Malolo Island Fiji - Where the sun goes to rest and so should you.

Malolo Island is one of 20 islands that comprise the Mamanuca (pronounced Ma-ma-noo-tha) island group that is located northwest from Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu, Fiji. The Malolo Island Resort encompasses just 9 of the nearly 2000 acre island but offers a tantalizing tropical retreat.  Whether you are looking for a base camp to launch your adventures, a place for your entire family to enjoy holiday activities or just a place to hang your hammock, Malolo Island Resort is a perfect choice.
Fiji is nearly 3200 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands and it offers the adventurous a change of venue off the beaten track for their tropical exploits.  Nadi (pronounced Nan-dee) International airport is 13 to 14 hours flying time from Denver with connections through Los Angeles.

Malolo Island has long been the mythical resting place for the setting sun after its long workday illuminating Fiji.  Now, it can be your respite from the pace of your workday, too.  When the prehistoric Lapita people first arrived between 1500 - 3000 BC they settled on Viti Levu at Viseisei (8 miles northeast of the Nadi airport.)  They believed that Malolo Island was a special place and home port for the setting sun after a day of wandering across the sky. Malolo Island has maintained this special identity even in to the modern era and has become a recreational playground for adventurous sun seekers.  Though you won’t find the mythical nighttime cradle of the sun you will find white sand beaches, coral reefs teaming with marine life and some of the best locations for snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing on the planet.

Ahura Resorts has two properties on Malolo Island – the Likuliku Lagoon Resort and the Malolo Island Resort.  Malolo Island Resort is a family friendly resort on the northwest tip of Malolo Island.  The resort offers guests 3 restaurants, 2 bars, 2 pools (one family pool, one adults only), a spa and countless activities on land and water.

There are 47 recently renovated bures scattered over the 4-star resort on the tip of Malolo Island.  The brightly decorated guest rooms have beachfront views along the ½ mile west facing arc of sand.  The accomodation options range from family sized bures that sleep 7 to the secluded, romantic Tadra Beach bures for couples.  In between are the Oceanview and Deluxe Oceanview bures that sleep up to four comfortably.  The fringing reef lies just a few yards out from the beach making snorkeling “a walk out your front door” activity.

Yanu Yanu: live like an islander
Many resorts claim they are family friendly and many are, but few are family oriented to the extent of Malolo Island Resort.  Here at Malolo kids age 4-12 are encouraged to go “native” and participate in the activities at Tina’s Treehouse from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.  The complimentary Yanu Yanu (Fijian for island) program has a focus on activities that highlight the culture and history of Fiji and Malolo Island in particular.  The program was created with advice from the Mamanucas Environment Society.  Each day the focus is on a different aspect of life in Fiji, from traditional costume making, to living off the land, to marine activities like fish feeding and the environmental issues of coral reefs.  The kids create a written and pictorial journal as a permanent memento of their time on Malolo Isand. The kid’s club program helps make both children and parent’s stay enjoyable.  For children younger than 4, one on one attendants are available at an hourly charge.  The spa also offers a kid’s menu.

Adult Activities
It is certainly tempting during your time on Malolo Island to move from the chaise lounge to the hammock to the beach before rotating in some time for cocktails at the Beach Bar.  And, for the first few days this may be your routine.  But if you finally get your fill of quiet time and need a more active bent to your day there is plenty to do.

There are several walking tracks that allow you to get a look at other parts of Malolo Island.  If you are in need of a cardiovascular workout a climb to Uluisolo Peak is possible.

Other in-resort options include: beach volleyball, table tennis, Fijian language lessons, sulu tying demonstrations and Fijian cooking lessons.

When you decide to get wet there are host of options too.  Windsurfers, kayaks and catamarans are available for use at no charge.  Motorized activities like waterskiing (lessons are available), wakeboards, knee boards are available at a fee.

For the fishermen, you can also make arrangements to go outside the “Na Tabu” marine reserve that extends 1500 meters out from the beach for either trolling or bottom fishing.  Fishing excursions are available daily.  Hop onboard one of Malolo Island Resort’s boats for a trip to Yaro village, where nearly half of the staff for the Malolo lives, or take a sunset cruise or get dropped off on a sandbar for a picnic.  You can book a trip to one of the many amazing snorkeling sites nearby or charter a boat for a trip to Modriki Island where Tom Hanks was marooned in the movie Castaway.

On Sunday you can take a short boat ride to Yaro village to attend church services or spend the afternoon on a pub crawl that takes you to some of the other Mamauca Island resorts (more on that later.)  Scuba diving excursions can be booked through the onsite office of Subsurface Fiji.  For the skilled and adventurous some of the best surf breaks in the world lie not far from the calm waters of Malolo Island Resort.

Eating, Drinking and Relaxing
Malolo Island Resort offers three restaurants and options from full to half meal plans, though they do not offer in-room dining.   The Treetops Restaurant is an adults only environment that offers an elegant dinning option under a canopy of trees.  The Terrace Restaurant offers a daily changing ala carte menu as well as an extensive children’s menu.  The Beach Bar, near the water’s edge. Is a the place to have lunch or dinner in a casual atmosphere with spectacular views and for sunset cocktails or to shed the stress of a day spent sunbathing during happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 daily.  For the romantics it is easy to make arrangements for a candlelit dinner on either the beach or the jetty.

On Saturday evening the dining option is a traditional Fijian Lovo.  Meats and vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves buried in an earthen oven and roasted.  The resulting feast is served buffet style in the Terrace Restaurant and includes entertainment by the talented staff.  Wednesday evening brings a BBQ buffet with meats, fish and poultry barbecued Fijian-style served with heaping bowls of fruits, salads and desserts.

Malolo Island Resort offers families, couples and singles all they could want in a tropical island vacation.  You can eat yourself silly, read a library of books, snorkel until you grow gills, hone your beach volleyball digs, maroon yourself on a tropical island or just work on your hammock riding skills.

Jerome's other stories on Fiji:

Friendly, far-flung Fiji sets a pace for the rest of the world to follow
An Orchid in the Fijian Bouquet
Exploring Viti Levu, Fiji
The Mamanuca Islands in Fiji
Pub-crawl in the Mamanucas, Fijian-style
Likuliku Lagoon Resort

Getting to Malolo Island Resort from Nadi International airport is simple.  Transfer from the airport to Denaru Island port and catch the Tiger IV operated by South Sea Cruises.  You can also make arrangements for transfer by seaplane or helicopter.  Arriving after 2:00 p.m. is advised.  Day rooms are available for both early arrival and late checkouts with advance notice.  Checkout time is 10:30 a.m.  If you are arriving late evening in Fiji consider spending your first night at the Fiji Orchid, convenient to the airport on Viti Levu
This trip was sponsored in part by the following:
Air Pacific
The Fiji Orchid
Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Malolo Island Resort
Ahuru Resorts
Rosie Holidays
Fox Global Communications

Photography and text copyright Jerome Shaw 2011 / www.jeromeshaw.com.  This article and photos may not be reposted or reproduced without prior written permission from the author.  Please contact Jerome on Twitter at @JeromeShaw or find him on Facebook

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