First things first, if you’re going to Fiji make sure you book your Bula pass! We didn’t know anything about this but luckily we were staying at a Nomads in Australia who sorted everything out for us! We opted for the 1 coconut pass which meant it was cheaper (supposedly not as good as the more expensive one) but I loved every part of our experience and wouldn’t change it! Make sure you also have cash on you for the islands as surprise surprise there isn’t many cash machines in the middle of the ocean!
After a busy month in Australia it was time to head to paradise – Fiji! Flying from Sydney we arrived in Nadi, the mainland and the entrance to the Yasawa Islands. We were island hopping for 10 days so as soon as we landed in Fiji we grabbed a ferry and headed to our first resort, Long Beach.
If you’re travelling on Awesome Adventures, there is a free shuttle bus to the ferry terminal from the airport, however we missed it by a second and so had to grab a taxi. They aren’t much but if you can make the bus, go for it! Luckily we got there in time and headed onto the ferry; unfortunately or fortunately however you see it, we were travelling on Fiji day. This meant the boat was one big party. On any other day I’m sure we would have loved it but after being awake all night, all we wanted was to nap, and we were staying on one of the furthest away islands!
When we arrived at the island, we had to transfer from the ferry onto a smaller boat to take us to our resort. I can’t explain how much beauty there is in Fiji. The water is incredibly clear, the islands pop out of the ocean sporadically and the sun is scorching! Our first island was stunning with, as the name suggests, a long stretch of white sandy beach in front of our little accommodations; it is just as you see in the photographs. As we were so tired from the boat journey we headed to our room for an afternoon nap before heading to dinner to meet the other people on the island.
When you arrive in Fiji you are automatically placed on Fiji time. This means nothing really has a set time so just listen out for the drums! To know when something is happening in the main house the drum is banged to alert all of the guests! After our first evening meal we were invited to take part in a Kava ceremony to celebrate Fiji day. As we were a lot more alert after our nap we joined in and got to know our fellow islanders! As much fun as it was learning about their traditions, I don’t think I’ll be drinking Kava again anytime soon, definitely a taste to get used to!
Our first morning in paradise began with a coconut demonstration; from taking off the outer shell to making coconut milk! It was genuinely amazing; taking apart a coconut with nothing other than a wooden stick and your hands just felt so natural and really makes you feel grounded. The sense of accomplishment from cracking opening a coconut and drinking the fresh water was amazing (and yummy!). We then made our own pudding with the coconut milk poured over papaya with lime juice which was d e l i c i o u s. My afternoon consisted of hiking up Goat Hill to get a glimpse of some goats and a few of the surrounding islands! I hiked up with Joe, our Fijian guide, and an elderly Spanish couple, Benito and Maria! It’s surprising how easy it is to make friends with people from all over the globe when you are surrounded by nature!
Between lying on the beach and playing volleyball, we crafted rings out of the coconut shells and got to know the hosts and our islanders. It was nice to ask others where they were heading next to see if anyone was heading to the same islands that we were! It was then time to leave our first island and head to Gold Coast Resort. Our first night was spent totally alone; just Jamie and I on our own private island, with puppies!
If you’re staying at Gold Coast or any of the surrounding resorts, make sure you take a walk to the Blue Lagoon. The water is so clear and shallow enough that you can just walk out and snorkel around! Unfortunately due to a volcano eruption in Tonga, the beaches in Fiji were covered in small buoyant black rocks that had travelled across the ocean. It made a lot of the beaches difficult to sunbathe on but it’s a small price to pay for otherwise literally heaven on earth.
Our time on this island was mostly spent playing with the puppies and walking to the Blue Lagoon; I couldn’t ask for much more. We were also blessed with gorgeous sunsets and the tastiest home cooked food!
Our third island choice was White Sandy Beach. Unfortunately we were hit by a huge amount of rain so when your plan is to sunbathe all day you can’t do much when the sun doesn’t come out! When there was break in the rain we headed to the new island but they didn’t have any power! As they run on solar panels, and there was no sun, we were completely off the radar and in the dark! It’s not the end of the world but the power was very sporadic the whole time we were there; you don’t realise how attached you are to phones until you can’t use them! The nice thing about the islands we’ve been on is that there was no wifi at all, and no service either. We were really living in the moment.
As the rain continued we decided to play a game of volleyball with the locals before eating dinner in front of the fire on the beach getting taught all about the history of Fiji.
The next day we were greeted by more rain so went to the neighbouring villas with some friends we made. We spent most of the day playing card games and learning tricks before heading back to our villa where we were treated to more tricks and trivia and some traditional Fijian dancing and singing! We even got to join in with the dancing; the people at this resort really knew how to make us feel at home!
Although the rain kept trying to ruin our paradise adventure, we decided to go and swim with Manta Rays. We were SO lucky as it was just our Fijian guide and Jamie and I in the middle of the ocean with around 6 Mantas. We got told to jump in and just swim, it’s quite scary just looking around at the dark depth of the ocean but then we caught a glimpse. All of a sudden these huge white and black rays came dancing right underneath us, playing with each other, gliding through the water. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life; to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, literally dancing with each other was breathtaking. After being blown away by this we headed back to the island to say goodbye to our fellow islanders before having the island to ourselves once again! Talk about lucky!
Finally some sunshine! The clouds split and we headed to the beach to catch the rays before heading to our last island! Every time we leave an island it is quite sad; you get to know these lovely Fijians and then have to move on! Our last stop was Wayalailai Eco Resort, which became one of my favourites! We had a lovely buffet dinner, had a catch up with a guy from the last island before an early night in our little hut!
This morning was time for another crazy experience – swimming with reef sharks! It was truly phenomenal, there were around 10-20 reef sharks swimming right up close to us! I actually wasn’t too scared either, they just seemed like dogs of the water! After a busy morning, I decided to take part in a craft afternoon. What’s been great about these islands is that if you want to just sunbathe and relax you can, but they also offer so many activities to keep you busy, and some of them are free too! I made a lovely anklet with a Fijian lady also named Lisa! (Sadly said anklet is now lost somewhere up a mountain in New Zealand!)
Our next morning came and just like that our Fiji adventure was over! We had a last minute sunbathe and reading session in the hammocks by the sea before packing up and heading to the mainland for one night! Hilariously when we got to the mainland the place we were staying at said we weren’t due there until November! Safe to say we made sure that was re arranged! We had one last sunset before turning in for a 5 am wake up call to get to the airport! New Zealand here we come!