What to see, do and eat on Malolo Island, Fiji's Mamanuca Islands: Expert expat travel tips

Formerly a carpenter from Coffs Harbour, NSW, Lachy Pinney has been living on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Islands for 2½ years. Having worked all over Australia in the construction industry, a chance encounter enabled a dream to come true: to build a five-star resort, Six Senses Fiji, in paradise, sixsenses.com


The best thing about living on this island is how close we are to some of the world's best surf breaks. Even for non-surfers, watching the waves at Cloudbreak is a breathtaking experience. The reef break has previously been part of the World Surf League, so it's renowned by pro surfers worldwide. Riding a wave like this is incredible, and even better when you get to see the pro surfers in action.


There is a great walking track on Malolo that takes you up to an old war bunker right in the centre of the island. It sits at the highest point of the island so it's a bit of a climb, but is well worth it for the 360-degree views of the surrounding Mamanucas when you reach the top. From here, you can carry on down to Solevu village and on to the neighbouring island, Malolo Lailai (little Malolo – we are on Malolo Levu, big Malolo). The two islands are connected at low tide meaning a walk across the sand to your final destination.


Kokoda (pronounced ko-kon-da) is a local Fijian specialty. It is essentially a Fijian ceviche consisting of raw fish (usually mahi-mahi) that is soaked in fresh lime juice and served with coconut cream and chili topped with chopped onions, tomatoes and cucumber. This is such a simple dish but it tastes so good, especially served with homemade dalo (root crop) chips. You can't get more Fijian than kokoda.


The Yacht Club at Musket Cove is our local, just a five-minute boat ride from home to the bar on Malolo Lailai. Previously known as the Two-Dollar Bar, this relaxed beach bar has a brilliant atmosphere and community vibe, with yachties, expats and guests from the islands' resorts. My drink is the local Vonu lager, and you can cook your own food on the barbecues there, musketcovefiji.com


Late-night kava sessions with the local boys … the Fijians will drink anyone under the table when it comes to their local juice. Kava (pepper plant root) is a crop of the western Pacific that is ground and strained through water to create the famous "grog". Fijians will pass the grog round a circle while telling stories long into the night, so although you'll definitely get a fantastic night's sleep, it will be a long time before your head hits the pillow.