6 Days In Fiji
I’ve a confession – I’m one of the many who’s easily persuaded by Instagram’s feast of travel (and cakes and dogs) pictures when I scroll through my feed. I can’t emphasise how often I’d look at an image of Fiji with its sparkling clear water, cloudless blue sky and soft sand and tell Glenn “I want to go (to) here.”
So we pack our sunglasses, sandals and speedos and take off to this collection of volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean for a desperately needed tropical holiday. Considering that winter in Sydney can be the most awful feeling when you don’t exactly brave the polar chill for a swim even as the sight of our renown beaches beckon, this is a much needed sun and sea recharge.
Fiji is made up of over 300 islands of which 110 are inhabited so accommodation options abound. We narrow our selection to two of the popular regions – the Coral Coast and Mamanuca Islands – and after hours of trawling through images of hotel pools, we booked to stay at The Pearl South Pacific and Tokoriki Island Resort.
The transfer to our first stay at The Pearl South Pacific in the Coral Coast is almost two hours but judging at how the landscape gradually transforms from a parched green to a vibrant forest green, the drive is worth every minute. Our room faces the resort’s private beach and we leave the balcony door ajar every night to embrace the sound of the waves as we sleep.
Days are spent lazing at the pool and getting up to our usual shenanigans of star water bombs as well as feeding ourselves with the freshest seafood during lunch and dinner. We go on a cruise to Beqa Lagoon and experience a tropical sunset and while our spirits say adventure seekers, it’s a no thanks ma’am for Glenn and myself at the idea of diving with sharks in the same lagoon.
Our less than fearless spirits however take us to Yanuca Island for a day venture where we snorkel with Nemo amongst other vibrant sea life. Spending time with the locals open our eyes to how Fijians live, relishing the simple things like singing, cooking and drinking fresh coconut water. Our guides scale palm trees with agile moves and cut coconuts like committed warriors while all I could do is looked at Glenn with sad puppy eyes that I can’t even scoop out flesh from the coconut.
Located in the Mamanuca Islands, we arrive to our second stay at Tokoriki Island Resort. With multiple awards under its belt including #1 Best hotel in Fiji, #1 Best Romantic hotel in Fiji and #1 Best Luxury hotel in Fiji voted by TripAdvisor travellers, we know we are home the minute we leave the catamaran and step on the secluded island.
The hammock remains our best friend during the holiday – we would fall asleep under the sun while the palm trees rustle in the South Pacific breeze. Of course we couldn’t resist the beckoning of the stand-up paddle board, glass bottom kayak and hobie cat. Swanning around on the clear turquoise water is the sort of adventure Glenn and I revel in although we yell at each other like emotional Italians when I’m not steering correctly (only because he couldn’t distinguish his lefts and rights).
Singing to Fijians is like vegemite to Australians – there’s never a moment at Tokoriki Island Resort when we aren’t serenaded by soothing harmonies and string instruments. Once or twice, I really wonder if one of the pre-requisites to working in the hospitality or tourism industry is to be able to belt out a note or two.
You’ll often hear Fijians say “Fiji time” and while time does anything but stops, you do develop a sense of appreciation for the unhurried and banal that we forget to notice and care about. While the struggle is real initially disconnecting from social media and everything tech, it soon became a way of life.
Coming from a 9-5 daily grind to a serene, soft-sand-under-my-feet and vibrant culture where smiles are packed to the brim, it’s a welcoming change. Fijians are said to be one of the warmest people you can meet and without a doubt, I feel a sense of welcome and belonging the very minute I stepped off the plane (well, immigration wasn’t exactly the kindest – they didn’t believe I could look younger than my passport photo even though I am Asian but I digress).
While the tropical paradise vacation has to come to an end, this is an experience that extents beyond memories. Fiji, I will see you soon and not on Instagram.