Your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t really a home until you’ve explored every last inch — and if you want to do that, you’ll need the Polevault and the Ladder. The Polevault lets you cross streams safely, which is a first for the series, and the Ladder makes it easy to climb up cliffsides. You’ll have to use both, but they’re infinite-use tools, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking.
It takes a little bit of time, and a little bit of questing to unlock the recipes for these incredibly useful tools. If you’re wondering when you’ll get them, just check out the quick guide below for all the details. If you’re completing quests and finishing up requests for Tom Nook, Blathers, and your other friends on the island, you won’t miss them.
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How To Get The Polevault & Shovel
The Polevault and Shovel are handy items you can use to dig and explore your island further. The Shovel lets you search the ground for bugs or buried treasure, while the Polevault lets you cross rivers so you can fully access your island.
The Polevault and Shovel recipes are given by Blathers at the Museum. Here’s everything you need to know.
- Build a DIY Net / DIY Fishing Rod after talking to Tom Nook, and catch bugs / fish.
- Donate five bugs / fish to Tom Nook to gain the ability to place the Museum. It takes a full day to build the museum after you’ve selected a location for it.
- After a day, talk to Blathers the Owl — continue to donate wild critters, and you’ll eventually get a reward; the Polevault and Shovel recipe!
The Polevault can be used infinitely, so don’t worry about it breaking. You’ll be able to explore across the water — and eventually, you’ll be able to build bridges to make travel easier.
How To Get The Ladder
The Ladder is another special tool you’ll get that allows you to explore the upper reaches of the island. No cliff can stop you if you have a ladder handy. You’ll earn them for inviting villagers to your island — you’ll get the Ladder while creating some house-warming gifts!
- Visit a Mystery Islands — this can be done from the Nook Miles machine. Get tickets and start exploring!
- At the Mystery Island, invite a villager to move to your island.
- You may need to invite three villagers!
- Wait a day, and then talk to Tom Nook to acquire a house plot.
- To fully complete this quest, you might need to invite and place three villager plots. That might not be required, though.
- You’ll have to build furniture for your new residents — including a Lily Wreath. Flowers are mostly found on the high spots on your island, so you’ll need a ladder to reach them.
That’s when you’ll gain the Ladder recipe and the Bridge Recipe — obviously, bridges are a lot pricier to build! The Ladder is the last item you need to fully explore your island, and you can get it before three days are up.