We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nukubati gives access to real Fiji”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
Nukubati Private Island
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Labasa
Certificate of Excellence
Boise Idaho
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Nukubati gives access to real Fiji”
Reviewed July 7, 2009

My family (me, my wife, my 70 year old mother, my 13 year old daughter, and my 11 year old son) just got back from a 2 week trip to Fiji (June 11 2009 to June 27th). The first week we stayed at Castaway Island Resort and the second week we stayed at Nukubati Resort. The mid part of June was good time to go to Fiji because is was not too hot and it’s before the Australian holiday season which starts at the end of June. Before going, I did most of my research on the internet. I also bought Moons Fiji travel guide. Moons gave me an overall sense of where to go in Fiji. The two main islands are very different. If you want more shopping and island tours, stay on Viti. If you want sun and beach, go to the Mamanucas. If you want more pristine sun and beach (and can afford it) go to the Yasawas. If you want more culture and native Fiji, go to Vanua. Tripadvisor dot com on the internet was my main source for research. I wanted to get timely reviews from people who have been to the resorts. Brochures, travel agents, and reputation will often give positive spins to many resorts. But in my view, little beats actual recent accounts of travelers. Many reviews will tell you a story about the quality and value of the place you are researching. After finding the place we wanted to go, I used travelonlineholidays dot com out of Australia to book the Castaway accommodations. A lot of Australians go to Castaway and this travel agency put together some very good packages. I tried booking using Castaway’s United States representative, but he quoted me high rates. Basically, I ended up getting a honey moon trip and a schooner trip thrown in for free and better accommodations for less money than using the US rep. I booked the Nukubati trip directly with the resort over the internet. Their website says they allow no children, but since my boy was close to 12 years old at the time of the trip, they made an exception. Also, it was hard booking accommodations for 5 people; we had to pay for two bures at both places. We booked our flights online and used Pacific Airlines for the LAX to NAD flights. We booked all our travel services in February, about 4 months before our trip. Most of the time, that would have been too late, but the economic slowdown kept things from filling up quickly. Ok, now on to the trip...

Nukubati (Noo coom bah ti)

Unless we had a sea plane with a direct pick-up and drop-off, we knew it would take a day’s travel from Castaway Resort to Nukubati. And we were right. Nukubati island is off the north shore of Venua. We left Castaway at about 11:20am via the Cheeta. It had to make one stop at Plantation resort and then headed for Port Denarue. Had to wait for everyone to get on the bus at the Denarue and finally got to the airport about 1:15. Our flight was supposed to leave at 1:45, but was delayed until about 2:30. Seems like everything is delayed a little bit in Fiji, even the airlines. We finally arrived in Labasa around 4:30p in the midst of a “tropical depression” meaning winds are under 60 miles per hour. It took about 2 hours by car (heading east) to get to the boat ramp that goes to the resort. About 2/3rd of the trip was on a bad dirt road that went by many remote villages. Our resort paid transfers to and from the airport, but the taxi driver said they normally charge $70F one way. A local bus runs daily charging locals $10F one way. Oh, as a side note, the Fiji dollar depreciated 25% during the two weeks: $1.72F/$US when we arrived, $2.00F/$US when we left. Seems that printing money is the government’s way of paying off its debts. All of Nukubati’s services are priced in US dollars. We got into a small boat and traveled about 1 kilometer to the Island. We were greeted by a few folks in the pouring rain and wind. They were very kind and we were happy get into our bure. The bure was very comfortable. Nice living room, 1 queen and 2 twin beds for the kids, ceiling fans, open air shower, stocked fridge (we never used it) and right on the beach.

The wind howled all the first night. The next few days the wind died down some, but I was happy I brought ear plugs. The next morning got a chance to get introduced to some of the staff and the mananger, Lynn, who was temporarily managing the resort while the owners were away. Lynn was very helpful. Just ask to arrange something and she made it happen. My mom got along great with Lynn(both the same age) and loved reading her published diary/cookbook. Lynn has been around Fiji for a long time and has many stories to tell.

