantly growing staff.
Click here to meet our outstanding team members.

About Aore Island

Before independence and the creation of the nation of Vanuatu out of the French/Bristish Condominium of the New Hebredes, Aore island was a collection of French plantations growing coconuts (for copra), cocoa (for chocolate) and coffee (for a good start to your day). The island languished when the French left in the early 1980's until the 1990's when investors took up leases on the old plantations and developed waterfront real estate. The Aore Island Resort featuring 18 bunglaows provides a pleasant holiday venue and a growing number of permanent and holiday homes abound on the waterfront. Currently other facilities are offered or planned and will join ventures such as the Resort and Freshwater Plantation offering a level of hospitality not previously available. The Island is a raw eco environment. There are no sealed roads and very few vehicles. The old American roads, built during the war, survive to provides the means to travel around the island and the staff of the various Plantations ensure that the road is open and navigable year round. Be aware though, that much of the island, like Freshwater Plantation is private property and should be respected as such. Swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed at various locations and one of the best is at the Lapita Beach Bar on Lapita Plantation. Freshwater Plantation is a member of the Espiritu Santo Tourism Association and a visit to Santo is not complete without exploring Aore Island.

Come see how chocolate starts.

Picking Cocoa