South Sea Island is the closest off-shore island to Nadi, at around a 30 minute ferry ride from the Port Denerau terminal. We went on the Finding Nemo
tour, which includes a ride on the island's submersible boat above the reef that surrounds the island. The submersible boat is rudimentary, but effective.
The large, underwater windows slope away from you, which means you can lean out slightly onto them on both sides to get quite reasonable views of the fish and coral,
despite the thickness of the glass. All of the kids on board on my trip were genuinely excited by what they saw.
Above: View of South Sea Island from the landing boat
There is a designated snorkelling area to one side of the island, which the staff will point out to you. This is predominantly a coral beach, not sand,
so try and remember to bring swimming shoes if you can (or enclosed footwear if you are not planning to go into the water). The pedestrian areas in the middle
of the island have sand that is free of coral.
You can walk into the water off the beach and start snorkelling in the shallow water. Conditions were quite choppy when we were there due to bad weather
(rain and strong winds). Visibility in the water was poor and it was difficult to maintain our position, so we had to abandon the snorkelling after
only a few minutes. When the water is calm, I imagine it would be quite relaxing, and perhaps we'll have better luck if we visit again.
Above: Looking out towards the shallow reef area for snorkelling
South Sea Island itself is quite tiny. It is about a 300 metre walk around the circumference of the island and there is no overnight
accommodation, because there simply isn't enough room. There is a small swimming pool that is only about 10 metres long in the middle of the island, and
a few other activities on offer such as beach volleyball, but most people are here to swim, snorkel, dive, relax and enjoy the view. I would recommend the
Finding Nemo tour on South Sea Island for young families if you are unsure how well your kids will cope with the boat trip and the snorkelling, because the
ferry ride is short and fairly smooth. The submersible boat gives them a taste for the underwater world without being physically confronted by the fish
straight away. If conditions are choppy, I suggest you head to one of the larger islands with a protected lagoon.
Essential Information Before You Go:
South Sea Island, 11 km (around 30 minutes) north east of Port Denerau (Nadi) ferry terminal.
Take the ferry from Port Denerau, south of Nadi. There is no jetty at the island, so the ferry idles a couple of hundred
metres offshore, and you have to transfer to a smaller boat, which can land on the shore. You will need at least one hand free to step
from the ferry to the landing boat, and again to step from the landing boat onto the shore, so a backpack is the best way to carry your
day gear, particularly if you are also holding your child's hand. Also, don't be surprised if you get your shoes wet.
Toilets, a small kiosk, beach volleyball court, small swimming pool, beach umbrellas, reclining chairs, picnic tables,
hammocks, rubbish bins, snorkel and scuba equipment available
Baby change facilities:
No shade available in the water. Shade available under the palm trees and thatched umbrellas on the edge of the beach.
Entry is included in your ferry ticket
Opening times are specified on your ferry ticket
None stated on site, other than to listen carefully to the briefing session upon arrival, which includes safety instructions.
There is no accommodation on South Sea Island. The nearest
onshore accommodation is at Port Denerau
South Sea Cruises
Nearby attractions: Orchid Waterfall
on the main island near Nadi
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information
If you would like to leave a comment about this shallow water play area, please fill in the comment box below.
I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved.