Swaying palm trees, white sand, icy cocktails and perfect weather – who else is looking forward to an island escape? Fiji is a firm favourite on our tropical island escape list and with so much variety the islands suit every type of traveller. Add in friendly locals and incredible natural beauty and you have a perfect get-away-from-it-all escape.
1. Do your research
While travel is still restricted, starting to make plans and prepare for a return of holidays is a great way to keep motivated. Since the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, Fiji has made health and safety its priority. Due to the country’s quick and effective response to COVID-19, Fiji was able to contain the virus at an early stage, and its effective containment measures meant it was able to officially declare itself COVID-19 contained on 5 June 2020.
The Care Fiji Commitment was developed by The Tourism Recovery Team to reassure travellers that Fiji is a safe and secure destination to visit for their next holiday. When planning your future trip, make sure to keep up to date with all the information available online, and ensure you and your family or friends are doing all the steps required to abide by the current Covid safety regulations at the time of travel and in the lead up to it.
2. Choose your dream hotel
A decision you wouldn’t want to rush! There are many stunning resorts in Fiji, and Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa recently completed a USD$50m full resort refurbishment, including opening the resort’s brand-new Reef Adults-Only wing. The resort boasts an epic inflatable water park that was tailor-made for Survivor: Fiji challenges.
For a family friendly resort, VOMO Island Fiji could be perfect. The VOMO Kids Village is a nurturing place for what they call their ‘Little Islanders’. Their dedicated chef prepares a delicious array of cuisine which they can choose from, empowering them to think about their choices. Children are encouraged to eat breakfast with their family then dine with their Little Islander friends for the evening meal (and to give parents much needed time to enjoy the adult-only areas such as The Rocks for a sunset cocktails). For more quality time together, you can arrange for the entire family to be marooned in style with a picnic on nearby private island Vomo Lailai.
Fellow eco-warriors may be enticed by the sustainability of Barefoot Kuata Resort. This resort is all about living simply, sustainably and in harmony with the environment. They’ve used reeds from freshwater rivers for cladding as it’s a fast-growing and sustainable building material. Stones and rock formations removed to lay foundations have been incorporated into bathroom walls. The bure and its decking are suspended off the ground, reducing the environmental footprint and allowing marine foreshore life to continue their daily movements while also aiding cooling and ventilation. Plus, all rooms are located on a stunning beachfront location with private beach access to Barefoot Kuata’s inviting warm crystal-clear waters. Even the bathrooms have sea views!
3. Pick your must-do adventures
If you want to plan an adventure-filled holiday, Fiji is the perfect destination. The archipelago offers more than 300 islands to explore, filled with palm-lined beaches, lush rainforest and coral reefs. From exploring underwater caves to tackling raging rivers and skydiving, you’ll be spoilt for choice. You and your friends could Zipline across 35 acres of lush rainforest, just half an hour from the city of Nadi, where Sleeping Giant Zipline has five different courses running through 35 acres of gorgeous rainforest. The ziplines are suitable for children and adults, and you can buy a package to let you ride all five as much as you want. Or, you could go whitewater rafting on the Navua River, which snakes through the gorgeous highlands of Viti Levu. Get your adrenaline working overtime as you tackle the heart-pounding rapids in some parts of the river, and drift along and take in the breathtaking scenery in calmer waters. The river runs through some of Fiji’s most beautiful places, including past several remote villages. Herons, parrots and fruit bats are common sights on the river, and you’ll pass countless waterfalls – at least 70, by some estimates.
For avid hikers, there’s also the option to climb Fiji’s highest mountain, Mount Tomanivi (sometimes called Mount Victoria). It’s 1,322 metres from base to summit, and home to the critically endangered red-throated lorikeet, as well as numerous other threatened bird species. The dormant volcano is quite steep in places and is a challenging climb, so the best way to make the most of your trek is to go on an overnight excursion with Talanoa Treks. You’ll literally be walking through the clouds to reach the summit, and if it’s a clear day you’ll be able to see for kilometres from the top. Or, for the committed thrill seekers, you could even skydive over the Mamanuca Islands. It doesn’t get more adventurous than hurtling yourself out of a plane in mid-flight, watching the islands below rush up to meet you, then pulling your parachute cord and drifting serenely back down to earth. Skydive Fiji will bring you up as high as 4,300 metres, and you’ll be in freefall for a full minute (which will simultaneously feel like way too long and not nearly long enough).
