Bula! and welcome to Mai Island, a 32-acre escape with freehold ownership, located off the coast of Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu.
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Take a deep breath and step onto the warm sand of a private, tropical island, surrounded by lush gardens, colorful wildlife, fragrant flowers and warm breezes. Walk among 100-year-old coconut palms and listen to the songs of tropical birds and the whisper of wind through heliconia leaves, as the worries and cares of everyday life slip away.
Bula! and welcome to Mai Island, a 32-acre escape with freehold ownership, located off the coast of Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu. Only 8% of all land in Fiji offers freehold ownership, considered the most secure form of ownership that also allows for the outright purchase of property by individuals residing outside of Fiji.
Serene, yet conveniently located, Mai Island is a short helicopter or seaplane trip – or a leisurely boat ride – from the airport in Labasa, which connects passengers from Fiji’s two main airports. Deepwater anchorage for yachts is found on the northeast side of the island, and those preferring to travel by private vessel can be tendered directly onto the nearly quarter-mile of beach on the island’s southwest coast.
Upon arrival, relax. Time flows differently here.
Mai Island is filled with natural delights, from a charming waterfall to a coral reef surrounding the island that offers excellent snorkeling. A naturally sparkling spring delivers pure, clean water, and two wells tap into a freshwater lake that runs from the island to the mainland. That freshwater sustains both the island’s current caretakers – a local family that has tended the land for generations – as well as Mai Island’s owners and guests.
Visitors can rest in a charming 1-bedroom, 1-bath cottage, as staff quarters are separate from the main residence. Mahogany trees dot the landscape and provide beauty and shade, as well as material from which to build a new, elegant villa (or bure in Fijian), if desired.
Infused with the history of Fiji, the island also boasts an archeological site more than 300 years old: the foundation of a chieftain’s home, which was surrounded by a hand-dug valley and wall to protect the important residence. Once the homesite was cleared, a path to a freshwater spring was discovered; this path ends in a 6-ft by 4-ft bath chiseled into the stone, filled by the spring above.
Mai Island is also remarkably self-sustaining and is planted with hundreds of fruit trees, including coconut, avocado, starfruit and exotic chocolate persimmons. This fruit, in addition to the bounty of the South Pacific Ocean and availability of local vegetables, ensure ingredients for every meal are available without ever leaving the island.
VANUA LEVU, FIJI. Approximately 90 minutes by boat from Mai Island is the second-largest island in Fiji, Vanua Levu. Just 40 miles north of Viti Levu (the largest island in the Fijian archipelago), Vanua Levu boasts a population of more than 135,000 within its 2,000-square-mile area. Divided horizontally by a mountain range, the island’s climate skews toward rain in the south and a more arid atmosphere in the north, which is ideal for growing the principal crop of sugar cane.
Two main cities – Labasa in the north and Savusavu in the south – carry most of the island’s population and also serve as a tourism hub with resorts and holiday rentals lining the coast. Traditionally, the economy of the region was based on the sandalwood trade as well as the sale of copra (the dried kernel of the coconut from which coconut oil is extracted), though now the allure of vaunted scuba diving at Namena Marine Reserve, the mystery of the growing statue at Snake Rock Temple and the beauty of the Waisali Rainforest Reserve draw more business than traditional trades.
FIJI, SOUTH PACIFIC. With impressive forest, mineral and marine resources, it is no wonder that Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the South Pacific. Urbanization and expansion in the service sector – thanks largely to an upswing in international tourism – have contributed to a steady rise in GDP since the early 2000s. Two international airports serve visitors, largely from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and ferries, helicopters and sea planes make transfers from Viti Levu to the outer islands easy; certainly, there is plenty of natural beauty to enchant along the way.
Fiji has three types of land tenure – freehold, native and crown. Only freehold land can be purchased outright by foreign residents, and less than 8% of the property in Fiji is designated thusly. There is no timeframe on the ownership of freehold property, and it is regarded as the most secure land tenure in the republic. Once freehold land is purchased, owners can relax and enjoy one of the most wild and beautiful places on earth. The crystal-clear waters and amazing biodiversity on each island make a real estate purchase here the perfect opportunity to own a part of paradise.
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Property listed and offered for sale by Bayleys Realty Group. Listing Agent Phillip Toogood (Lic 0038). Platinum Luxury Auctions LLC is providing auction and auction-marketing services as part of this transaction and is not performing real estate services where prohibited.