Nananu-I-Ra Island -- Hilly, anvil-shaped Nananu-I-Ra island, a 15-minute boat ride from Ellington Wharf, has long been popular as a sunny retreat for local Europeans who own beach cottages there (the island is all freehold land), and three local families still operate low-key resorts beside a long beach in the center of the island's western side. This is the narrowest part of the island, and you can walk over a hill to Mile Long Beach (yes, it actually is 1.5km/1 mile long) on the exposed eastern shore, Fiji's windsurfing headquarters. Although the lagoon is shallow at low tide, snorkeling is very good off the south coast.
Nananu-I-Ra's western third was a cattle ranch until 2005, and you might run into a stray head or two wandering around the island. Developers announced plans to turn the ranch into a luxury resort complex called the Talei (www.thetalei.com), but little had been done during my recent visit, except to close down Nananu Beach and Dive Resort, which was on the property.
Nananu-I-Ra once was on the backpackers circuit around Fiji, but today the young folk are more likely to stop at Volivoli Beach on the mainland. In addition to windsurfing enthusiasts, most visitors are Australian and New Zealand couples, some of whom return year after year for inexpensive holidays in the sun. Indeed, this is one of the most cost-friendly places in Fiji to spend a quiet beachside vacation. Consequently, reserve well in advance from June through August.