A word about the staff. The Fijian people are the most friendly people anywhere. When you see an advertisement of a smiling Fijian, they are not faking it. They don’t have much, they are very hard workers, and they are mostly Christian. Their cheerfulness is catchy. You can’t help but feel good around them. Soloti was our dive master. Very knowledgeable with an adventurous spirit. Villi dove with us too and helped out with other water activities. He’s very good at volleyball. He’s a humble guy and will go out of his way to help you. Sera, Eta, and Mela were ladies of grace and goodwill. When you get back from Fiji, you realize you don’t have to be rich to be happy. So I suggest you interact with the staff when you can. Make an effort to get to know them and their story. They will surprise you.

Since it was Sunday, we took a boat back to the Venua and walked a short distance to a local village to attend their church service. The Methodist service was in Fijian, so we didn’t understand the message; but the kids choir was excellent. My theory is that since they have no instruments (there is no electricity or running water in village either), the people hone their singing and harmony skills. A few days later we also made a trip to a local black pearl farm (the village was called Ravi Ravi) that we had to reach by boat about 20 minutes from the resort. The people were very friendly. They received us with the traditional Kava ceremony and prepared tea and baked breads. This village of 132 people also have a 20 kV diesel generator. We bought a few baroque black pearls. They had two perfect pearls selling for about $250 each, but they were too pricey for us.

I really wanted to go diving because they are the only dive resort on the north side of Venua near the Great Sea Reef. But the winds kept the sea choppy and low viz. Their main dive boat (which only holds about 4 divers comfortably) was in the shop with a bum motor. So we took out a smaller boat out near the reef. The swells increased as the morning progressed so we only attempted one dive. My wife got sea sick, the boat motor stopped working, the anchor broke, and they had to radio the mechanic to come fix the motor. We abandoned the dive while two of the crew members sat on exposed reef holding the rope to keep the boat from drifting out to sea. While waiting, I got out and did some snorkeling. It was very good given the choppy conditions. They got us back safe, my wife recovered, and I loved the snorkeling; they just need to keep their boats in a little better condition.

A couple days later after the winds died down (we were at Nukubati about a week, which is just about right) and the dive boat was fixed, we made another run out to the reef. The dive site is called Fish Market – a drift wall dive about between 20 to 30 meters. It was a little overcast, but we got some sun. I dove with Villi, one of the local staff – who was very good at spotting things. The dive was excellent: moray & spotted eels, batfish, various colorful reef fish, many thriving and colorful soft coral varieties, one turtle, 3 white tip reef sharks (about 5 feet, but of no concern), lion fish, yellow flutes, giant clams with velvety florescent lips, rockfish, lobters, various nudibranchs, and a bunch of other stuff I forgot. I didn’t get cold as the water was 80 degrees and I had a 3mil shorty. My only regret is that I wish the weather was better so I could have went on more dives. Ask to go to the island of Kia about 15 km away. That is supposedly the most pristine diving.

My kids were not as easily entertained as they were at Castaway, but we planned it that way. We wanted them to create their own entertainment. And they did. My daughter loves to read, so she made use of their extensive library. My son found another boy to play with that was close to his age. They got out on the small plastic bottom boat (called the wild thing), played soccer with some of the kids from a nearby village, played games, and swam in the ocean (no pool). He couldn’t dive here because they didn’t have equipment to fit him.

The food. The food was excellent. All kinds of local veggies, spices, seafood, and breads. Everything is cooked fresh. Soufflés, curries, pies, custards, grills, bakes, stir-frys. Lots of variety. If you go to Nukubati just for the food and sitting around the beach, you will be satisfied. The cook makes fresh bread and muffins each morning. Eggs, cereal, coffee (not too good), breads, fruits, sausage, bacon are the main offerings for breakfast. But there is always something different for lunch. Dinners are very good; lobsters and the pumpkin soups being my favorite. You get all the alcoholic drinks for free, but let me tell you, they are very stingy with the alcohol. I had three cocktails in short order, but couldn’t even feel a buzz. The wine is OK, but I didn’t order much. They give you Champaign at 5:00 each evening with hor’devors. The last night our dinner consisted of 5 different curries with rice. Very tasty. Not too spicy. I can’t describe it.

