fiji islands

In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn
Mamanuca Islands Holidays —  Day Cruises  —  Watersports  —  The Coral Islands  — Malolo Group & Mana Island —  The Outer Mamanucas

Clearly visible from Nadi Airport, the Mamanuca Islands is a stunning collection of 23 small islands with stunning beaches. Situated in the lee of the main island of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca Islands boasts the finest holiday weather in Fiji - year-round sunshine, calm seas and gentle breezes. This is Fiji's tourism gem. With a choice of a dozen resorts, several of which are on uninhabited islands, and as many day cruises from Nadi, a visit to the Mamanuca Islands is a must on any travel itinerary.


Mamanuca Islands Holiday Overview

Nowhere else in the South Pacific will you find such easy access to so many beautiful islands, all with perfect white sandy beaches and lots of water activities. And although commercial tourism thrives, the physical make-up of the Mamanuca Islands has enabled it to retain its laid-back unspoiled atmosphere. Most of the island resorts are just that - one island, one resort with no neighbours nor overcrowding.

Small island resorts with glorious beaches and fantastic watersports drive the Mamanuca Islands popularity. There are resorts aimed at families, for budget travellers or for couples only. Some are tiny coral islands where you can walk around in less than five minutes. Others are rugged volcanic islands with just one resort tucked into a secluded bay whilst a couple are larger islands with excellent hill walks and hosting several large holiday resorts. Communally, all island resorts share the same massive lagoon where you can go on dolphin spotting cruises, whizz around on a jet ski adventure, dive a great variety of coral reefs, surf the big waves of Cloudbreak et al or seek out a small sand caye for a quick picnic. The only downside is that holidaying at a small island resort means you're restricted to the resort restaurant and facilities.

Day Cruises to the Mamanucas Islands

Staying on a small island is the stuff of dreams - sitting back with a cocktail watching the sunset or taking an early morning dip in the ocean. However, island resorts come at a premium - for those looking to save money and sacrifice a few of its pleasures, consider staying in Nadi where rooms are far more competitively priced and dining out at independent restaurants can save a lot, and instead take day cruises to the various islands. There are many day trip options available in Nadi, from spending the day at an island resort starting at F$ 80 per person including hotel pick-up, transfers and lunch, or taking a sightseeing trip by sail boat with dolphin watching and snorkelling along the way starting at F$ 130. Aerial sightseeing by either helicopter or sea plane is a spectacular way to see the islands.

view of mana island

Watersports & The Malolo Barrier Reef

Scuba diving and game-fishing are excellent along the many outer reef passages of the 12km Malolo Barrier Reef, with all major resorts having their own dive operators base and game-fishing charters. The modern marina at Musket Cove offers skippered and bareback sailing charters and hosts several International Regattas during the sailing season between May and October. Activities are mostly organised by the resorts activities centres although scuba diving is generally provided by specialist scuba diving companies which are available at all island resorts. Watersports on offer include para-sailing, jet-ski adventures, banana boat rides, wind-surfing, knee-boarding and kite-surfing, with most resorts providing complementary sea kayaks, snorkelling trips to nearby reefs and Hobie cats for sailing.

Where to go on Holiday in the Mamanuca Islands

The Coral Islands

treasure and beachcomber island

The inner Mamanucas are made up of tiny flat coral islands, often taking just ten minutes to walk around and include several island resorts as well as day trip destinations from Nadi for snorkelling and beach BBQ's. These are the quickest islands to reach from the mainland but the snorkelling lagoons are not as good as the outer islands due to bleaching caused from pollutants / soil erosion from the mainland rivers.

picture of Treasure Island Resort beach
This small coral island resort lies just 17-km off the coast of Nadi and offers comfortable accommodation for both couples and families. Good snorkelling, a decent beach and a small offshore sand cay make Treasure a great choice to experience an uninhabited island paradise.
Bounty Island Resort F$ 165 - 225 per couple / $ 70 dorm get hotels best rate quote
picture of Bounty Island Resort beach
Bounty Island offers budget accommodation on a 48-acre coral island with light forest surrounded by golden sandy beaches and a lagoon that provides good snorkelling.
Beachcomber Island Resort F$ 230 - 420 per couple / $ 40 dorm get hotels best rate quote
picture of travel guide beach
Beachcomber Island Resort is an all night party style island aimed at backpackers and the young at heart. The island is tiny taking just 5 minutes to walk around but with plenty of water sports and beach activities to keep guests occupied during the day.

