OMG Fiji, Bula Bula, Best Rainy Days Ever, and the Fiji Bo Bo special
Updated: May 8, 2020
Dear Friends and Family, When I last left you, I was high in the sky off to the Great Barrier Reef to Find Nemo - and I did! But first I need to tell you all about OMG Fiji. I say OMG Fiji because if you have ever imagined what Fiji might be like - warm, sunny, stunning blue skies, breathtaking lush green scenery with lots of flowers, and a temperature that is just like Goldilocks porridge -not too hot, not too cold, but just right, you would get a bingo for your answer. My earliest recollection of Fiji is Mr. Napper’s Grade 5 geography class at W.H Ballard school. One day he asked the class where we wanted to travel when we grew up. Like most kids that age, I think the farthest I had ever been was Niagara Falls. For whatever reason, I put up my hand and said Tahiti. Not because I knew anything about Tahiti, but because I liked that soda pop called Tahiti Treat with the palm tree on the front of the can. I didn’t like the taste, just the artwork - it looked like a fun place to go. After that, all tropical countries became one and the same genre to me - fun! If you have ever considered going to Fiji in your lifetime for goodness sake go. The people, culture, and country are extraordinary; you won’t be disappointed. When you arrive, you will be struck by the warmth and genuineness of the people. Everyone from the immigration officer to the taxi driver greets you with a warm and hearty Bula, (Welcome) each day. Not put on, but very sincere. When we told the locals we were from Canada they were so touched we had traveled so far that they gave us extra everything; extra smiles, extra Bulas, extra flowers for our hair, drinks, towels, toilet paper, food....nothing was too much trouble.
In the Fijian culture-making one feel welcome, valued, and appreciated is of the utmost importance. I think a lot of people could learn a lot from Fijians. Also, considering that cannibalism was still alive and well on the 300 Fijian islands in 1860, this is a big step forward. Before we arrived the forecast was dismal- rain, rain, and more rain- a full 5 days of it. It did rain buckets the first night we were there. When we arrived at our rooms on the ground floor, we had guests waiting outside to greet us - not the two-legged kind either, but rather miniature toads; heaps of them! When I expressed my concern to the housekeeper, she laughed hard and said it was considered good luck. I don’t know if she told me this to humour me, but I told her I drew the line at toads in my bed. It turns out there must have been some truth to her prediction because for the next 5 days it was sunny, sunny, sunny; and I don’t mean intermittent sunshine with heavy clouds- that was the weather everywhere else in Fiji. In our neck of the woods, or wherever we traveled, the sun shone and shone brightly. R and R scuba dived, and we took a scenic boat ride to a remote island to snorkel and swim with baby sharks. We dined with Fijian villagers and the Chief on traditional Fijian cuisine cooked in the ground with banana leaves, then watched the chief and a few others walk across hot coals. According to the locals, his tribe is the only one in Fiji that can do this. We watched incredible sunsets across calm, clear waters and ate some delicious seafood. I’m not going to lie to you, it was tough to leave paradise.
To soften the blow I booked myself into the spa for a massage before we left. While I pursued the options I asked the girl behind the desk which was the best one; she recommended the Fiji Bo Bo special (not kidding- remember our friend Bo Bo the pig from NZ?). Anyway, I took it as another sign this trip was meant to be and that Bo Bo should be the official mascot for my super awesome trip, so he will be. So many more adventures to tell you about...stay tuned for Sydney! Thanks for hanging in there with us and G’ day Mates Best, Jane
Stay, Play, Dine and Shop in Fiji!
The Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa
Denarau Island North, Fiji
The country of Fiji is comprised of 300 islands with two main islands. We stayed on Denerau which is, according to the locals, much sunnier and drier than other islands. We stayed for 5 nights at the Westin Denarau and it was spectacular. The accommodations were spacious and there was an incredible multi course buffet breakfast each day; and I’m not talking sloppy eggs and bacon with a side of frozen hash browns here. There were gourmet meats, cheeses, salads, yogurt, fresh made to order juices and smoothies, cooked to order omelettes, eggs any way you like them, baked goods, fresh fruit, Fijian speciality dishes, and fresh seafood, unbelievable! Certainly, enough to fill any adult, child or young man like R and R that can eat enough for 4 people.
The Westin has multiple pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and is on the tram route to the main harbour. We got a chance to see all of the hotels and the Westin is definitely the best one. You can walk to and utilize facilities including restaurants, beaches and pools at The Sheraton too- great value, great staff and The Heavenly Spa which is truly heavenly! Everything is outdoors so you can get an incredible treatment among the palms under gentle breezes. I also loved the gorgeous adult only lap pool and great amenities at the fitness centre and activities galore including yoga, fitness classes, and running guides run a few times a week.
During this full day experience you will see Modriki Island, where the movie Cast Away was filmed, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch and visit multiple Mamanuca Islands. Ideal for travellers looking for pristine swimming and snorkelling spots, this is sure to be one of the best days you'll have in Fiji!
Local Food Culture Market Tour and Cooking Class
Denarau Industrial Park, 5, Denarau Island, Fiji +679 675 0840
This is the perfect tour for foodies in Fiji. You won’t have to worry about any language barriers as your guide will translate and teach you about local Fijian ingredients as you explore a food market. Enjoy a cooking class in an air-conditioned cooking facility where you’ll cook with seasonal ingredients. Afterwards, your hard work will be rewarded by getting to enjoy a delicious lunch and refreshments.
Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant
Building C, Shop R1 & R2, Port Denarau, Denarau Island. +679 675 0290
If you are looking for authentic Fijian cuisine served with a breathtaking sunset view, check out Nadina. The food is delicious, local and authentic with an ambience to match.
37 Queens Road, Martinar Nadi
+679 922 3547
When Ratu (Tu) established Tu's place in 2005 he wanted more than to just provide an incredible dining experience; he also wanted to create employment opportunities for local people. Tu has reached both of his dreams with Tu's place. The restaurant uses local ingredients and supports nearby cottage industries. On the menu you will find delicious locally inspired dishes, a perfect spot for those wanting to experience authentic Fijian cuisine.
Koroivolu Ave, Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji
Experience a Fijian market, filled with souvenirs, textiles, produce and more! Take an afternoon and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Handicraft Market.