Nukubati, Fiji

Pronounced nook-oom bah-tee, this tiny private island retreat is just under a mile off the coast of Vanua Levu in Fiji’s beautiful, remote and unspoiled north. A true South Pacific gem, with palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters, lushrainforest and rustling coconut palms, Nukubati’s enduring charm lies in the captivating warmth of its staff – all from local villages – who are only too happy to share the time-honoured secrets of their islander way of life. The island is reached via a 40-minute f light from Nadi (on Fiji’s main island) to the northern capital town of Labasa, followed by a onehour drive passing coconut plantations and rice fields to Nukubati’s jetty for the five-minute boat crossing – reaching something this good shouldn’t be easy. The island was once home to a warrior clan, and then later became a coconut plantation. Now it’s one of Fiji’s most acclaimed island hideaways, with a special allure that captivates all those fortunate enough to arrive on its shores.

The food is organic and locally grown, with no set meal times and no dress code for dinner. Discard your watch (and your wallet too – Nukubati is all-inclusive) and settle into Fiji time. A weekly seafood beach barbecue, crab or octopus hunting in season and a sandbank picnic are all part of the Nukubati experience. Most water activities are complimentary except diving and fishing. For Nukubati’s owner, Jenny, who grew up close to the island, protecting the environment is of prime importance. The island produces most of its own electricity and has the largest solar plant in the South Pacific. It uses fresh filtereddiving rainwater and the bures (there are just seven, so you’ll share the island with no more than six other couples) have been designed without the need for air-conditioning – ceiling fans and louvered walls allow in the cooling sea breezes. Choose one of the three honeymoon bures on the beachfront and the champagne and canapés at sunset are a real treat. Lastly, no visit would be complete without experiencing the amazing underwater kaleidoscope of the Great Sea Reef – the third-longest barrier reef in the world. The scuba-diving and snorkelling are world-class.

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