After only being back in Brisbane for 3 weeks and back to having the flexibility of choosing my own work schedule, I was itching to go on my next adventure. With a week off from work and some advice from my cousin and world traveler Shauna, I decided Fiji was the perfect destination.

After a short 4 hr flight from Brisbane, I arrived in Nadi, the capital of Fiji. I was greeted by rain and warm “Bula” welcomes from friendly locals. My first night in Nadi was spent at Smugglers cove, a resort style hostel overlooking Wailoaloa Beach located on Nadi bay. Here I spent the afternoon/ night walking along the beach, at the hostel where I met 8 other travellers who had just finished spending 5 months volunteering in a Fijian school. It was their last night in Fiji the night I arrived. I joined in and together we had dinner and took part in a “Kava” ceremony. Kava is a mildly narcotic drink made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) with water. Drinking the “muddy water” appearing Kava  results in a numb feeling around the mouth, lips and tongue and a sense of relaxation. For many Fijians, kava is a link to their ancestral past and is the nation’s traditional and national drink. The drink itself is thought to have medicinal qualities.

During a Kava ceremony, participants sit in a circle on the floor while a large bowl is placed in front of the leader. The plant is pounded, the pulp placed in a cloth sack and mixed with water in a tanoa (bowl) where it turns a brownish colour. The leader strains the liquid and fills a small bilo (cup) to be presented and drunk in one shot by the chief guest, who must clap once before and after drinking the kava. The order of serving then continues from the most important guest down the ranks in order of status. And the taste? Not my favourite 🙂

My next day marked the start of my 6 day Fiji island hopping tour. I took a 4.5 hour boat ride from Nadi to the island of Nacula where I stayed at Safe Landing Resort. As our boat pulled into the resort, we were greeted by the staff singing a traditional “Bula Welcome” song and playing the eukalale and a nice cold drink on the beach. It was rainy weather again however I made the most of it, playing cards with other travellers from England and Scotland. My new friends thought it was unfair how I kept winning so many card games regardless of  what games we played. I’d like to think it was from all my practice playing cards at home with the competitive Carlows. A sunny following day allowed for a trip to the beautiful Sawailau Caves, a village tour of the Naisisili Village, snorkelling at the famous Blue Lagoon Island (where the 1980 “Blue Lagoon” movie staring Brooke Shields was filmed) and bracelet making from coconuts we found around the resort. A traditional Fijian dancing show and socializing at a neighbouring resort was a perfect way to end the night.

The next day I was off on a 1.5 hour boat ride to Korovou Eco Resort on the Naviti island. This resort turned out to be my favourite due to the welcoming staff and friends I made here. Luckily a group of 5 of us from the last resort ended up together again here on Koravou, making for more laughs and card games. With sunny weather I spent the next two days sun tanning, snorkelling, and my favourite- swimming with manta rays. Due to the strong nutrient rich currents that funnel through the narrow channels around the Naviti island, the manta rays are able to access their main food source, plankton, with ease by swimming against the current. Arriving in boats, our guide would spot a manta ray swimming close to the surface of that water and our group would jump into the water to follow it. After swimming with that manta ray, We would then go back into the boat and drive around to find the next one. In total we saw three manta rays which spanned an average of 4.5 m in length. The manta rays were very calm as we swam centimetres from them. They do not have teeth or a sting on their tail and are completely harmless to humans. It was my favourite experience of the entire trip.

After 2 nights at the Korovou Resort, I was off to Beachcomber Resort on the Mamanuca island for one night. This resort was exactly what I pictured Fiji to be like. It was on a small sand island that took only 5 minutes to walk fully around, and completely covered in sand and palm trees. The bar and dining area were right on the beach so I walked around without shoes while at the resort. After a night of beach volleyball and dancing, I was off on a sailing trip for my last day on the Yasawa Islands. Early in the morning we boarded our 84 year old schooner sail boat and spent the day sailing. The staff kept us entertained with singing while we had all you could eat and drink all day. My favourite part of the day was visiting the Castaway Island, the island where the Tom Hanks Cast Away movie was filmed. I unfortunately didn’t find Wilson but did find his “Help Me” sign made out of coconuts. I spent time walking around the island and snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Before ending the day we visited a local village on the Yanuya Island and went for a swim by jumping off the front of the boat. That night I made my way back to Nadi before flying out the next morning.

I had such a great week in Fiji!!


The beautiful Blue Lagoon


View from my room at Safe Landing Resort
This coconut was used to make a bracelet for me!


Tour of the Naisili Village
Sacred meeting spot in the village


Kindergarten Classroom in the village


Some friends I made in the village
My guide gave me one of these fresh coconuts so I could drink the delicious coconut water
Sawailau Caves


Korovou Resort- my favourite resort !!


Enjoying our fresh coconut water (Rachel from Scotland, Emma from England and Ellie from England)
Our bonfire while watching the sunset was amazing


Lucky to have Ellie and Rachel at 2 of my 3 resorts


Swimming with the manta rays was AMAZING !!


Beachcomber Resort- no shoes needed
Our Seaspray sail boat
Cast Away Island


“Help Me” written using coconuts
Village on the Yanuya Island
found these cute kids while visiting the village


He loved giving high fives
If you look closely you will see the local gym


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