The last day my son and I went fishing. Roussi operated the small skif with a 40 HP motor and we trolled around the island/musgrove area at high tide. Didn't use poles, just let out 100 pound test fishing line wrapped around a hand-size spool and had only a jig and hook on the end. I believe they charge about $45/hour. My boy and I caught several Travali and a couple small baracudas. We had to leave at 1:00 pm so we didn't get to eat them. I'm sure they would've been good. I lost one jig from a snag. Roussi made up fake one using some green ribbon - and it worked! Those fish are hungy. Roussi said when they take the bigger boat out to the reef he once caught a 35kg baracuda.

As always with any location, there were a couple of downsides to Nukubati. First, at low tide, they let many of the locals who work at the resort go out on the reef to harvest giant clams and octopus. I was noticing that much of the reef around the resort had brown algae and dead coral. The people walking and chopping up the reef (literally bringing out hand made hatchets that would break away the coral lodging a giant clam that they wanted to cut open) has taken a toll on the local reef beauty. Soon there will be no more giant clams or live coral reef around the area. Second, they burned wood/plant/mulch-type waste every day. The fire was not far from the lodging and the shifting winds would often bring smoke smell to the dining, lodging, and beach area. Several mornings I woke up with a slight smoke smell coming through my window. They need to find another place to burn.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank juwilker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JennyNukubatiIsland, owner at Nukubati Private Island, responded to this review, October 1, 2009
As a Fijian and the owner of Nukubati Island Resort, I need to explain the situation that this guest has commented on as a “downside to Nukubati”. Nukubati Island is a freehold island and the boundary of that freehold is the high water mark. Nukubati has no authority over the waters surrounding the island. In fact, all the waters around Nukubati, up to the high water mark, are Traditional Fijian Fishing Grounds called “qoliqoli” in the Fijian language. This is the case throughout the whole of Fiji. At Nukubati, as with most other resorts in Fiji, we have to seek permission from the traditional qoliqoli owners for us and our guests to use the surrounding waters. When our guests go swimming, diving, fishing etc, they do so after we have received permission from the qoliqoli owners. That permission is never withheld, but it still has to be sought as a matter of respect and good manners. So when it comes to the “reef” around Nukubati, we have no authority to stop Fijians from walking out on their own traditional fishing ground to gather food. This is something they have been doing for thousands of years, in complete sympathy with the ecology and the environment.
Nukubati Island is in a remote part of Fiji, where the villages do not have refrigerators to store food (the villages don’t even have electricity) and the nearest supermarket is a 3 hour bus ride away. Every day food has to be gathered for that day to feed the family. The sea is an important source of food, and what this guest was witnessing was our Fijian staff going out on their “reef” at the low tide to gather food for their families, in the same way their forbears have done for generations.
The “reef” around Nukubati is actually no longer a coral reef. It was a coral reef many millennia ago, when it was underwater, but now it is just an inter-tidal shelf strewn with limestone rocks and long dead (tens of thousands of years) coral rocks. On the outer fringes there is some coral growing, but being exposed to the air on the low tides, this coral struggles to grow and is a natural brown in colour.
This gathering of food on Nukubati’s “reef” is done by the Fijian ladies on only six or so days each year. These are usually 2 or 3 days in each of the winter months (May, June and July) when the tide is at its lowest and the moon is full and the leaves of the Tavola tree are brown. The brown leaves indicate that there will be plenty of octopus on the reef and this is the main target of the food gathering. The other food gathered is a rather delicious mollusk called “va” in the Fijian language. Va lives inside the limestone rocks and the ladies break open the rocks to get to the va. This is what our guest observed. The ladies are not breaking coral, nor are they getting giant clams. There are no giant clams on the tidal flats. Clams live in much deeper waters. The ladies only gather enough va and octopus to provide their families with a special treat for a day or two. There is no point in gathering more than that, because they do not have refrigerators to store any extras. This is the same practice followed when Fijians go spear fishing. They only spear enough fish to feed the family for one or two days.
Our guests were actually very lucky to be on Nukubati for one of those very few days of the year when they could witness a rarely seen traditional practice of food gathering that occurs in so few parts of modern Fiji.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

