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Matamanoa Island, Fiji Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Apr-03-2012, Hits: 3,085, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Location: Australia & Pacific
Geography: Island, Beach, Jungle/Rainforest
Vacation Type: Romantic, Relaxation
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Moderate
Attractions: Scenery, Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Scuba & Snorkeling, Spa & Wellness

Facts and Stats:
Population: 0
Land Area: 0.03 square miles
Elevation: Sea level
Country Dialing Code: 679
Languages: English, Bau Fijian, and Fiji Hindi
Electricity: 220V
Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)
Time Zone: UTC +12 (+13 Summer)
Current Time:

Introduction:
Matamanoa is a small private island with a single resort located on a pristine white sand beach. There is very little to do other than relax, explore the island and its waters, and participate in resort activities. Children under 16 are not allowed.

Geography:
Matamanoa Island is located in the Mamanuca Island group approximately 20 miles west of Nadi International Airport on the main island of Viti Levu. The island only has 36 acres of land with the resort located on the southern end of the island.

The island was formed by a volcano which gave the island its cinder cone shape. You can hike up to the top of the cinder cone for sweeping views of the island and surrounding area. The island is covered by dense brush and tropical trees and is surrounded by coral reefs which make for excellent snorkeling and diving.

Brief History:
It is believed that Fiji was originally settled by the Lapita people in about 1220 BC. They likely came to the area from Vanuatu or the Solomon Islands by way of Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. Aroung 500 BC, a shift towards agriculture combined with an increase in population resulted in intertribal fighting. As a result, cannibalism became common in times of war and this practice would continue until the 19th century.

Abel Tasman was the first European to sail past Fiji in 1643, but his descriptions of the dangerous reefs kept explorers away for nearly 130 years. James Cook was in the area in 1774, but Captain Bligh is often credited for sailing through the islands after the "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1789.

The first outsiders to live among the native Fijians were escaped Australian convicts and shipwrecked sailors, many of whom became dinner. Missionaries arrived during the 19th century, and as Christianity spread, cannabilism waned.

Fiji was pronounced a British crown colony in 1874. Enslaving local Fijians wasn't legal, so the British turned to indentured servants from India to help them run the sugar cane fields and sugar mills. Indentured servitude was abolished in 1919, however, over 40% of Fiji's population is made up of descendants of this Indian labor force.

Fiji gained its independence from the British in 1970.

People & Culture:
The people of Fiji are very friendly. In fact, Conde Nast recently voted the people of Fiji as the "Friendliest People in the World". Although the locals' native languages are Fijian and Hindi, pretty much everybody speaks English.

There are no permanant residents on Matamanoa Island and most of the workers live in a village on nearby Tavua Island.

The island doesn't offer any cultural attractions such as museums, galleries, or theatres, however, the resort does offer the following cultural activities:
  • Weaving demonstration
  • Sulu tying
  • Coconut husking and cracking
  • Cooking classes
  • Sacred Island visit
  • Handline fishing
  • Tavua village visit
There are some local customs to keep in mind if you visit one of the villages (there are tours to villages on other islands available). When visiting a village it is customary to present a gift of kava (more about that in the food section). If you are visiting via a tour from the resort, they will take care of this for you. If asked to participate in kava drinking, it is a good idea to partake. It is considered rude to touch someone on the head - even children. If entering someone's home, take your shoes off before entering. Do not wear skimpy clothing or a hat to the villages.

Food & Nightlife:
There are no independent restaurants on the island, just the restaurant at the resort which serves Fijian and international foods.

Money & Costs:
The resort on Matamanoa Island is moderately priced. There are no banks or ATMs on the island, however, the resort does accept credit cards.

Tipping is not customary in Fiji and even somewhat discouraged unless you have received extraordinary service.

Entry Requirements:
Entry Requirements: Holders of Passports from visa exempt countries are granted visitors visas valid for 4 months on arrival. Extensions can be made up to 6 months on condition that they hold a valid passport (valid for 3 months) beyond the intended period of stay in Fiji, outward ticket and sufficient funds to facilitate duration of stay.

The visa exempt countries are: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cook Islands [NZ passport holder] Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Commonwealth Dominica, Estonia, The federal Republic of Germany, The federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, The Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong [SAR] Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Slovak Republic, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Visitors from countries not listed above are required to get a visa.

Getting There & Around:
To get to Matamanoa Island you will first need to fly into Nadi International Airport on the main island of Viti Levu. The fastest (and most expensive) way to get to the island from Viti Levu is via a 15 minute helicopter flight. You can take a catamaran from South Sea Cruises that departs twice a day from Port Denarau. Finally, you can take a private water taxi from Viti Levu. These taxis run 24 hours.

Once on the island, the only transportation is your feet and the boats that will take you to dive spots and neighboring islands.

Weather:
The best time to visit is between May and November when it is the driest. In addition to less rain, temperatures and humidity are lower as well.

The table below shows weather averages.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 88 88 88 88 86 82 82 84 84 86 86 86
Avg Low 73 73 73 72 70 66 64 66 68 70 72 72
Water Temp 84 86 84 84 82 81 79 79 81 81 81 82
Precipitation 16.5" 10.2" 13.5" 7.6" 5.5" 3.1" 2.0" 2.8" 3.5" 5.2" 2.5" 7.5"
Days of Rainfall 21 22 22 19 11 9 12 11 11 13 8 17
Humidity 83 82 83 82 78 77 77 77 75 76 77 80

Tips & Additional Information:
  • Fiji is free from malaria, yellow fever and other major tropical diseases.
  • Yellow Fever and Cholera vaccinations are only required if coming from an infected area.
  • Make sure you stay in designated snorkel and swimming areas. A New Zealand women was killed in 2007 by the boat propeller.
  • It is a good idea to make your resort reservations well in advance as it is often full.





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