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All reviews fish faces west coral and sea life my padi open water excellent diving plenty of food neighbouring village hot water boat crew remote island power locals accommodation generator iguanas resort fiji
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Reviewed August 20, 2008

We arrive by an 18 seater airplane on Kadavu Island, and are met by David the resort manager. We are instantly put in relax mode with David's calm, but warm welcome.
My partner & I have come here to elope.
The Island was recommended to us by a client who had come earlier in the year to surf the reef, he said it was a beautiful Island, still steeped in tradition, untouched by tourism.
He was right.
There is not a shop in sight, nor is there a bank. The few roads that are there are unsealed and mostly used by the locals to get the Islands only town Vunisea, by foot or by the very few cars that have been bought across.
Here we met with the District Office to make sure all our papers were in order so that our Marriage would be legal once we returned to Australia. We would not have known to do all of this with out the great advise of David prior to our arrival.
An open boat trip takes us to Dive Kadavu, Matana Beach Resort. There are no lifejackets or cover to protect you from the rain, but this seams irrelevant as you become immersed in the beauty of your surroundings.
The Resort itself is clean and well kept, we are late, but lunch is still waiting for us on arrival and we are met by the big warm smile of Mere, David's Fijian wife.
The whole attitude of the resort is "slowly slowly" nothing is a problem and you immediately feel like you are one of the family.
Everyday and several times a day you are greeted with a "bula".
Our rooms are comfortable and are made up daily, the walls are louvered and protected by fly screens to allow the sound of the water and the birds and not to mention the sound of dropping coconuts to filter through, not the bugs!
Although there is no power to the room 24/7. There is still enough time to power up the batteries morning & night before the generators are switched off. You do have solar generated hot water all day.
Each meal time is heralded by the playing of drums and you meander to the communal dining room where you swap diving or life's stories with the other guests.
The food, although not 5* is fantastic. All is cooked by the local women from the village on the premisses, with local produce. What is not grown on the Island is ferried in from Suva once a week.
We are the first wedding to take place at the Resort for Mere & David. What was orchestrated for us was the most stress free, romantic, memorable day of our lives. It took place on the beach with the locals building us an arbor covered in vines and flowers, we stood on a traditional martial mat, (which we got to take home with us) the beautiful voices of the Fijian women from the Village sang while the Reverend Bosi legitimized our union. Even the Chief came down to the beach and to celebrated with us in a kava ceremony. The evening was spent listening to the locals (including the Chief and the Reverend Bosi) playing and singing their songs while we ate our dinner on the beach under the glorious stars. We were attentively looked after by all the staff.
All of this was organized by Mere, out of joy and a true desire to please, not out of obligation. It was purely simple and not an ounce of stylization. Just perfect.
If you are looking for 5*, room service, motorized sports, kids club and all the modern amenities, then this is NOT the place for you.
However, if you are looking for a quiet, relaxed resort with fantastic hosts and incredible snorkeling/diving then THIS is the place for you. You will want to stay at least a week.
**ENJOY**

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank FlatoutinSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2008

Just returned from Kadavu Island, Dive Kadavu at Matana Resort.
From when we were greated by managers David and his wife Mere, we new we we in a special place. The resort was friendly, clean and very authentic Fiji. My son aged 14, wife and I dived most days with DM jolee. The diving was very good, even though bad weather only enabled closer dive sites. I am a well travelled divemaster, and I thought the experience was good for both new and experienced divers. Food was fantastic home cooked with choice of fish, meat or vegy per meal. Local fruit was magic. Great little bar on the beach with sun set cocktails, and cold beer.
If your looking for real Fiji, but with easy flights this is ideal. This is not a 5 star resort in structure, but easily exceeded 6 star expectations, with very friendly staff and management. The rooms are large and clean, with fans and good hot showers.
We will be back very soon.
Lee and Tracey Turner NSW Australia

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank Dreamcatcher2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2008

We chose Kadavu Island due to the reviews of the diving there (dived many places around the world over the past 8 years but never Fiji until now) and then Dive Kavadu due to it offering diving plus having its own beach to snorkel from.

