Nearly everyone I know, diver or not, has explored Fiji and her islands at some point , possibly as part of a family vacation with smaller children. I’m no exception to this average but I recently had the chance to rediscover Fiji, a little older a little more well-travelled and I must admit this time unencumbered by children. The experience of rediscovering Fiji was one that I hadn’t anticipated would be anything spectacular, but I was surprised by my stay at the magnificent Qamea Beach Resort.
Qamea is located in the far-flung corner of Fiji called Taveuni, located on the north western side it can be accessed via a domestic flight direct form Nadi or via Suva. I travelled both options and found the route via Suva do-able but not necessarily preferred as it pans out as full day of travel. Irrespective of the route the flight up and across to Taveuni is breathtaking – a pristine expanse of water sings to you from your Fokker aircraft window – every hue of blue imaginable calls you in.
On arrival there is a 20 minute road transfer and a 7 min speed boat transfer to the island. It’s a get your feet wet, be greeted with a lei and a tropical drink style greeting – what more could you ask for! Now plenty of resorts, in my experience, can offer a drink on arrival and a warm greeting, but it’s the following days and moments that define the truly exceptional destinations and resorts.
So how was Qamea?
Want to feel at home; then this is your resort – capped at a maximum of 34 guests, Qamea offers a chance to feel like you really are on your own island. There is a quiet tranquility to the resort with accommodations (all freestanding) discreetly spaced and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The sense of privacy was complete without feeling orchestrated and the bure fit out was nicely tropical without overkill.
The Garden bure (slightly set just back from the ocean) has a large open plan bed and sofa area, ensuite bathroom with double sink, separate toilet and large outdoor shower area. The bure front affords a nice view of the ocean from a deck verandah and has a hammock, day bed or lounge chairs.
Honeymoon bures are just a touch bigger with an ocean facing bed large separated bathroom with plunge spa, outdoor shower and separate toilet. The deck area is larger and has a hammock small chair and table and a large day bed with curtains at the sides close-able for privacy.
Vila 1 & 2 – these are the smaller villa’s but are by no stretch small. They boast large open plan living spaces, including a King size bed on a raised area, spacious lounge sitting area and outdoor deck area with outdoor heated spa and day bed. The villas face the ocean in all its glory and can be triple shared with a single bed off to the side of the lounge area.
The Family Villa is previously the owners on-island home, and in that respect feels more like a holiday house that a tropical bure. It has two bedrooms with two bathrooms (Ensuite off Master) and a large outdoor shower. A full lounge space with dining room table area outdoor sitting area, heated Spa and it own swimming pool. The pool area is surrounded by deck and has some super comfy banana lounges to enjoy.
The Villas have Television and a few in-room board games to keep the busy ones entertained. The fit out of all room types is freshly updated and just a touch luxurious.
The stay and the Food :
There’s something to be said for a resort where every single staff member remembers and greets you by name, at breakfast lunch and dinner. The service and warmth of the staff are above and beyond at Qamea who proudly support local communities through employment. You are given an opportunity to peruse the menu for lunch and dinner at breakfast and make your selection so you can have one less thing to think about during the day. Staff knowledge of the menu is extensive, and they are happy to accommodate dietary requirements without fuss. In fact I foolishly mentioned my preference (not allergy) for gluten free one morning and was greeted by a freshly baked individual bread roll every night at dinner and a homemade muffin each morning for the balance of my stay.
A small library of travelers books and board games sits in the bar for those in need and although you can go an entire day without seeing another guest in the evening the bar area comes to life with all guests seeming to gravitate up an hour before dinner for drinks, bar nibbles and a chat.
The Diving :
With a choice of 3 dive boats depending on group size the local Fijian team led by Sam will make sure that your diving is memorable. Local dive sites around Qamea usually involve a 15-20 minute boat ride and you come back to the resort between dives.
Rainbow Reef runs for a total of 32 kms and is the location of the world famous Great White Wall part of located in the Somo Somo straights which is about a 45 minute boat ride from Qamea. Rated as one of the worlds best dives the Great White wall wont disappoint. Best to dive with a current so the white corals are swinging in the current there are hundreds of these beautiful white corals on the wall. You don’t need to go past 20 metres to see all the corals and with hundreds of small fish swimming on the reef this was a definite highlight.
A great second dive was Annies Reef which is made up of three separate bommies with a average depth of 15 metres. A myriad of colour with purple/red/white,blue and corals plus sea whips and nooks and crannies to explore.
Note there is a surcharge to dive rainbow reef due to the travel time plus also a minimum number required, however it is worth it as you spend the day out there with two or even three dives available and you need to tack a packed lunch.
Midway reef has huge brain corals up to 3.5 metres in width plus healthy corals and abundant small fish life and a number of clams with a average depth of 15 metres. Lost Reef is a great fish dive with jacks,barracuda swimming in the current plus some nice sized sea fans, some colourful coral growths and in the shallows anemones.
The dive equipment is old at Qamea and needs to be updated, so we recommend that you bring your own dive gear – the resort has promised that they will be updating their dive equipment shortly.
All in all, Qamea surpassed my expectations and Fiji has never felt more accessible or warm. I genuinely left this resort feeling not like I was going home but that I was leaving. I’ve travelled to many places and this is one I would not hesitate to return to, me stay left me feeling genuinely refreshed and rested.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 338 239 to discuss your package to Qamea or to further discuss this agents’ personal experience. My stay at Qamea was not sponsored please consider the opinions of the writer as genuine.