4. Meal planning: Select a new dining experience each day
There are plenty of opportunities for fine food lovers to experience the flavours of the South Pacific in Fiji. Food is an increasingly important and attractive part of any Fiji itinerary. To explore the local cuisine, why not take a food tour through an organic spice plantation at Gaia Tree Sanctuary, on the northwestern coast of Taveuni, which is an eco-tourism destination where visitors can take a ‘Spice of Life’ tour of the organic farm and spice gardens. Explore lush hilltops and experience ocean views before enjoying a vegetarian farm-to-table lunch as well as herbal tonics and smoothies. Eat your way through the likes of crispy coconut and cassava croquettes with carrot-top chimichurri, golden tomato and mint salsa, or steamed gaiatree oyster mushroom rice paper rolls.
Or, try the acclaimed cuisine of a superstar chef. Lance Seeto is a culinary star in Fiji and his Nadi restaurant, Kanu, is a top local dining destination. Seeto has travelled extensively throughout Fiji to learn about traditional dishes and ingredients, which he fuses with modern techniques. Breadfruit gnocchi and palusami linguini are two of his adaptations of Italian cuisine using Fijian fare, while ota, peas and capers showcase the flavour and superfood properties of young ferns.
If you’re more of a sweet tooth, witness (and taste) the entire process of chocolate making at KokoMana in Savusavu, Vanua Levu Island. This is one of the few places in the world where chocolate is made just a few metres away from the cocoa trees. The farm-factory hosts a tour of the cacao farm where they demonstrate ‘tree-to-bar’ chocolate. Visitors get to taste the sweet, pulpy fruit from a ripe cocoa pod, and follow the process of fermentation, sun-drying, roasting, cracking, winnowing, conching and refining, to the final step of tempering the molten chocolate by hand on a stone table to create the gloss and snap of a fine chocolate bar.
For coffee connoisseurs, get a barista-made coffee at Bulaccino café and go on a farm tour! Bulaccino founder Eileen and her daughters were inspired to open their first café in Nadi while enjoying the coffee on holiday in Italy. They now operate three cafés in Fiji (one in Nadi and two in Suva) with trained baristas serving their own roasted Arabica beans grown in nearby Vanuatu. The cafés serve house-baked breads and other high-quality ingredients, many of them grown on their own organic farm. The farm has sheep, jackfruit and dragonfruit orchards, vegetable and herb gardens, medicinal plants and a bee farm.
5. Plan your cocktail stops
Need some cocktail bar inspiration for your future trip? Well, Cloud Nine could be up there as a top choice. Picture this: everywhere you turn you see warm, turquoise waters inviting you to jump in for a swim. You’re on a floating platform bar and pizzeria in Roro Reef, Fiji. This might sound like heaven, and its title comes close: this is Cloud Nine. Located off Malolo Island, Cloud Nine is Fiji’s only two-level floating platform and it provides a bar stocked with ice-cold international spirits and beers alongside Fijian favourites like Fiji Rum Co and Fiji Bitter. If you’re looking to do more than schmooze up to the bar, there’s also the reef at your disposal. Go parasailing, jet skiing, snorkelling, paddle boarding, or leap off for a good old-fashioned swim.
The brand new Seventh Heaven is another stylish floating bar based in crystal-clear waters off Malolo Island, and its sunlit deck is equipped with infinity beds and sun lounges. Go snorkelling and explore the local marine life or relax on the platform with a cocktail in hand and hit up the ice-cream and smoothie bar for a refreshing, frozen dessert. Enjoy woodfired pizzas made on site and local and international music as the soundtrack to your memorable experience.
Sometimes a tropical vacay calls for a night of opulence. That means getting out of your linen pants and into a little black dress, or shorts – you do you. And if you’re looking for a nightclub experience complete with bright lights and thumping music courtesy of international DJs, Republik at the Sofitel Hotel in Denarau Island is the spot for you. Think elegant cocktails complete with swish garnishes (here’s looking at you, delicately twisted orange peel), and a dancefloor that starts to ramp up at midnight.
Fiji is located in the heart of the South Pacific, just under four hours from Sydney and Melbourne, and only three hours and thirty minutes from Brisbane. The country of Fiji is comprised of 333 islands boasting luxurious private islands, all-inclusive resorts, world-renowned spas, outdoor explorations, scuba diving, world-class waves for surfing and a wide array of culinary adventures. Fiji is most widely celebrated for its culture, which uniquely welcomes its visitors “home to Fiji.” Fiji – where happiness finds you – www.fiji.travel
Want more? Click here for Five Remote Pacific Islands You’ll Dream Of Escaping To.