By Robin Perry
What: Maravagi is a simple but stunningly-situated resort which is managed by the local community and is conveniently located only 1.5-2 hrs banana boat ride away, in the western part of Central Province. This makes it a perfect choice for an easy and reasonably cheap weekend away from Honiara’s big smoke.
There are approx. 10 bungalows, each with 2-3 beds and flush toilet plus basic shower. There is also a large dorm which sleeps around 10 people. The resort is located next to a small village on Mangalonga island, on the water’s edge. There are not really any beaches in front of the resort, although there is a small stretch of sand without any reef or rocks in the shallows, making it a good spot to splash around in. There are long-ish stretches of sand about 5 mins walk away from the resort towards the surfing point.
The community has agreed that the reef directly out the front of the resort should be protected as a small, local marine reserve. This means you can look out from the large communal hut/dining area directly over the water’s edge onto crystal clear water teeming with colourful fish and coral. Prices can vary but are usually AUD30 per night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided at AUD 10-20/head for each meal. Food is simple but tasty, usually involving fresh fish.
How: unless you have your own boat, far and away the best way of getting there is by banana boat. This usually costs a flat rate of around SBD2400 (so the more you have on board the cheaper it is) and can be organised through Felix, the manager and contact point for reservations at Maravagi (tel 853 0155). Alternatively, you can catch the 360 discovery boat to Tulaghi and get picked up by a Maravagi banana boat there (around 30 mins).
Things to do:
- great scuba diving and snorkelling (no dive-related facilities so be sure to bring all your gear and tanks)
- fishing/spearfishing (outside of the small reserve)
- surfing – the point is a good, hollow, long-ish left-hander breaking on shallow reef, best in the wet season (when waves of 4’+ are not uncommon). There are also other waves a short boat ride away
- exploring and beachcombing on nearby islands, or
- doing nothing at all
Things to bring:
- scuba/snorkelling gear
- fishing gear
- a good book
- snacks and drinks: the resort has very limited food and drink supplies, usually no more than your main meals, some beer and water (so bring special treats if you want them).