Bula!

*WARNING* ~ lots of photos! ;-)

Well, we are back from a truly wonderful week in Fiji. What a fabulous experience!

Neither of us had ever been to Fiji before (or any other tropical island, for that matter) so it was all very new and exciting. We started saving for this trip in 2007, so the anticipation was high. But I have to say, it was totally worth doing all that overtime! ;-)

There was actually a bit of drama at the start of our trip. Our flight left Auckland at 3.30pm, as scheduled. After we had been in the air for about an hour, there was an announcement from the pilot. There was a problem with the plane. Something to do with the indicator flaps. It was “nothing to be concerned about”, but unfortunately the plane would have to return to Auckland. Gutted!
It took another hour to get back, and then we sat on the plane for an hour and a half, eating dinner while we waited for a replacement plane to arrive. From Brisbane, Australia. More waiting, then finally we boarded the new plane and were on our way to Fiji. Again.

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By the time we arrived in Nadi and got a taxi to our hotel, it was 11.30pm. Five hours after our scheduled arrival time of 6.30pm.

But that was merely a blip. Because the rest of the trip was absolute perfection.

Our first night was spent at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

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The next morning, we took a courtesy coach to Port Denerau. There we boarded the South Sea Cruises ferry, bound for the beautiful Mamanuca Islands.

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On the way, the ferry dropped passengers off at various other island resorts (South Sea, Beachcomber, Treasure and Bounty), giving us our first glimpse of palm tree covered islands with white sand and clear, sparkling water. Bliss!

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As the boat arrived at our destination, Mana Island, we were greeted with joyful singing and guitar playing, and many a “Bula!” from the friendly Fijian resort staff who were at the wharf to meet & greet us.

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Mana Island Resort and Spa. Our home for the next 6 nights.

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This was our Island Bure. The stone wall you can see is an outdoor shower, with 8-foot high walls. It was FABULOUS! It’s quite a surreal experience to look up in the shower and see this:

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The room itself was stunning and immaculate, with air conditioning, a King-sized bed and beautiful amenities.

We spent long, hot days snorkelling and swimming, reading by the pool, exploring the island, and relaxing.
The resort has 3 beaches, and all of them are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

North Beach:

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South Beach:

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Sunset Beach:

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The snorkelling was AMAZING.
We saw so many beautiful tropical fish, of every imaginable colour, as well as coral, anenomes, sea cucumber and starfish. Every time we swam out over the reef and got to the edge (the dropoff), it reminded me of “Finding Nemo”. It was just like the movie. The water was so clear, and the fish just swam around us, never afraid. One of the most amazing things was seeing huge schools of blue fish and yellow fish, literally hundreds of them, all swimming together in a group. Rob saw a stingray and a baby shark. I’m glad I didn’t see either! ;-)

There is a great lookout point above the resort, where we enjoyed these spectacular views:

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The pools:

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We decided that in order to really experience Fijian culture, we would make the most of the many activities and demonstrations the resort had to offer.

Making (and eating!) coconut ice cream:

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Basket weaving:

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Pool volleyball, with other guests and resort staff:

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Bingo:

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Bingo happens every evening during happy hour (5-6pm), next to the pool bar. We won 3 games on our last night, and made about $F11. :-)

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Each night after dinner, we enjoyed the live band and the various cultural performances, including a church choir, Polynesian dancing, fire dancing, Meke shows, and a beach bonfire party.

Over the hill from the resort was a secluded beach where a reality TV show was filmed. We were told it was Survivor, but I don’t think it was. Rob took these photos of the “set” that was built and still stands today:

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On our last full day (which unfortunately turned out to be the only overcast day), we spent the day sailing on a beautiful 83-foot schooner called “Seaspray”.

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The ship took us to Monriki Island in the Yasawa group, where Tom Hanks filmed the movie “Castaway”. We were able to go ashore and explore the island, and snorkel in the surrounding waters.

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Back on the ship, we enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch (cooked by the crew).

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We then sailed to another island, home to a traditional Fijian village. We were welcomed to the village with a traditional Kava ceremony.

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I was quite sad to see the poverty that a lot of Fijian people live in, but they all seemed so happy.

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The village children were out in the water, swimming, paddling their canoes and fishing from little boats. They were laughing and having the time of their lives, and were so friendly.

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Apart from that one overcast day, which started with a bit of rain, we had amazing weather the whole time we were there. Clear blue skies, with temperatures of about 28-30C every day. It was certainly a shock to the system to come back to Auckland’s 14C and rain! My tan was looking pretty good, but is now hidden away under all my winter layers!

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Saying goodbye was bittersweet. On the one hand, we didn’t want to leave, but on the other hand we couldn’t wait to see our boys again (who, incidentally, had a wonderful time with their grandparents).

Words really cannot explain how amazing this holiday was. It was the perfect way to celebrate our 10-year anniversary.
The wonderful memories I have will last me a lifetime. I am so glad that Rob and I were able to share this experience together.

