I recently got back from the most luxurious holiday I’ve ever had. Here’s everything I learned while getting sunburnt like a celebrity.
If the seaplane pilots don’t have you swooning, the island will. After leaving behind a world of jackets, pants and shoes, and entering a neverland of thongs, boardshorts and dappled water (not to mention humpback whales, turtles and manta rays), it’s hard not to fall in love with Kokomo Island.
WATCH: My two days on Kokomo Private Island
After indulging in the delights of Kokomo – an ultra-luxurious private island in Fiji – for a full 48 hours, all for the sake of you, dear reader, here’s what I have to report.
The seaplane pilots fly barefoot
It may be a crime to drive your car barefoot (according to some overzealous police, anyway), but apparently, it’s fine if you’re flying a seaplane. And I’m all for it, as it made the dream feel even more dreamlike (I literally had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t plugged into some alternative reality).
After touching down in Nadi (on a normal flight from Sydney, where the pilot was very much wearing shoes), I was picked up and driven to Kokomo’s private plane hangar, which is 10 minutes away from the international airport. There was beer and coffee. There were also comfy sofas, coffee table books, paintings and framed photographs. My baggage (and I) were weighed, and then after 15 minutes or so, I walked out into the bright sunlight and onto the seaplane.
I have to admit, once on the seaplane, the views had me feeling (almost) guilty with joy. Back at home it was 9am on a Thursday – time for the rest of the office to start fielding emails and jackhammering their keyboards. Meanwhile, I exchanged “holy sh*t, look at that” glances with my partner approximately once every two minutes, as we looked out the window at the ocean. I also took a few cheeky clips of the oh-so-handsome pilots’ bare feet (for the purposes of this article, I promise, not to sell on the Internet).
The scenery went from the rolling green hills to effervescent blue water, to deep azul, quicker than you could say “are we there yet?” Soon enough (after about 45 minutes), we arrived. It’s going to sound cliche but, it was literally like something out of a movie. We splashed down into paradise, and it soon lived up to expectations. We eagerly peeled our sweaty backsides off the plane seats, shuffled down the aisle and squinted out at The Promised Land.
Eyes adjusting to the sunlight, walking down the pier we saw giant schools of fish, reef and a potential turtle (that particular sighting might have just been a rock, but that’s the story we’re sticking to) all before we were welcomed with a song, a cold towel and a fresh coconut.
Coconut water hits different in Fiji
The welcoming drink (coconut, straight out of a coconut) was great. Much better than the cartons of Cocobella I’m used to from Woolworths.
The Astrolabe reef left me gasping like a fish
At 96km long, the Astrolabe reef – one of the largest barrier reefs in the world – is a sight to behold (not just from the air but from down below with a snorkel in your gob). It’s a diving pilgrimage, and I can see why: it’s comparable to any of my experiences on the Barrier Reef, Samoa and other parts of Fiji, and that’s before even leaving the resort (just out from the first rows of villas is one of the better snorkeling spots I’ve ever experienced in my life).
Swimming with Manta Rays made the trip
Nietzsche said, “if we affirm one single moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence.” Not to sound dramatic but… I feel the same about swimming with Manta Rays. It was special. You jet out on an outboard (15 mins, tops), hop off in the deep dark water, and float down along the edge of the reef with yawning monsters from the deep (mantas) gliding out of the gloom and scratching their bellies on the coral heads (a cleaning process, apparently) like puppies. Worth its weight in (Instagram) gold…
The unscripted moments are *chefs kiss*
On our way back from swimming with the manta rays we happened upon some humpbacks. Now that’s not a sentence you write every day. We quickly plopped off the side to see if we could swim with them. Though we didn’t see them from under the water (down low, too slow) the experience was a buzz. Taking an obligatory selfie, kilometres out at sea, was quite nice, too.
The villa is dreamy
Barefoot luxury is possibly the most cliché way to describe a tropical resort ever. But it’s hard to go past it in this instance. I won’t bore you with the jealousy-inducing details, but the villa was everything you’d expect from a 6-star resort. There was champagne on ice when walking in, a huge bed, his and her vanities, an indoor and outdoor shower, and infinity pool and a ten metre walk to the beach. Oh, and a hammock (and hermit crabs) out the back.
I had the most romantic dinner of my life
Walker D’Plank was the most romantic restaurant I’ve ever dined at in my life. Why? It was empty besides from my partner and I, we got to try the freshest sashimi I’ve ever tasted (as the chef told us, if there’s no fish caught that day, there’s no fish on the menu) and there were cute little reef sharks swimming just metres away. Oh and if that wasn’t enough, there were turtles breaching too.
The snorkelling out the front is spectacular (as is the coral restoration)
Though the Astrolabe Reef is world-renowned (and huge), you don’t actually need to take a boat tour or go Scuba Diving (although you absolutely should do that too) to have a stunning experience. Right out the front of the resort, I saw clown fish, turtles and coral for cays. I was even told that there is a seven-star resort around the corner, populated by the world’s mega rich, and yet they come here to snorkel. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. The coral restoration project is epic, too.
The pontoon offers relaxation on another level
You haven’t lived, until you’ve waded out (at the speed of an old dude with a zimmer frame) to a pontoon, book and towel above your head, climbed on, and spent a good hour sunbathing and reading. Bliss. And yes, it’s literally on another level (you’re about a metre and a half higher than the beach, for starters).
The surfing was better than I expected
If you thought the only good surfing in Fiji was at Cloudbreak and Frigates; think again. Just a 45-90 minute boat ride away from the calm waters of Kokomo Private Island Resort you have all sorts of awesome spots. To score them at their optimal time, come in summer.
The Wahoo fish will ruin you for life
I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard to go back to frozen prawns and supermarket tuna. Very hard.
The farm set-up is impressive
Though it is an island, so some of your luxuriously prepared food has to be sourced from the mainland, this Kokomo Private Island still has major farm to table feels.
Kokomo Private Island might have the most picturesque outdoor yoga studio in the world
The views are just stunning. Especially when you take a sunset class.
Leaving can be a bit emotional
It’s a strange feeling when the most luxurious holiday you will ever have in your life comes to an end. But I wouldn’t have it any other way…
DMARGE visited Kokomo Private Island as a guest of Kokomo.