It certainly isn't a resort to go to if you want 5 star treatment or to be anonymous. From the minute you arrive at the airport you are treated like one of the family and quickly get to know most of the staff by name. The food is all local style cooked using local ingrediants by local staff and is very good with always more of it available than you can eat (and "Mum" Mere constantly suggests you can eat a bit more). 3 meals a day are provided with all guests together which further increases the feeling of family/inclusion.

The diving is mainly at the local reef which has plently of swim throughs and caverns plus excellent coral and fish. The guides don't swim to fast and are excellent at pointing out things, particularly the little things it is easy to miss. Diving the astrolobe is a full day which is very tiring but well worth it.

The burees are basic but clean with hot running water. Whilst the generator does not run 24 hours a day there is still plenty of time to charge batteries etc. and lights and fans work 24 hours.

When we weren't diving/eating/sleeping we spent time snorkelling from the beach (very good) and kayaking.

Overall I would say Dive Kadavu is an excellent choice if you enjoy diving and sharing your experiences with others and enjoy experiencing
the real local environment rather than a tourist destination.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank spottydog0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2007

Loved Dive Kadavu and have been there twice the last 10 years the last visit being December of 06 to Janauary of 07. It is very basic and rustic-don't expect luxury or you will be sorely disappointed. The beach in front of the resort is beautiful and the snorkeling in front of the resort is underrated- one afternoon we spent hours watching Lionfish hunting. There is an even nicer beach with better snorkeling that is a short boat ride away but, you do have to pay (I think it was $30 for two people). You can kayak there for free but be it is challenging to Kayak back against the current. The scuba diving is fantastic and the Manta Reef is a once in a lifetime experience. Even if you don't see the mantas the reef itself is phenomenal. The manta excursion is extra unless you trade diving days, but it is worth it. The diving near the resort is also fantastic. The food was not gourmet and it ranged from very good to average good. Some meals were great though- particularly the curry night. We enjoyed the communal eating since we got a chance to meet and socialize with some great people. The accommodations are basic but the setting is beautiful and tranquil and unspoiled by over development (at least for the time being). If you want incredible diving and an unspoiled location and can tolerate rustic accommodations by all means go.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank pricklypete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2006

The best possible holiday!
Recently I spent three weeks in Fiji with my wife and of that we had 10 nights at Dive Kadavu or Matana Beach as it also is called. Cutting to the chase, it was the best holiday my wife and I have had ever! I can highly recommend the place. If you are a person like me, who like the combination of extremely friendly people, diving of the highest quality and pleasant accommodation, this will be the perfect place for you. The owners Bob and Reena will definitely look after you and make you feel at home.

Getting there requires flying on a small plane from Nadi or Suva on the largest island in Fiji, Viti Levu. The 45 minute flight was followed by a pick-up by a small boat and were brought the 15 minutes along the coast to Dive Kadavu's resort. The first thing that happened was that we were met on the beach by the owner Bob. This marks the experience of staying at Dive Kadavu/Matana Beach. This is much more than a holiday. This is a place where if you let yourself go a bit will meet new people and have the most fantastic time. In particular the interaction with all the staff, who come from the neighbouring two small villages with around 300 people. People are incredibly hospitable and good at making you relax and have fun.

The main activity is obviously diving, and it is by far the most diving I have done in all the years I have dived. The most visited reef is a mere 3-5 minute on the boat, in the water, and then heading back to the island to have the one hour surface time at what Lonely Planet named one of the top-5 beaches in the world. It is so, because it simply is beautiful, and most interestingly, completely deserted bar a couple of locals collecting firewood or guiding a bull from one village to the next. The beach is easily reached from the resort in one of their complementary sea-kayaks and you will have this wonderful beach with coconut palms, snorkelling, and white sand all to yourself.

