Mamanuca Islands

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Fiji is famed for its beaches, and rightly so as they are the stuff of idyllic postcard fantasies. The Mamanucas are a chain of islands quite easily accessible from Nadi for a day trip, and you might even recognise the island where Tom Hanks was marooned for the film "Castaway".

I spent a peaceful day cruising the islands, and lounging by a pool and on the beach of Castaway Island, confusingly not the one from the movie (that island is named Monuriki, and is a short distance away). I picked up some snorkelling gear and found some very agreeably clear waters to explore, before returning back to my hotel in Nadi.

Qalito Island

Castaway Island is just the name for the tourists, it's actually called Qalito Island, and is reached after about an hour and a half sailing from Denarau. We stopped at several other islands on the journey, but I was happy with my choice of Qalito, as it had a hill I could run up if a big wave came along.

Reefs surround many of the Mamanucas, I wish photos would do justice to their shimmering beauty.


Fijian welcoming singers

Each island we stopped at hosted a band of singing hotel staff, who put on a great show of being very pleased to see us indeed. Bula! - the traditional Fijian greeting.

The pool on Castaway Island was a glorious location to while away the afternoon.

Pool on Castaway Island

Mynah bird

I watched the Mynah birds bathing themselves while being served tropical drinks with little paper umbrellas.

A hammock's eye view of the south Pacific from Castaway Island.

Fijian hammock

Castaway Island beach

The beach on Castaway Island had the reef immediately offshore, amongst the colourful fish I also saw several large rays.

A yacht moored near Mana Island, as the cloud was breaking for the morning and sun started to shine.

Seaspray yacht

South Sea Island

Some of the Mamanucas were almost cartoonishly small - Beachcomber, Bounty and Treasure Island among them, but perhaps the teeniest at which you can spend the day is South Sea Island. Just hope the boat remembers to pick you up again!

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2018