Monday, June 16, 2014

Fiji Us – Part 1

This winter Bob was badly in need of a relaxing holiday so we decided to make a quick dash to the near-ish Islands of Fiji. It takes only 3 hours on the plane with no time zone difference. Funny that they are not far from us and we had been here and everywhere but not one of these beautiful Pacific Islands.

We were in Fiji for several nights in early June. The weather was nice, around 28 degrees C during the day and 23-24 at night. And because it was our first time there, we chose to stay on Denarau Island, not off the beaten track.

Some people like Fiji and some don’t. We are in the former category. We like Fiji – although the immigration was very slow and took us 45 minutes to get through (after we were warmly greeted with Bula and a small band playing lovely music in the arrival hall) but the people were nice enough. We took one of the yellow cabs from the airport to our hotel and paid 25 Fijian dollars (about NZD19).

We stayed at the Radisson Blu on Denarau and were upgraded to the ocean view room which was very nice – not far from the beach. We were Bula-ed everywhere. Some might say it’s all commercial - it might be true as the islands thrive on tourism (and sugar export) – they even have University in Nadi teaching tourism for the region but hey, they must have done something right because they made us feel good to be welcomed at all time we were there.

The beach itself is not wide and the sand is not white – but it is still nice and the water is warm in June (it’s their ‘winter’). We sailed in one of their toy Hobie catamarans 2 days in a row when we were back at the hotel from our daily excursion. Non-motorised water sports equipment is free to the guests at most resorts. We rarely ate at the hotel apart from some nibbles and lots of cocktails and mocktails at Neptunes, their beach bar. There are a lot of eateries that one can choose in Denarau - we often had breakfasts at the other resorts and dinners at the marina.

Denarau itself is a reclaimed land 30 minutes by car south-east of Nadi, where the international airport is. Their west coast seems to be drier than the other parts and most resorts are not very far from Nadi. Denarau has 6 or 7 resorts plus holiday homes and apartments. You can hop resorts for food and drinks. You can travel around on one of the Bula buses, which run in loop to and from the marina until late at night. The buses stop at every resort (plus the Golf & Racquet Club). The ticket costs FD8 for all day ride but you can buy 4 day pass for FD24. We were told the Bula buses used to be free but to deter locals from free joy rides, they have to charge some fee – a bit higher than what the local yellow West Buses are charging - to make room for us tourists, who do not mind paying and perhaps are too lazy to walk on our holidays.

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