Apart from the near reef we also did two one-day trips. One to the Astrolabe Reef on the South-East or windward side of Kadavu, where we did two wonderful dives in the morning on the most pristine coral reef I have ever seen. After a lunch on land, we went for an afternoon dive and were diving with five giant manta rays feeding on the plankton off the reef pinnacles. Being right next to a 15 feet wide sea-creature that looks like an UFO is for me always a huge experience, and although there are no guarantees, then they have very good sighting statistics for this reef. We also did a three-tank dive to the South-Eastern most tip of Kadavu where we experienced the deep blue of 40+ meters visibility.

However, as many places can offer excellent diving, simply focusing on this aspect would be grossly misleading. When diving, you will typically spend no more than 2x45 minutes in silence under water. The rest of the time you are with other people and here Dive Kadavu can offer something very few other places can, namely making people gel and feel at home so the hours on the boat are great fun. Fijians like a good friendly joke, I can tell you. After one dive we approached the beach for our surface time and for tea, coffee and biscuits. Just as the boat approached the beach, a small brown dog came out of the forest and stodd there looking at us silently. Joeli, the divemaster shouted; "Do not jump on the beach, it is a dingo, and there is great danger it will bite you!". As soon as the boat crew and Joeli were certain that we believed him, they all cracked up looking at all these long faces realising we were going to miss a game of throw-the-coconut or hermit crab race.

All meals are served either on the terrace or in the dining room at long tables encouraging people to get to know each other. Eating together means you make new friends and have much more fun during all the hours diving and in the evenings at the 'Jar Bar' where cocktails are served in jars with dive-suit material (neuropren??) handles. Here Seru, the bartender, will make a Pina Colada from fresh coconut cream he makes himself. The Jar Bar is right by Matana Beach and whilst having a cocktail and snacks before dinner you will have a nice chat with the locals and other guests and watch the sunset. Here you will almost guaranteed find Cava, who is one big smile and also the steady link between the resort an the village Drue next door.

Fijians are very easy going, but they are also very traditional when it comes to visiting. This means that as a guest at the resort you do not just wander into surrounding villages without being invited in the same way as you do not wander into other people's houses. This is an excellent principle ensuring some sort of demarkation between the tourists at the resort and the locals who have a life to live. It also makes it something special when you put on your zulu (a loincloth to be worn by all visiting) and go for a visit.

However, the most compelling aspect of the stay was definitely visiting the small local school where 80 primary school children sang for us, or when we were invited to a 21st birthday in the village community hall with Cava and his guitar and ukulele orchestra entertaining all night while we soaked up the local non-alchololic- but very relaxing drink cava. Fijians are very good at partying and making you feel at home and they definitely illustrate the old adage that happiness is not directly depending on social status, money or higher education. We also spend a few hours at a village across the bay where the locals had gone to extraordinary efforts to put on dancing and singing for us and although we of course contributed with some money for their local building projects, it was clearly as good fun for them to perform as it were for us to view.

The price is more than reasonable when considering that you are at a resort that at maximum capacity takes 26 guests and has around 30 members of staff for the . If you get a dive package as we did with one diver (8x2 dives) and one non-diver (who ended up coming on the boat every day to not miss all the fun we had) including a bure (hut) on the beach and all meals for 10 days, then it works out at around $70 per person per day. This is in my recollection about what the diving alone costs in Hawaii where i have so far been 5 times over the past 10 years. And the diving in Fiji is definitely better as the reefs are much older.

All in all it was the most wonderful holiday I have ever had and anyone who does not like their stay at Dive Kadavu is in my view a sad individual who is not able to let go just a bit and get to know some truly wonderful people who most of us can learn from in terms of appreciating life and not just running after more stuff to replace all the other stuff we collect. If you are the kind of person who likes a sterile resort that looks as they all do, where you only meet servants and not friends, and where you can show off about career, cars and other things you may hold deer, then please do not go to Dive Kadavu. One high-flyer tried to impress the locals that he drove a very expensive Porche. They could not care less as there is only small road on Kadavu and they are much more impressed if you can tell a good story and poke some fun at someone.

I can only warmly recommend Dive Kadavu even if I shouldn't as I would love to keep it as my secret.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with family
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5  Thank Carstens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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