Bula! Mmmmmm what can we tell you about Fiji?! Not much to be honest as we didn't do an awful lot, but we had an enjoyable week making our way around the mainland of Viti Levu.
On arriving in Fiji we had a bit of trouble finding where we were staying but luckily a Fijian travel agent (and lady-man) knew the destination and dropped us off at the end of her shift. It turns out we were staying in a lady's house, called Dee. She was an absolute gem, and we stayed with her on our return to Nadi.
Nadi itself was pretty horrid, just lots of people bugging you and trying to rip you off, so we quickly left for Pacific Harbour on the Coral Coast. It claims to be 'the adventure capital of Fiji' but as it rained nearly the whole time we were there our options of activities were limited. We wanted to fit in some trekking while there, in the backdrop of highlands, so we signed up for the trek on the Feegee Experience as it sounded the best, cheapest and apparently there were no routes we could do independently.
The trek was a good three hours and although we were lucky with the weather on the day it was still pretty muddy and slippy due to the rain for the previous two days! The trek took us through the Namosi Highlands, which are covered in lush rainforest, and along some forest streams. It was good to have seen some Fijian landscapes up close but we didn't spot any fresh water crocs, though!
At the end of the trek we got to have another go at Tubing! This time down the Navua River and (because of stupid 'health and safety') with lifejackets and our shoes on. And minus any bars! It was still great fun and the views of the river meandering toward the ocean were great.
The bus took us from here to the capital, Suva. Here we spent the night with the Feegee Experience guys and enjoyed? a night of traditional Fijian dancing to modern pop beats. Our guide Kam even took the stage to perform a traditional Fijian drag act for us.
The next day we undertook a walking tour of Suva which we found to be quite nice (much better than Nadi) even though some of the locals are clearly worried about their political troubles.
From Suva we headed North to Volivoli Beach near Rakiraki. We had hoped to do some diving but were thwarted by the poor weather and lethargy of the dive operators. We chilled out for a day or two before a rather interesting bus trip took us back to Nadi and Dee's. Catching the local buses here have been our favourite experiences in Fiji as you get to meet the really friendly locals and ride antique style buses (one bus driver had to keep stopping at homes to ask for water refills for his overheating engine). Most people you meet who work in the tourism industry here are usually quite unhelpful.
It was great to finish our trip with Dee, and talk to her teenage son James about rugby (he was grinning alot about the world cup Wales match!). We also got to meet some interesting characters who were staying with Dee - including a 76 year old English lady who has travelled all over the world since the 50's and is still backpacking; she had some very cool stories. Don't think she'll ever stop. Dee and James were such welcoming locals and we felt at home staying with them, kinda sad to leave in the morning! Anyone going via Nadi should definitely go visit them!
....... onto country 11. New Zealand!