I’ve had an exceptionally long hiatus, and we’ve done a lot of incredible things since I last posted. Let’s start with our 1 year anniversary trip to Fiji, shall we?
I can’t believe that Ben and I have been married for a year (and a half) already! It feels like just yesterday we were heading off to Hawaii for a dream wedding. When suggesting this trip, I had two thoughts in mind: First, we’d gotten married in Hawaii, so obviously we should celebrate our anniversary somewhere incredible. Second, Fiji is SO accessible and SO close to Australia, that this was obviously a no brainer!
When we got off the plane in Fiji, there was a welcome band! How could this not be an amazing weekend? BULA!
We hired Rosie Holidays to take us from the airport to our hotel, and were fortunate enough to have a private car with a driver who was happy to tell us all about Fiji, the people, their culture and history.
We stayed at The Warwick Fiji on the Coral Coast, which was beautiful and the staff was incredibly friendly. Every time you passed a staff member, they’d merrily call out “BULA!” I chose this resort because all of the water sport activities, such as kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling equipment, etc. is included in your stay. They have an adult only wing of the resort, which includes an adult only pool. All of these things would’ve been amazing and used in abundance if the weather had cooperated. Unfortunately for Ben and I, it rained most of our stay and was only about 65 degrees at warmest. This is uncharacteristic for Fiji! As we always do, we made the best of it. We purchased novels in the gift shop, and enjoyed many cocktails and Fijian beers overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
For our anniversary, I booked a couples massage in the romantic burr over the water, but it was much too cold and windy, so we had our massages in the spa. They were very kind and apologetic for the weather, which is obviously not their fault. The massages were excellent!
Our anniversary is also Fiji Day, which was fun because there were special programs on in the evening, where they had traditional Fijian dances and a huge barbecue. We actually only caught the end of the special program because, in addition to our massages, I booked a romantic dinner on the beach for us. The chef was amazing! She gave us a special consult upon arrival at the resort to set our meal; we had a private server, who was quite entertaining; and a beautiful private location on the beach. And before dinner, my amazing husband gave me Tiffany pearls! (He didn’t get his gift until Christmas because I had our name and hibiscus flower engraved into glasses for him, which took longer than I expected but she did an amazing job!)
On Sunday, we did decide that we wanted do some Fiji beach things, so we took out some kayaks to determine if the coral would be worth snorkeling for. We did also snorkel at the end of the day when the tide started coming in, but there wasn’t much to see. This is not exactly your dream beach resort in Fiji – the water is quite shallow, making it difficult to snorkel when the tide is out because you’d scrape yourself along the coral. The white sand beach in the resort’s photos is definitely taken at an angle to make it seem much larger than it really is. However, the resort is beautiful, has tons of activities that you can participate in, lots of restaurants, games, bars, etc. We made particular use of the bars and the game room, where we had a healthy ping pong tournament with ourselves.
On Monday morning when we woke up and it was raining again, I knew I couldn’t handle another day of reading my (super weird) novel in the hotel bar over many cocktails. After breakfast, we popped into the hotel concierge office and I booked us into a last minute village and waterfall tour that was leaving in 45 minutes.
Upon arriving in the village, we were invited into the community center for a Kava Ceremony, where the villagers welcomed our tour group to the village and presented us with Kava to drink. We were warned that the Kava can make your lips tingly, and if you drink too much it will make you “dopey.” Mostly, I found that it was quite chalky and I did not have a strong desire to drink any more.
We were then invited to visit the village preschool. Interesting fact: the Fijian government only just started mandating attendance and funding education for kindergarten through year 8 last year. The children are taught both Fijian and English, and even if they excel in all other courses if they fail English they fail school. These preschoolers were totally adorable and loved the attention that they received from our tour group! They sang songs and posed for pictures for us like little hams. SO CUTE!
On our drive into the village our guide mentioned that we would hike across the same river 9 times to get out to Biausevu Waterfall, so when we arrived in the village and the others in our group started changing into their fancy new shoes, we were a bit confused. We stayed in the sandals that we planned to wear because we knew they would get wet. Of course, these people also had a toddler and an infant that they thought they’d push out to the waterfall in strollers. I think they thought they signed up for a resort Fijian experience, not a legit Fijian Village experience. Silly folks.
Our tour guides were incredible! They were extremely happy people that love a great joke and just want to have fun. It was quite cold and rainy, as you can see, but this did not stop them from singing the whole way out to the waterfall, or from scaling the cliff to jump into the pool at the base of the waterfall for a swim. We truly enjoyed these real Fijians as human beings that we wanted to be around!
When we returned to the Warwick from our waterfall tour, we decided that we absolutely could not go to Fiji and stay at a resort with a swim up bar and not use it. We suited up and got in the frigid pool water and sat at the swim up bar for a frozen cocktail. We cheersed with the people across the bar (out of the water) to the 90 degree weather in my head, and stayed in the water for as long as possible. At least we had a cocktail at the swim up bar, even if it was only 60 degrees out!
My honest assessment? Like Bali, now we’ve been to Fiji. It’s checked off the list of places we must see in our lifetime, but Hawaii still has my heart.