This expansive set of islands is scattered off Nadi Bay on Viti Levu’s west coast. There are about 20 islands, but be careful which one you choose – some are completely covered at high tide. The Mamanuca Islands are a serious visitor attraction, offering tiny coral islets to explore and numerous beach resorts to suit every pocket, plus all the watersports and diving activities for which Fiji is famous. Most resorts offer complementary kayaks, hobby cats and reef snorkelling trips.
These are not the most beautiful islands you will ever see, but the beaches are fabulous and the water is inviting. The resort islands are Malolo, Beachcomber, Mana, Malolo Lailai, Monu, Monuriki, Navini, Tavarua, Tavna, Tororiki and (especially for Robert Louis Stevenson fans) Treasure Island. The inner Mamanucas consist of small, flat coral isles.
The middle islands are the largest and offer gentle hills with paths to summits that offer stunning views over the archipelago, and the opportunity to find less crowded beaches. The outer islands are more rugged, with isolated bays and interesting volcanic rock formations. They have traditional fishing villages and – those 90 minutes from the mainland by fast catamaran – those outer islands are the destination of choice for people trying to get far from the madding crowd.
You will pay a premium to holiday on the Mamanuca Islands, but at many resorts, you will share your island with more than enough people. However, as soon as you’ve settled comfortably into your space on the beach lots of day trippers may suddenly invade from the mainland – a budget treat for them and a pain for you. And if it’s the traditional Fijian culture you’re looking for, you won’t find it here.
When to visit:
All year round – the weather is sunny, the seas calm and the breezes cool.
How to reach:
By air to Nadi International Airport. Onward transfer by light aircraft, helicopter or boat to the island of your choice.
- A trip around the islands in an old-fashioned South Sea schooner.
- A self-drive/sailboat trip on a craft hired from the Musket Cove marina.
- Game fishing or scuba diving along the renowned Malolo Reef.
You should know:
Despite a large number of tourists in the Mamanucas, the island of Modriki was chosen as the setting for Tom Hanks film Castaway.