FIJI 2017

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September 16th 2017
Published: September 21st 2017
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Sydney International terminalSydney International terminalSydney International terminal

A selfie before entering the departure lounge..we are all so excited!!
September is holiday time!

We all need a good holiday, somewhere that is relaxing and allows us all to chill out. It has been a stressful year for us all. The kids first year at High school, and mum & dad totally exhausted from working far too hard band doing far too much!

So we are off to FIJI to enjoy some "Fiji Time"

We have booked at Double Tree Resort by Hilton Fiji on Sonaisali Island on the west coast of VITI LEVU one of the islands of Fiji. Two days before leaving Celina decided to confirm our accomodation and in the process upgraded our accommodation to an Ocean Front Bure. Only another FJD800. Hope that tree back home is being watered?

The forecast for the week (16 -24 September) is between high 20's and Low 30's some cloud cover but no rain ! The locals say it rains in SUVA , the capital but in NADI they only get showers....I think we will enjoy great weather & fabulous west coast sunsets!!

We have packed light as usual with just three suitcases totalling 45kg and one large throw away bag full of clothes & books to be donated to a local Fijian village.

We have chosen to drive our car to the airport as an UBER or Taxi were far too expensive. Long term airport parking was just $234 for the full eight days (so less than $30 per day)

Day 1 Saturday - 16 September
10am and we are off ..
Check-in with Fiji Airways was effortless and we were handed our boarding passes for FJ190 departing Sydney airport at 1310pm
Passed through customs easily except Celina had to remove all water from bottles and had her 145g tube of Vegemite confiscated. (Never reads the rules!!)

Wandered through duty free without buying anything!! Then exchanged some cash for local currency. Boarded our A330-300 FJ190 on time & settled into rows 36 & 37 and watched a few movies for just on 3 hours 15 minutes

Landed 1920pm (Fiji time) and had a very slow transit through customs (manual system). Whilst waiting to pass through customs we were treated by the tunes of ukuleles strummed by the boys of the local Sabeto village. This together with the big smiles and warm Bula welcome from the Fijians really gets you in the mood for the rest of the week. We finally collected our bags and after a little confusion found our "unique fiji" car to take us on a 25 minute drive to the Coast where we met the boat for our 3 minute water ride to our Hotel.

Double Tree by Hilton Fiji - Sonaisali Island is surrounded by the warm waters of the South Pacific Ocean, just a three minute boat ride from the mainland island of Viti Levu, and a short 25 minute drive from Nadi International airport. The resort offers 120 beautiful well appointed rooms (including 88 burns -Fijian style villas) Our Bure was #36, we had a balcony overlooking the ocean. Room had two king size "Sweet Dreams" sleep experience beds, air conditioning,ceiling fans, mini fridge, bathroom (shower) as well as robes & slippers. As Hilton Honors members we also received free wireless internet for the entire stay (saving us around FJD120)

Once on Sonaisali Island we were greated by a porter and boarded a buggy to reception where we received a very warm "Bula“ welcome and the famous chocolate cookie...very nice indeed. We then boarded the buggy again and were transferred to our spectacular
Sonaisali IslandSonaisali IslandSonaisali Island

Relaxing by the pool whilst creating this quiet & peaceful
Bure Where we unpacked before going for a walk to check out the (Pizza) at the beach based TAVU Bar & Grill.

BULA means “hello how are you?” And is as significant as Aloah in Hawai. Whilst VINAKA means “thank you”

Decided to spend the day enjoying the ammenities and the sun. Warmer than home, about 30 degrees but the sun had a real bight to it. Very relaxing day in the pool and checking everything out so as to develop our holiday plan.

Day 2 Sunday - 17 September

We enjoyed a very nice buffet breakfast in VULANI Restaurant. Great range of food, so ate far too much! Only issue was there was no cappuccino to be offered. Breakfast was included in the overall holiday cost. (Approx FJD75 per day). Whilst very beautiful with excellent sea breeze it does feel somewhat isolated. Perhaps we should have stayed at Denaru?

Previewing the range of tours available, one thing became very obvious....nothing was cheap and would cost a fortune if you hing every day. We concluded we would do an ocean cruise to an island where the kids could test out their new snorkelling
Our VesselOur VesselOur Vessel

gear. We checked at the tourist desk and decided based on recommendation the do the Captain Cook Cruise to the tropical island of TIVUA.

We skipped lunch but enjoyed the three course buffet for dinner at VULANI has a number of choices

a) ala care menu with a big selection of food varieties

b) full buffet which was themed differently every night, consisted of entre salads, main meal meat selection -fish, chicken or beef referred to as the “live station” followed by a choice OD deserts. Very good value at FJD50 per head and kids ate free.

c) just a “live station” so just meat but this was just FJD 29 but kids were not free

Day 3 Monday -18 September

Having completed our breakfast we booked a local taxi and headed into Nadi to have Look around. Whilst the taxi was a preferred supplier of Hilto it only cost FJD30 each way as compared to many write ups saying Hilton preferences were up to FJD55 each way so we were pleasantly surprised. Russo our driver was a very nice guy and he dropped us at the preferred souvenir shop, “Jacks of
Sonaisali IslandSonaisali IslandSonaisali Island

Beautiful sunset Fiji style
FIJI“ where all the wood carvings are certified and highly recommended. We did our thing and bought clothes, back packs for the girls and some wooden crafts that we had engraved to remember this holiday by. Now to get them through customs in Sydney!!

