If, like me, your idea of paradise is the island where Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins spent their days cavorting in the 1980s movie The Blue Lagoon, a holiday in such a place will be high on your bucket list.
These are some of the most stunning lagoons the planet has to offer.
Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands
Getaway presenter Catriona Rowntree chose Aitutaki Lagoon as the location for her honeymoon. What better endorsement can you get than that?
It’s also provided the backdrop for countless reality TV shows, from Survivor to Treasure Island. The lagoon encircles the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, a 45-minute flight from the main island Rarotonga. Book a tour on the Vaka Day Cruise to snorkel and visit three of the lagoon’s 15 islets. See cookislands.travel/islands/aitutaki
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Famous for its overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is a 45-minute flight from Tahiti in French Polynesia. The volcanic island is bordered by a striking turquoise lagoon. Book a day cruise with Temanava Tours to explore and go snorkelling in its colourful coral gardens and swim with black tip reef sharks and stingrays. See tahiti-tourisme.com.au
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Tetiaroa Lagoon, French Polynesia
Described by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio as “the billionaire’s pool”, the water surrounding Tetiaroa atoll has to be seen to be believed.
The favoured retreat of Tahitian royalty for centuries, it was previously owned by Marlon Brando and is home to the luxury retreat The Brando, where Barack Obama stayed in March. If your pockets aren’t that deep, you can also visit on a catamaran on a day trip from Tahiti’s capital, Papeete. See tahiti-charter-catamaran.com/
Cocos Islands, Australia
The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian territory located 2,750km northwest of Perth in the Indian Ocean. The atoll consists of 26 coral islands, two of which are inhabited, which form a horseshoe shape around the lagoon. It is perfect for kiteboarding, windsurfing, snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and motorised outrigger canoe tours. See cocoskeelingislands.com.au
Fulaga Lagoon, Fiji
Few tourists get to see Fulaga Lagoon in Fiji’s remote Lau Islands group, which makes it all the more special for those who do make it to this remote part of the world. The pristine lagoon is dotted with dozens of small, mushroom-shaped limestone islands. In the past, it was pretty much only sailors who got to go there, but you can now visit twice a year on Captain Cook Cruises Fiji’s 11-night Lau Islands Discovery Cruise. See www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com
Lord Howe Island, NSW
It’s hard to imagine an island more beautiful than Lord Howe, 600km off the coast of Port Macquarie in NSW. Its protected lagoon is home to the world’s southernmost coral reef, and is ideal for snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
Only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at a time, with accommodation ranging from the family-friendly guesthouse Pinetrees Lodge to the luxury retreat Capella Lodge. See lordhoweisland.info
Wayag Island, Indonesia
There are countless gorgeous lagoons in Raja Ampat – a group of around 1000 islands off the coast of Sorong in Indonesia’s West Papua province. One of the most notable is the lagoon off Wayag Island. The islands are not accessible to large cruise ships, but you can get there with small expedition cruise companies such as Coral Expeditions and True North. See indonesia.travel
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Likuliku Lagoon, Fiji
Home to Fiji’s first overwater bungalows, Likuliku Lagoon provided a safe harbour for war canoes during rough weather in ancient times and features prominently in Fijian mythology and folklore. The Fijian-owned, adults-only Likuliku Lagoon Resort is on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca group. It’s a 10-minute seaplane or helicopter flight from the main island, 40 minutes by speedboat or one to two hours by catamaran. See likulikulagoon.com
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
With the pine trees after which the island is named as a backdrop, the lagoon at the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia is a popular playground for guests on South Pacific cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises are among the companies that include it in their itineraries. See newcaledonia.travel/au/
Turtle Island Lagoon, Fiji
OK, so we know Fiji is well-represented in this list, but this is it – the location where they filmed The Blue Lagoon! Producers approached the island’s owner, Richard Evanson, in the 1970s and after filming finished he realised how much he enjoyed having people there who appreciated its beauty as much as he did, so he decided to open the property to guests.
The luxury resort in the Yasawa island group has just 14 bures that accommodate a maximum of 28 guests, which is just small enough for them to feel like they really are stranded on a deserted island. See turtlefiji.com