Due to the hotelier’s new(ish) work circumstances, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Fiji twice in the last 12 months! (I know, tough life, right.) Yep, there are a few perks to having a husband who travels, a lot… and piggybacking on some of his work trips is one of them.
Before this though, it had been a decade since I’d graced the palm fringed islands of the South Pacific.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of Fiji. Sure, it has some great resorts and it’s a stunning spot to get away from it all… especially from Australia – it’s just a four hour flight.
But to be honest, I was more enthralled with Asia’s pockets of paradise – Langkawi, Phuket, the Philippines…etc.
So when some of our expat friends who live on the other side of the globe (namely America) said, ‘everyone here thinks Fiji is the be place to be’ I had to think twice. Then a German friend said the same thing, asking me if ‘it was worth the trip?’
Prior to this last visit, I would’ve said no, in fact I did! “Don’t come all the way from China, when you’re surrounded by tropical holiday destinations….”
But having been able to see more of Fiji of late… I’ve become a fan. A big fan!
Fiji is a little slice of pristine paradise. Sure, it’s no shopping mecca, which might disappoint some (although somehow, I still managed to charge a couple of ‘resort’ outfits to the room, while I was poolside…shhh…)
And this time, we got to venture out to the islands, away from the mainland. Who knew Fiji was actually an archipelago of more than 330 islands?
I got to see just how idyllic Fiji really is and what makes it so unique. White sandy beaches that stretch on forever and the clearest aqua-coloured water I’ve seen in a long time are just a couple of reasons. (Yep, no filter required on that photo!)
Fiji is an extra special sanctuary that I hadn’t fully had the pleasure of experiencing, having previously only stayed on Denarau Island, which is attached to mainland. Still, being there is not to be sneezed at, if you just want to chill out and enjoy resort life.
Staying at the Sheraton is brilliant because it and the Westin are side by side, so you basically have two resorts to enjoy for the price of one, which means two lots of swimming havens and double the number of restaurants.
Sheraton is beachfront but a little fatigued, while Westin doesn’t have a sandy beach front, it makes up for it with some beautiful pools overlooking the ocean and mighty impressive facilities.
Having dabbled in the outer islands, I would strongly recommend a day trip or overnight trip out to these. If you’re a diving enthusiast, apparently Fiji is the bomb when it comes to soft coral. It’s also a place that’s littered with lush jungles and secluded waterfalls.
Not only is Fiji a great escape for adults, it’s also an exceptional playground for the kids…(take note, mums & dads) with more water activities than you know what to do with, from snorkelling, to jet skiing, paragliding, kayaking, surfing you name it, it’s there. (And most resorts have great kids clubs!)
Accomodation is also varied to suit everyone’s taste, from the budget backpacker’s bungalow to your five star fantasy resort.
We even went to the island where they made the movie ‘Castaway’ with Tom Hanks. ‘Tom, if only you knew the Sheraton Tokoriki Island was just across the bay!’
The climate is warm and tropical with the best times to visit between April and October, mind you I was there in January and while it was pretty hot, when you’re immersed in water 90 per cent of the time, ‘hakuna matata!’
But what really makes Fiji special is the locals. Super friendly and generally always smiling, these people are a delight to be around. In fact, a 2014 poll put them as the happiest people on earth! They also have a unique blend of cultures and age old traditions, well worth experiencing.
Just make sure you get on ‘Fiji time’ as soon as possible and everything will be sweet!
Oh, and make sure to use plenty of ‘Vinaka’s!” (Thank you)…..
This post isn’t sponsored by any organisation, but This site has some great tips for your next trip.
Ps…It pays to remember there’s also a lot of poverty in Fiji…in fact I published a post on this a few years ago, when my dad got to see the other side of Fiji. Have a look here. It’s a poignant reminder to keep in mind the flip side of the coin, wherever you are.
And yes, my husband does work for Marriott, but all opinions are my own.