As promised, back from our eight days at Hideaway Island so thought I'd post up a quick trip report. We are a family of four - two teenage 'kids' of 14 and 17, so this is from that point of view. I won't do a day-by-day account as I started keeping a diary but then got too relaxed to continue! I've done a separate review of the resort so will just say it was clean, fantastic snorkelling and diving, friendly staff, nice bar and restaurant. You do need reef shoes though.
We didn't do a lot of trips as the kids were doing their PADI dive course which took up a few days, but we did do the Mele Cascades - stunning (cost about A$20 each to go in) - and great fun. My husband and the kids decided to follow the river down rather than the path which they had a great laugh doing. It is walkable from Hideaway but we succombed to the taxi temptation to get back to the jetty! Went into Port Vila twice - once on a non-cruise day and spent time browsing through the food market, and stocking up on lunchy stuff for our room. We started at the supermarket near the market, but found a much better one in one of the back streets so it's worth exploring. Other day was when a couple of cruise ships were in town and it felt a lot nicer when they weren't to tell the truth - lots of loud tourists in loud shirts outside the bottle shop spoilt the atmosphere for me a little! It was raining that day and I think a lot of the cruisers decided to head for the shops rather than the craft market so that was nice to stroll around, chatting with the ladies on the stalls. Hideaway Island beach also got quite crowded and noisy on cruiseship days - it was nice to get it back to ourselves in the evenings when they'd gone back! It's a relatively small resort so we felt quite "possessive" of it very quickly in a famiy home kind of way! We also went into town for something to eat one night - we were walking to the Warhorse Saloon but it was a Monday night so that was shut - we grabbed a bus instead (walking is a little dodgy at night in the dark along that road) and ate at the Brewery in town. Great specials, great beer and great cider! We also did a day tour of the island with a local bus driver - this cost 15000 Vatu - we went to the Blue Lagoon, ate at Wahu Cafe, and stopped at the Coke Bottle Museum. Unfortunately heavy rain and low cloud set in at lunchtime so we weren't able to see much on the way back. Nice guy who took us around, but probably wouldn't do it again if we went back, but would grab a bus or taxi direct to the Lagoon and back. With the more organised tours, drinks and stuff are included so if you're on a tight budget (like we were) that might work out cheaper. We'd expected a full day out as well and were back just after lunchtime. The other place we walked to from Hideaway was the Tanna Coffee place - most disappointed that they'd sold out of chocolate brownies that day which apparently are wonderful, but the coffee - even for a non-coffee enthusiast like me - was well worth the visit. Only other place we ate at was the Beach Bar opposite Hideaway - service was incredibly slow (I think we waited about two hours for our food) but the fire show was excellent. Hideaway Island's Melanese Feast was also excellent - and the smallness of the resort meant all the guests could really get involved with the dancing, which was great fun. The one sad thing for us was when we walked to Tanna Coffee and crossed the river that flows into the sea, it was obvious that there's not much sanitation or limit on what goes into the sea from the river (dodging the soiled toilet paper was a clue) - and I'm sure that's what caused my son to go down with a sickness bug on the day before we left, missing his last day of diving, then the rest of us to succomb to it on the trip home and subsequent days; the reef itself is wonderful but if the locals don't take care of it a bit better it won't stay that way. Hideaway itself is lovely, but I found Vanuatu quite expensive overall and we were glad of the fridge in our room, and the wine we'd taken with us; if we'd been paying for lunches, all drinks and dinners, we'd have got through our budget a lot faster. Definitely don't change your money at the airport in Australia - their rates are nothing short of daylight robbery compared to what you get locally!
Overall verdict was fantastic diving and snorkelling, lovely friendly people, great accommodation but cost of everything about the same or higher as it is in Australia (Sydney prices rather than Adelaide prices!!) so budget accordingly.