Wednesday 26th September to 9th October 2012
Volcanic in origin, Fiji is a group of islands located in the South Pacific approximately 4,450 km (2,775 mi) southwest of Honolulu and 1,770 km (1,100 mi) north of New Zealand. Flight time to Fiji is 10 hours from Los Angeles; four hours from Sydney; slightly over two hours from Auckland and about six hours from Honolulu.
Of the 322 islands and 522 smaller islets making up the archipelago, approximately 106 are permanently inhabited. The largest island Viti Levu, covers about 57 of the nation's land area and has the two largest metropolitan areas (the capital Suva, and Lautoka). It also hosts most of the other major towns, ie, Ba, Nasinu, and Nadi (the site of the international airport).
The largest island, Viti Levu (pronounced Vee-tee Lay-vu) is home to 70% of the population (about 600,000) and is the hub of the entire archipelago. It measures 146 kilometers long and 106 kilometers wide and has an area of 10,389 square kilometers. In the realm of Pacific islands, it is exceeded in size only by New Caledonia and the Big Island of Hawaii.
We choose to stay on Viti Levu. Although when we look back we may regret this decision. We are tired and feel we just need time to chill and relax without doing our usual run around and see different things. We have wrestled with the idea that this maybe a wasted opportunity to discover the islands.
Bamboo Hostel in Newtown, Nadi Bay double room with private bathroom and breakfast. Very basic and not clean. Good fresh home cooked food and value for money. 2 nights. Free shuttle from the airport
Tubakula Beach Bungalows on the Coral Coast - 7 nights
3 bed bungalow 30 metres to the beach and sea. Kitchen, lounge/dining room. 24 bungalows in total with on site shop, restaurant and swimming pool. All basic but just what we needed for a chill out week of doing nothing. We went to local town of Sigatoka twice on the bus to buy groceries from the market and cater for our selves. There are very few people at the resort and this does indeed give us chance to catch up with sleep and generally be very lazy.
Tsulu Beach Backpackers & Apartments, Pacific Harbour. - 3 nights/3 days.
We arrive on the bus which has taken about 90 minutes from Tubukula. It is raining and we get very wet waiting for the bus to come.
On arrival we are checked into Waterfall room, a first floor 4 bedroom apartment, we have use of small kitchen, open plan dining room, lounge, shared bathroom and shared balcony overlooking the beautifully maintained gardens. It appears we have the whole thing to ourselves. I fear we maybe becoming very anti social
The apartments are part of a complex which offers large dorm rooms, several bars, cafés, restaurants, shops selling local handicrafts and souvenirs and a small swimming pool. Also on site is a cultural centre which entertains tourists with a traditional Fijian show and lunch. It does not appear to be very busy, but we are out of season. There are the odd tourists wandering round and Saturday's show seems to bring in a few bus loads..
There are 3 apartments each individually named and themed with murals painted on the walls i.e.
Waterfall, Ocean and Sunset.
The rain does not stop so we take a look round the complex. When we get back to the room we notice that there is a dripping noise above the bed, there doesn't appear to be any water but who knows how long that will remain the case. Andy reports this to the manager and we are immediately moved to Ocean apartment, a one bedroom ensuite with lounge - no sofa just a day bed and kitchen. Not long after we settle into this we notice it has a leak in the ceiling again in the bedroom this time water is actually dripping We are moved back to our original apartment but to a different room. This makes us very happy as we were looking forward to having space and a balcony again. I can imagine in it's heyday this place was amazing, but sadly over time it has deteriorated and now needs substantial amount of money spending on it. It will do us for the next few days, giving us time to chill and for Andy to do some diving.
The weather is changeable with heavy rainfall, overcast skies and some intermittent sunshine.
Andy dives for two days. Day one with all manner of sharks including Bull Sharks, Silky Sharks,Grey Reef Sharks, Black and White Tip Sharks. Day two was a reef dive with swim throughs, lots of fan coral and small fish. He manages to photograph nudibracches, which are like very colourful sea slugs that everybody gets really excited about. The visibility is not good on either day because the weather but at least he is in the water doing what he likes. It also gives me time to catch up with the blog.
1 night at Wailoaloa Beach Resort, double ensuite with breakfast.
Bus back to Nadi takes about 2 hours 45mins. We check into Wailoaloa Beach Resort, Newtown. We have a ensuite double with pool view and breakfast. The disadvantage is that is is directly on the flight path, in fact the runway is next door and I have never seen planes come in so low. Goof thing they don't land between the hours of 9pm and 5am. We eat at the hotel and food id freshly made and very tasty as well as fairly good value for money.
Up early the next morning to catch a plane to Vanuatu. Despite being assured several times that a breakfast would be prepared for us before departure, when we get there in the morning nothing is ready, as we are waiting for our free transfer to the airport a chef is summoned and scrambled eggs on toast to go is quickly cooked.