I am handed a two-way radio. “Vomo Picnic to Vomo Island, do you copy?”
We make this call to check communication with the friendly staff who have ferried us the short distance from Vomo Island to Vomo Lailai (or little Vomo as it is affectionately called), an uninhabited tropical islet west of the main island. With the radio handed over, they turn to leave us–completely on our own–to indulge in a decadent private island picnic for two, replete with a seafood feast and champagne.
The approach to the island had been like looking at a heavily retouched travel brochure–the tiny landmass juts out of the ocean and, typical of a beautiful volcanic island landscape, is covered in lush tropical greenery. Its silky white sand beach is set up with a row of sun beds and a single dining table with an umbrella; the water is a breathtaking hue of turquoise, and the sky is an intense blue punctuated by faint stripes of still white clouds. It is hard to believe we are seeing this image with our naked eyes.
As we watch the boat head back to mainland Vomo, the uniqueness of the situation sets in. By definition, this is truly a desert island experience, albeit one with a radio to call for supplies and all of the comforts one could wish for. While we take it all in with a sense of wonder and gratitude, it is hard to avoid jokes about the film Castaway and the occasional call for “Wilson”.
This private island picnic is just one of the many special experiences on offer at Vomo Island, Fiji.
Vomo Island is one of Fiji’s most luxurious resorts with an admirable focus on eco-positive initiatives. It’s privately owned and located in the Mamanuca Island group of Fiji, on the cusp of the Yasawa Islands, known for its pristine beaches, thriving coral reefs, high-end fusion food, and heartfelt hospitality–a Vomo greeting is something everyone should experience (expect Meke song and dance performances by staff with infectious smiles who seem more like family than colleagues.) On the eastern side of the island rises Mt Vomo, providing spectacular 360-degree views to those who wish to take the short hike.
Earlier that day, we awoke in our stylish beachfront villa to a picture-perfect view of the shore dotted with palm trees, and the gentle sound of the sea lapping at the shore, just a stone’s throw away. With a seamless fusion of sophisticated modern comforts and laid-back, island-inspired decor, the standout feature of the villa is the private deck with sun lounges to kick back and take in the beautiful scenery. If you’d like to relax even closer to the water, there are extra large hammocks tied between the palm trees.
Ours is one of the smaller villas, ideal for a couple or couples travelling with young children, but there are several larger private residences with private pools and bathrooms for every bedroom, taking up to between 10 guests for those travelling with families or in larger groups. The accommodations sit in harmony with their surroundings–they are sophisticated yet relaxed and thoughtfully designed by award-winning architects using sustainable practices.
Mealtimes on Vomo are much anticipated. Breakfast is served at The Reef–the main restaurant and poolside bar nestled amid lush tropical gardens. With an open-air design, ocean views and a light sea breeze, it is impossible not to relax in the tropical ambience. The extensive breakfast is displayed in a walk-in cool room with everything from baked bread, delicious pastries, bircher muesli and tropical fruit parfaits to smoked salmon and charcuterie. There is also the option to order à la carte with a selection of local-style dishes mixed with staples such as eggs benedict and avocado toast. Served poolside or beachside, the cuisine for lunch and dinner is inspired by the rich flavours of Fiji and the Pacific Rim. Blending traditional Fijian recipes with contemporary culinary techniques, the dishes are prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. From just-caught fish and lobster, imported beef cuts and pork belly delicacies to vibrant salads and creative vegetarian dishes, there is something to satisfy every appetite on the ever-changing three-course menu.
For an adults-only experience, the chic Rocks Bar, with its awe-inspiring setting for sipping cocktails as the sun sets behind the jagged rocky outline of Little Vomo, has an equally extensive and delicious menu–the scallop sashimi Japanese tacos are to die for. Designed with a combination of rustic and contemporary elements echoing the feeling of island dining, The Rocks also has the vibe of a cool LA rooftop pool bar. Both restaurants offer an impressive wine list featuring an extensive selection of international and regional wines, and for those wanting a more intimate experience, there is the option of private beach dining.
