Student Flights' Lauren Anderson takes to the islands of Fiji
When Student Flights’ Lauren Anderson discovered her sister was moving overseas, they decided to spend some quality time on the islands of Fiji. Lauren visits Smugglers Cove in Nadi Bay and then hops over to Coral View Resort in the Yasawa group of islands. Lauren also stays in exotic sounding places like Manta Ray and Waya Lalai islands. Relaxing, snorkelling, and enjoying the Fijian pace of life made this a vacation to remember. Lauren, tell us about your island escape...
My sister and I wanted to do a one last hurrah trip before she moved overseas indefinitely, so we headed off to for Fiji for ten days. We decided that Awesome Adventures was perfect for us, as we were on a budget and wanted to get as much bang for our buck as possible! We chose to do "The Ultimate Lei" as it fitted in well with the dates we had booked our flights for, and it was a really good price.
Awesome Adventures is pretty much a hop-on hop-off tour of the islands of Fiji, from the Mamanucas up to the Yasawa Islands. You can either purchase a boat pass and an accommodation pass and then decide day by day where you would like to go, depending on which islands have rooms available to book, or you can book a prepaid package that is already organised for you, all you have to do is rock up to Nadi airport and they look after the rest!
We got passes for all of our transfers, accommodation, meals and activities while we were on the islands but we still had the flexibility of doing our own thing on a day to day basis. We had the option to stay in a dorm and share with other people, but decided we wanted to upgrade to private bures on all of the islands, which was the best decision we made other than the initial decision to go to Fiji!
The fun started when we arrived in Nadi and were greeted by our Fijian driver who took us to Smugglers Cove, upmarket backpackers in Nadi Bay where we spent the first night. It was a great intro to Fiji as we sipped on Fiji Gold while the sun went down, then we were treated to a traditional Fijian fire dancing show. We met a few people who were starting the same trip as us the next morning so it was a great start to our holiday! Bright and early the next morning we all shuffled onto a bus which took us to Denarau Marina, about half an hour away. This was to board our big yellow "Awesome Adventures" boat which was going to take us seven hours away to one of the most northern islands in the Yasawa group, to stay two nights at Coral View Resort.
The boat stops along the way for people getting on and off as they hop their way through the islands. This was a great opportunity to meet new people and to start relaxing into Fiji time and to enjoy the stunning views and fresh air. One of my favourite things about Fiji was that when you arrive on an island, the staff of the resort lines the beach and sing you a welcome song. This was our first island experience and we loved it! We spent two days snorkelling, cave diving, drinking cocktails in hammocks, and even chartered a boat to go deep sea fishing which was not the best idea after a few Fiji Golds the night before. On our last night, we all learnt how to make traditional grass skirts and were treated to a lovo, a traditional Fijian feast where the food is cooked on hot coals buried under the ground. Delicious!
Next stop was a gorgeous island called Manta Ray, which was about a two hour boat ride from Coral View. This resort is fairly new and has amazing food, a great communal area to drink and socialise, and a beautiful reef to snorkel on. We spent our two days there snorkelling, eating, and carving coconut bangles with the locals! If you're lucky, you can chase wild mountain goats or even snorkel with manta rays if you go in the right season.
Our next island to visit was called Waya Lalai, and was absolutely heaven! We stayed in a massive private family room which was big enough to fit eight people but we had it to ourselves. We had massages on the beach, made friends with the locals and went to watch their local footy tournament, and learnt traditional Fijian dancing under the stars. It was such a great place to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings, or even to just lie on the beach and read a book! We also went reef snorkelling about 2kms out into the ocean. For someone like me, who doesn't usually go out very far in the surf, it was an awesome experience. We snorkelled above reef sharks and had our own Fijian guide who pointed out all the sea life that we definitely would have missed if we had gone on our own!
Our last island stop was at a resort which was a little closer to the mainland, called Bounty Island. This is where Celebrity Love Island was filmed for all you reality TV addicts out there! We were excited that our bure had air conditioning and 24/7 electricity, as the other islands didn't have either; they ran on generators (definitely not for anyone who must have a blow-dry every day). This was a great end to our island hopping, as we sipped on cocktails overlooking the pool and the beach while the sun went down.
We were picked up the next morning by South Sea Cruises who took us to board the 'Seaspray', our sailing yacht for the day. We spent the day sailing around the Mamanucas and got off on the island where the Tom Hank’s film Castaway was filmed. We took heaps of pictures to show everyone back home! We had a delicious seafood lunch on board, washed down with a few drinks on the way back to Denarau Marina. We stayed the last night back at Smugglers Cove, which was awesome as we had made plenty of new friends who had all been to different islands on the way. We all met up and had a few laughs over dinner and drinks. We were so sad to say goodbye to this beautiful place on our last day!
I would definitely recommend this type of trip to anyone who wants to see the best that Fiji has to offer.
Looking for information about visiting Fiji? Contact [email]text=Lauren Anderson[/email], a Team Leader with Student Flights based in Garden City, Queensland who can be reached at 1300 838 926 or by [email]text=email[/email].
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