5 Celebrity Islands: Private Fijian Islands Owned by the Rich and Famous

Mel Gibson on his Private island in Fiji.

Discover the allure of Fiji as we delve into the exclusive world of private islands owned by the rich and famous. From Hollywood icons like Mel Gibson to tech moguls like Larry Page, these celebrities have carved out their own slices of heaven in the stunning landscapes of Fiji. Join us on a journey through Mago Island, Laucala Island, Namotu Island, Wakaya Island, and Namale Island as we explore the luxurious retreats, lavish accommodations, and breathtaking scenery that define these secluded paradises.

Mel Gibson: Famous America Actor

Mel Gibson Fijian Island
Image: (Left) American Actor, Film Director, Producer and Screenwriter Mel Gibson. (Right) Aerial Photo of Mago Island in the Lau Group Fiji.

In 2005, Mel Gibson found himself at the pinnacle of his career following the tremendous success of “The Passion of the Christ.” To commemorate this milestone, he made a lavish acquisition – purchasing Mago Island in Fiji for a hefty $15 million. This wasn’t just any ordinary island; Mago Island stands as one of the largest private islands in the South Pacific.

With a rich history dating back to the 1860s, Mago Island was initially established as a cotton plantation by the Ryder brothers from Australia. Subsequently, in 1884, a sugar cane plantation with a sugar mill was erected on the island, only to be closed down in 1895. Over the passing years, the island changed ownership until it came into Mel Gibson’s possession from the Tokyu Corporation in 2005, despite facing protests from displaced inhabitants.

Jetty at Mago Island Resort Fiji and Ceremony at Mago Island, Fiji - Record - DigitalNZ
Image: (Left) Jetty at Mago Island Resort Fiji, (Right) Ceremony at Mago Island, Fiji | Courtesy of DigitalNZ

Situated in the northwest sector of the northern Lau Group of Islands of Fiji, Mago Island boasts 22 square kilometers of unspoiled terrain, approximately 166 statute miles from the capital, Suva. Presently, the island remains relatively underdeveloped, with only a few caretakers of Indo-Fijian descent inhabiting it.

Notable features of Mago Island include a village, ponds with drinking water, original vegetation hills, and a poultry farm housing horses, cattle, goats, and chickens. Moreover, the island boasts a breathtaking personal lagoon, spanning about 1km by 430m, naturally enclosed with thick barriers of vegetation, suitable for fishing or as a bay.

As for Mel Gibson, he isn’t just recognized as an actor; he has also made his mark as a director and screenwriter. Rising to prominence in the ’80s with “Lethal Weapon,” Gibson garnered critical acclaim for directing “Braveheart” in the ’90s. His extensive filmography encompasses iconic works such as “Mad Max,” “The Patriot,” and “Conspiracy Theory.” Despite facing challenges along the way, Gibson has amassed considerable wealth, estimated at around $425 million.

1977Summer City2000Chicken Run
1979Mad Max2000The Patriot
1979Tim2000What Women Want
1980The Chain Reaction2000The Million Dollar Hotel
1981Attack Force Z2002We Were Soldiers
1981Mad Max 22003The Singing Detective
1982The Year of Living Dangeroulsy2004Paparazzi
1984The Bounty2010Edge of Darkness
1984The River2011The Beaver
1984Mrs Soffel2012Get the Gringo
1985Mad max Beyond Thunderdome2013Machete Kills
1987Lethal Weapon2014The Expendables 3
1988Tequilia Sunrise2016Blood Father
1989Lethal Weapon 22017Daddy’s Home 2
1990Bird of a Wire2018Dragged across Concrete
1990Air America2019The Professor and the Madman
1990Hamlet2020Force of Nature
1992Forever Young2020Fatman
1992Lethal Weapon 32021Boss Level
1993The Man without a Face2021Dangerous
1994Maverick2022Last Looks
1995Casper2022Agent Game
1995Pocahontas2022Father Stu
1996Ransom2022Hot Seat
1997Fathers Day2022Bandit
1997Conspiracy Theory2022On the Line
1997FairyTale: A True Story2023Confidential Informant
1988Lethel Weapon 42023Desperation Road
Table: Mel Gibson Movies (Acting roles)

With Mago Island under his ownership, Gibson possesses his own piece of paradise. While the extent of his current visits to the island remains undisclosed, it’s evident that he cherishes its beauty and seclusion. Perhaps someday, he may opt to share its splendors with the world, but for now, it serves as his private sanctuary.

