Clearly visible from Nadi, the MAMANUCAS are a stunning collection of 32 small islands surrounded by 35 square kilometres of translucent ocean strewn with coral reefs. Situated in the lee of the main island of Viti Levu, the islands boast the finest weather in Fiji – year-round sunshine, calm seas and gentle breezes. Given the ease of travel and the wide choice of resorts this is the prime beach holiday destination in the South Pacific.
The coral islands, lying immediately offshore from Nadi and Lautoka, comprise a dozen picturesque tiny coral cays, which feature heavily in the tourist brochures and boast several world-class surfing breaks. More prominent, though, from the mainland are the larger volcanic islands of the Malolo Group, with rolling grassy hills framing beautiful beaches and the surrounding seas bobbing with yachts and ferries. There are plenty of activities here to keep tourists busy, including game fishing, jet-skiing and kayaking, as well as excellent scuba diving.
Forming the western border of Fiji, the remote Mamanuca-i-Cake Group is also volcanic in appearance but has more rugged coastlines and steeper hills covered in light forest. Being further from the mainland – it takes ninety minutes by boat from Nadi – these islands are less busy, with just three small boutique beach resorts appealing mostly to the honeymoon market. They are also a popular stop on overnight cruises.