Living out scenes from a movie is something many of us do on Halloween. It’s fun, it can be a bit goofy, but it ultimately feels kind of cool.
It just happens that the Monuriki Island, in the Mamanuca chain, in Fiji is also the backdrop for the movie Castaway which featured Tom Hanks, who won a Golden Globe for best actor and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
There are hundreds of islands in the South Pacific that sit alone in virtually uncharted waters that could reasonably qualify as a backdrop for the film.
Ironically, the island chosen for this distinction actually sits in plain sight of at least a dozen other Fiji Islands.
Malolo Island is the highpoint of the Mamanuca Islands’ chain that provides a truly magnificent vista. Turn in any direction and try not to look with absolute awe as you get a 360-degree view of spectacular tropical islands.
The trek up to the top of Malolo is not for everyone, but it rewards those who take the initiative. On the western side of the island, the journey breaks down into three distinct stages.
Arriving at the quaint island village of Solevu, you and your guide share a quick “hello” or two with friendly locals and then it’s time for the first section of the hike. It’s not challenging terrain, but it is certainly steep.
The second stage involves a long and gradual ascent of successive hills.
The final stage is the most challenging as it is quite steep.
Once at the top, you will discover a number of concrete foundations that date all the way back to the Second World War. This was the location of an American military radio station and living quarters.
Now that you have reached the highlands of the Mamanuca Islands, try lying low.
Ranked high among Fiji’s finest entertainers, they perform conveniently around some of the most popular tourist destinations islands in the entire South Pacific. They are scheduled and appear twice daily, 365 days per year and on cue. They are the sandbanks of the Mamanucas.
There are daily enthusiasts who visit and play on one of these natural wonders.
Divers plunge into the turquoise waters, snorkelers explore the colourful reefs that are teeming with bright tropical fish and soft coral.
Wind surfers also take advantage of the area because of its fabulous launching spots and calm waters.
Almost every nearby resort can take you to the sandbanks, many of them will even provide a free or low-cost boat ride.
The sandbanks are the result of tides depositing the sand. This means everyday it looks a bit different. Your sandbank visit will never be the same as anyone else’s, and that’s uniquely cool.
From this experience you will develop a deep respect for Mother Nature and give thanks for her inscrutable magic with the disappearing and reappearing beaches.
While visiting the Mamanucas there are plenty of resorts to stay at. One drawback to resorts is there is no private dining options, so choice is limited to the resort you are staying at. In some instances, there are multiple resorts on the same island and most often they are quite friendly and will cater to guests from other island resorts.
It is encouraged that visitors contact the resort they are planning to stay at in advance to learn about their dinning offerings. But, the lack of options is far out weighed by the superb locations to dine.