Matava overlooks the world famous Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef. The site for property was chosen because of a nearby source of spring water.
Just offshore from the beach front is a small island which includes a marine reserve with excellent snorkeling. (You can kayak over to the tiny island, which has three white sand beaches).
Surrounded by rain forest, the resort’s accommodation are ten traditional thatched Fijian bures (bungalows) with en-suite bathrooms and private sun decks. The bures afford spectacular vistas of the coral lagoons and barrier reef.
The resort has two types of accommodation, split evenly between Honeymoon and Oceanview. The Honeymoon units are finished with polished mahogany timber floors, mahogany furnishings, king size beds and private sun decks. The Oceanview bures also feature polished timber floors and similar amenities, but have queen size beds instead.
The is a large comfortable guest area with fully stocked bar, dining terrace and front deck overlooking the lagoon. Also on hand is a small library and guest charging area for laptops, cameras, tablets. (Wi-Fi is available in the main bure).
They serve a variety of international dishes such as Thai and Indian. There is also a “traditional” Fijian night where food is cooked in an underground oven called a lovo. Guests are involved in its preparation which entails weaving chickens and fish into palm fronds, etc), cooking and removal of the food from the oven. Lovo night also includes a kava ceremony and singing from staff and a village band.
Matava is an ‘eco-resort’, obtaining its power and hot water from solar energy. An extensive organic farm supplies the restaurant daily with fresh fruit and vegetables and even honey from the garden apiary.
The resort promotes engagement with local communities and guests can experience waterfall walks, guided treks, kayak trips, village visits and local cultural events.
Management feels strongly about contributing to the local community and encourages guests to to the same. For example, a recent group of visiting dentists took time to spend their afternoons providing dental care to villagers.
Diving: The Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef is renown for its numerous hard corals. Matava has an on-site PADI 5 Star Mad Fish dive center with two large custom-made dive boats. Sites include the world-famous Manta Reef, Naiqoro and Korolevu passages, and Eagle Rock. Expect to see numerous large manta rays, sharks, and hard and soft corals.
Other activities include fishing, bird watching, surfing, sea kayaking and village visits.
Prices for 3 nights begin at F$1065 per person based on double occupancy. This includes all meals. Matava also has backpacker packages for F$150 per day plus another F$50 for three meals.
I’ve had wonderful reports from readers about Tiliva Resort, a family run operation situated on the north east portion of Kadavu, a A 15 minute boat ride from the wharf if traveling by ferry and a 45 minute boat ride from the airstrip. Located on a white sand beach, Tiliva has six bures and a main bure where meals are held. With high ceilings, the bures are airy and cozy, with queen beds, spacious showers and breezy covered porches offering comfortable chairs.
They have tiled bathrooms with modern fixtures and hot water. There is no air con just ceiling fans. The decor is a clean simplistic look which entails a mix of earthy tones with colorful art pieces that depict the beauty of Fiji through flora and Fauna.
Cuisine was reportedly above par and plentiful with food that ranged from very good to outstanding. There were creative combinations of local and Western fare; the fish dishes (including kokoda, a ceviche-like marinated dish made from lime and coconut milk).
One visitor told me “you could become an addict of their coconut sauces” known locally as lolo. In addition to fish, steak, chicken, and pork chops were also served. In addition to the expected activities—diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, trekking, village visit and bird watching there’s some unusual attractions. These include demonstrations of mat making, how to make coconut oil and, a guided tour with local vuniwai (traditional healer) who utilizes local plants.
There are a host of activities available including diving, snorkeling, kayaking, outrigger canoe tours, waterfall visits, hikes, deep sea fishing, village visits and volunteering opportunities.
Prices are F$280 per night double occupancy for an Oceanview Bure and F$350.00 per night double occupancy for an Oceanside bure. Both styles of bures will accommodate up to 4 guests. Wi-Fi is available.
Matana Beach Resort
Matana Beach Resort with its on-site dive center, Dive Kadavu, is located near Drue village, aapproximately 15 minutes via boat from Vunisea on the Northern coast of Kadavu. (It’s often confused with Matava Resort which is also a dive resort on Kadavu but situated on the Southern side).
