Fabulous Fiji

May Swan-Easton on 01 May 2013
We flew from Heathrow via Los Angeles with Air New Zealand and Air Pacific who in June will be re-branding to ‘Fiji Airways’. You can also get there via Hong Kong/South Korea and it’s only 3-4 hours from New Zealand and Australia, so a perfect stop over point.

Fiji enjoys a mild tropical climate averaging 31c (88F) during the summer months of November to April and 29c (84f) during the winter months of May to October. Fiji comprises of 333 islands of which approximately a third are inhabited. I stayed overnight in several different hotels on different islands and visited an additional five. Outrigger on the Lagoon is a luxury beach front resort on Viti Levu Island featuring 254 rooms, a large outdoor swimming pool, Bebe day spa, plus seven restaurants and bars. Set amongst 40 acres of palm trees and tropical gardens, modern air-conditioned rooms and thatched bungalows with the award winning restaurant ‘Ivi’.

Yasawa Island Resort is an exclusive retreat on one of the most remote and unspoiled islands of Fiji. There are 18 luxury thatched bungalows all with amazing ocean views and a few steps from a pristine white beach. Access to the island is by small charter aircraft and arrival is on a grass runway. Food, service and facilities were all outstanding at this resort – perfect for weddings, honeymooners, couples, friends and even families.

Jean Michel Cousteau Resort is an eco-friendly resort set amongst a coconut plantation with over 17 acres of lush tropical landscape with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The waters are peaceful and perfect for families to go snorkelling, diving, kayaking and swimming. Facilities at the resort include four swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, day spa, PADI dive centre, children's program, non-motorised sports and an onsite Marine Biologist. There are 25 individual bures and villas built using local materials to create a traditional Fijian bure with thatched roofs. This is a chilled resort with plenty to entertain the kids and adults with an eco-conscience.

Namale Resort & Spa is an hour’s flight from Nadi offering peaceful seclusion, romance and luxury. There are only 19 bures and private villas set in 525 acres of majestic coconut palms, private beaches and tropical rainforest with cascading waterfalls.

Lomani is Fijian for love and at the Lomani Island Resort you will be sure to fall in love with this idyllic island paradise. It is an ‘adults only’ beachfront boutique resort nestled between towering coconut trees and pristine four mile white sand beach. Offering 12 suites and 5 beachfront bures – all with views of the crystal clear waters of the ocean – Heaven!

Castaway Island is an island resort surrounded by a palm fringed white sand beach, and stunning turquoise waters. Offering 66 individual thatched traditional Fijian style bungalows with a choice of Beach front, Ocean View or Island setting and home to popular Aussie ‘celebrity’ chef Lance Seeto who opened the world’s first Fijian-Asian restaurant on Castaway called 1808. I fell in love with this resort and am planning to go back.

Tadrai Island Resort definitely has the WOW factor – only 5 individual thatched Bures, outdoor and indoor showers, private plunge pool, all-inclusive meal plan and wonderful food from the head chef Vanessa- perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for seclusion and romance.

There are many things to do locally. This is one of the best places I’ve ever snorkelled, I can only but imagine what the diving is like, it’s not called the ‘Soft Coral Capital of the World’ for nothing. There’s also, surfing, game fishing, golf, kayaking, rafting, parasailing, local village trips and spa treatments. You can shop for Fijian inspired designer T-shirts or colourful ‘Bula’ shirts, Fijian replica war clubs, ‘cannibal forks’, Fijian combs and carved Tanoa bowls from which the national drink ‘Cava’ is drank from. There are also traditional ‘Sulu’ for men and women with 100 ways to wear it. Plus rare black pearl jewellery and fresh water pearls – a perfect keepsake or gift.

Restaurants are almost limitless; every meal was wonderful throughout my stay. Many resorts have a relationship with neighbouring villages that will allow you to sample traditional Fijian fare during village tours, including ‘lovo’ (an underground oven of hot rocks with foods wrapped in banana leaves – yummy!)

What sets Fiji apart from any other destination in the world is its people. I’ve never met such friendly, smiling, genuinely nice people anywhere else in the world. I would definitely recommend that you attend a traditional ‘Cava’ Ceremony and fire walking ceremony and whatever you do -‘island hop!’