The complex canvas of sand, rock and coral that makes up Navini Island is surrounded by a beautiful reef. Since 1988, the waters surrounding Navini have been a sanctuary and, as such, they are teeming with sea-life. The original reef agreement was made between the founder of Navini Island Resort, Arthur Reed, and the late Tui Lawa (king) Ratu Filipe. The current Tui Lawa, Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu (Ratu Filipe’s son), recently commented that there had been an increase in the number of fish in the area because Navini’s reef sanctuary provided a safe breeding ground for marine creatures.
Navini Island’s sanctuary plays host to schools of small blue chromis and anemonefish, large bluefin trevally roaming boldly across the reef, and grouper lurking under ledges. There are regular sightings of turtles, lobster, clams, spotted ribbontail rays and reef sharks. Even lionfish and the elusive octopus are seen on occasion, as are eagle rays and hawksbill turtles.
Juvenile hawksbill turtles are spotted around Navini; generally they are found in the deeper water around the slope or further out. During nesting season, adult turtles will come high up on the beach to nest. For further reading on hawksbill turtles, click here
The coral on Navini’s reef sanctuary is best on the north reef slope, as well as in the deeper water. There are large heads of staghorn, brain and fan coral, as well as soft sea anemones. On the reef crest, small heads of coral can be found growing and rejuvenating.
Guests can explore the reef sanctuary at their leisure, right from the beach in front of their bures. Complimentary use of snorkelling equipment is available for guests, as are spyboards and kayaks with viewing windows to see this underwater world.The water is normally clear and excellent for snorkelling, with an average visibility of 20 metres, although it can become murky with swells or unsettled weather. Water temperature remains pleasant throughout the year, averaging between 26°C (79°F) mid-year to 29°C (84°F) during the warmer months from December to February.
There is a complimentary activity on offer each morning for those looking for an outing or cultural experience. The destination changes each day, and is written up on the board in the dining room in time for breakfast.
A favourite activity is the dolphin-spotting boat trip, followed by a snorkel in brilliantly blue water over remote, unspoilt reef. Spinner dolphins often play near the Malolo barrier reef, sometimes swimming in the bow waves of the boat.
Another unforgettable experience is visiting a local village and meeting the dedicated and enthusiastic headmaster of its school. Sometimes the children sing a traditional song for the visitors. See the local church, as well as the chiefly bure where the king of the area – known as the Tui Lawa – may be residing at the time. The villagers set up their souvenir stalls near the beach.
Some days there are visits to other reefs, including areas of large plate coral and gardens of soft corals, but finding the amount of marine life that surrounds Navini is quite a task! Other trips involve handline fishing and trolling, while about once a week there is a trip to another resort for a walk or cocktail by the bar.
Instead of taking the morning boat trip, visitors can stay on Navini for some snorkelling, watersports or relaxation under the thatched umbrellas on the beach. As one regular guest says, why go anywhere after waiting so long to come to Navini?
Some days there may be a cultural activity organised instead of a boat trip, particularly if the sea is unsettled. Guests can take a nature walk to learn about the traditional uses of local plants. They can also make toffee made from freshly grated coconut or learn about local foods with a cooking lesson from one of the island’s staff. Or they can learn how to weave a basket from a coconut frond. These types of baskets are used in the villages to carry vegetables from the plantations. They are often found on the side of the road on the mainland, filled with the root vegetable known as cassava or other produce for sale.
A traditional Fijian feast and entertainment evening is held about once a week. Guests can observe how the food is spread over the hot coals for even cooking in the underground oven, known as the lovo pit, and then enjoy the feast that follows. A traditional kava ceremony follows, before the Navini band plays guitars and sing, and some lively Fijian dancing (taralala) begins. Some nights the Navini band will play traditional Fijian songs around the kava bowl, and every evening the vidi vidi (pronounced vindi, meaning ‘flick’) board is brought out. Guests are welcome to join staff in the dining room for a game or two, but they should be prepared for some ‘Fijian rules’ and a few laughs!
Navini offers a variety of non-motorised water sports for guests to use, all free of charge. The Hobiecat is light and manoeuvrable, and particularly fun when there is a gentle breeze. One of the staff can join guests who would like a more experienced sailor on board.
Stand-up paddleboards and kayaks are great for circumnavigating the island, and the seacycles are a great way to see the island from the water with a companion.
The Mamanuca area has an array of diving venues, including reef, pinnacle, wall, cave, wreck and dive-through. There are two dive operators nearby and both have qualified PADI instructors. Proof of certification is required.
As well as daily scuba-dives, courses are also available. They include:
Catch of the day
There are other fishing options available in addition to Navini’s daily boat trips. Staff members go out trolling to some of the more remote reefs and they are often able to take interested guests along with them. There are rods, reels and a variety of lures available.
Fish caught in the region include bluefin trevally, walu (Spanish mackerel), barracuda, tuna and coral grouper. Handline fishing mainly yields reef fish such as snapper, goatfish, trout, wrasse and bream.
Boat charters can also be arranged for sports fishing.
If you wish to explore the area further or have a particular request, special boat charters and day tours can be arranged. Some ideas are:
Surfing at the world-famous Cloudbreak or other surrounding breaks at the Malolo Barrier Reef. Charter can be arranged through Navini, or with a nearby company that also hires surfboards.
Exploring remote islands in the outer areas of the Mamanuca group. There’s Modriki (or Monuriki), which features in the famous movie Cast Away, or the volcanic islands in the northern parts of the group.
Shopping on the mainland for handicrafts and souvenirs, and see the local market with its abundance of local fruits, vegetables, sweets and colourful spices.
Sightseeing tours on the mainland. Destinations include sugarcane plantations and the sugar mill, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple near Nadi town, and Port Denarau.
Costs vary and are subject to change, so just let us know what you would like to do and we would be happy to arrange a quote for you.