A story is told of a young handsome chieftain from Vanau Levu who fell in love with a beautiful young native from the other island of Viti Levu. These are two of the largest islands in Fiji, and so their love affair was known throughout the islands. Although the townspeople were happy for the young couple, the town elders opposed their relationship. The elders were more concerned of the young chieftain’s reputation as the island’s leader than his love affair. Not wanting to give up their love for each other, the young lovers escaped to an island between their two large islands and it was there where they fulfilled their dream of being together. They called it their “dreamland of the west”, or in their local language, “Nananu-i-Ra”, which now is the Nananu-i-Ra Island.
The country of Fiji in South West Pacific is blessed with so many beautiful land formations, white-sand beaches, hidden caves, and wide colorful reef areas. The country is made up of 322 islands and only 110 are inhabited. A number of uninhabited islands often receive hundreds of visitors for their virgin forests and uncongested beaches.
As mentioned in the folk love story, Nananu-i-Ra is found between Viti Levu, the most important island where the capital city is located, and Vanau Levu, the second largest island with tiny surrounding islets. The trip on an open boat from the Ellington Wharf on Viti Levu to Nananu-i-Ra is a short but breathtakingly scenic 10-minute ride. Tourists normally are dumbfounded as the boat docks on Nananu-i-Ra’s white-sand beach and can usually only think of one word, “Paradise.”
Once in the island, it is best to explore the place on foot since there are no real roads. Hikers enjoy the path along the beach leading to the “neck” of the island all the way to Lomanisue Beach, undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the world. At this side of the island, one gets a beautiful view of the ocean, as well as the beaches of nearby Viti Levu. The odd-shaped Nananu-i-Ra has many curves and almost on each curve is a white-sand beach. A tourist could literally walk from a beach facing the sunrise to one facing the sunset in just a matter of minutes. The sunrises and sunsets are to die for.
There are tiny boats plying the surrounding waters if visitors want to go around the island. The waters are calm and clear, especially on the south side of the island, and people remark that it is as though the ocean were merely a gigantic aquarium. There is a number of resorts to choose from, including budget accommodation lodgings and backpacker rooms. The island is also known for its world-class dive sites and living coral reefs.
Finally, expert and beginning divers as well as the simply curious should dive in Nananu-i-Ra Island. The place is popular for its night diving, deep diving, wreck diving, and drift diving. Many of the best underwater photographs were taken in Nananu-i-Ra’s waters. The surrounding coral reef just off shore is also excellent for snorkeling. Other activities available are windsurfing, kite surfing, kite boarding, sailing, game fishing, and sport fishing.