There is a magical little island in the Pacific I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard of. It has an idyllic resort, with tree houses in the jungle, overlooking sapphire waters. It’s also home to an enormous secret cove, known as Horseshoe Bay – so beautiful it’s been named one of the top 1000 places to see in the world.
If you’re looking for a luxurious holiday away from the crowds, come with me on a journey to Fiji’s remote Matangi Private Island.
Getting to this slice of paradise is quite the adventure. Most of us have heard of Fiji’s two main islands: Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. But let me introduce you to the country’s third-largest, Taveuni.
It’s known as Fiji’s Garden Island because of its Jurassic-like hinterland, and it’s a spectacular 90-minute flight from Nadi to reach it.
Once there, you’ll be whisked from the airport to a boat, where you’ll be taken to a 240-acre private island sitting off Taveuni.
Fiji has 332 islands – and you know right away that you’ve picked a pretty special one to visit.
The island has been in family ownership since 1878, and it was farmed as a coconut plantation until 1986. Since then, a decision was made to transform it into a spectacular retreat.
There are just 12 rooms on the island, with three different room types to pick from. But take it from me: if you don’t book the tree houses, you’ll almost instantly regret it when you arrive.
These magnificent rooms are surrounded by lush forest, with a grand four-post bed, sun deck, jacuzzi and outdoor “lava rock” shower. You also get ocean views from your deck.
The island has everything you’d expect from a luxury hotel, such as an impressive pool and luxury loungers dotted among the coconut trees. You can also go kayaking and paddleboarding.
But the standout highlight is the overwater spa, where you can indulge in a couple’s massage before having a drink out on the deck.
The hotel has an excellent “Vale-Ni-Kana” restaurant next to the beach, emphasizing local delicacies, such as fresh fish, coconut and tapioca. Menus includes lobster, tuna and Fijian creme brulee with caramelised coconut.
Worth stepping out for
The island is home to Horseshoe Bay, a magnificent cove named in the popular book “1000 Places to See Before You Die”.
The bay is reached by boat, and a couple can book the entire place to themselves. You’ll be dropped off with a picnic at the main beach, which is home to a small hut and hammocks. From there you can explore the beach and snorkel.
The tree houses and service. Both are some of the best you’ll find in the Pacific.
Don’t make the mistake we did and only stay for a single night. It’s quite a trip to get there, so make sure to enjoy a few days.
If your budget is under pressure, book one night in the tree house, and the others in the cheaper bures. The resort also offers a number of specials for longer stays.
The perfect place to celebrate something significant like a honeymoon or anniversary.
Getting to Fiji: Fiji Airways has regular flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Nadi. If it’s: fijiairways.com
Getting to Matangi: Fiji Airways has daily flights from Nadi to Taveuni, and several flights a week from Suva to Taveuni. Transfers from Taveuni Airport to the island cost US $ 150 (NZ $ 234) per person, plus taxes.
Staying there: Oceanview Bures at Matangi Private Island starts from NZ $ 1350 per couple per night, including all meals, non-motorized sports and cultural activities. Tree houses start from around NZ $ 1786. If it’s: matangiisland.com
The writer traveled to Fiji before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic courtesy of Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways. This story was produced as a part of an editorial partnership with Tourism Fiji. Read more about our partnership content here.