Hats Off to Paradise

Privacy is worth every penny, and Vatu Vara is worth $75 million. With its enticing beaches, white sands and iridescent waters, this Fiji island in the South Pacific is definitely high-caliber.

By Lola Thelin


After a hard year’s work, you deserve to escape to the most splendid isolated location, away from any prying eyes and the burdens and pressures of the civilized business world.

In this part of the world, your closest neighboring island is Monu Riki – home to Tom Hanks and the rest of the Castaway crew. And your closest neighbor is Mel Gibson, who probably descends here for the same reasons – peace and quiet.

Vatu Vara island is one of the last private freehold Lau islands of Fiji and, at $75 million, is the most expensive island ever. It is reputed by many to be the most beautiful island in the world as well as the most recognizable. The island’s extinct and flat volcano with its perpendicular cliffs and sloping land creates the image of a top hat, from where the island’s nickname Hat Island was derived. Imagine two miles of tropical jungles, shimmering waters and soft, white beaches. Vatu Vara is one of the few remaining uninhabited islands.

“Private islands are extremely rare now in Fiji. I should know; I have hundreds of islands worldwide, yet I have less than a handful here, and freehold islands are even rarer,” said Cheyenne Morrison, owner of Coldwell Banker Morrison’s Private Islands. This island is the premier property in the entire South Pacific.

Home to the ideal lagoon, the aquamarine sea encircles the island. This untouched, pristine island has excellent water clarity, and its reefs are breathtaking. And because of its exquisite and cinematic topography, Vatu Vara has been the model location for geologists.

Its accessibility makes it hard for the Average Joe to venture to Vatu Vara. This pure tropical paradise is located past Fiji’s main islands, away from the main tourist area and major resorts, keeping it tourist-free. Even visiting yachts need a permit to access these waters, although the occasional adventurous traveler may “discover” the Lau Islands. The next owner should make sure to have access to a private jet or a chartered seaplane. Airplanes can easily land on the eastern side of the island on a large flat limestone area, or a helicopter can drop you off.

As if the island isn’t enchanting enough, it is rumored that Vatu Vara has its own buried treasure. Joe Thompson, an American seaman who had an endless supply of gold coins, once occupied the island. There is one part of the island that he allowed no one to approach, and it is this part of the island that is rumored to contain the buried treasure.