Sheraton Tokoriki – Mamanuca Islands

With J having 4 days off over Easter, we decided last minute to go away and have a proper break, our first one together in just under a year.

Good Friday we dropped Nero off with some friends and his two puppy girlfriends and hit the road for Nadi. I was unbelievably excited about this part purely because we were in his car that has air-conditioning and decent suspension! It’s the small things that make all the difference I’ve discovered. We weren’t sure if the road was going to be chockers or empty, turns out it was pretty quiet, everyone must have been in church when we left.

We were making really good time when we reached Sigatoka so we decided to do some exploring down beside the river past the wind farm.

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Wind farm
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Fijian farming – ploughing the fields with a horse
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Who doesn’t love a road with trees framing the the edges

We only ventured for about an hour in total before continuing back up Queens Road towards Nadi.

One of the advantages of staying at the Sheraton Tokoriki was that we could check-in and drop the car off at the Sheraton Fiji in Denerau and then caught the complimentary bus transfer to the marina and caught the boat out to the island.

For anyone travelling out to the islands in the Mamanuca Islands (and I’m assuming the Yasawas would do the same thing as well) when you take a boat transfer don’t expect a jetty at the island. Generally what happens is the resort will take their small tinny-ish boat out to meet the catamaran and you’ll literally jump from one boat to the other. Your big suitcases (if you take them) will get thrown into another tinny-ish boat.

We had debated booking the fancier rooms that have a plunge pool and direct beach access but instead we chose that was just an ocean view room. We did note that they stretched it a little bit to call it ocean view as you got a sliver of a glimpse if you stretched to look past the villa directly in front. Another point to note is that in the one villa there were five separate rooms and the villa was built on a timber platform so you could hear the neighbours trudging around day and night. Despite those things our room was lovely! Much nicer than the ones we stayed in at the Shangri-La, but that could also be because they’ve refurbished post TC Winston last year and the Shangri-La was yet to renovate the rooms we stayed in.

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Once we’d settled into our room we took a walk along the beach to see how far it went, answer not very far at all, but enjoyed wandering around and trying to master slow exposure water shots.

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The following day the weather was spectacularly good, much to our surprise, as it was forecast to be overcast and wet the whole time we were there. We had our buffet breakfast overlooking the water before doing a spot of shopping. One thing that has been particularly difficult to find in Suva is hats. Thankfully at the little Tappoo store they had at the resort it had bucket hats that fit J and a straw hat for me, sun safety for the win!

We spent the morning walking around the resort, for some reason I had expected it to be a lot bigger than it actually was. It took a maximum of 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other (including the steep hike up to the helipad). We lounged around the pool for a bit before heading off for our jetski tour.

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Sheraton Tokoriki from the helipad
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Peering around the corner to Tokoriki Island Resort

We thought we’d be jetskiing around Tokoriki Island but it turned out to actually be around the island opposite (Yanuya). After some mild freakouts and adjusting to driving a jetski because J kept thinking he was riding a motorbike (potentially a symptom of withdrawals having not ridden in nearly a year) we had a great time, just a pity it was so short, $245 for 20 minutes (it was actually supposed to be 30 minutes from memory).

We had a quite afternoon keeping cool and watched the sunset from the pool deck before having a lovely dinner, even if it filled us to bursting point.

Later that evening we ventured out in the dark to get some night shots of the resort and the stars. It’s definitely a big learning curve for us in both the shooting and editing stages but it’s fun to play around and get different pictures to everyone else.

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Day 3 was a very relaxed day, we started the day with a swim in the ocean followed by a buffet breakfast. We got in early to snag good lounges at the pool and read in the shade before jumping in for a freezing cold swim. Around lunch time when the water seemed calmest we headed out for a snorkel off the beach. It wan’t the best coral (it’s proving very difficult to find a similar quality to what we had with the Namena trip) but that’s most likely because we didn’t pay to do a boat trip out to the ‘good’ spots as it was hugely expensive.

We had a late lunch at the Flying Fish followed by more relaxing in the air-conditioned room throughout the afternoon. We headed up to the helipad around 3pm to try and get some nice shots of the resort and the view of the surrounding islands as the sun moved further to the west. Afterwards we tackled the 9 hole mini-golf course. It’s quite a quaint idea and great for little children the only problem was it didn’t fill up much time.

While we were eating dinner a group of school children from the island opposite came and sang a few songs outside each restaurant as entertainment for the guests. I really hope that as part of this arrangement the village they come from gets assistance with improving the education and health requirements of the children.

The next morning after breakfast we packed up and headed to the reception area around 9am to make sure we had plenty of time before the boat arrived. We had no hassles checking out and were even gifted a list of Fijian phrases by Mawi one of the workers. We jumped on the little boat to head out to the big boat and after a couple of false starts with people not disembarking at the correct islands we were on our way back to Viti Levu.

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Moce Tokoriki

We got back to the Sheraton Fiji and the car with no issues, and drove back to Suva getting home around 5pm.

Our biggest accomplishment of the weekend was we turned ourselves off from technology completely we turned the phones off and didn’t connect to the hotel Wi-Fi. This, I think, was the real break we needed to just be present in the experience rather staring down at our phones and two-screening life.

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Sotatale Mamanuca

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