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Published: November 20th 2012
Leaving Christchurch we were heading out to Fiji. We booked the flights into our round the world tickets on a bit of a whim, but unfortunately we had neglected to look at how expensive it is to go to Fiji! We had visions of a desert island get away, but it seems that one company has a monopoly on most of the islands and it was a lot more than we wanted to spend for a week. After a lot of trawling the Internet we decided to book 5 nights on an island called Bounty Island, as moving between different islands was far too much money, and then spending a night on either side on the mainland in Nadi.
The flight with air pacific was brilliant, nice and easy 3 hours and we were given food, free drinks and refills and a film, not bad for a small airline! When we arrived at Nadi we were picked up by the hostel's staff and taken back to Nadi. We had a traditional Fiji meal at the hostel, and then a couple of drinks before bed. However we didn't go to bed before we had the chance to join in a traditional
Kava night. We had the impresion that it was going to be an alcoholic traditional drink, but as you will see from the picture it is really just dirty plant water, roots of a certain plant mashed up into powder in order to give some lifting affects. Mostly it just gives you a numb tongue and some serious dreams! We will try and keep the details of the rest of this trip quite simple, as we know it's not so exciting to hear: got up, lay on the beach, ate, drank, bed too many times! There is one very important thing you are always reminded of in Fiji - 'Fiji time' things happen when they happen, the ultimate chill out! We were picked up early to get the bus through to the port and then were put on a well organised big boat out to Bounty. The island was only 30 minutes away, and tiny! Due to the shallow coral reef, we had to swap onto a small boat to approach the island. We were greeted by the staff singing away and welcoming us 'bula!' Around about then we were told that our bags had been sent on the wrong
boat, panic stations! Luckily it only turned out to be slightly inconvenient, not a full on nightmare . It just meant that we had no towels or sun cream all day and James had to go out and meet the evening boat to identify our luggage. It was pretty funny really, as staff on the island kept asking us where our bags were and then saying 'oh so your the ones with the bags on the wrong boat' apparently word gets around quickly even on tiny desert islands. The island itself was lovely, apparently the location for celebrity love island, (old z list celeb reality show, apparently there were 2 series and the first was shot there). We had a beach front hut, with all mod cons...air con, bathroom, windows...it was basic but not too basic! We had a hammock out on the beach to chill out. We were on a package where all our food was supplied, so we were pretty much governed by meal times! The island was pretty quiet at this time of year, so on the busiest night there was about 30 people and after that first night it was down to about 15. The island
was surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, so we did a bit of snorkelling and saw loads of beautiful colourful fish, blue starfish and white tipped reef sharks. (until we started getting stung by sea lice and then I (rach) gave up and let James do it alone.) When James went back out alone, he also saw some big hiding octopus........octopuses...octopus' whatever they are playing in the sea. It took only 15 minutes to stroll round the beach of the entire island. Generally during the day we got up for breakfast, retired to the hammock to read a bit then went to the beach and beachside pool to enjoy the sun and....read some more! They had a small tank with some baby hawksbill turtles on the island, where they feed them up to release them onto the reef. We got to watch them be fed and hold them briefly which was great. There was some group activities every day which were variable in their success. We had a good time making Lei's ( traditional flower necklaces) although we had to provide our own needles and thread....and for other people too (difficult when that's our sewing kit for 6months gone!) we were
also taught to husk a coconut, which is of course a useful life skill to have! A couple of nights in we met an Australian couple who were staying on the island for 9 days, most people pass through for only one or two nights, so it was good to meet some more long stayers. After that we had a lot of fun spending evenings with them in the bar, and by the 4th night, there was a good group of about 8 people, which was a lot of fun. We had a real selection of people, with us being the only British people. It was nice to be in a group of people in their 20s instead of teens! The staff were lovely and every night we were sung local songs by all the staff after dinner. On the last day on the island, it was invaded by about 30 day trippers. It's strange how quickly you can get possessive over a space! Apparently in high season they have 200 people staying on the island, but more than 30 felt crowded to us! When we left on the evening boat, we got a big goodbye from the staff and
the traditional fairwell song we have heard so many times this week! As we were leaving on the boat we realised how much we had enjoyed our week and were sad to leave! Luckily the aus couple we met were due to fly the same time as us on Sunday, so no real goodbyes yet! We got the boat then bus back to Nadi, where we were returning to the same hostel for one more night. The area where we were staying pretty much comprised of about 4 hostels, one of which was sold by awesome fiji - the ones who had the island monopoly. So although it was plenty busy there was little else around to do! So we had some dinner in one of the other hostels and spent the evening catching up on the Internet and chatting to a lad we met the last time we stayed. We had almost a full day in Nadi the next day before we flew out, but unfortunately after about an hour on the beach it started raining! After lunch it rained a whole lot more...thunder storm time! So the day was mostly wasted sat by the bar! Then we got
a taxis out to the airport, where we of course met the Aussie couple at the bar! The flight back to Auckland was brilliant, we were given more free drinks in 3 hours than during our 11 hour BA flight! This was our 3rd time through Auckland airport, and we are spending one night in an airport hotel before going back to the airport tomorrow for the fourth and final time to catch our flight to Santiago. Also we were surprised to discover that Jonah Lomu, of rugby fame was on our flight from nadi, unfortunately despite a quick Exit at the end we only managed to catch the back of his head! Fiji was a lovely quick break for us before we get back into fast and furious movement in South America. We are really pleased with our choice of island, we had a brilliant relaxing time without spending anywhere near as much as we could have! Next stop Chile....only one more continent before home and we cannot believe it!
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