Fiji Trip August 2001 (click on a photo to enlarge it)
We took off from Melbourne at 11pm on Thursday 2nd August, destined for Nadi in Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. We transferred by bus in the early morning to our hotel for the first 5 days, the Warwick Fiji Resort, on the southern coral coast.
This is a luxurious resort, with two pools, set on the beach, nice tropical gardens, and four restaurants, etc....Our air-conditioned room had a balcony from which we could see the sea. We ate well, swam, snorkeled to view the coral, paddled a kayak out to the reef, and went for many long walks along the palm-fringed beaches. It was a welcome escape from the long winter in Victoria. Whilst based at the Warwick, we visited the nearby town of Sigatoka, and the Tavuni Hill fort in the Sigatoka river valley above Nasoro village. Here was one of the last cannibal outposts, infamous for the massacre of a missionary.
On Wednesday 8th August, we left the Warwick in a hired car, and drove along the coral coast towards the capital, Suva. We visited a lovely remote resort called Crusoe's Retreat, and an interesting Cultural Centre at Pacific Harbour. That evening we dined and slept at a B&B called Colonial Lodge, in Suva, we enjoyed talking to our interesting Fijian hosts. Thursday morning we walked all around Suva, and visited the Parliament. Then we drove along King's Road up the eastern hills, along gravel roads, through forests and by waterfalls, and past Fiji's diary cattle high country. We gave a lift to a group of 6 Fijian children walking home from school. That night we reached Raki-raki, on the North coast.
We explored the north coast, and saw Ellington Wharf, from which the car ferries depart for Vanua Levu. After seeing the rust-bucket of a ferry, we were glad we had decided to fly direct to Taveuni Island rather than attempt it over land and sea using buses and ferries. Then we visited Naiserlagi Catholic Mission, 25km east of Raki-raki. Here perched on top of a hill with magnificent views over the islands to the north, is an impressive cathedral-like stone church. Inside there is a mural of the "Black Christ" depicting native Fijians and Fijian Indians on either side of Christ on the cross. This mural was commissioned in 1965 by the chaplain to the Von Trapp family Singers, of "Sound of Music" fame. We continued or tour west wards and stayed overnight in "Rosie's Apartments" in Nadi.
On Saturday 11th August we visited the garden of the sleeping giant, a beautiful hillside orchid garden establish by TV star Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame. We visited Vada, where the first landing of Fijians occurred centuries ago. Then we drove along the southern "Coral Coast". We visited Biasevu village, drank kava with the village headmen, then were escorted to Biasevu waterfalls, fording 4 or 5 streams bare-footed on the way. Our young guide, Abraham, told us how he and his friends used to "wash down some kava with a beer". We then drove on to Suva, and stayed once again at "Colonial Lodge B&B".
The next morning we checked in at Nasori airport for our flight to Matei on Taveuni Island. We walked from the air-strip to Bibi's Hide-away, where we stayed 3 nights in a comfortable buré set in tropical gardens. We explored the Matei area and enjoyed an interesting evening meal at "Karin's garden", a cliff top restaurant run by a German couple.
On Monday we caught a local bus to Bouma. One passenger on the bus brought his pig, parrot, his family and all their personal belongings with him! We walked throgh magnificent scenery to Bouma water falls. On Tuesday we shared a taxi with a young Canadian traveler, to the Lavena coastal walk. Our taxi driver, Arjay, came along with us for the walk. It was raining, later it was pouring, but we were still able to appreciate the coastal and forest scenery. In order to reach the water falls, we had to swim the last 100 metres. The falls were very impressive, cascading from sheer rock into a deep canyon.
On Wednesday we flew back to Nasori/Suva, then shared a taxi along the south coast to Nadi, where we stayed at Rosie's Apartments for 2 nights. We spent Thursday shopping in Nadi, in the pouring rain. On Friday 17th August we caught our flight back home to Melbourne, ending an interesting, different, and enjoyable holiday.