Breakfast again. No tables free inside so we ate outside on the deck again. A few mangy looking cats on the deck this morning and the usual 40 minute wait for a cup of tea, but not too bad. After brekkie relaxed by the pool for a bit then remembered that I had organised a massage down in the village. Never having explored the village past the first backpackers I had no idea. I had asked one of the resort staff to sort it out for me. He said to meet him down there at 1.00pm. Went down said who we were looking for and that he had organised a massage for us. A lovely lady at the hairbraiding stall right near the backpackers bar said she would take us. So we went through the village, past the church /school, the second back packers to the middle of a shanty village. Then introduced us to a massage lady who set up a table on the deck over the beach. As there was three of us we said we would go to the backpackers to eat whilst the first person got their massage. At this point we figured something was up when she said “don’t tell anyone you are here for a massage, just say you are looking”.... Well as we walked back to the backpackers straight along the beach instead of the crazy way she had taken us, we walked past 3 other places that had signs offering massages and a group of 6-6 trestle tables selling jewellery, shells and souvineers. No sooner had we sat down at the back packers than the waiter from the resort turns up and starts gesturing to us from outside... He was all set to take us to see his friend Dorothy who he had booked us in for a massage with!! Of course not the place the first lady had taken us. So we went back and told our friend where we would be and went to get the massage from the person we had booked!! $30 for half and hour or $50 for an hour. Nothing flash, but a proper massager table with a little tent over it. Dorothy was strong and did a good job. Went and had lunch at the backpackers after. I had the curry $15, hubby had garlic prawns $18 and a friend had mudcrab $40. These were all pretty good. Other friends has the hamburger and the sausages $15 each and these seemed to be microwave reheated jobs. I went back to the resort to rest and hubby and the boys say around talking about going fishing. Eventually they decided it was too windy and went to the village and sat around drinking “real kava” with the locals until 8.30pm that night!! Around this time I texted hubby saying he needed to get his butt back to the resort as they were taking last orders at the south beach restaurant. Despite the restaurant being mainly empty and the kitchen still cooking entrees and mains for other tables they seemed very put out about us turning up without a reservation. We got a s tern talking to, but where then taken to a table and they were all friendly again. I had the nasi goreng $16 and hubby had the pasta $22. Neither were brilliant, but both were fine. Another early night for me.
Day 4 – up early again and headed down to brekkie. Took my pool stuff with me so I could try and get a pool lounger under cover. All the undercover ones were full (not with people actually laying on them, just people that had left towels and stuff on them to “bag” them). By the main pool only 8 of the lounges are under the shade hut, the other 18 are all out in the sun. After a couple of hours I finally got an undercover lounge and settled in for the day. Chilled out and read my book. Sent hubby to get me an ice cream from the resort store($2) and had a little snooze. In the early arvo went down to the village to buy some gifts for the neighbours that look after our pets when we are away. All the necklaces were around $10 and the bracelets and smaller stuff $5. We didn’t haggle, not sure if you could, but got a few trinkets... Hair braiding at the village seems to be $2-$3 per braid, whereas at the resort it was $7-$8, so if you are wanting braids probably best to walk along the beach path in the village. Went to backpackers for lunch, but they said the generator was being fixed and they had no power... so ended up at south beach restaurant again. Not too many choices on the lunch menu, but burgers and simple stuff $15-$20. After lunch went and lay around in a hammock at south beach which was lovely. Never did get around to doing any of the activities, but the kids in kids club looked like they had fun, and out friends kids were always happy to go. For final night dinner we booked South beach for 8.00pm. We sat in the bar until 8.45pm... there seemed to be lots of empty tables, but for some reason they couldn’t seat us til then. Anyhow I had the Tuna ($34), Hubby had the curry ($30) and our friends had cutlets and the Mana fish special. None of the meals were great, but all were fine. Service was not as slow as other nights, so that was good. After tea we went down and sat by the pool side bar with our friends for a while, then headed in for the night.
Last day and we overslept!!! Been awake at 7am every other day and slept til 9.45am!! Bags were meant to be outside for porters at 9am and checkout at 10am!! Oops. I told hubby to sort it, I was going to breakfast! I went and ate whilst hubby stumbled around trying to wake up. Reception wasn’t answering the phone, so he went and asked reception about late check out. They were fine with 11am, so just time for brekkie and then shove everything in the bag. They said to just leave bags outside the room and the porters would come look for it before the 1.30pm boat, but being a bit more security conscious we took the bags up to reception. They then transfer them down the dock for you. We were told to be waiting at the “waiting bure” at 1.00pm for the boat. Boat showed up about 2.15pm, so must be on Fiji time. The resort staff had asked everyone to identify their luggage whilst we waited so everything was loaded straight on. They asked everyone to wash their shoes and feet before we got on the boat.. I had leather birkinstocks and hubby had runners, but eventually they got the hint that these were not being washed in the bucket!! Boat was not crowded, plenty of room in the aircond downstairs again. Got to Denaru, pick up the bags and grabbed a cab to the airport. I know there is a free bus, but just couldn’t be bothered with it $30. Checked in at airport and went through security . I have an medical device implanted and can’t go through xray, but they had no problem with doing a pat down instead. Still strict with the liquids with the ziplock bags here, but pretty friendly. Browsed the duty free, got a bottle of American Honey Whisky and 4 small bottles of Fiji Vanilla esscence for $100. All the prices are marked, but they will reduce them as soon as you ask. Think the sticker prices would have been $122.
Didn’t realise such a poor selection of food once you go through security. A bakery or a little fast food place. $19 for a curry or fish and chips, but 30 minute wait, as they get in brought in from elsewhere. Wasn’t too bad. Plan was called to board about 30 minutes prior to take off. Here the carry on gets another search for liquids, then they give you any duty free you had purchased airside once you got to the gate. Plane took off on time or a fraction early and home we went. On landing in Melbourne there was a delay in getting off the plane as they said quarantine had to board plane to inspect an ill passenger, but that only took 5 minutes. No lines at immigration, bags were waiting for us and straight through. Home sweet home. So would I recommend Mana Island??
If you like water sports like snorkling, fishing, scuba, kayaking etc this place is lovely. If you had young kids that like kids club stuff the staff seemed amazing with the kids. If you like secluded beaches then this is a great spot.
Would l go to Mana again? Probably not. Food wasn’t great (no where near as bad as I thought it would be reading the reviews on here) at the restaurant and I didn’t risk lunch or dinner at the buffet. Drinks are expensive at the resort compared to other places, but not really compared to Australian bar prices ($15 fiji for a crown larger is about $8 AUD). Service is friendly and always with a smile, but definitely need to be patient and enjoy Fiji time. So not for me, but maybe perfect for lots of people.