Miriam Cain goes ‘down to Kokomo’ to talk to the Australian superyacht owner and property developer Lang Walker about his idyllic South Pacific island retreat
When you hear the name Kokomo, probably your first thought is the well-known Beach Boys hit from the 1960s. However, while the song Kokomo may well be the perfect soundtrack to a breath-taking desert island hideaway, it pre-dates the Beach Boys by some margin. Kokomo Private Island not only sits on the other side of the world to the one the Beach Boys sang about but is actually named after Australian superyacht owner Lang Walker’s first dinghy, which he christened at the age of 10, some decades before the song was released.
At the time, the young Lang Walker could never have imagined that the name he chose for his 10ft craft would become part of a yachting dynasty that has culminated in a 58.4m (191.6ft) super-sloop, or that it would also come to grace his very own private island. And yet the happy coincidence means that the evocative name simply couldn’t be more appropriate for this private Fijian island retreat, given that it's just about the closest thing to paradise that most people can imagine.
PRIVATE ISLAND PARADISE
Walker spared no expense when building Kokomo Private Island. Unlike his usual strategic financial investments made in his property business, the idyllic South Pacific island retreat was a passion project, pure and simple. Located on the edge of the Kadavu island group, just off mainland Fiji, the island is isolated enough to feel like you have escaped the rat race of 21st century life yet connected enough to be accessible and also to cater to your every desire.
Surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, the island since its launch has become one of the world’s ultimate high-end destinations. Developed with a focus on sustainability, the 57-hectare (140 acres) island has been transformed into an extraordinarily luxurious tropical retreat, dotted with pockets of rainforest and long stretches of white sand.
As a superyacht owner, Walker understand the importance placed on superlative service, privacy and luxury by discerning travellers. The island is run just like a yacht, albeit with a greater number of guests and staff. Accommodation comprises five stand-alone private hilltop residences with views over the South Pacific, 21 beachfront villas, all with their own pool and garden, and an owner’s beachfront residence.
The cuisine on the island is very much a farm-to-table affair, with most produce either coming from the island’s own farm or locally sourced from surrounding waters and neighbouring islands. 'Fiji is not renowned for its cuisine, but we wanted to buck this trend and provide our guests with a six-star gastronomic experience, using the freshest ingredients available,' explains Walker. 'Guests also have the opportunity to catch their own dinner, with fishing trips on offer from the resort.'
With the Great Astrolabe Reef just offshore, visitors will discover a rich diversity of marine life while diving, snorkelling, kayaking or fishing in one of the world’s most beautiful natural reefs. 'Whether experience divers or complete novices, we cater for all abilities because we are a five-star PADI dive resort, offering daily excursions to the surrounding and outer reef,' says Walker. 'The Outer Great Astrolabe Reef provides the more adventurous guests with the opportunity to swim with manta rays and turtles, and even spot whales.'
REST AND RELAXATION
The resort is set up for both family groups and couples. In the privacy of your own villa it feels like you could be the only person on the island, but there’s also a whole host of activities on offer, including the island spa with traditional Fijian treatments, and private meditation, yoga and Pilates classes.
There are facilities for kids, from infants to teens. The kids club and two main pools are set away from the main restaurants and pool so that children can make as much noise as they like without furling any feathers. What more could you ask for?
For further information on Kokomo Private Island, or to charter the 58.4m (191.6ft) sailing yacht Kokomo, please contact your Burgess charter broker.