Saturday, 23 May 2015

Vinaka: What to expect from a visit to Fiji

The Mamanuccas and Yasawas are the main tourist destinations in Fiji and with the Yasawa Flyer as the only transport between islands, I found myself surrounded by paradise, submerged in local culture and truly understanding the meaning of Fiji Time.

The islands are remote. They're so far away – not just geographically – from normal life and this was one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit.While I love the beach (especially ones this stunning) I'm easily bored, but I never ran out of things to see and do. As well as the obvious attractions of snorkelling and diving amongst coral reefs, I was also able to swim with sharks and mantarays, go hiking, day sailing and visit a local village to experience a traditional kava ceremony. I spent an incredible 12 days island-hopping and I wish I could've stayed longer.
While visiting the islands was top of my list, I also wanted to spend some time in Nadi and the largest island of Viti Levu. In Nadi I stayed at the lovely Bluewater Lodge. This cheerful and cheap hostel was perfect and while I spent most of my first day asleep recovering from jet lag, I was able to explore the surrounding area over the next few days. The staff at the lodge were so helpful and organised a private driver for me and I was able to visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant – a beautiful botanical garden – as well as the fantastic hot springs and mud pools.

After an amazing 16 days following the tourist trail, I ventured to Suva.Although Suva is the capital city, it rarely makes it onto the backpacker's itinerary. Visiting Suva was an eye opener and I was lucky enough to be given a real understanding of Fijian life as I volunteered at the Fiji Sun newspaper. The office wasn't fancy and didn't have Macs or high tech equipment, but that wasn't a real concern. I met and interviewed so many people and was given a real insight into their lives. It was so interesting to find out about Fijian culture, conflict and the political situation in the country – things I knew absolutely nothing about before visiting.


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