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Fortunately, living in Australia opens the opportunity to enjoy a South Pacific Island Getaway for a quick few days. This is because these islands are only a couple of hours away by plane for those who live in SE Queensland.
New Caledonia is the closest with Vanuatu next and then Fiji only taking a maximum of three and a half hours but these island nations are just a ‘drop in the ocean’ (pardon the pun😊) as there are hundreds more to explore!
For the bulk of Australians who live further South, it will take a bit longer before they’re lying under a palm tree, sipping a cocktail while watching the sunset. Oh, but it’s so worth it!
To choose a tropical South Pacific Island getaway was easy but the dilemma was, which one do I choose? I’ve always tried to visit a different island nation or a different island resort on every trip. Variety is the spice of life, right? And, every island resort will highlight the best of their location albeit beaches, views, snorkeling etc.
Although I’ve enjoyed a South Pacific Island getaway on multiple occasions as a guest or as a cruise ship passenger, I’ve only experienced a handful of the hundreds of islands dotted across the South Pacific Ocean so there’s plenty more to see.
The Fijian Islands have been in my head for as long as I can remember. I recall our neighbours coming home from a holiday in Fiji and they had grass skirts and coconut shells for a brassiere!! I want to go there!
It was twenty years before I got to see it myself.
Viti Levu is the biggest island and the hub of Fiji with the capital Suva located on the South East coast. With tourism growing at a fast rate, a second major international airport is at Nadi which is located on the West coast and is the gateway to the Mamanuca islands.
To drive from Suva to Nadi takes approximately 3 hours traveling past the Coral Coast which is where the bulk of resorts began.
With the reality of Tourism and some 50 years later, multiple resorts of different styles can be found along three quarters of the island’s coast so there is plenty of choice including over water bungalows at Likuliku Lagoon Resort.
Situated on the Coral Coast at Sigatoka, the Outrigger Resort looked lovely as it has great views of the South Pacific Ocean plus it has one of the largest swimming pools in the southern Hemisphere, which is well suited for children and young families but for us, as we travel as a couple, swimming peacefully was non-existant.
For the type of holiday I look for visiting the Coral Coast then was the wrong time of the year. The South Easterly winds blow typically all day and sometimes so strongly the beach is not a pleasant experience.
We were unable to snorkel along this part of the coast either as there was nowhere in the sea to freely swim due to the reef coming in close to the beach so for us to enjoy some snorkeling we had to invest in a day trip which took us to the Mamanucas (2hr 30 min return trip). Lesson learnt.
TIP: Before booking check the time of year.
The Double Tree Resort Hilton Hotel Fiji was originally known as the Sonasali Island Resort and was a well laid out resort with spacious bungalows set amongst beautiful gardens.
A while ago I was informed that the sand beaches in and near Denarau were not natural beaches but the sand was imported and used to cover mud flats. This was something that I did notice at this resort was not the same as other beaches in Fiji.
Also, I wonder if the resort has created something to prevent the Asian Minors from invading the dining areas (inside and out) as nothing seemed to phase these birds.
This resort is great for over-nighting for those who arrive too late to meet the launch to the Mamanucas where your a South Pacific Island getaway awaits. Before you do leave here make sure you see the Sleeping Giant.
The bonus for this resort is being situated on the western side of the main island so it’s protected by those South Easterly winds that are prevalent during the Southern Hemisphere’s Winter season and early Spring.
Tokoriki Island is in the Mamanuca Island group West of the main island Viti Levu and it truly creates the feeling for the guests like you’re on the set of ‘South Pacific’. Sighhh…
My story: This particular holiday ended up being a ‘tick off some of those never done before’ bucket lis items kind of trip so to start with and just for something completely different, instead of taking a launch from Nadi to our South Pacific Island getaway, we opted to take a sea plane! Tick!
The pilot assured me that he’d been flying around these islands for a decade (it’s a hard life but someone has to do it. 😊) so I felt safe and enjoyed the short but noisy flight.
On landing we skimmed across the water ever so elegantly and then effortlessly glided to the soft sand beach where a Fijian local wearing tropical clothes and a hibiscus behind one ear greeted us singing and playing his Ukelele as we walked up the beach.
We were guided to a beautiful water feature to wash off the sand before entering the main reception and dining area . How gorgeous!!
That past 20 minutes had made me feel like I was on the set of the movie ‘South Pacific’. Just like a movie star. Tick!
Our large and airy beach bungalow over-looked white sand to a passage of blue water and all of this was only a 2-minute walk through the trees. Tick!
Needless to say our whole time spent at Tokoriki Island Resort was a delightful South Pacific Island getaway. Simply paradise!
Also, the Tokoriki Island Resort has a quaint little chapel and is available for wedding services that they will decorate with palm fronds and colourful flowers for that special day.
TIP: You must go there!
This beautiful South Pacific island getaway was the location for the Television show Survivor USA in 2018. Sitting in the middle of the Mamanucas group, Mana Island is large enough to have its own runway for small planes that carry six passengers.
Sitting amongst a cluster of idyllic islands with multiple styles of accommodation, Mana is large enough to support 3 individual resorts. A 4 star, a luxury resort and one that has basic accommodation and facilities, and all are positioned remotely around the large island.
Looking from a drone’s view of the island’s soft sand beaches practically surround the island and gradually slip into the blue waters of Mamanuca passage. Arrival to this island (if not by plane) is via the launch or water taxi where you disembark onto a jetty.
Matamanoa Island is a neighbouring ‘drop’ of an island in the Mamanucas. It’s tiny but the resort doesn’t feel compact as it even has a heliport that extends onto the beach. The little island is surrounded by reef where the resort will organise a local staff person to assist and watch you by a dinghy as you circumnavigate the island snorkelling and being entertained by fish and maybe turtles.
If you should get bored with swimming, snorkelling, and lying like a lizard in the sun why not climb to the top of the one and only hill? It has spectacular views across the passage with the closest Island being Monuriki and it’s this island that was used for the movie ‘Castaway’ starring Tom Hanks.
Except for Tavewa (very basic backpacker style accommodation) this group of islands represent luxury and exclusivity. With 20 islands in the group they form the northern most point of a string of islands that includes the Mamanucas.
The balmy nights, soft sand beaches and the surrounding waters will keep you hypnotised to never want to leave.
If the price tag doesn’t suit, the alternative way to see these islands is by Captain Cook Cruises. They have a South Pacific Island getaway for 3 or 4 night itineraries that includes them.
The Yasawa Island group does have one budget style accommodation but as always research options before booking.
I’m keen to explore Fiji’s North Eastern island but because of the exposure to the South Easterly elements, I’ll need to choose the timing carefully. So during those Winter months, there are Resorts on the Northern coast of Viti Levu that appear to be beckoning me but with the glorious weather most of the year on the Western side of Fiji, I’m most likely to saturate that area of Fiji first. ϴ
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