This property has been a long-time institution on Kadavu. They suffered a great deal of damage during the April 2018 Cyclone but management told me that at the time of publication they are fully operational in terms of the number of guests they can host. The only change for the foreseeable future is that their dive center capacity will be limited to 12 divers maximum with only one custom-built dive boat plus a small transfer boat instead of the two dive boats, pre-cyclone.
To get to the property, as with all Kadavu accommodations, visitors are transported from the airport by boat to the resort, and you wade to in the water to/from shore. (It’s a good idea to bring a light poncho so that if the water is choppy, you don’t get wet).
The property is set near the beach with eight of the 10 bures situated close to the shore, and two set back. Each unit has its own bathroom (with hot water), ceiling fans, bed-lamps, veranda, fly screening and external rinse shower. You have an option of getting a queen size bed or 2 singles. Two of the rooms have two bedrooms which can accommodate up to four people. The bures at the end (number 9 and 10) are the best if you want to get away from the main area where there is more foot traffic. The rooms are in good shape and are cleaned daily.
The units are spacious and some offer great views of the ocean and sunsets. Food is served in a main dining area. Breakfast is buffet-style, and you are obligated to specify lunch and dinner choices during breakfast from a limited menu, which is posted in the morning.
Ambiance at the resort is very friendly. Meals are often taken with the owners and staff, so you get to know everyone quickly. Most of the resort workers come from the local village and this provides a great opportunity to get to know the local people which could include village visits and attending church services.
In addition to diving, which is of course the main attraction, there’s also kayaking, bird watching, trekking and snorkeling. Rates begin at US$160 for singles or US$125 per person for double occupancy. Prices include airport transfers, 3 meals a day and taxes.
Situated on 200 acres of lush rain forest, Papageno Eco-Resort is fringed by the sea. There are four varieties of ocean-side bures ranging from units that have a queen and king sized bed to the Royal Ocean Bure, which has four bedrooms, full kitchen, living room and outdoor decks. There are also two bures that are surrounded by gardens with a queen sized and a single bed.
Papageno is committed committed to preserving the natural environment and giving back to the host culture. Guiding principles include:
- Reducing aour carbon footrpint and dependence on non-renewable energy via a combination of solar, micro-hydro and a backup diesel generator.
- Treating wastewater through a series of septic tanks and composting organic waste.
- Producing organically grown vegetables and fruits on the premises.
- Investing resources into nature conservation and community development projects to keep the land pristine and to aid nearby villages and schools.
Diving is a big attraction. There are over a dozen dive sites within 10-minute boat ride from the resort. Papageno’s home reef is also a Marine Protected Area is called Rooper Reef. Within it are dive spots including Chambers, Crossroads, Group Tube and the The Pacific Voyager, the only wreck dive on Kadavu which is 30 meters below the ocean’s surface.
Other activities include kayaking, waterfall hikes, snorkeling off the beach, and village visits. Yoga retreats are also held on the property from time to time.
Papageno Eco Resort serves local Fijian dishes with what it calls “a fusion of European cuisine”.
Breakfast includes baked goods, cereal, eggs, homemade jams and organically grown fresh fruit. Lunches include fresh vegetables from the garden, quiche, pasta, pizza, fish cake and frittatas. Three course dinners start with soup, and a main course which can be fresh fish, chicken, beef
two side dishes and home made dessert.
Prices start are FJD$529.00 per night double occupancy. Prices include all meals, Fiji taxes and round trip airport boat transfers from and to Kadvau Island’s Vunisea Airport (for stays of 3 nights or longer). Limited Wi-Fi is available at an additional charge.
If Trip Advisor is any indicator, the resort gets a unanimous thumbs-up. It’s one of the few properties in Fiji I’m aware of that get 5 stars, 97% of respondents give it a combined excellent or very good rating.