We then caught the big yellow bus “one dollar bus” that takes you to Denaru port. We thought we could just wander to all the other resorts but were we wrong ! Yes! We paid FJD8 each adult for the “Bula Bus” a hop-on, hop-off experience that took you to all the resorts. We hopped off at the Westin & Hilton Fiji. Whilst they were nice they did seem very formal and less relaxed than Double Tree, also seemed to hav many more people. We finally concluded that we had made the right decision and were glad we had booked Double Tree by Hilton Fiji. over Denaru Island . We & Denaru

Day 4 Tuesday 19 September

The day started with a hearty breakfast ten the morning by the pool. The girls all decided on water activities for the afternoon which included standup paddle boarding and kayaking. Some funny scenes watching them each

Making Kava
fall off boards. A shame ldnt take part but someone had to keep watch and take the photos

Late afternoon the kids had their hair braided at PURE FIJI for just FJD90 each. They were both very pleased with the result!

Day 5 Wednesday -20 September

Today was a huge surprise for the kids. We had booked a full day cruise with Captain Cook cruises to the private tropical island of TIVUA, a tropical paradise surrounded by a pristine reef.
We tranferred to Denaru Port via a hire car (FJD25 each way included in price) from Sonaisali Island at 820am to Denaru Port. We set sail on a tall ship named "Ra Marama" built in 1956. We did snorkelling, kayaking, standup paddle boarding & a ride in a glass bottom boat with a marine biologist guide where we explored the reef structure and local inhabitants. We enjoyed a very nice BBQ prepared on the island by the lovely smiling crew enjoying if you did some thing everyday. They entertained us all day with singing, guitar playing, coconut cracking and lots of jokes..great day. The island whilst small had a number of grassed roof buries with chairs &
Tivua IslandTivua IslandTivua Island

Playing in the shallows
beanbags. Everything was included in the price including morning & d with a hearty breakfast afternoon teas, drinks & alcohol on the island. I would strongly recommend the cruise. It was in our minds expensive ($814FJD) but worth every cent. Slow 1 hour 15 minute sail back to Denaru but enjoyed a refreshing breeze, docked at Denaru 1700pm where we were met by our driver who returned us safely to the transfer jetty at Sonsanali Island where we enjoyed a great "room service" dinner

Day 6 Thursday 21 September
Another warm night so slept with air conditioning on and both fans. Temperature today expected to get to 28degrees
Big sleepin until 830am today as yesterday was so exhausting. Had a late breakfast in the VULANI dining room the. I then had a much needed pedicure at PURE FIJI whilst Celina & kids learnt how to basket weave on the beach with Rebecca a local Fijian girl.

Beautuful day albeit with some clouds, sunny and warm. Although writing this blog I feel so relaxed and my feet feel remarkable!

Happy Hour at 4pm before we go to dinner for some South American buritos...yummy!

Day 7 Friday 22
Tivua IslandTivua IslandTivua Island

Braided twins about to board the tall ship

Had a bad night suffering indegestion from eating way too much and painful feet. Enjoyed another sleep in again until 8:30 before venturing off for breakfast. Another relaxing day by the pool, lovely ocean breeze today keeping a lid on the temperatures. Spent the rest of the day just laying about on the Bure balcony..very nice & peaceful. I enjoyed completing the travel blog now I have found a good solution.

Tonights dinner was a Pacific theme (seafood) but none of us were attracted by the offering or the price (FJF70 each) so the kids & I opted for pizza and Celina had an Indian curry...all agreed very tasty.

Day 8 Saturday 23 September

This has probably been the most relaxing holiday any of us have ever had so much so that we have spent most of today just lazing around in our Bure as all this rest is beginning to make us so tired. We have all had a great time but it will be time to leave this most picturesque location tommorrow. Celina has begun packing and I have reconfirmed our private transfer to the airport for 1230pm tomorrow.

Now it is
Tivua islandTivua islandTivua island

time for our last dinner in VULANI Restaurant, tonight the theme is Mediterranean, a range of pasta dishes, salads & deserts.

Day 9 Sunday 24 September

Rain forecast and a max temp 22 however by the time we departed our accommodation it had reached 26 and no sign of rain although the most overcast day of our holiday.

Finished packing before checking out at 11am and then waiting until our transfer arrived.

1230 pm pickup and driver took us into Nadi where Celina finalized the VAT Refund documents at Jacks then we headed to the airport. Painless check in and past through customs without a hitch. Flight JQ120 (A320) was due to board at 1520 for a departure at 1550.. At 1530 we still hadn't been called to board. Apparently some mechanical problem ....!!! gives you heaps of confidence!! Finally boarded at 1645 and headed for the big blue sky at 1700. Captain advised he would do his best to pick up lost time and the flight ended up being 4 hours 30 rather than 5 hours 20 so all in all not a bad outcome

Finally home, everything in one piece at 2100
Sonaisali IslandSonaisali IslandSonaisali Island

One last spectacular sunse


So what did this holiday cost?
Airport parking. $AU 234
Airfares. $AU 1256
Accommodation. $AU 2740
Transits on island. $AU 90

Incidental spend $AU 1500

Additional photos below
Photos: 40, Displayed: 30


Denaru IslandDenaru Island
Denaru Island

Visiting Hilto Fiji
Sonaisali Island Sonaisali Island
Sonaisali Island

Swim up bar Double Tree by Hilton
Sonaisali islandSonaisali island
Sonaisali island

Enjoying the Double Tree by Hilton Fiji pool
Sonaisali islandSonaisali island
Sonaisali island

Enjoying yet again another beautiful sunset
Double Tree by Hilton FijiDouble Tree by Hilton Fiji
Double Tree by Hilton Fiji

Another great day by the pool
Sonaisali IslandSonaisali Island
Sonaisali Island

Exploring the rock foreshore
Bure #36Bure #36
Bure #36

Our balcony view
Last NightLast Night
Last Night

Saying Vinaka & Good Bye to Sai - our waitress

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