Video: Collage of images from Mago Island

Dietrich Mateschitz: Owner of Red Bull

Larry Page Red Bull Cocomo Island Fiji
Image: (Left) Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz. (Right) Aerial Photo of Laucala Island Resort.

Nestled to the east of Taveuni, Fiji, lies Laucala Island, a serene private retreat spanning just 5 km in length. Formerly owned by the Forbes family until 2003, this secluded haven now belongs to Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull. Mateschitz enlisted the expertise of Lynne Hunt London and Scape Design Associates to revamp the island into an exclusive resort. Initially Mateschitz’s personal sanctuary, Laucala was a refuge for celebrities seeking respite from the paparazzi, enforcing a strict ban on PR.

CelebritiesKnown For:
Oprah WinfreyMedia Mogul
Elle MacphersonAustralian supermodel
Leonardo DiCaprioAcclaimed actor
LudacrisRapper and Actor
Tony HawkLegendary Skateboarder
Table: Celebrities’ that have stayed at Laucala Island Resort.

Comprising 25 villas, every structure on this intimate island underwent a complete interior renovation, including the Plantation House restaurant, golf club, pool bar, spa, sea grass lounge, and beach bar. Set amidst the crystal-clear waters of northern Fiji, Laucala, as it’s pronounced, stands as a testament to Mateschitz’s vision. After purchasing the island for $10 million, Mateschitz poured in hundreds of millions to transform it into a self-sustaining paradise, boasting greenhouses, orchid nurseries, coconut plantations, and more across 240 acres of farmland.

Mateschitz’s private abode, perched atop the island’s highest hill, offers unparalleled views of the surrounding reef and waters. With its own sun decks, infinity-edge pools, and al-fresco dining pavilions, this presidential retreat commands a nightly rate of $40,000 when not occupied by Mateschitz himself. For those seeking a more accessible experience, the resort offers 25 regular villas, starting at $5,000 per night, blending high-tech amenities with natural materials and expansive living spaces.

Each villa is cocooned within manicured tropical forests, alive with the melodies of indigenous birds. Privacy is paramount, ensured by 15 square kilometers of private airspace, thwarting any paparazzi attempts. Laucla’s facilities are equally extravagant, featuring a colossal main pool, five unique restaurants, and a variety of bars offering panoramic views and culinary delights.

Guests can indulge in a plethora of activities, from zipping around the island in golf carts to exploring the underwater world in a two-seater submarine. Laucala’s staff, predominantly local and totaling 400 members, ensures a personalized experience with a staff-to-guest ratio of 16 per villa. This exclusivity, combined with the island’s natural beauty and rare wildlife, attracts high-profile guests seeking anonymity and luxury.

From the opulence of Red Bull to the tranquility of the orange doves, Laucala epitomizes paradise. Now, the world-renowned Como Group is set to take over Laucala Island Resort, promising a continuation of its legacy with 25 standalone residences on the island’s northern shore.

Video: Red Bull Billionaire 10 million Dollar Fiji Island

Larry Page: Google Co-Founder

Larry Page Google Co Founder Namotu Island Fiji
Image: (Left) Larry Page (Right) Aerial Photo of Namotu Island Resort.

Recent reports indicate that Google has acquired several tourism sites in Fiji, including Tavarua, Namotu, and Wadigi islands. These destinations are renowned for their stunning beaches, world-class surfing spots, and luxurious accommodations, making them highly sought-after by travelers seeking an idyllic retreat.