Malolo Group and Mana Island

the marina at musket cove

The middle islands are the most popular to visit in the Mamanucas and include Malolo Lailai and Mana, both of which have large resorts and an airport runway for the short 10-minute flight from Nadi Airport (stunning views en-route). This area also includes the group's largest island, Malolo, at just over 2400 acres with the delightful Malolo Barrier Reef off its southern coast with exceptional diving and surfing. These middle islands offer gentle hills with some lovely walking tracks offering stunning views over the lagoon and islands and are a better choice for those who like the freedom to explore, trekking to summits for sunset views and finding secluded beaches with no-one on them.

picture of Tadrai Island Resort beach
Tadrai Island Resort offers modern luxury villas in a couples-only intimate resort ambience. With fine dining, a therapeutic spa and serene views from the private plunge pool of each villa, Tadrai is a stylish getaway for a truly luxury honeymoon in Fiji.
picture of Lomalagi Resort beach
Likuliku Lagoon Resort is located on Malolo Island and offers Fiji's only overwater bungalows in a stunning resort ambience with great service, good snorkelling in the bay but only an average beach.
Castaway Island Resort F$ 1,145 - 1,455 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Castaway Island Resort beach
Castaway Island Resort Fiji is a 174-acre island in the heart of the Mamanuca Islands with a truly relaxing holiday atmosphere and a beautiful beach front with snorkelling making it ideal holiday resortr for a luxury family holiday in Fiji.
Lomani Resort F$ 740 - 990 get hotels best rate quote
picture ofLomani Resortbeach
Located on Malolo Lailai adjacent to Plantation Island Resort, Lomani offers a contemporary Mediterranean style setting with an intimate child-free ambience with a large swimming and exceptional restaurant.
Malolo Island Resort F$ 695 - 8720 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Mana Island Resort beach
Malolo Island Resort fronts a picturesque but coarse sandy beach backed by steep hills. The resort offers two swimming pools, restaurant, beachside cafe and a spa centre.
Musket Cove Resort F$ 685 - 950 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Musket Cove Resort  beach
Musket Cove Resort is set on 600-acres on the island of Malolo Lailai, adjacent to the Musket Cove Marina and overlooking a sandy beach with access to plenty of water activities, cruises and charter boats for exploring the islands.
Tropica Island Resort F$ 600 - 1,050 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Tropica Island Resort beach
Located in a secluded bay on the west coast of Malolo Island,l Tropica is an upmarket beach resort for couples only with good offshore snorkelling and access to hiking trails around the island.
picture ofPlantation Island Resort beach
Plantation Island Resort is the second largest of the Mamanuca Island resorts and is set along a picturesque beach with excellent swimming lagoon. Its focus is on activities, especially on the water, and along with its wide price range and accommodation styles, this is Fiji's most popular family resort.
Mana Island Resort F$ 475 - 995 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Mana Island Resort beach
Mana Island Resort is a large resort surrounded by white sandy beaches and snorkelling lagoons. There's lots of water activities, great walks around the island with stunning views from its gentle hilltops.
Funky Fish Resort F$ 110 - 275 per couple / $ 30 dorm get hotels best rate quote
picture of Funky Fish Resort beach
Funky Fish Resort is a quiet backpacker resort on Malolo Island with fabulous ocean views from the hillside restaurant. The beach is not great but most it's popular for the daily surfing trips and diving along the Malolo Barrier Reef.
Ratu Kini Backpackers F$ 220 - 345 per couple / $ 45 dorm get hotels best rate quote
picture of Ratu Kini Backpackers beach
Ratu Kini's is a popular backpacker resort on the beautiful white sandy south beach of Mana Island where there's little more to do than lounge in the sun, swim in the lagoon or snorkel on the coral reefs.

Outer Mamanuca Islands

matamanoa island resort

The outer Mamanuca Islands are rugged volcanic islands with secluded bays and interesting rock formations. They are less commercial and offer smaller more intimate beach resorts as well as several traditional fishing villages. The outer Mamanuca Islands take one and a half hours to reach by fast catamaran, or its a 20-minute hop on a helicopter.

Vomo Island Resort F$ 1,850 - 2,450 get hotels best rate quote
picture of accommodation beach
Vomo Island Resort is an exclusive private island with lluxury villas along a stunning beach and built into the hillside offering tranquil ocean views. This stylish resort offers exceptional service and is one of the few upmarket resorts that allow children all year round.
Tokoriki Island Resort F$ 1,170 - 1,695 get hotels best rate quote
picture of Tokoriki Island Resort beach
Tokoriki Island Resort is a delightful secluded boutique resort in the quiet outer Mamanuca Islands with a very romantic ambience as well as excellent game fishing and scuba diving amongst the pristine outer reefs.
picture of Matamanoa Island Resort beach
Matamanoa Island is an intimate boutique resort on a private island and for couples only, mostly on honeymoon. The island boasts excellent snorkelling in a turquoise lagoon littered with coral reefs.
picture of Amunuca Island Resort beach
This cotemporary styles beach resort is aimed at both families or couples on a budget.The resort sits overlooking a picturesque white sandy beach, and there's excellent offshore snorkelling, lots of activities, hiking trails and above all else, a secluded holiday feel.