Arriving in Fiji late on Friday, June 28th. Turning 30 the next day, I will have visited my 18th country and will be halfway towards my goal of 35 countries by the age of 35. Starting traveling 5 years ago with my first stop in Brazil, I couldn’t imagine I would have visited over 30 major international cities in 18 countries. As I sit here, waiting for my brother and father to arrive tomorrow morning, I can’t stop thinking about where my next trip will take me, and I haven’t even started to enjoy this one.
We have absolutely nothing planned or pre-booked for our time in Fiji, so I’m excited to see what happens; sometimes the best adventures are unplanned, sometimes it can cause chaos.
We stayed at the Anchorage Beach Resort booking thru Airbnb. The resort overall was nice. I’ll put a review up here later. You can view the property here. If you haven’t used Airbnb yet and want $50 off your first stay use my code.
Day 1 – Subramaniya Temple 06.29.2019
First full day in Fiji, my brother and Dad arrived around 07:00. It’s raining, the first two days are scheduled to rain on and off. As I was flying in Air New Zealand, I had a few recommended spots to visit while in Nadi; one of them being the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, seems like something perfect to do in the rain.
I called the cab driver who brought my brother and dad from the airport, Chetti, great man, friendly and fantastic service. He first drove us to Lautoka, where we saw the main sugarcane plant, to grab a few amenities at the local supermarket. We get to the there thinking Chetti is dropping us off, nope, he parks his car, walks us inside, and grabs a cart and starts to fill it for us as we find things we need for the week; five-star service if I’ve ever seen.
Next stop is the temple, for those wondering, its FJD $5 to enter, otherwise if you stand back in the parking lot you can take photos of the outside. The Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is dedicated to the god of seasonal rains, although it wasn’t the rainy season, the light rain made our stop fitting.
The temple is right next to downtown Nadi. We drove through and made our way over to Denarau Island. This island has a good selection of shops and restaurants and headed over to the Hard Rock Café, which is something we usually try to do at least once if the location has one nearby.
Day 2 – Zipline & Sugar Cane 06.30.2019
The second day, still raining, we decided to do ziplining and hike to the Orchid Falls, an all-in-one combo at the Sleeping Giant Zipline, the total price for two rounds of ziplines (7 lines each) and a guided tour to the waterfall is FJD $99. Chetti drove us out there again and then waited for three hours as we did our tour. Again what a guy, if you’re ever in Nadi and looking for a taxi driver, give him a ring +679 920 4464.
Starting out at the zipline, I forgot my SD card, so, unfortunately, I did not get any GoPro videos. The scenery throughout the course cuts through the jungle and is beautiful; you cross the river a few times too.
After ziplining, we headed up to Orchid Falls, about a 2km walk from the zipline location. Beautiful walk as you pass lemon trees, mango trees, pineapple bushes and other types of fruits. It wasn’t in season but still neat experience for someone from Minnesota, USA. As you arrive, there are two waterfalls, one smaller one with two drops and one larger one. You can swim in the big one, it’s about 2 meters deep at the deepest, wear water shoes as it’s rocky and muddy where there aren’t rocks.
Day 3 – Relaxing in Paradise 07.01.2019
The third day, finally no rain, we headed out to Malamala Beach Club. This place was absolutely stunning, prices vary depending on where you are and where you book from as you need a boat ride out to the island, or if you’re like this one couple we saw, you can take a helicopter out there.
We first stopped at Beachcomber Island, which was okay, but unimpressive, after seeing both I would highly recommend Malamala.
We paid FJD $185 per person, which came with an FJD $50 voucher for food and drink on Malamala. The club features kayaks, paddle boards, plenty of places to swim and snorkel, a pier to jump off, and an infinity pool. This is all included in the base price. Plenty of places to soak up the sun, if you want to spend money you can get a spot directly by the pool or a Cabana, which after seeing them I can’t recommend either.
I Paddle boarded around during high tide and kayaked the whole island (~20 minutes). Jumped off the pier, which I remembered my GoPro SD card so I got some cool videos. Otherwise spent the majority of the day relaxing and drinking with beachside service all day.
Again, I highly recommend this place if you’re in Nadi. Other islands seemed similar as we passed them on our boat cruise on our seventh day, and this one seemed to have it all.
