The secret overwater bungalows hours from Australia

Carly Williams
Social Media Editor

Like a lot of the world’s wonders, overwater bungalows seem like a lifetime away from Australia.

The Maldives mini-mansions lodged over shallow waters are a favourite among Instagram’s elite, boast posting a seemingly unattainable holiday for us Aussies. But tucked away in a Fijian archipelago, is the less-known and all-the-more stunning Likuliku Lagoon Resort.

Fiji’s first and only authentic overwater bungalows: Likuliku Lagoon Resort. Photo: Carly Williams/Be

You can leave the east coast of Australia mid-morning and enjoy a cocktail with a view of the adults-only Likuliku Bay for just after lunch!

Strung over the turquoise coral reef off Malolo Island, there are 10 traditional bures (huts) with light-up glass-bottom panel flooring for watching the fish in the evenings, and balconies with direct access for snorkeling at your doorstep.

Direct access to the natural crystal-clear lagoon? Yes please. Photo: Carly Williams/Be

Whether it’s a step-from-your-bed-and-onto-your-stand-up-paddle-board kind of day or a soak-in-the-deep-egg-bath-with-a-view-of-the-horizon kind of afternoon, the bungalows embody ultimate luxury.

The interior of the Deluxe Waterfront Bure Photo: Likuliku Lagoon Resort

But we’re not sure what’s the better view – sitting in your overwater bungalow and copping an eyeful of the nearby islands or relaxing on the daybed back on the island and looking out over the water.  Luckily you can have both.

There are 18 Deluxe Waterfront Bures, with private plunge pool, outdoor shower and split-level design and the interior is a nod to the beauty and history of the islands. Think pandanus palm thatched roofing and South Pacific vibes feeding through the textures and patterns of the furniture.

The private plunge pool and deck off the Deluxe Waterfront Bures with a view of the overwater bungalows. Photo: Carly Williams/Be

The 11-year-old Likuliku Lagoon Resort is popular but the layout makes it feel like you’re the only people on the island. The staff-to-guest ratio seems to be around the 8:1 mark, so service is divine, in part because the Fijian people are ever-cheerful, kind and welcoming.

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Stepping off the Pacific Island Air heli transfer (just a 10-minute flight from the main International airport of Nadi), resort manager Tulia greeted us with a contagious giggle from her golf buggy.  The resident labrador Coco rode shotgun with her sunnies on.  As we bopped through the lush tropical garden, Tulia projected mumma vibes and we were transformed from guests into family within minutes.

Tulia the resort manager runs the show at Likuliku. The most professional and kind woman in all of Fiji. Photo: Carly Williams/Be
Coco the resort lab is on point with her sunglasses. Photo: Carly Williams/Be

If folks come to Likuliku Lagoon for the beauty, it’s the food they’ll return for. Executive Chef Shane Watson personally chooses fresh produce every day.  He has arrangements with local fisherman and farmers resulting in today’s catch fresh on your plate for dinner. Being all-inclusive, Likuliku Lagoon Resort offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner service with daily-changing à la carte menu. Dinner is four courses and mains can look like duck from vitogo, braised green lentils, pistachio, cranberry with roasted kipfler potato, garlic and thyme.  Fancy.

To work off the treats from the restaurant, snorkel the natural lagoon where many tropical fish will swim right up to your goggles.  You can also take a fishing excursion (outside the marine green zones) or pay respect to the indigenous land owners at the nearby Solevu, where you can meet village elders and the Paramount Chief of the Mamanuca Islands.

Sunrise picnic on nearby Honeymoon Island Photo: Carly Williams/Be

I hiked the nearby Honeymoon Island hill at sunrise. Tulia came with me and packed an unforgettable picnic complete with fresh pastries and coffees. I was humbled by stories from Tulia about the history of the Fijian people and culture all the while in awe of the pink and purple fairy floss sky. Definitely a bucket list moment.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort has recently joined the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a testament to the establishment’s commitment to conservation. Thanks to Likiliku’s program to restore the native Dry Forests, the previously thought to be extinct Fiji Crested Iguana is now visible in the wild on the island. The iguana seen here is in Group Environment Manager Sia Rasalato’s captivity breeding scheme. Photo: Carly Williams/Be

Likuliku is so much more than overwater bungalows and a popular hashtag on Instagram, it’s one of the world’s best destinations.

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