It’s my last day here in Fiji. I don’t want to leave. Which really says all about how I feel about the place.
It’s not just the tropical paradise of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters that has captured my heart (although that’s certainly helped); it’s also the people. Fijians would have to be among the happiest, most hospitable in the world. Known for their love of family, this is the perfect holiday spot for Clint and me, and our four-year-old daughter Charli.
Enjoying the Weather, Nature and Locals in Fiji
Fiji is made up of over 320 islands, and around 110 of them are inhabited. With 50 resorts scattered across them, you really are spoilt for choice. So we have decided on a few nights on the mainland, and another few nights on Treasure Island, which is bure style accommodation aimed at families.
A four-and-a-half-hour flight from Australia and we find ourselves walking the shores of crystal-clear waters where you can see the colourful fish swimming past your feet.
We don’t have a care in the world. It’s 30 degrees and our biggest concern for the day is whether we go for a swim in the pool, or a snorkel in the Pacific Ocean.
We are staying at the Fiji Intercontinental Golf and Spa Resort, which is just as you would expect. Fitted with all the luxury mod cons and situated in a prime position right on the beach with endless pools overlooking the ocean. Beautiful food, a kids club (where Charli made a coconut boat) and spa retreat to make you even more relaxed if you are not already. Not to mention the Championship Golf Course next door.
Of course, we can’t sit around sipping Pina Coladas all day. Eager to explore the culture of Fiji, we took a jet boat trip along the Sigatoka River to a village in the Sigatoka Valley. Part of an eco-tourism trip where the villages welcome tourists from all over the world, in turn they raise revenue for things like power and water. It’s incredible; the village literally downs tools for the day!
After being officially welcomed by the chief with a traditional Kava Ceremony, we meander through the village that is home to 300 people who are all related. You can’t miss them, as they have all gathered in the community centre and put on lunch, mixed with traditional songs and dancing for us. We find ourselves swept up in this incredible party where you can hear the cheers and singing all the way down the valley.
Music is the common thread that binds Fiji’s wonderful culture. Our next adventure is on Treasure Island where we are welcomed off our South Seas Cruises transfer with music by locals like Max who has been calling this tiny island home for over 30 years. Now for me, this really is what I imagine paradise to be. It’s almost impossible to describe how beautiful this place is. You just have to come here and experience it. From the moment we stepped off the boat, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. We instantly melted into what Fiji is all about. Family. Happy times.
This child-friendly resort has an unassuming ease about it. The bure’s are simple and extremely comfortable. The sunsets and sunrises set off the island as the water laps the shores ever so gently. Charli made friends instantly with other children as they played excitedly in the kids club – snorkeling, preparing traditional dinners, and even putting on a cultural dance concert for the adults (did I mention children come here for free?!).
As avid scuba divers, Clint and I relished in the opportunity to explore the reef here. Only five minutes from the island, we rolled off the back of the boat and were surrounded by the most incredible display of colourful fish and coral that it goes down as one of the best dives of my life. The visibility was so clear I would say it was endless, and the water was so warm that Clint didn’t even bother with a wetsuit. It was an absolute pleasure.
The highlight for all of us visiting Treasure Island was definitely meeting the locals. They all welcomed us like family, with smiles that light up every one they meet, and they couldn’t ever do enough to make us all feel more at home.
We have to go home today, but it’s hard to pack my bags. A few more days would be nice… And doesn’t that say it all. Fiji is one of those places I know we will come back to, hopefully sooner rather than later.