249 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    238
    7
    1
    3
    0
See reviews for
13
183
6
1
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (63)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 6, 2009

Bula!
We enjoyed the best 7 nights imaginable on Nukubati Island for our honeymoon. Words cannot express how happy we were that we chose Nukubati for our relaxing honeymoon! We just got lost in the island's beauty! We truly felt part of the 'family' during our stay on the island. We were literally the 'king and queen' for the first five nights, as we were the only couple on the island! To give you an idea of how good the service is- one day I said that I loved the pink frangipani that was in my cocktail, the next day our room was full of pink frangipanis!! The staff listen to what you want and go above and beyond to provide it! The caretaker while we were there was Lyn- she was fabulous and great to have a yarn with over evening cocktails. One day we just mentioned to Lyn that we would love to visit a village- the next day it was all organised without another word said!!

The food was out of this world! It was like going to a fine dining restaurant for every meal. The food was so fresh and there wasn't a meal that we didn't absolutely love. Every day we had a different menu and didn't eat the same thing twice!

Another great thing about the island was the snorkelling just a short boat ride away! The great barrier reef has nothing on the beautiful corals and fish that we saw. There is no such thing as "fiji time" on Nukubati, because everything is so efficient.

Thank you Nukubati for making our honeymoon something we will remember forever! It was everything we could ever want all rolled into one!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joey87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2009

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon where we spent 4 days at the breathtaking Nukubati resort. The resort is quite remote. It requires a flight to Lambassa, a 45 minute drive and a short boat ride. Nukubati's travel agent is happy to coordinate your transfers and provide a driver from the Lambassa airport. Nukubati also has a sister hotel, Fiji Orchid, 15 minutes from the Nadi airport.

The island is small, but spectacularly beautiful with lovely beaches, ornamental gardens and tall, slender coconut palms. The accommodations were nice, there were lots of activities and the food was excellent. But, what I'll remember most is the kindness and attention of both the owner, Jenny Bourke, and the staff. They treat you like you're a cherished member of their family or a long lost friend. I choked backed tears the night before I left.

I will definitely plan a return trip to Nukubati and will recommend the resort to everyone I know.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Steffie_D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Jersey
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2009

The island resort of Nukubati consists of 7 bures and a main building all withing a few feet of high tide. Each bure is spacious with 3 decks and furniture on all. The interiors are lovely with all the amenities and a very lage bathroom with dual showers. The main building with library, bar and dining area is a very short walk along a path or the beach. Each bure has its own umbrella and lounge chairs by the water. The food is all fresh and delicious. Guests select their menu for lunch and dinner after the meals before.
Vegetables are grown on the island and fish is caught about 3 hours before you eat it.
The staff is extraordinary: friendly, courteous, helpful and attentive. Jenny the hostess is a marvel. The setting is one that must be seen and experienced to be believed.
Highlights include a walk around the island and to the hilltop bure, a hightide picnic on a sandbar where you can only see water and mangroves and diving trips to the Great Sea Reef. Of ye, and the two dozen or so speciality drinks. The resort is also self-sustaining in terms of energy, food, etc. It is the most romantic, beautiful, sensual place we have ever visited

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank plannernj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2009

My husband and I visited Nukubati January 6 – 13th to celebrate my 40th birthday. Despite having a week of tropical storms I can tell you that it was by far the best vacation we have taken to just relax and kick it in the most romantic of settings. We are already planning our next trip back, although this time when there’s less chance of storms!

We were greeted by the staff and made to feel welcome right away. Being the only guests had its benefits. . . we were able to spend lots of time chatting with the owners, Jenny and Peter Bourke, who are truly wonderful people. They are a wealth of knowledge and we found the history of Fiji and their island fascinating. Oh, and did I mention that they really know how to run a resort to provide very laid back luxury that caters to each guest? The staff is warm and friendly and any request is fulfilled graciously. The food is excellent, you won’t find better, and the wine list is superb.

We had a bit more adventure than originally planned trying to leave Fiji during bad weather and the owners and staff went way above and beyond what was required to make sure we got to Nadi safely and made our flight to LA. They were like angels on our shoulders and we are very grateful. On a side note, we got a quick peek at their other property, The Orchid in Nadi and we are definitely going to arrange our next trip with a couple of nights there.