  • Tavarua Island: situated off the western coast of Viti Levu, is well-known for its consistent waves, drawing surfers from across the globe. The island provides exclusive access to iconic surf breaks like Cloudbreak, Restaurants, and Tavarua Rights, making it a hotspot for surfing enthusiasts.
  • Namotu Island: Adjacent to Tavarua, Namotu Island offers similar surf breaks and serene surroundings, making it an ideal destination for travelers looking for both relaxation and adventure.
  • Wadigi Island: Located near Malolo Island in the Mamanuca archipelago, features a luxurious private villa with breathtaking views of the surrounding ocean. The island offers unparalleled privacy and indulgence, making it a popular choice for honeymooners and discerning travelers.

In addition to acquiring these islands, Google has also secured a bay on Malolo Island to serve as a mooring location for its superyachts. This strategic move underscores Google’s commitment to expanding its presence in Fiji’s tourism sector and highlights the region’s allure as a top destination for luxury travel experiences.

David Gilmour: Founder of Fiji Water

David Gilmour Founder of Fiji Water Fiji Island Wakaya Island
Image: (Left) David Gilmour (Right) Aerial Photo of Wakaya Island.

David Gilmour, a Canadian entrepreneur, died at the age of 91. His entrepreneurial journey began with the purchase of Wakaya Island in Fiji in 1987, which he transformed into a luxurious resort. Witnessing guests drinking Evian water on the island prompted him to start Fiji Water, which eventually became one of the leading bottled water brands in the United States.

Alongside his ventures in hospitality, Gilmour co-founded Barrick Gold, one of the world’s largest gold producers, in the early 1980s. Despite the commercial success of Fiji Water, environmentalists criticized the industry’s environmental impact, including plastic waste and energy consumption. Gilmour addressed this concern by selling Fiji Water in 2004 and Wakaya Island in 2016.

After these sales, Gilmour ventured into the wellness industry by founding Wakaya Perfection. The company specializes in organic, high-quality ginger and turmeric products grown in volcanic soil in Fiji and Nicaragua. Despite challenges and criticisms, Gilmour’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to quality remained steadfast throughout his career, leaving a lasting legacy in the business world.

Video Playlist: The Wakaya Club & Spa

Tony Robbins: American Author, Coach and Speaker

Tony Robbins American Author Coach and Speaker Fiji Island Namale Resort Fiji
Image: (Left) Tony Robbins. (Right) Aerial Photo of Namale Island Resort.

Nestled amidst 525 acres of verdant tropical coastline and rainforest on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island, Namale emerges as an exclusive boutique retreat tailored for adults. Boasting 19 luxurious villas, two oceanfront restaurants, and a renowned spa, the resort is revered for its tranquil ambiance, beckoning luxury travelers, honeymooners, and celebrities like Edward Norton, Donna Karan, and Russell Crowe.

CelebritiesKnown For:
Donna KaranAmerican fashion designer
Edward NortonAmerican actor
Tom SelleckAmerican actor
Russell CroweNew Zealand actor
Melissa EtheridgeAmerican Singer & Songwriter
Mel GibsonAmerican Actor and Film Director
Taye DiggsAmerican actor
Cameron DiazAmerican actress
Meg RyanAmerican actress
Anthony HopkinsWelsh Actor
Table: Celebrities’ that have stayed at Namale Resort and Spa.

Guests immersing themselves in the Namale experience revel in secluded thatch-roofed luxury villas that epitomize opulence. These havens feature five-star amenities such as infinity pools, outdoor showers, and lavish interiors. Moreover, visitors engage in unique activities, from intimate candlelit dinners in sea caves to exhilarating horseback rides along the pristine beach.

Amidst the resort’s lavish accommodations lies Tony’s private vacation home, conceived when he acquired the Fiji property at a youthful 29. During a recent tour with Business Insider, Tony shared his deep bond with Fiji, expressing, “My life was changed by coming to Fiji…I fell so in love with the people here that I decided I want to have a piece of this and I want to find a way to bring people here.”

Acknowledged with the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Namale secures its position among the top 5 in its category, underscoring its distinction in the travel industry. This esteemed recognition further embellishes the resort’s illustrious portfolio, which includes accolades from the 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards and BRIDES Magazine’s Best Honeymoons Award.

Video Playlist: Namale Resort and Spa
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