Tag Archives: hike

Exploring Mana Island

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.

Beach Walk

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.

Mo’orea Hike to Point Taraieie

After 32 days of confinement we were finally free!  We were allowed to explore, hike, and ride bikes around Mo’orea.  It has been months since Matt and I had exercised our legs on a good hike.  On our first day of freedom, we set out on 6.7 mile hike straight up 85 stories (almost 1,000’).  Our goal is to get to the ridge at Taraieie.

It started out easy enough along a paved road, then behind one of the two local markets.  The paved road turned to a nicely manicured dirt road sandwiched between beautiful private gardens. 

About 2 miles into our journey it started to rain.  Not a torrential rain shower, but it was enough to force us into hiding for 30 minutes.  Now our beautiful trail turned muddy and very slippery over the fallen leaves and tree roots. Gots to be careful in our flip flops (yes, stupid I know).

Matt has always been stronger when it comes to a hike.  He is literally like a goat climbing a hill.  He spent most of the hike looking for me and waiting. 

Along the way we found lots of fruit trees.  The soursop fruit which is really lovely (sort of like a berry and apple flavor) grows right out of the tree branch which sure looks funny to me.

Many beautiful flowers bloomed in the shade of the tall trees.  These particular bird of paradise flowers had a beautiful iridescent glow to them when the sun spotlighted them.

We made it to the top with relatively no drama.  It was a beautiful view of Vaiare Bay.

The way down was a bit of a challenge for me.  I kept slipping out of my flips, crashed on my arse a few times, and felt the aches and pains of someone who has not being hiking in a while.  But a hike is a hike as long as you complete it – and complete it I did!

It was a great day to be out moving. But I will admit I was pretty tired by the time we got home.

We get down and dirty cleaning and repairing the boat in our last blog.  Coming up next, we rent eBikes to circumnavigate around the entire island of Mo’orea.

Events from this blog post occurred during the third week of August, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Mo’orea Opunohu Valley Hike

It was time to get up and get moving.  We decide to hike through Opunohu Valley to see the pineapple plantations and amazing views.  Matt researches our trail and we decide to do a 5.1 mile hike.  We were not 100% certain where we could safely leave the dinghy, so we leave it at a place we know is secure.  We start walking along the 2 lane road.  About 1 mile into our walk, I ask Matt how far to the start of our hike.  He says, “uh, it is another 1.5 miles to the entrance.”  Ok, so 2.5 miles to get to the 5.1 mile hike and then 2.5 miles back?  Oh dear….

The view at the start of the hiking trails is gorgeous.  

Opunohu Valley

Opunohu Valley

There are dozens of trails through the Opunohu Valley. Our trail follows the black line (top photo) and then catches the red line on the way back.  At least that is the “plan.”

Opunohu Valley Trails

Opunohu Valley Trails

If you look really hard you can see the face at the top of the mountain.  Focus on the hole at the top

The trails were marked, but they were rather confusing.  Can you make out the trail this is pointing to?  Keep in mind that there are dozens of trails and this does not indicate which one is to the right.  Our trail takes us across a few rivers.  You can usually cross over rocks, but the boys decided to cross over a fallen tree.

There were several very old and very large banyan trees.  We found one tree with the strangest looping branch.

Pineapple Fields Forever…

We passed through several fields of pineapples. 

Pineapple Fields

Pineapple Fields

It was super fun to see the different stages of pineapple growth

This picture just spoke to us – take me, shoot me, capture me, remember me.

A photo at the start and end of our hike. Not much worse off.

Proof of our crazy death march:

In our next blog we visit a sea turtle sanctuary, Te Mana O’ Te Moana.  Did you forget to read our last blog where we visited a black sand beach at Point Venus

Events from this blog post occurred during the first week of August, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.