Tag Archives: Fiji

Fiji, 2013

When my daughter was 4 months old, my husband found himself between jobs, so we decided to take a trip to Fiji.

The flight was easy as we had a cot for the little one, inadvertently leading to more legroom on the plane too.

We stayed at the Hilton at Denarau that had a couple of swimming pools overlooked by the breakfast restaurant. From our very comfortable villa we had a view of the beach and our daughter was a very happy baby in her second home with air conditioned controlled temperatures.

She also liked the mirrors in the fancy bathrooms, especially the looking glass; and the ground floor balcony area with comfortable couches that she could roll around on in the fresh air. We both enjoyed the hammock put up on two trees just out the back of the villa and the colourful flowers on the path to the restaurant.

At the restaurant, our daughter was a hit. We had not booked a babysitter, but as soon as we came down for a meal, she was whisked away by the hostess and taken to see the friendly kitchen staff. It was heaven to be able to enjoy a meal together and our daughter was always returned happier when we had finished eating.

She had her first swim ever in the kid’s pool. Unsure at first, our daughter grew to enjoy it over the course of the week. The weather wasn’t too hot, so we made use of the deck chair service for lunch times and it was a short easy walk back to the villa if we needed anything.

One day, we took a Baby Bjorn trip on the Bula bus to the port for a lovely seafood meal in a local café called Lulu’s. On another we took our daughter for her first swim at the beach, which she seemed to enjoy much more than the pool.

But the best part was the firelighters that ran by the room lighting torches at sunset. She just could not take her eyes off the flames.

After such stimulating days, our daughter was always easy to put to sleep so my husband and I really felt like we had a holiday ourselves as we enjoyed rest time in the evenings.

Before we were ready to leave, it was time to take the golf cart to the hotel lobby, check out and fly home. Back to the reality of a new job for my husband and no handy helpers at dinner time.

Related posts: Fiji, 2011, Fiji, 2008, It’s a South Pacific Thing

It’s a South Pacific Thing

The South Pacific has been largely romanticised by the musical of the same name. As an Aussie, I feel like the South Pacific is not so much of a novelty as it close by and therefore accessible.

It is also cheap and an easy beach holiday destination with built in babysitting services for families. Of course, some may be more expensive than others. Any island carries higher prices on food due to transport, which is why you may choose to stay on the mainland when visiting Fiji.

The South Pacific has also become one of the places to go for a destination wedding with 5 star resorts catering to every need.

Personally, I like the friendly people, having a cocktail in the pool bar and the beautiful sunsets.

But what do you do when the weather is bad?

This happened to us on a trip to New Caledonia- it rained all week. So we focused on the food and indoor activities such as shopping and museums.

And of course there are other cultural experiences you can partake in like visiting a cultural village, drinking cava and experiencing the local market.

In more developed islands such as Oahu and Hawaii, there are so many activities to choose from that it’s hard to pick no matter what the weather is like.

The South Pacific is about palm trees, drinking out of fresh coconuts and listening to the ukulele. It’s scuba diving, poolside time and smelling the Frangipani’s.

Sliding down a waterslide, visiting a waterfall and watching as the night time torches get lit. It’s bright tropical colours, shell necklaces and endless lazy days.

Crazy cool resorts like the famous ones in Bora Bora and Vanuatu plus lots of little islands I’ve never even heard of.

And of course, you could always fall in love and have a real South Pacific story of your own.

Related posts: Fiji, 2011, Fiji, 2008

Fiji, 2011

When we were thinking about where to go on our annual holiday, my husband and I had decided upon South America. Then my friend Marnie announced she was getting married in Fiji and we changed our plans to go to Mexico instead. It was one of the best decisions we ever made, not only because we got to attend the wedding of a friend, but because Mexico turned out to be one of the best destinations we have ever been to.

Second time around at Denarau, we stayed at the Sheraton. We discovered the advantage of staying on the peninsula when I found that we were able to use any of the pools at any of the other resorts in the area, as well as eat at any of their restaurants.

The wedding party were staying next door at the Sheraton Villas and most of the guests were staying in nearby hotels, so each night we had a ready-made group of friends to go dining with. Apart from a few mutual friends of the bride that we were already acquainted with, we struck up a new friendship with Dan and Susie, an English couple who were friends of the groom.

Most days were spent lazing at the pool and the beach drinking champagne or cocktails. My friend Vanessa had brought her daughter and there were others who had children, so there was always someone at the pool. The sunsets on the beach were just as lovely as I remembered and the pool bars were even more fun this time around.

The day before the wedding, my husband went for a scuba dive and I went for a manicure and checked out the church that was to be used for the ceremony. It was a beautiful tiny white washed chapel perched on a point looking out into the ocean.

The day of the wedding dawned sunny and the guests were all the colours of the rainbow in their bright holiday dress. Sunset cocktails on the beach were followed by the reception at Flying Fish restaurant with more drinks, speeches and lovely seafood. The dance floor at Chime Bar was packed that night!