Oneta Eco Resort
Oneta is a small family run eco-resort located on Ono Island which is the largest, northern most island in the Yasawa Group
The 50 acre beachfront property has seven thatched-roof bures (aka bungalows) all named after local dive sites. All are configured slightly differently but all have king-sized beds, en suite bathrooms, and a bamboo enclosed outdoor shower. The resort is almost entirely solar powered and their water is sourced from a spring on the hillside above the property.
The Turtle Lair Bure is perched on a ridge, has a private deck with a wonderful view and is the largest unit on the property. It has a large Indonesian style bed with an en-suite bathroom and an outdoor shower enclosed by bamboo.
The beach front bures (Vesi and Shark Alley) each have private decks that look towards the beach, an en-suite bathroom and a bamboo-enclosed outdoor showers.
There are two Garden Bures (Purple Wall and Split Rock), surrounded by vegetation, are a little further back from the beach. They have king-sized beds, en-suite bathrooms and outdoor bamboo-enclosed showers.
The Archway Group Bure serves as a sort of high end dorm with six single beds separated by hanging bamboo mats (to offer a modicum of privacy). It has a large en-suite bathroom and two outdoor bamboo enclosed showers with lots of hot and cold water.
The hub of the resort is the main lodge. It has a bar, games, books, and free WI-FI. This is where meals are served, kava is consumed, and impromptu music is played. Movies are often screened here as well.
The main activities, as one might expect, are ocean-centric. Fishing, and diving in the Astrolabe Reef are phenomenal. Oneta has its own in-house dive operation new top-of-the-line dive gear and our newly outfitted dive boat. They cater to divers of all experience levels. You must be certified to participate.
Their main fishing boat is the Loloa, a 28 foot fully outfitted center console sports fisher with a forward casting platform suitable for 4 to 5 anglers.
Oneta also has kayaks, paddle boards and a Hobie Cat for day trips.
For a more sustained (all-day or overnight) outrigger canoe trips can be arranged Paddlefiji, a local operator. There’s also hikes on the uninhabited island of Vatulutu or a trek to the waterfall.
Prices start at F$300.00 per person for the Archway Bures and top out at F$800 per day (double occupancy) for the Turtle Lair Bure. Rates include all meals and all on-site resort activities including complimentary use of snorkel gear.
Dua Na Cegu
Dua Na Cegu (pronounced end-dua na thengu) is a ½ acre beachfront retreat located in Waisalima Bay on the North-Eastern side of Kadavu Island. It’s dedicated solely to sportfishing and freediving (spearfishing). Dua Na Cegu, which translates as “One Breath”, referring to the single breath freedivers perform on. (It also can mean “take a break” or “take a breath”). This is a brand new property with two bures (so far) and take accommodate up to five people.
The resort is owned and operated by a Hawaii couple, Kainoa and Rachel.
It’s an isolated area with only four Fijian families living in the neighborhood and it’s possible to walk the entire beach of the bay without running to a single person. They have a small garden on-site and are currently growing a variety of vegetables and fruit to subsidize all food consumed at the resort, with the hope that eventually they won’t have to buy vegetables and fruit from outside suppliers all together. Guests are encouraged to walk through the garden and pick and eat fruit and veggies right out of the garden.
Packages are 7-10 days in length, depending on flight availability to/from guests home country/location and range in price from US$3,000.00 to $4,000.00 per person. Package includes transport to/from local airport or ferry/wharf, accommodations, meals and snacks on-site (family style dining, non-alcoholic drinks included), boat fees and fuel costs, and all resort fees.
Guests will have access to fishing grounds extending from the Northern tip of the Astrolabe reef to beyond the Southern tip of Kadavu and include excellent locations for every type of fishing – trolling, jigging, casting, even bottom-fishing. Spearfishermen have miles of reef and coral outcrops to explore, not to mention endless blue water on all sides. The big draws for most fishermen and divers are the Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo, and various Swordfish and Marlin.
The crew is made up of local fishermen and divers who have an immeasurable amount of knowledge of and experience in and on the waters surrrounding Kadavu. The boat, Wailana, is a 30 foot Islander Fiberglass custom custom built in Fiji.
If you’re a fisherperson, this is the ticket.