Fantasy Islands Week: Fiji

Picture yourself on a South Pacific island where the hum of cars and TVs is replaced by the sounds of waves tumbling ashore and the sporadic plunk of almonds dropping from trees. Envision a private island resort catering to only 14 couples. This is Matangi Island, built with romantics in mind.  Each of the 11 thatched-roof bures is accented with Fijian tapa cloths, tribal artifacts, and a bed draped with mosquito netting. You’ll have to book months in advance if you want the three popular treehouse bures—30 feet up a la Swiss Family Robinson.  A stone’s throw away from the lodging, the beach sweeps around a bay shaded by chestnut trees and banana ferns. The surrounding waters are home to the renowned Rainbow Reef. Matangi has its own dive operation to take you out to see the kaleidoscopic coral and the abundant sea life. There’s also saltwater fly-fishing and sailing, but most visitors simply lounge on the beach watching the waters of the Tasman Strait float by as the sun passes overhead.