The Mamanuca Islands of Fiji are a volcanic archipelago lying to the west of Nadi and to the south of the Yasawa Islands. The group, a popular tourist destination, consists of about 20 islands, but about seven of these are covered by the Pacific Ocean at high tide.
The Mamanuca Islands, just off the coast of Denarau offer crystal clear waters, palm fringed sandy beaches and live coral reefs. There are islands, villages, resorts to visit, snorkel and swim. One of the islands, Monuriki, was the main location for the 2000 film Cast Away.
Sights and Activities
Activities in the Mamanucas include sailing, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, semi-submersible coral viewing, diving, swimming with reef sharks, windsurfing, hiking, visiting villages, mini golf and discovering secluded beaches.
- Beachcomber Island - Beachcomber Island offers a lot to do, from Fijian craft lessons to coral viewing in a glass bottom boat. There is a huge range of water sports available and a great bar for cocktails on the beach with white sand stretching up under your bar stool. Snorkeling and scuba around Beachcomber island is not to be missed. The coral is surprisingly healthy and there is an abundance of fish species considering its proximity to busy resort and the many people visiting the small island. Blacktip reef sharks are in the area, but are not considered dangerous. Most only grow to around a metre in length. There is a dive shop on Beachcomber Island.
- Bounty Island (30 minutes from Denarau Marina) - It is largely untouched and has 48 acres of natural wilderness encircled by beautiful white sandy beaches. There is a small resort with all facilities including a fresh water swimming pool. Being a marine reserve it is perfect for snorkelling.
- Castaway Island - Snorkel straight off the beach in the crystal clear waters and vibrant coral reefs or enjoy other non-motorised watersports such as kayaks, catamarans, windsurfers and spyboards.
- Malolo Island - Malolo Island offers scenic walks with views out over the Mamanuca Islands.
- Mana Island Resort - Mana has three separate beach areas, clear waters, and lots of shady palm trees, poolside bars and loungers. Enjoy snorkelling and a range of water sports on the lagoon side or laze on the quieter North Beach. Here you have views out over uninhabited islands and Sunset Beach. Snorkeling off the North and the South Beaches of Mana island is excellent too. For divers one of the best spots is "The Supermarket", very close to Mana, where you are guaranteed to see many sharks.
- SeasprayOcean Sailing - Departs daily from Mana Island. Explore beautiful beaches, lagoons and the crystal clear waters of the Mamanuca Islands onboard "Seaspray", an 83 foot classic sailing schooner. Explore the uninhabited island of Modriki, snorkel and visit a traditional Fijian island village on Yanuya. All food and drink is included.
- South Sea Island - South Sea Island is just 30 minutes from Denarau so you can either go for the whole day or take a quick trip in the morning and be back on the mainland by mid-day. South Sea Island has a swimming pool, snorkelling gear, and kayaks, stand up paddleboards and a semi-submersible coral viewer.
- Treasure Island - Treasure Island is surrounded by a marine reserve and offers great swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear waters. Choose a spot on the palm-fringed sandy beach to relax and enjoy. The hidden treasures of the resort make it a great destination for families with a pool, tennis courts and mini-golf course. They also have a turtle restoration program.
The Mamanuca Islands enjoy a mild tropical climate with year-round temperatures around 25 °C with a generally high humidity. Average highs range from around 26 °C in July and August to around 30 °C from Decembert to April. Lows are between 20 °C and 23 °C. May to October is the dry season, also known as the "Fiji Winter". The weather is slightly cooler and less rainfall and humidity make it a good time of the year to visit. From December to April, the islands get a lot of rain and many places get up to 3,000 mm or more a year!
From Nadi, flights on a helicopter (Island Hoppers) or float plane offer the fastest, and most expensive, way to reach the islands.
Port Denarau is the gateway to the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. You can take day trips from Denarau to the Mamanuca Islands.
Large, luxury catamarans from South Sea Cruises with seating for approximately 200 people take several hours to reach your destination, depending on which island is your destination. They are often air-conditioned lounge with food and drinks available for purchase. There are three daily departures: 09:15am, 12:15pm, 3:15pm.
Water Taxis (Seafiji) also service the islands in small aluminium boats. They are good for groups going to the same destination.
South Sea Cruises have a resort connections service. There are two modern vessels providing transfers to your Fiji Island resorts in the Mamanuca Islands. Each vessel has a "Captain's Lounge" where you can book reserved seating and travel in greater comfort. These lounges are air conditioned and include refreshments en route. South Sea Cruises ferries depart Denarau Marina several times a day and are very efficient.
It won't surprise anybody that Fiji's cuisine features a lot of seafood. However, it may surprise those not familiar with Fiji's history that it also includes numerous Indian dishes introduced by Indian laborers brought over in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Kokoda is a Fijian delicacy similar to ceviche or Hawaiian poke. It consists of pieces of raw fish marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, often accompanied by pepper, onion and tomato.
Rourou soup is a smooth and creamy soup made from blended taro leaves and coconut milk.
Fresh tropical fruit is also popular on the islands, including plantains, papaya, mango and pawpaw.
Coconut milk is very popular of course, and refreshing as well.
- Beachcomber Island - Is a popular backpackers resort catering to travellers who are looking for a place to relax and have a good time. Beachcomber is known as the "party island" due to its popularity with college-age travellers, and exciting entertainment every night, including Beachcomber's own "Bula Dance".
- Bounty Island Resort
- South Sea Island Resort - South Sea Island - Has a swimming pool, snorkelling gear, and kayaks, stand up paddleboards and a semi-submersible coral viewer. It is a popular backpacker resort and the dorm has just been refurbished. South Sea Island can sleep 32, ideal for an event.
- Mana Island - Has a couple of backpacker resorts: Ratu Kini and Mana Lagoon (both ~50FJ$ with 3 meals included). If you walk around to the other side of the island you might still find the remains of Survivor TV show stage (a couple dozen of bures). A pretty good reef to snorkel near sunset beach (equipment is not free though).
- Matamanoa Island - Is a small resort for adults looking for a tranquil and tropical destination. It does not allow children under the age of 12. Guests may stay in beachfront bures or hotel rooms and spend their days laying on the beach or by the pool, snorkeling on the reefs ringing the island, scuba diving, kayaking or hiking to the top of the island.
- The Resort Walu Beach - Malolo Island. The Resort is located on the beach just a few lazy steps from the waters edge on Malolo Island in the Mamanucas. It's here you'll find an island of paradise and seclusion where you'll be free to lie back and enjoy the sun on the long stretch of golden sand amongst the tall palms and lush tropical gardens.