Related posts: Fiji, 2008, The Seven Year Itch

Fiji, 2008

In the Christmas of 2008, instead of celebrating at home, my husband-to-be’s (HTB) family decided we would all travel to Fiji for 5 nights. We stayed at the Radisson Blu- one of the large hotels on the mainland at Denarau.

I had never been to the South Pacific, never really stayed in a flash hotel before, and never been away with my HTB’s family, which included two brothers, so it was all a bit different.

It was the hottest time of the year, so most days were spent lounging by the pool after the breakfast buffet and swimming over to the pool bar for 11am cocktails. The Blue Marlin was the voted the favourite.

If we felt a little more energetic, we would slide down the fun waterslides or take a walk on the beach. We read, played cards and ate a lot. Every night the firelighters would come down to the beach and light torches that reflected off the beautiful picture perfect sunsets.

After a few days of this, my traveller gene kicked in and I dragged everyone away from the safety of the hotel for a waterfall tour. The bus picked us up and drove us up the coast and into the green hills.

We visited a little village called Biasevu with children running around and went to the community hall for a traditional cava ceremony- strong stuff. Suitably fortified, it was time to trek to the waterfall.

Unfortunately, half way through the walk, it started to rain. Heavily. But our tour guide Nadine lent a helping hand and everyone made it across the river to Sava Mate Laya waterfall intact.

It was flowing quite a lot due to the rain, but I was still determined to take a swim underneath and get my head wet. A little wetter and a little wiser about Fiji culture, we headed back to our little piece of luxury, to enjoy it while we could.

The seven year itch

I have been to 50 weddings in my life, 40 of those in the last seven years. This is not an exaggeration- I have counted. I know it seems a little excessive, but the only explanation that I can give is that of a Catholic family and country school mates. Or maybe it’s just that I am really sociable and a fun wedding guest?!

My husband has been dragged to many of these wedding with me and vice versa. He has been in many bridal parties, has been the MC and an usher- while I have sat at the singles table. The only wedding that I have been in the bridal party for was my best friend’s wedding earlier this year.

What I know about weddings could fill a book. I have been to big weddings, small weddings, full catholic ceremonies, quickie celebrant ceremonies, church weddings, house weddings, reception hall weddings, hotel weddings, RSL weddings, fancy restaurant weddings, cocktail party weddings, sit down weddings, stand up weddings, garden weddings, beach weddings, winery weddings, weekend away weddings, destination weddings, a wedding in a courthouse, one in a library and a wedding on a tugboat.

I have been to weddings in Terrigal, the Hunter Valley, Berrima, Mount Wilson, Wollongong, Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Sydney. I have travelled to attend weddings in Melbourne, Hobart, Cairns and Darwin. I used to have a no overseas wedding rule, but after getting married in Thailand myself, I couldn’t really use that as a reason not to go anymore. So I have now also been to weddings in Fiji, Hawaii and Canada. The money I have spent on travel, accommodation, kitchen teas, hen’s nights/weekends away and wedding presents is a sum I don’t even want to think about- but it was all in good fun and each wedding has been special in its own way.

With my events background I would probably make a great wedding planner and I have considered this. I have a friend who does hair and make up, one trained in floristry and a friend that does photography. But the bottom line is that I could not deal with bridezillas.

Even the most sane and sensible people who swore they would never get caught up in the commercial hoop-la end up worrying about things like what is on the place cards. For my own wedding I did not give a toss about the details- I just got the hotel to do it all and make all the decisions. The cake was hideous- but who cares- I didn’t even want a cake and I didn’t choose it.

It dismays me when I see people getting caught up in all the little things, succumbing to family pressure and losing sight of themselves and what’s really important- two people making a commitment to each other and an excuse for a really good party. No one else is going to notice if the vase on table 1 is different to the vase on table 2, so just relax and enjoy the day.

The cost is also ridiculous- just mention the word wedding and the price triples. That’s why I was “shopping for my thirtieth” when I found my red wedding dress. Why would I wear white when red is my best colour? The average Australian wedding costs 50 thousand, which is enough for a long honeymoon and a good start on a flat deposit. Who wants to start their married life in debt?

And then there is the question of the second weddings. I have not been to one yet, but with a few friends divorced, it could happen. Do you automatically get an invite to the second wedding if you have been to the first or are you automatically excluded? Wether you go or not, do you have to buy another wedding present?

At the end of the day, each bride (and groom) needs to make the choice about what they want and be happy about it. If a big wedding with all the trimmings and a white dress is what you want, then go for it, but just be honest and say that is what you want from the beginning.

Related posts: I first started writing, Home is where you make it, Travel rememberings, Friendship: Great Expectations?, All Creatures Great and Small, Canada, 1990, TV replays and Movie Marathons, USA, 1990, By special request