“Bula! My friends!” The warm and excited greetings come at you from every direction the moment you land at Nadi airport. Straight away you have this feeling that this is the escape from reality you have been looking for.
We arrived at the cultured and huge entrance to the Fiji Sofitel Resort and Spa where again we were greeted with massive smiles and our urge just to hug them right back like they were an old friend from way back. After check in we made our way to our room where we took in the ocean views from our balcony and felt like a little bit of luxury has crept into our world with the queen size beds. The bathroom area and walk in robe is most certainly large enough to have a small party if you wanted to, however we are content with the idea that there is a bar on the beach with more of the ocean views we longed for. So off we go!
The Salt Bar conveniently has a happy hour running when we arrive. At this stage, unfortunately I had to take my friend Julia’s guarantee that the cocktails that are served are worth every Fijian dollar. I resort to my mocktail that embraces every tropical taste bud delight in its fruit. After an hour or so it dawns on us that we will be ticking off the bucket list task of dining by the ocean at this same bar. The food is second to none and the staff certainly go out of their way to ensure that dietary requirements are met with a serious side. The meal was a success and we left feeling satisfied that.
So, what to do when in Fiji and staying at a beautiful resort? What else but lay by the enormous resort pool and take in the atmosphere of the loved-up couples, families and groups of friends that had also made their way to this island paradise. The day was simply spent lazing by the pool and ordering food and drinks at our every whim. There of course was the Natural New Zealand ice cream stand that was a little hard to ignore for a pregnant woman’s cravings! There was also the discovery of the adults only area Waitui Beach Club that catered for those who wanted a much more intimate setting for their holiday, but we were happy people watching and relaxing our day away.
At the end of the day it was a short 10-minute walk to the Denarau Marina that offered culinary delights for all tastes. Bars, cafes, and restaurants give more choice than an ornamental Fijian wooden spear can be poked at! The traditional Lovo dish with root vegetables is definitely a must to add to the absorption of Fijian culture. The Marina also presented a wonderfully entertaining show of traditional Fijian dancing and singing that you can’t help but have a smile on your face the entire time. Another amazing day ends.
Goodbye mainland Fiji… or at least for the day. It’s off to explore the islands. We choose to do Beachcomber Resort. On the way, we get to see other tropical islands such as South Sea and Treasure island (you could almost swim there from Beachcomber!). We are greeted again with “Bula!” and serenaded with local Fijian music, which reminds you that you are a long way from home. With morning and afternoon tea as well as a buffet lunch included there is no chance of going hungry.
The snorkelling is amazing with the visit to a close by reef that is the home of brightly coloured tropical fish that go about their business ignoring your existence. It is a moment that you leave remembering for a very long time. Again, there is happy hour! Yay for one of us! After a full day of swimming, lying on white sand and even spotting some baby (and harmless) reef sharks in the shallows, it’s time to make our way back to the mainland.
Another day of whiling away the hours, turns out to be quite exhausting. However, this is only a short break away and there are other resorts we must nose about before departing. It is time to check out the other resorts and the options on Denarau. First up, Sheraton Resort!
If you don’t get a sense of luxury from the Sheraton, you may need to consider a 6-star resort to meet your expectations. The overwhelming lobby and shops leads out to yet another spectacular view of the South Pacific.
Time to sit on the beach for drinks and expect the sunset any moment... any moment now? Ok, so there is still time to kill as it has just gone 6:30pm, so why waste time and we make our way across to the next resort – The Radisson Blu Resort.
I am straight away taken with this immaculate beach front resort that just oozes with an atmosphere of everything you would expect with a tropical beach holiday. The expansive pools that also give the option of adults only seem to be a no brainer option for those looking for a little more quiet from the massive lagoon that give the illusion that you are truly lost in another lush world. The Sunset Deck was just what we were looking for. Another magic moment that was spent with a mocktail (cocktail for Julia) looking over the ocean and watching the sun set in colours of pink, purple and orange. A moment I highly recommend having a loved one next to you for.
It had been at least two hours since I had last eaten in this county of delectable delights and I had heard that the cafe in this resort had a smashing reputation for pizza’s. Time to eat! Whilst we sat devouring our amazing food we were serenaded by the voice of an angel who played the guitar and sang covers of songs that it had been a long while since I had heard them. I really hope that everyone else is as lucky as I was to hear her voice. Well my eyes were certainly bigger than my ever-increasing sized belly but there was no way I was leaving half a pizza to the birds. I had also only paid about 18.00AUD for this massive pizza that you could tell only used the freshest of fresh ingredients. A take-away box was requested.
On our last morning at the Sofitel it was time to take stock of our whirlwind experience of Denarau and the surrounding areas over our scrumptious buffet breakfast. We had enjoyed this breakfast every day and it was definitely not old. Fresh Fijian bean coffee, the western delights of bacon and eggs down to the Danish pastries that adorned a huge cabinet. We found a local delicacy called Cassava cake that was a hit for those lucky to discover and try. There was not a morning that passed while in Fiji that we did not feel like we had to be rolled out of the restaurant. After a few hours of taking pictures and listening to a guitar playing staff member teach the children how to sing “Wheels on the Bula Bus” it is time to ready ourselves for the flight home. Sad but true...
Whether you are a couple in love, on a girls’ getaway or simply wanting to have a breakaway with the family I have no doubt that the country of Fiji has something for you in its sights. What I can also tell you is that I will be back with my husband and baby in tow!
Vinaka! (Thank you)
Jade Walmsley - Dec 2016