What Island Was Tom Hanks Stuck On In “Cast Away”?
Did you find yourself watching Cast Away and think to yourself, I wouldn’t mind being stuck on that island for a few years myself, sans the tooth ache and anthropomorphic sporting goods. Which begs the question: Where exactly was the Cast Away island anyway? (You know, just in case you get a few years off from work and are looking for a little R&R.)
In the movie, Helen Hunt tells Mr. Hanks that his plane veered south due to a storm and the island he ended up on was about 600 miles south of the Cook Islands. Of course, even a cursory look at Google Maps reveals there’s a whole lot of nothing south of the Cook Islands until you hit Antarctica, whose islands, if any, are more likely to be populated with penguins and ice than coconuts.
So where was the Cast Away island that they filmed on located? Turns out the Cast Away crew headed to Fiji, and to a small island off its western shores named Monuriki, which is part of a group of islands known as the Mamanuca Islands. The island itself is little over half-a-mile long, and its total land area is only about a quarter of a mile.
If you want to see the island yourself (virtually), plug in this link: http://goo.gl/maps/4OUvD, for a satellite view from Google Maps. If you zoom in, you can see on the eastern edge of the island the beach where Hanks spends much of his time, and to the south I believe is the crevice where he eventually shacks up in a cave for shelter.
If you want to see the island yourself (in reality), your best bet is to head to the coastal town of Nadi in Fiji, where there are a number of tour operators that offer day trips to the island where you can snorkel, lie on the beach or even climb the mountain in the center of the island where Hanks was going to hang himself (bring your own rope for this activity — the climbing, not the hanging). Prices vary, but expect to pay around USD$100 for a full-day trip.
Or, if you want the exact opposite experience of Cast Away, you can book a reservation at the exclusive Matamanoa Island Resort, located on a small island to the south of Monuriki, where you can enjoy meals prepared by an executive chef, swim in an infinity pool and sleep in your own beachfront air-conditioned bungalow, all for the low price of about USD$400 a night. A bit pricey, but it’s either that or crash-land on your own island to get the same experience.
By Matt Stabile
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com. (@TheExpeditioner)