Fiji was the THIRD COUNTRY on our almost 2 months long trip around SOUTH PACIFIC. One mom and one 6 year old. After visiting friends and family in SINGAPORE and RAROTONGA, Cook islands, we were truly on our own in Fiji. After a couple of days in busy NADI, we sailed over to the YASAWA ISLANDS and chose DRAWAQA island as our first stop. The big YASAWA FLYER boat brought us to MATACAWALEVU afterwards.
Places: Matacawalevu, Nanuya Lailai (Yasawa islands, Fiji)
How: Yasawa Flyer boat, litlle boats, on foot
Stayed in: bure tent, Waitui Base Camp
WE VISITED MATACAWALEVU ISLAND WHEN LU WAS 6 YEARS OLD. MORE ABOUT FIJI WITH KIDS IS COMING UP SOON ON THE BLOG.
MATACAWALEVU ISLAND is situated pretty much in the middle of the Yasawa islands chain and even though the pictures online were not promising us a perfect sandy beach, something was telling us we should visit it. Maybe it was the affordable price of the ECO RESORT called WAITUI BASE CAMP where we paid around 50€ per night, including food. That seemed to be quite a good deal for this part of Fiji.
The first VIEWS on this PEACEFUL BAY were positive. We found ourselves in the middle of pristine NATURE, everything so green and nobody around except our little cosy resort and a few LOCAL FISHERMEN. Lu did say that he is not swimming in this brown water though. But thats ok. We will find other things to do. We had 4 DAYS here and even if at first it looked like here is nothing to do, time just flew by and we had a great fun time here.
Our accommodation. A TENT. A huuuge tent. Much larger than the one we have at home. In this one, we could easily stand up and change our clothes. We just had to take care to keep the entrance closed because of mosquito and other little animals. Also, very important here – A HEAD LAMP. Essential. We fell asleep at the sounds of FROGS and woke up with a view on the GREEN JUNGLE surrounding us.
BATHROOM. It got all it needs. OPEN AIR SHOWER, I just love those. A sink and a toilet. Okay the mirror was a bit broken but hey, who cares how we look like in the middle of a jungle anyway.
During our short MORNING WALK to the “reception” and the terrace where our BREAKFAST was served, my heart was singing. Everything so lush and green, birds singing, the wind whistling through the palm trees. Magic. Ok ok there were also some spiders. But we ignored them. I was beginning to really like this place more and more. Even Lu stopped complaining about there being no nice beach. It was kind of refreshing to be in a wild place like this.
Lu made FRIENDS with the owners kids and one they we followed one boy through the FORESTS and WILD FIELDS over to the other side of the bay. Wet feet. Scratched arms. No path. No people. No mobile phone signal. Actually I did not have mobile phone signal anywhere on the islands. At the end we were rewarded with a GREAT VIEW over the island and a stop at the ORGANIC FARM.
The guys who worked at the resort offered to drive us to a NEIGHBOURING ISLAND called NANUYA LAILAI. They said there is a nice beach. Lu was cheering for it. So we went. Together with a Dutch – American couple, we packed a towel, underwater masks and money for lunch and drinks.
After hours of SNORKELLING and RESTING ON THE BEACH we walked to the RESORT on the other end of the beach. After along time I splurged on a huge COCKTAIL. I have to admit, civilisation is a good thing sometimes but we were all happy to go back to our “wild” place at the end of the day.
The child was defeated by the heat, hours of swimming and in the end the rocking of our boat. Sleeping on the wooden floor seemed to be comfortable enough for him. Well, he did have lots of energy for a long evening later on that night. And it was our GOODBYE DINNER, before we took of to another island the next day.
Back at OUR BAY, where we otherwise every day made a little stroll around the MANGROVES, we rested in the comfy HAMMOCKS for a while, to regain some energy for the evening.
Tonight´s dinner was a bit more special. Every now and then they make a bigger dinner at the resort and tonight was the night. We helped PICK THE CLAMS from the bay. We also caught an OCTOPUS. And a couple of CRABS. We observed the cooking part from the kitchen door and Lu was helping to decorate the plates.
All the VEGETABLES were wrapped and put UNDERGROUND for a longer period of time, to cook. I love such smaller resorts and guest houses where you are included in everyday chores. This felt a bit like a big family get together at grandma´s.
Ta-daaa, here is the result. Not bad hm? Diner was always served at ONE BIG COMMON TABLE so all the guests could easily interact with each other. Lu was the only child and some of them kind of adopted him. Lucky me, I really had some free time. I could even read a book. In a hammock. What a luxury.
AFTER DINNER we drank KAVA tonight. Kava is a very TRADITIONAL DRINK, made out of ROOTS. You drink it in a circle and have to follow many RULES, the easiest of them being having to say BULA all the time. I was a bit sceptical at first, because I read that there can be SIDE EFFECTS. But then I thought, will there be another time where I will be in Fiji? Who knows, so let´s just go for it right now. This is nothing for the kids of course. After a couple of big sips my TOUNGE WENT NUMB. But that was about it. I felt totally relaxed and had a good night sleep. So the whole experience was nothing bad.
NEXT MORNING we cleared our tent and said GOODBYE with the sounds of nice live music (the owners of the resorts usually always play farewell songs at the beach when guests leave) drove to the big YASAWA FLYER BOAT that was already waiting in the middle of the bay. One last look at this PEACEFUL BAY and we were on our way to the next island.
THIS ISLAND WAS SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT compared to the other islands we visited in Fiji. And I mean that in a positive way. Sure there were no picture perfect white sandy beaches, but we´ve had our share of those throughout our longer trip in the South Pacific. So this felt like a nice change and we truly had a great intimate experience. The “mommy I´m bored sentence” did come out of Lu´s mouth though but after telling him to better get used to that in life, he always found something to do and kept himself busy. If we had limited amount of time on Fiji and only had time to visit one island, it would have probably not been this one. But in our case this was perfect and I recommend it to everyone who wants to have a true experience of how people live. Or lived. And of course, at a very slow pace. We were off to the last island in the YASWAS, the beautiful KUATA ISLAND in the south.
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