Day 4 – Golf 07.02.2019
So we decided to hire (rent) a car. I forgot my driver’s licenses and was the only one with experience driving on the left, this turned out to be a chaotic part of the adventure. My dad driving on the left was probably the most interesting part of my holiday in Fiji. The roads are very narrow and do not have a median separating oncoming traffic.
This day was pretty light, we ended up going golfing, which personally I hate doing when I’m on vacation but it was my dad’s day to pick and if he could he would golf the whole trip.
With that being said, this was one of the better scenic golf courses I’ve played on and managed to stay under 100 which to me is pretty good since I golf about once a year.
The golf course was The Denarau Golf Club. For a round of 18, with club hire, and golf cart was FJD $185, and if you’re staying at a resort on Denarua Island you save FJD $30.
Day 5 – Sand Dunes National Park 07.03.2019
We made our way out to Sigatoka to see the famous Natadola Beach and the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. Hoping to maybe surf, since it’s rated as one of the better beaches for beginner surfers, we arrived and there was nothing there but a small village and a beach. Was a little unexpected how untouched this beach was, used to the American Capitalism of “nice beach, build thousands of businesses, restaurants, and hotels.”
Off to the Sand Dunes National Park which was just a short 20-minute drive from Natadola Beach. There are two options, a two hour round trip hike and one hour. The one hour goes to the bottom of the Sand Dunes versus the two hours, you walk down them. Much better experience.
There were no signs in the national park leading to the Dunes or even back to the forest where all the bats are. The place was empty which was a really neat experience. I had read some reviews of people who went swimming on the beach, do not do this, the current is very strong and the waves are rough.
On the way back to the resort from the park my dad hit a bridge curb, the bridges narrow the road even more as you approach, after hitting the bridge the tire popped and my brother had to fix the tire around 9 PM at night where we either had no cell service or dead phones and were off in a ditch with basically no room between us and the oncoming traffic. Another note about the road, they’re roads are also covered in speed bumps so if you’re not careful you could go over one at 80km (50MPH), thankfully this didn’t happen.
Day 6 – Cruise the Islands 07.04.2019
We took three-hour cruise around the resort islands. This wasn’t too special, we were hoping to be able to see the island where the movie Castaway was filmed, but the ship didn’t go out that far. Of course, the scenery is beautiful, but we had already seen this from our earlier trip to Malamala Beach Club. We did, however, get to see the island where they shoot survivor and honestly a little depressing as they shoot it on the opposite side of a huge resort, so basically at any time the cast could get a four-course meal and drown their sorrows in alcohol.
Day 7 – First Time Surfing 07.05.2019
The day I’ve been waiting for, finally attempting to Surf. The experience was fantastic and I highly recommend. We did our lesson with Fiji Surf Co. They have been in the business for twenty years. They had four instructors and a class of seven; ages ranging from 8 – 60.
They took us out to Natadola beach and to a better spot than when we drove by before. The beach is as beautiful as the internet says.
After about 15 minutes of quick lessons, we were in the water and ready to go. For someone that has snowboarded and has the relative athletic balance I was able to get up and started carving after my fourth time. The company claims to have a 100% success rate and it continued that day with all seven of us succeeding.
Day 8 – Hot Springs & Mud Pools 07.06.2019
Our final day, we went to the Tifajek hot springs and mud pools. This was a very neat experience and I’m not sure if it is something that I would do again. For a low cost of FJD $30, you have unlimited time to soak up the hot springs as well as the mud spa.
They start out by covering yourself in mud and after it dries you go into the first pool, which is all muddy water. The second pool is to get off any additional mud that wasn’t cleaned in the first pool. Then you move over to the first hot spring, which is a very tolerable temperature, before going to the fourth one which was 45 degrees Celsius.
I had seen online that it was recommended to stay for two to three hours. All three of us did it in an hour and a half and were able to shop with the local village vendors that are inside the spa.
If you wanted a massage you could easily stay the three hours, otherwise planning for three hours roundtrip will be plenty if you’re coming from Nadi or a nearby resort.
This was a great trip and there are definitely a few things I missed while I was there, and I will upload a post with all my tips and recommended locations to visit.
The Wi-Fi is weak all over the island and in most cases didn’t work, so if you’re planning to work while you’re on holiday, be sure to take in mind that you may not have the internet at all your whole stay.