This post although a couple of weeks delayed due to Internet or lack of, is all about my first couple of weeks in Fiji, in which I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Bev and Sam, our veteran Fiji visitor who set us in the right direction of where to go and what to see. So after a child filled noisy flight from Sydney I landed in beautiful Fiji and was really pleased to see a couple of friendly faces in Sam and Bev at the airport. We then caught the bus around the south of the main island on the queens road to our accommodation for the next four nights ‘The beach house’. Now I knew Fiji was pretty but if you’re looking for desert island paradise this is where you’ll find it.
We spent our first day doing a jungle hike with a guide from the hostel who actually lived in the local village. We were escorted by him (and his dog who led the way a lot of the time) up a often muddy path through streams over rocks etc to get to the falls. Both the hike in of itself and the falls were great fun and good to learn a bit about Fiji history and culture from our guide. We finished off with a coconut and Roti which was curry in a wrap type thing, very delicious on both fronts. That evening we were invited to the local village to share some Cava with the locals. Now Cava is a traditional drink that’s very popular here, and made from a ground up root which is then placed in a sort of tea bag type cloth so it can infuse in the water. Sam compared it to how we’d all go meet in the pub for a few. Fijian men meet in the community hall to share some Cava together.
We spent the next day chilling out, making use of the hostels free kayaks, playing some pool and generally living the island life, nice and laid back. The following day we went on a island day trip organised by the hostel to Yanuca. To start we were split into two boats one for girls one for boys, this seemed strange at the time… Then later we were to realise that the boys boat, slightly smaller without a cover on top, and driven by a young friendly Fijian guy called Nico who enjoyed throwing it around, was a lot more of a bumpy ride… Whilst we were going across open water at a rate of knots we all got drenched, had a lot of salt water to the face, and also were slammed up down after getting fair amounts of air on the waves. It was awesome fun though… We spent the day relaxing, racing hermit crabs and snorkelling by the beach and then went for a brief hike. The hike was really steep and pretty tough, with sections needing rope to climb up. But the views were spectacular, and Nico introduced us to the papaya song which then became a firm favourite and was stuck in my head for the next week… We then went to another beautiful beach (being careful not to sit under trees with brown coconuts) to have BBQ food and relax. The trip back was also extremely wet, but we did see wild dolphins alongside the boat which was incredible! Overall the weather was lovely and the best yet, I didn’t get sunburnt (one of the few…), and most of all there were so many picture perfect moments where you felt like you really were in paradise!
The following day it was time to check out and move on from The Beach House where we’d been based for the trip so far. We spent the morning making use of the hammocks and beautiful spot before going to catch a bus to an air Bnb just outside of Suva the capital. Now by bus there are actually a few options, we just missed the main coach that goes around the island but we were offered a lift by a man who didn’t actually have any signs indicating he was a taxi driver and more than a slightly creepy guy. Just after Sam explained that in Fiji there are mini buses that just travel around all day picking people up and dropping them off, one literally drove up to us and had room so we hopped in. It was a tight squeeze, there were reggae versions of pretty much every genre you could imagine and I occasionally had to look behind the minivan to check our bags hadn’t toppled off, but we got there safe and sound just over an hour and the equivalent of a mere £2.50 each later.
After arriving at our accommodation for the next three nights which turned out to be a lovely air BnB with beautiful views and lots of space, we headed into town for a bit of dinner. The next day we spent visiting the Fiji museum, seeing a old shoe sole that was all that was left of a missionary eaten by cannibals, went around the markets haggling with the locals for various bits and bobs and then finished the day with a great meal at the best restaurant in Suva according to various folks, this was a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant with majority Fijian chefs and it was indeed delicious. We then hit a local bar, caught up with a fellow traveller Dan we met at the beach house and played pool managing to beat a lot of the locals…
The next day (after possibly feeling slightly fragile from the night before), we had planned to meet Lo, a Fijian lady who Sam had met on his previous visit to Fiji. After technical issues meant we didn’t actually get hold of her until late afternoon we luckily finally made contact and set off to visit her and her family late in the evening. Lo had cooked us a delicious meal including Sam’s favourite Roro patties, and we were then invited across the road to spend time with her wider family and enjoy some cava with them. We had brought them some pre ground up called sevusevu as a gift so after a few of the guys prepared it and the elder officially blessed the gift in Fijian we began what was to be a heavy cava session. Also in case I haven’t mentioned Fijian’s love rugby. Not only is most flat land in villages used as rugby pitches but this love of the game was even evident by the fact they had replays of the olympics on tv showing. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to spend time with a real Fijian family, and their hospitality and warmth was incredible.
After pondering over what our next stop would be we found a place called ‘Robinson Crusoe’s’, it seemed reasonably priced and was on its own island… After a couple of cabs and a boat ride down a river then across the ocean later we arrived. The island was indeed really pretty however the resort was strangely empty. As in there were 9 guests in total our first night… I ended up being the solo guest of a 13 bed dorm. Luckily we soon met a couple of Aussies who were sisters, Simone and Lauren and also Ephy one of the Fijian members of staff who (as well as being a really cool and nice guy) was super talented at guitar and singing, we sat by the campfire with Sam and his ukulele too and sung various songs into the night! The next couple of days we did a mixture of things like line fishing, swimming, kayaking, crab hunting, volleyball, more campfire singing and generally larking about as one does on a desert island. The final night we saw why the island had such a strange one day empty he next day full turnover. The staff put on a brilliant traditional Fijian show including fire dancing for guests not only staying on the island but also staying on other mainland hotels. They put on an incredible show and I was genuinely impressed!
The next few days Sam and Bev booked into the radisson and me just down the road in another hotel for a bit of much needed R&R. I sadly bode farewell to them and it was to be into my next adventure in Fiji. Luckily (I’ll explain more in my next post) I managed to have a stay arranged in a village on the fourth biggest and pretty remote island Kadavu, meant to have a lot of unspoilt natural beauty. So next up (post coming shortly as I’ve been without Internet a while and am now back) Ill be spending a week in a village on the island most likely off the grid.