While one could be forgiven for fully submitting to the ultra-relaxed pace spending time flitting between books on sun beds or hammocks, indulging in treatments at the spa (we tried the couple’s massage, to much delight), feasting at mealtimes and sipping cocktails at sunset, there’s a long list of outdoor activities to embrace should you wish. Sporty guests can enjoy a nine-hole round of golf or a friendly match of tennis while yoga lovers can seek tranquility on the oceanfront yoga deck all with stunning island and coastal views. Kayaking is popular for exploring the crystal clear waters and hidden coves.
There is also a small gym for those wanting to keep up their routine. Seeking a thrill, our first water adventure is an attempt at fliteboarding, a relatively new activity which is best described as gliding across the water on an electric-powered hydrofoil. The feeling is comparable to snowboarding, but instead of carving through snow, you soar across the waters of the South Pacific. While it looks like something that might take years to master, it is relatively easy to pick up for beginners, and the experience is exhilarating.
As avid divers and with the promise of pristine coral reefs rated as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, it’s the underwater activities we are most keen to explore. Having snorkelled the circumference of Little Vomo while on the private island picnic and getting a taste of the sublime corals and fish species below, plunging deeper into a dive to explore more, felt like a must. The dive sites cover a variety of interesting ocean scapes–we drift through winding channels and navigate tunnels and caves with beautiful coral overhangs. There is an abundance of sea life–Fiji is famed for its technicolour reefs. Bright blue devil damselfish dart through the coral and if you’re lucky, you might see white-tip sharks or crown-of-thorns starfish. As with all of the activities on Vomo island, instructors are available to help beginners enjoy the island to its fullest. PADI courses are offered for those who want to learn scuba, but snorkelling is equally popular. What makes Vomo particularly unique, though, is that beyond offering water sports for entertainment, there is a genuine commitment to conservation efforts to preserve the fragile ecosystem.
The resort employs Marine biologist Laisenia ‘Lai’ Rokoua to ensure that the resort’s efforts are optimally effective. In addition to providing specialist advice, Laisenia works to incorporate many of Vomo’s sustainability initiatives into the guest experience with “edu-vacation excursions”. These trips feature coral planting, coastal clean-ups and species identification for guests who really want to understand and contribute to the beauty around them. Lai also contributes to the Kids’ Club to give curious minds the opportunity to partake in adventures such as building stone houses to shelter smaller fish from predators.
Outside of the guest experience, Vomo has embarked on a conservation effort for the endangered Hawksbill Turtles. Baby turtles wash up on shore during storms, left injured and with little chance of survival. We see these delicate creatures resting in tubs while the Vomo staff are busy working on purpose-built ponds to care for them until they are strong enough to be returned to sea. It truly speaks to the heart and ethics of the management and staff. A feel-good element not typically associated with a decadent tropical holiday. “We are native Fijians and hold a very deep connection to the environment,” says Laisena Rokoua, marine biologist at Vomo Island Fiji. “We believe everything has a spirit, from the land in which we live to the ocean that surrounds us. If we can look after our environment, then it, in turn, will look after us. This circle of life that connects us all is the basis for all that we do at Vomo, and it is my honour to share our beliefs and practices with the guests who visit us each year so they too, may pass it along to future generations of sustainably minded global citizens.”
Vomo island is the perfect destination for couples wanting a romantic getaway or families who want a kid-friendly break, especially with the exceptional services of the kids’ club (open from 9am to 9pm with the option of booking nannies later). My sister-in-law, a frequent visitor to Vomo, tells me it’s the only kids’ club her kids actually beg to visit. Read Article HERE.
“What makes Vomo particularly unique, though, is that beyond offering water sports for entertainment, there is a genuine commitment to conservation efforts to preserve the fragile ecosystem. The resort employs Marine biologist Laisenia ‘Lai’ Rokoua to ensure that the resort’s efforts are optimally effective. In addition to providing specialist advice, Laisenia works to incorporate many of Vomo’s sustainability initiatives into the guest experience with “edu-vacation excursions”.