Mamanuca & Yasawa Islands
The twenty islands which make up the Mamanuca group were among the first to be developed for tourism. The islands can be roughly divided into two types and are commonly known by the resort names rather than their native names. Small, flat sand cays like Beachcomber, Treasure, Bounty and Tivua Island lie just off Port Denarau and are also popular day trip destinations. The higher, volcanic islands include Malolo, Malololailai, Wadigi, Castaway, Matamanoa and Tokoriki. Accommodation throughout this group range from private island villas, family-friendly or adult only boutique resorts and a few budget establishments. Uninhabited Monuriki (of Castaway movie fame) is a popular picnic and day-cruise destination.
Most of the resorts sub-contract diving operations along with other water activities like snorkelling, skydiving, parasailing, fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and jetskiing. If you’re after some surf, world-class surf breaks like Cloudbreak and Namotu Left can be found just off Tavarua and Namotu islands at the southern end of the island chain. The Fiji Pro surfing event is held there every year in June. There is a marina at Musket Cove on Molololailai with berths, refuelling, restocking and ferry services to Port Denarau. During the resort’s annual Fiji Regatta Week, immigration and customs clearance is also available at the marina. Vunabaka, another luxury resort and marina development is also being constructed on nearby Malololailai island, cementing the Mamanucas as a yachting haven. Dining is usually limited to resort restaurants but a selection of restaurants can be found at Plantation Island and Musket Cove on Malololailai. Plantation Island Resort also has a nine-hole golf course if you’re feel you’re missing out on the golf.
A notable recent attraction in the Mamanucas is Cloud 9, anchored on Ro Ro Reef just off Malolo island. The two-tier floating platform hovers above a natural ocean pool and has a fully-stocked bar, wood-fire pizza oven and selection of water sport activities.
The Yasawa islands are the Mamanucas wilder cousins - there are no golf courses or marinas here. The 20 islands that make up the group are mostly high, grass covered islands with a few villages scattered in sheltered bays. Many resorts pepper these islands including luxury operators like Turtle Island (Nanuya Lailai) and Yasawa Island Lodge (Yasawa Island) as well numerous budget guesthouses or backpacker establishments making it popular with young backpackers looking to party. The bulk of these accommodations are concentrated on the islands of Nanuya, Nacula and Tavewa which surround the famed ‘Blue Lagoon’ near the top of the chain. Like the Mamanuca’s snorkelling, diving, surfing, kayaking and trekking are popular pastimes. The limestone caves at Sawa-i-lau in the northern part of the group is a very popular day trip option and is worth a visit.
Both the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups can be accessed daily by helicopters, seaplanes, small aircraft (on islands with airstrips) and ocean-going vessels which depart daily primarily from Port Denarau, but also from Vuda Point and Musket Cove Marinas.
Tip May to September is peak Manta Ray Season in the Yasawas. Enquire about the area’s manta and shark snorkel tours for an encounter with these special creatures.
Explore by Cruise?
So near yet so far? Hop onto cruise expedition to discover some of most fascinating Fiji islands including Castaway.
Cruise Exploration, Fiji. This wonderful cruise is ideal for those with limited time who want to sample the incredible Fiji Islands. The cruise takes in the majestic southern Yasawa Islands and also spends time at the strikingly beautiful Modriki and Sacred Islands. It’s not just nature that will have you captivated on this boutique cruise, you will get to know Continue Reading