While waiting for our mail sail t be repaired, we decide to head to Mana Island, a small island about 10nm to the west of the mainland of Viti Levu. We stopped by this little island while my sister, Kimberly and her family were visiting, but we wanted to come back to explore some more.
Mana Island has a small airport and is home to the 2nd oldest resort in the Mamanucas, Mana Island Resort. This resort is owned by the Chinese who built a rather ugly fence down the middle of the island to separate its leased property from the backpacker resorts.
Mana is also where Survivor: Game Changers was filmed and we were determined to find its location. So, it seems an exploratory hike is in order.
Hiking Around Mana Island
The Plan: find the Survivor set (which is on Maps.me), the bunker, and the cross. It shouldn’t be too hard, just a little adventuring. We should have brought the garmin to determine how far we truly walked and to show you the entire path, but we forgot it. I did not think to turn on my maps.me app until we were half way through our hike, so I will walk you through our path.
Sugar Shack is at the blue arrow. We take the dinghy to the beach (left side of island, below “South Beach.” We walk along the beautiful beach during low tide which gives us access around the entire bottom tip of the island (the yellow on the map indicates the beach area and the green is hillside).
Once on the windward side (right side of island), we head up hill (start of the light blue dots) and make our way to through a very exclusive, 5-star resort, called Tadrai Dream Resort. Oops, we weren’t supposed to be here. However, the staff let us wander through the back of the small 5 villa resort to the top of the hill where the cross is located. From here we walk the ridge to the bunker, then down to what is supposed to be the Survivor set. Through the 4-star Mana Resort and back to the beach where we started.
The start of our walk was super pretty along several long sandy beaches. The hillsides are dry as we are on the dry side of Fiji, but the beaches are beautiful with untouched sands.
Once we round the tip of Mana Island, we encounter beautiful purple rocks scattered around the beach. I just love the beautiful art nature created on these rocks.
We reach the end of the beach where a giant cliff prevents us from continuing on (top left picture) so we turn left up the hill. We get to a small road. To the left is heli-pad (lower right corner) and to the right is the very exclusive, 5-star resort Tadrai Dream. We did not know it was a 5-star resort until we got back to the village. But it sure did look pretty with a negative edge pool and its 5 villas (yep, only 5 villas).
The trail is a combination of a dirt path and tree limbs lined up to make stairs.
The top of the hill rewarded us with beautiful views. I did not take any photos of the cross as it was less than pretty. Sugar Shack is the white dot in the dark blue water to the right.
We can see on either side of the island: the anchorage and the windward side.
Bunker and Survivor Set
We continue on to the bunker which is just along the ridge line. It appears there was a controlled burn here and a very old antenna. Can you see the bunker in the top photo (see the burn area and then a white box)?
As we continue along the path we head back down hill to the “Survivor” camp which is what Mana is famous for. However, we circle, and circle, and circle and come up with the big donut hole. However, we did find a large rectangle field that was cut out from the shrubbery. Perhaps the “challenges” were held here. But the actual spot where it says “Fiji Survivor Set” is nothing but leaves on the ground.
Well that was a bit disappointing – not sure what we expected to find, but nothing was not it. Not even an immunity charm!
We continued on and ended up at the Mana Resort (another “exclusive” place) and we just walked right in all smelly and dirty from our hike. They did not seem to mind and let us continue on.
We ended the walk at the village where we saw the most fruitful papaya tree – it had 7 growing branches!
Overall a great exploration of Mana Island. We managed to walk around half the island which is about 4.2 miles.
The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022. Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events. Our main sail explodes in our last blog, Tired and Work Out.