Grip on reality slips away
Just getting to Castaway Island is like sailing into a storybook. Here’s the tiny coral cay called South Sea Island, now Bounty, then Treasure and Beachcomber, all laid out like stepping stones for giants across
Then Castaway appears, a volcanic island rising from the impossibly blue water, and your grasp on the real world begins to slip away. Before your toes even touch the island’s fringing white sand, the magical sound of Fijian staff singing a welcome song wafts up to meet the high-speed Coral Sea Cruises catamaran that has steamed here from the main island of Viti Levu.
Surrender to a dreamlike state comes as you’re shown to your thatch-roofed buré. Some are right down near the lapping water, others just a few metres back but still with ocean views, or further in among the lush green palms. Rinse your sandy feet to a luxurious take on the traditional Fijian home. Native art on the pitched ceilings is the highlight, best appraised by lazing on the comfy king-sized bed. There are two single/day beds, a big shower (with air-conditioning, although it’s far nicer to open the louvres and turn on the ceiling fan if the seabreeze is wafting through.
You can’t lie around in the hammock tied between two palm trees out the front of your buré all day. Okay, you can, but if you do struggle up, there are coral reefs to snorkel over, catamarans to sail and kayaks to paddle. Or get some freshwater action at two swimming pools – one for families, with a poolside cafe, the other for adults, with swim-up bar. Or take the resort’s speedboat trip to nearby uninhabited Monuriki Island, the enchanting location for the Tom Hanks Cast Away, where coconuts still spell out “Help Me” in the sand.
Cocktail hour? The Sundowner Bar has sensational views of the setting orb, plus a top-notch lime daiquiri, or you can sit at the aptly named Water’s Edge Restaurant.
For a special dining experience, book a table at 1808, winner of best restaurant is the sand, its ceiling the stars. At night, tables are carted onto the sand and Australian-trained chef Lance Seeto delivers a spectacular culinary fusion of the have shaped this island nation. Seasoned with fresh sea air and the sensuous feeling of dining with sand between your toes, it’s the stuff of fantasies.