The flaming lake of Marum & Benbow boils with blazing lava on the island of Ambrym in the heart of Vanuatu. Thrill-seeking Aucklander and expedition leader of Ultimate Volcano Expeditions, Geoff Mackley reminisces about the first time he climbed down to this fiery pit with the help of award-winning aerial tourism company Vanuatu Helicopters.
After closely witnessing the eruption of New Zealand’s Mount Ruapehu in 1995, Mackley became obsessed with adventures. “[I thought] ‘wow, that was amazing. How can I experience that again?’ So, the first place I went was Vanuatu,” he says.
Mackley’s 2011 journey to Marum & Benbow was extremely successful as he descended 1,200 feet inside the volcanic crater, spending the night only metres away from the explosive red lake. “[It is] one of the most beautiful lava lakes on the planet. I would put it up with the wonders of the world that no one knows about,” says Mackley.
The 54-year-old adventurer enjoys his job of guiding people on intrepid journeys to iconic volcanoes in Vanuatu and Africa. The company heavily relies on their partnership with Vanuatu Helicopters to make their business a success.
“Transportation is a key part of the logistics for operating a volcano expedition business, especially in a place where it’s very remote and very expensive to get to,” explains Mackley. Travellers and film crew mainly take flight on helicopters to safely reach the summit of Marum.
“We are delighted to be teaming up with Ultimate Volcano Expeditions to bring this once-in-a-lifetime experience to adventure tourists and flaunt the beauty of Vanuatu,” says Alison Fleming, Group Marketing Manager for Vanuatu Helicopters.
A scenic helicopter ride and a fiery volcanic expedition make for an unforgettable trip that should go on everyone’s bucket list. Using their expertise in extreme environments, the team at Ultimate Volcano Expeditions can lead trips anywhere in the world.
This unique experience is offered to EVERYONE. Basic physical fitness and a passion for thrills is all it takes to go on this phenomenal adventure. Mackley has even once taken a 6-year-old boy for a 100 metre abseil!
“There’s no place like Vanuatu in the world where you can get that close to a violently exploding lava lake and live to tell the tale,” describes Mackley. “It’s the biggest rush you can get that’s legal.”
“You’re taking off at Port Vila which is a town or city like any other. Next minute, you’re up on this ash covered mountain top looking at a lake of lava. It’s like the heartbeat of the planet. And really it is only Vanuatu Helicopters and Ultimate Volcano Expeditions that can bring you that unique experience.”
Flights to the volcano are approximately one hour long and run all year round. Passengers will be left mesmerised by the spectacular views of the lava lakes and stunning lush tropical rain forest covered islands with white sandy beaches and large coral reefs.
About Vanuatu Helicopters:
Winners of the Vanuatu Tourism Award 2013-2014 and 2017-2018, Vanuatu Helicopters are located at the sea wall in central Port Vila and provide travellers with a scenic bird’s-eye view of the many extraordinary vistas that the island paradise of Vanuatu has to offer! Vanuatu Helicopters is a proud supporter of Ultimate Volcano Expeditions to give adventure tourists a phenomenal experience in the fiery depths of Vanuatu’s natural wonders.
Contact Vanuatu Helicopters:
Address: Located near the Nambawan Café, on the seawall at the Craft Markets, Port Vila.
Phone: + 678 25022
Phone: 0274 587 724