I’d highly recommend the honeymoon bure. The accommodations are spacious and nicely appointed. If you are looking for an ultra-modern hotel, find a Ritz or a Four Seasons, but if you appreciate plantation style, privacy, and an awesome view of the ocean, you’ll love it at Nukubati.

We aren’t tree-huggin’ Californians but the fact that the resort is environmentally friendly and basically self-sufficient in everything from water and power to food makes you feel good. The food (yes, even the goats & pigs) are local, veggies and herbs are grown on site, water collected and purified, solar panels for power. . . and on and on. Peter can give you the run down if you are interested. Jenny, admittedly, only has the blonde version on the technical stuff. Enjoy your stay!

  • Liked — The privacy
  • Disliked — Travel time - it's very remote and we can't go back as often!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank JPALosAngeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Margaret River
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2008

Nukubati was the best holiday i have ever had. I went there with my dad and my 16 year old sister And and some other family. I loved the trip to get there, flying in a small plane and drivining through the villages and waving at all the fijian kids. And then arriving at the Island with all the staff singing beautiful fijian welcome songs, I felt at home straight away. All the activities were so much fun the snorkiling was amazing and the picnic on the sand Islandwas great . We played alot of tennis at their tennis court. We also had a trip around the Island and saw the beautiful views and Fijian animals. The staff were all very nice and happy. I also loved the fijian food. Nukubati is great for anyone, being the youngest of the family (11) I had the best time. Thankyou for such an exciting holiday and ill see you all soon.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — being away from my mum because she didnt come
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank DrewBernhardt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2008

My new husband and I recently spent part of our honeymoon at Nukubati. Although it is hard to find the words that will provide an accurate description, I will try to do so here. We fully agree with the other reviewers who state how incredible this resort is-- from the unspoiled beauty of the island and gorgeous sunsets to the wonderful owner and staff. Everything was taken care of perfectly. Our bure was huge and kept very clean with great attention to detail. Every meal was more delicious than the next with creative soups, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables from their garden, and scrumptious desserts. Every activity was enjoyable --village visit, medicine walk, sailing and kayaking, and snorkeling on the Great Sea Reef which was definitely a highlight, as well as taking time for pure relaxation if you choose. The staff are very patient and will give personal attention to anyone who might need extra assistance with the water activities. They and the owner are very giving, friendly people and provide a level of service rarely seen. Champagne and canapes are served at sunset and massages given at whatever time you desire. With this type of luxury experienced and all of our needs fulfilled, it has been hard to return to every day normalcy. We look forward to one day being able to repeat this experience.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — just the tropical mosquitos!
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank kaz170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Labasa
32.8 mi away
Namale Resort & Spa
Namale Resort & Spa
#3 of 12 in Savusavu
366 reviews
60.6 mi away
The Remote Resort - Fiji Islands
29.6 mi away
Daku Resort
Daku Resort
#2 of 12 in Savusavu
673 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
23.9 mi away
Emaho Sekawa Resort
Emaho Sekawa Resort
#6 of 12 in Savusavu
96 reviews
33.5 mi away
Savasi Island Villas
Savasi Island Villas
#1 of 12 in Savusavu
201 reviews
29.8 mi away
Naveria Heights Lodge
Naveria Heights Lodge
#8 of 12 in Savusavu
161 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Nukubati Private Island? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Nukubati Private Island

Property: Nukubati Private Island
Address: The Great Sea Reef | P.O.Box 1928, Labasa, Vanua Levu 0, Fiji
Phone Number:
Location: Fiji > Vanua Levu > Labasa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Labasa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Nukubati Private Island 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All Inclusive ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, Booking.com, Orbitz, Agoda, Priceline, Cheap Tickets and Hotels.com so you can book your Nukubati Private Island reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Nukubati Private Island Great Sea Reef Hotel Labasa
Nukubati Island Hotel
Nukubati Island Resort All Inclusive
Nukubati Private Island Fiji/Labasa

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing