10 days in Fiji’s Mamanuca and Yasawa islands

27 January 2015 • Written by Captain David Jamieson

10 day Fiji itinerary

Lying in the peaceful South Pacific Ocean is an archipelago comprised of over 330 islands; only 110 of which are inhabited. Warm tropical waters and magnificent coral reefs characterise this Melanesian country which, due to its situation west of the international date line, places it in a time zone all its own.

If you’re looking for the idyllic crystal clear bays and brilliant sand beaches that have inspired countless movies, Fiji will not disappoint. The underwater life here also makes it a draw for divers from around the world. But the friendly and welcoming culture of Fiji is not to be overlooked. The main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu house the majority of the island chain’s population with a commerce largely based on sugar cane production.

Day 1: Port Denarau Marina

Arrive at Nadi International Airport on Denarau Island and transfer to your yacht at Port Denarau Marina.

Day 2: Navadra Island

Cruise to the uninhabited island of Navadra, which is split into two, linked by a beautiful reef and sand bar. Explore the deserted beaches, snorkel in crystal clear waters and just absorb the peace and serenity. Anchor here overnight if the weather permits.

The two parts of Navadra Island | Photo courtesy of Fiji Visitors Bureau

Day 3: Waya Island

Waya Island is the southernmost island in the Yasawa Group. Anchor off Natawa village (South Waya). Present your kava to the village chief in the traditional ‘sevusevu’ ceremony. This high island has spectacular views from its peak and is worth the short hike to the top. Stop and refresh in the natural spring on the way.

Continue to walk right over the island and have your yacht collect you. There are some good dives and snorkelling on the peninsulas and the small nearby islets. Spend the night at Naluwaki Bay on the north side of Waya Island and explore the deserted beaches.

Diving and snorkelling in crystal clear waters | © Cat Holloway / Fiji Visitors Bureau

Day 4: Naviti Island

Depart for a short cruise to Navitiisland, passing though the scenic channels between the three islands to the south of Naviti. Select an anchorage on the south end of Naviti and take the tender to the southern tip of the island, which is a favourite feeding ground of the manta rays.

Snorkel or dive with these huge, docile plankton-eating creatures. From May to September they can be seen daily. Naviti has many walking tracks across the islands leading to the more remote villages where you will receive a warm Fijian ‘bula’ welcome. Depart and continue cruising up Naviti’s east coast, anchoring in the well-protected bay at the north end of the island for a sheltered night.

Fiji village dancers | Photo courtesy of Fiji Visitors Bureau

Days 5 & 6: Matacawa Levu Island

Located east of MatacawaLevu Island is Blue Lagoon (where the famous movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields was filmed) – a stunning lagoon, which shimmers with turquoise waters. There is some exciting snorkelling through the passes in the reef and the neighbouring islands can be explored on foot.

This is good place to hire a local dive guide to take you to some of the more remote dive spots. Ashore there is a very good four-star restaurant nestled among the coconut palms. The anchorage is very well protected from all wind directions.

Day 7: Sawi Lau Island

Head north to Sawailau Bay, a large bay dotted with beaches and shallow passes that is ideal for snorkelling and exploring. Present your kava to the village and visit the huge chandelier caves formations on Sawai Lau island. You can swim through these magnificent caves with sunlight filtering though holes in the roof. This bay is also well protected in all weather.

Performing the kava ceremony to welcome guests | Photo courtesy of Fiji Visitors Bureau

Day 8: Yasawa Island

Cruise to the top of Yasawa Island, rounding the top of the island and anchoring in Yasawa- I- Rara Bay. This is the cream of the Yasawa islands with 10 kilometres of pristine beaches interrupted only by lush green headlands. There is some great snorkelling and diving off the northern tip of Yasawa Island. Explore this remote coast at will, walking along the coastline at low tide to view the varied fish life in the corals and pools.

Magnificent corals | Photo courtesy of Fiji Visitors Bureau

Day 9: Back To Denarau Via Vomo

Get underway early for the 60nm trip back to Port Denarau with a stop at Vomo Island five-star resort for a last meal. Alternatively spend the night at a one of the many uninhabited islands on route.

Day 10: Back To Port Denarau Marina

Disembark in Port Denarau Marina, and head for the airport, or stay a few days at one of the luxury resorts.

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