Sand-sational: Traveller writers divulge their favourite beaches

Sunset over Vomo Island, Fiji Photo: Getty Images.
Happy New Year, everyone!  The sun is hot, the beach is calling. While I've been unashamedly Instagramming sunsets from the beaches of my childhood, on the Mornington Peninsula (click here for a peek), I recently contributed my Pacific finds to a hitlist of the best strips of sand, from city-slick to rustic romance.

Vomo Island, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji 
WHY I LOVE IT Maybe it's the memory of skimming the waves on a little Hobie Cat or maybe it's the "Say it, it will happen" attitude of the private island resort, but the beach on Vomo Island holds a special place in my heart. Most of Fiji's best beaches are found in the Mamanuca Islands and further north, in the Yasawa Islands group, north-west of Nadi. After all, this is where The Blue Lagoon, the movie that started it all, was filmed in 1980. Roll out of your beachside bure and it's hello, tranquil turquoise water! And prepare for your heart to melt when you see Vomo's baby-turtle breeding program.
WHAT TO DO Be sun smart and pack a rash vest. The snorkelling is excellent, but no-one likes burnt backs and calves. And don't spend all day in the water or in your hammock. The sundowners at Vomo's Rocks Sunset Bar are a must. The dry season is from May to October, and the rainy season from November to April.  
DON'T MISS If tiny Vomo still isn't private enough for you (it has just 30 bures and villas), get schmoozy on uninhabited Vomo Lailai (or Little Vomo), a few minutes away. Here's the recipe for a perfect day: a picnic hamper, bottle of something that sparkles and favourite person. First in gets exclusive use of the island.
NEED TO KNOW Vomo Island is about 90 minutes with South Sea Cruises from Denarau Marina, or go the luxe option, with a 15-minute flight by helicopter. Bures cost from about $1136 a night, full board.


TAPUAETAI (ONE FOOT ISLAND), AITUTAKI, COOK ISLANDS It's uninhabited, yet one of the most touristy beaches in the Cook Islands, so you may see another boat, and the (unstaffed) post office, which sends your postcards off with a foot stamped on them.
CHAMPAGNE BEACH, VANUATU It doesn't get all that attention by being ugly. White sands, swaying palms and turquoise waters make it a living postcard. Nearby Lonnoc Beach provides more of the same with fewer people.
LONG BEACH, KADAVU ISLAND, FIJI Sensibly named, this beach is on Fiji's fourth-largest and little explored island. The big lure is the Great Astrolabe Reef, with its spectacular drop-offs, but snorkelling straight off the beach is no hardship either.
MAROVO LAGOON, NEW GEORGIA ISLANDS, SOLOMON ISLANDS This one is on my 2015 hit list, because it's the longest saltwater lagoon on the planet, it's heritage listed, it's fringed by ancient volcanos and the rainforest stops where the sand begins.
MONU ISLAND AND MONURIKI ISLAND, FIJI They are highlights of the Mamanuca Islands. Deserted, sandy beaches lead down to wildly colourful coral gardens and marine life, offering sensational snorkelling. Trivia hit: Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, was filmed on Monuriki.

This feature was published in Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper. Click here to read the full story.


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