Oh, Island in the Sun – Matamanoa Island – Fiji

Oh, Island in the Sun” as the famous Harry Belafonte song goes, evoking images of sun, water and “shining sand”. This island could be Matamanoa. 

A tiny tropical island in the Mamanuca group of Fijian Islands, award-winning Matamanoa provides all the joys and expectations of a lazy island holiday in the sun. This beautiful little dot in the Pacific Ocean answered our prayers.

We had reached a level of stress in our lives that signalled it was time to take a break. Step off the treadmill for a time and take stock. 

Enter left stage – Chelsea, at House of Travel Mt Maunganui.  Armed with a list of our must-haves, she came back with 5 Island getaway choices.

Our list included:

  • No children – we desperately needed some peace and quiet.
  • Good food – we wanted to feel spoiled.
  • A Bure with a sea view and easy walking distance to the sea.

Matamanoa certainly ticked all our boxes. The island has a superb restaurant with a different dinner menu every night and complimentary breakfast everyday. Food is fresh, varied, beautifully cooked, and presented. To add to the dreamlike atmosphere of the resort, is an outdoor wrap-around dining area where you can enjoy a peaceful, picturesque meal.

Also provided for guests’ enjoyment: a fabulous poolside bar. Seemingly open all hours.  They offered an array of cocktails, mocktails, and other drinks served with great aplomb by the lovely Gerry. Wine is an expensive drink in Fiji, but other drinks are reasonably priced, and of course, you can’t not have a daily fresh fruit cocktail while relaxing on a pool lounger.

We were booked into a large Bure complete with a plunge pool, a canopied day bed and lounger chairs on the grass, it was also a few easy steps to a reef beach on our doorstep.

Secluded, yet only a slow stroll under the coconut palms to the restaurant, bar, infinity pool, and other amenities. We couldn’t have asked for more.

6 nights of complete bliss followed. We were utterly spoiled from the time we disembarked into shin-deep tropical water and walked onto a soft white sand beach. Warmly greeted by ukulele playing, singing, locals as they placed a delicate shell necklace over our heads.

The staff were gorgeous, gentle, smiling, gracious, caring, humourous, attentive, entertaining, and totally “there” for us.   Serving cocktails at the side of the pristine infinity pool at sunset, smiling and greeting us with a gentle “Bula”, laughing and sharing jokes about rugby and life. They enjoyed telling us about their lives and homes.  We loved hearing about them.

Activities on the island apart from doing nothing very very well, included; scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing trips, and day trips to neighbouring islands, where most of the staff live.

An organised crab racing evening, to raise funds for the local school on a neighbouring island added a sense of fun for guests and staff alike. Each team had a name related to their country and of course, being Kiwis, ours was “The ABs”. 

The resort offers lots of alternative options too. Including a walk around the island. Which is a must. An approximate 20-25 minutes stroll through flowering bougainvillea, hibiscus and beautifully scented frangipani, across wooden bridges, along sandy pathways. Viewing wide vistas of sea, coconut palms and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a skink or two sunning on the rocks on the way.

And then there is the day spa situated halfway up the island’s hill. Take a walk up the wooden staircase, through subtropical forest where the outdoor massage table sits atop a platform overlooking the aquamarine sea while coconut palm trees sway in the tropical breeze.

And, of course, there are the beautiful lagoon waters. Warm as a bath and safe. When the tide is full, the water is flat, calm, and very peaceful. It was bliss.

For an ideal getaway in the sun, think of Matamanoa Island Fiji. We can’t recommend it highly enough. 

Getting there:

MTR Tips – 1-night stay on either side of your stay – Gateway Hotel Nadi – 5 minutes from the airport.

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