Why we chose Fiji?
This was our first time travelling to Fiji for an end of year holiday. We decided to pick Fiji because my partner had initially suggested it for our honeymoon. However, we ended up going to Queenstown as that period happened to be the monsoon period in Fiji and I was advised not to go by a close friend. So, we decided to make Fiji our second honeymoon destination instead!
We travelled to Nadi with Virgin Australia which took around 4.5 hours. We stayed in Lautoka for the first two nights (an hour from Nadi airport). We caught a taxi for all of our travels. I had read some blogs earlier and learnt that tourists are often asked to pay much higher rates (both travel and activities). So, we asked our hotel to provide us with a quote and tried to put our haggling skills to use when getting a taxi (I say ‘tried’ because both of us are very bad at haggling). The remaining taxi fares were reasonable or were fixed rates.
Island life and adventure
During our time at Lautoka, we walked around our nearest streets but did not go out into town. We stayed in Yanuca Island at Shangri La Resort. We had initially thought about taking a day trip out somewhere. But we just fell in love with the resort as the whole island was one resort with lots of activities. I’m not a snorkelling person but I would highly recommend it if you are visiting Coral Coast as it is one of the best places to snorkel in Fiji. I tried kayaking there for the first time and I absolutely loved it!
We stayed at Tanau hotel for the first two nights and travelled to Shangri La resort for the remaining four nights at Yanuca Island. We booked our accommodation on hotels.com. Funnily enough, these weren’t our first choice as we had initially intended to stay at Denarau Island which is the main touristy hub. Back in hindsight, I’m really glad things worked out the way it did because we both found Yanuca Island perfect for relaxation and Lautoka enjoyable for a little exploration. I’d definitely recommend Shangri-La to anyone who is travelling to Fiji for a relaxation holiday and doesn’t wish to move around too much.
Food was probably my second favourite thing about Fiji (island views topped as the first). We ate some really amazing, wonderful food. However, we did not get to experience authentic Fijian cuisine as the menu served at hotels and resorts was very diverse (we ate noodles, rice, sushi, Vietnamese rolls, pizza, pasta, pancakes, wraps, salads etc.). Two of my favourite dishes were trying a traditional rourou (taro) and an okra and potato curry. Taro was definitely my favourite because I used to eat it as a child and have not had it for a long time. Okra, on the other hand remains one of my favourite veggies. Both of our accommodation included breakfast buffets which was great (breakfast is my favourite meal of the day). The breakfast options at Shangri La were pretty amazing; the mushrooms, waffles and pancakes usually made my day. Last but certainly not least, the fruits that topped my list pineapple, coconut water and pawpaw. The pineapple was incredibly sweet there so I’d highly recommend everyone to load up on it.
Everyone speaks English really well so we had no struggles communicating at all. We left knowing the same Fijian words we had started with (‘bula’ is for saying hi and ‘vinaka’ is thank you). As I previously mentioned, the purpose of our trip was relaxation (not exploration), so we left feeling very content. Having said that, I know lots of people who have taken part in adventurous activities including snorkelling, jet skiing, hikes to waterfalls, island cruises, village tours etc. The Fijian people were every so friendly and welcoming, especially at Yanuca Island (they would always wave ‘bula’ to us from far distances and sang us a romantic and a farewell song during our anniversary dinner).
Fiji was absolutely amazing and just the relaxation holiday we needed. But if you’d like to do something more exploratory, Fiji has just as much to offer. Here are 3 tips for any future travellers:
- Make sure to plan your trip in advance if you are intending on doing lots of exploring. Fiji has 333 islands, so travelling to some islands can be quite a day trip!
- Use cash, if possible. Some places may not take card or charge a transaction fee. We drew out Fijian dollars before we left Sydney.
- Fiji is not particularly cheap. Most meals at the resorts will cost around the same price as Australia. Fijian water may also seem to be ridiculously expensive (we paid around $9.50 for a 1L bottle at the resort). But we told ourselves it’s okay, you’re on holidays. Don’t expect all gains; because you lose some, you gain some!
Thanks for reading. Keep scrolling down to see the full journey :)
Our travel essentials
Waiting to land…
We have arrived in Lautoka!
Grilled market fish, served with herb-fried potatoes and local beans.
Tanoa curry with tamarind rice, roti and condiments
Our first breakfast in Lautoka. The curried chickpeas were delicious on toast.
Getting my hands on Fijian yoghurt #supportlocalproduce
Not a bad view!
Grilled Mahimahi fillet, served with traditional rourou on a bed of mashed potatoes
Getting a prawn salad cause you gotta eat your veggies #dietitianproblems
An extra large seafood pizza that did not go down so well :/
Day 3: can you tell I get excited by breakfast? :P
Arriving at Yanuca Island
Yes to swaying palm trees! #wemadeit
Our room at Shangri-La
First lunch at Yanuca Island, came with a view, of course!
Nicoise salad: yellow fin tuna flakes, anchovy, green beans, potatoes, tomato and a boiled egg
Took a walk after lunch and we are in love with the view already!
Could this be any prettier?
Literally everything looks amazing!
Sipping on our first coconut in Fiji. We drank many more after this but this was my favourite.
Dinner with a view
Starting off with Vietnamese paper rolls….they look so much better cut up
Fried rice tastes so much better when it arrives in a pineapple shell!
Watching our first sunset at Yanuca Island.
It was breathtaking.
And it continues to look pretty even after the sun has set!
Day 4: pancakes, waffles and a beautiful view! What more can you ask for?
Yes, I’m a sucker for pancakes and pretty views.
Loading up on fruit and pancakes! The pineapple was the best.
Found this secluded spot while walking around on the island….
That’s when we realised that maybe we should celebrate our anniversary here?
Is this for real? Still pinching myself.
Hubs getting into Fijian spirits after a visit to the local souvenir shop
The view is obviously not the best in the middle of the day. But I think it’s still quite pretty!
Getting a vegetable wrap cause vegetable = priorities :P
Walked over to the chapel on the island. I can definitely see why a lot of people come to Fiji to get married.
The water is so clear!
Exploring the island..
Soaking up the view..
All shades of blue…
Getting ready for our anniversary dinner
The view was absolutely breathtaking.
Starting off with sushi and paper rolls
Bae adding to my view, as always.
Celebrating 11 months of togetherness
Quiet moments of reflection…
The mains are here!
It was our first time trying a lobster.
Day 6: exploring more of the island…
Cause you gotta eat the rainbow!
Buffet dinner on our final night.
Loading up on pineapples, papaya and watermelon!
In love with these red trees
Watching the last sunset in Fiji. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Isn’t it almost like the famous infinity pool?
Our last breakfast in Fiji..
Going to miss the view!
Grabbing a light meal at the airport before we hop on the plane..