Vinaka, Fiji!

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37 thoughts on “Bula!

  1. Welcome home, Hannah! What a wonderful and peaceful adventure – thanks for sharing the wonderful pics!

  2. Welcome home to wintery weather!! My goodness what a contrast those photos are!!!!!!! :shock:
    What a wonderful week it looks like you two had. Hubby gave me a FIJI trip as an IOU back in 2003 as an anniversary gift back then…. I think our savings account might see some more activity so that IOU can be collected upon! ;)

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time Hannah :-) Some of the photos reminded me of Pangkor Island here in Malaysia. And yeah it would be lovely and warm … coming back to 14deg wouldn’t have been nice!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. mmmmmm the blue water
    mmmmmm the warmth
    mmmmmmmm fiji

    you lucky girl – yah re the saving too- good on you

  5. Wow, what a fantastic holiday you have both had! Thanks for sharing it with us… loved looking at the photos of all the places you saw and things you did. Looks stunning!

  6. What I would do for that warmth about now … gorgeous pics and they all brought back some wonderful memories … we were there five years ago in September … doesn’t seem like that long ago either, just quietly.

    Congrats on your 10th wedding anniversary!!!

  7. Sitting here freezing my bum off looking at at those wonderful pictures did not warm me up. LOL

    So nice to hear you had a lovely holiday. Did you see any interesting effects from the political situation in Fiji?

  8. First of all congratulations on 10 years of marriage!
    Secondly, you were not worng about a lot of photos! And they are fantastic. It brings back some memories of Vanuatu for me. Ir sounds like a very special time for the 2 of you.

  9. It is just turning summer here, but those pictures have just made me even more determined to try and get to Greece or Turkey this year to get the most of the sun!
    Glad you guys had a great break away. Nothing like a holiday eh? I love them!

  10. Aw, Hannah, I’m so thrilled that you had a fabulous time! Thought of you two several times last week wondering how your special holiday was going too.

    Love, love, love all that photos! Just magic.

  11. Wow! Those photos are absolutely phenomenal! What a gorgeous place! Such clear, sparkling water and gorgeous beaches! I love the little building you stayed in. The outdoor showers are so much fun! Although there is a lot of poverty there, it must be hard to be sad when it is so beautiful every day where you live. I am so glad you and Rob had such a wonderful time!!! I bet it was fun for the boys to spend the time with their grandparents but I am sure they were glad to have you back to tell you all of THEIR adventures! LOL. I think it is nice that you got to spend some time as a couple and not just as Mom and Dad. More parents should do that! And by the way, Happy Mother’s Day in case I don’t see you on the blogs again before then!!

  12. Welcome Home Hannah.

    Wow what a fantastic sounding trip. And the photos are stupendous. I love the idea of the open air shower. How super cool.
    And I’m amazed at all the things you got up to. Not just the standard ‘resort’ activities but the bag weaving and ice cream making etc. you will have heaps and heaps of fantastic memories to talk about and to scrap.

  13. What an amazing, beautiful trip. And such a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary and life together.

    Those waters and beaches are stunning and the ice cream looks delicious! : )

    You’re right, certainly the trip of a lifetime!

    Happy Anniversary and here’s to many, many more!

  14. Oh girl! Wow wow wow. What a beautiful place!!! I’d love to go to somewhere like that, unfortunately hubs is more of a theme park city man. Oh well, maybe hubby number two and I can honeymoon there…Jack Black probably eve has his own island! ;)

    Happy Anniversary :)

  15. congratulations on 10 years of marriage!! Your pics brought back wonderful memories of our honeymoon in 1992 at Castaway island, we could see Mana Island from the main beach, looks like you had a fabulous holiday!

  16. WOW look at all that blue sky!!! So glad that after the first blip everything went swimmingly (opps sorry no pun intended) you guys totally deserved it and I am so stoked for you that you had an awesome time – beautiful photos to cant wait to see your album xox

  17. Ah, the photos are fabulous. I am so happy you had a great time. I can hear Fiji calling my name LOUDLY? Can you hear it. I never listen when someone/where calls …

    I am going to Alaska … I’m nuts!

  18. YA! That looked fantastic Hannah, so glad you had such great weather. What a beautiful place and all that snorkelling, wonderful!

    Happy 10 years, may you have 10×10 more happy, healthy ones!

  19. I am glad you four had a lovely time.

    I think next time you go away Hannah you should put a warning up on your blog. i.e. do not scroll down if the weather is currently bleak!

    Glad to have you back and congratulations again!

  20. I keep meaning to comment on this also ;) Glad you guys had a fabulous time and love all the photos. it’s nice to see what it’s like especially when I will probably never go. Now do you have big plans for 20??? It’s never too soon to think about it ;) *hugs*

  21. Ok I am truly truly envious…but not jealous because you really deserved such a lovely time…
    So glad that you had fun!

    Hey I am so curious, was the old show”Fantasy Island” filmed there???

    I could always google it, but it looks so familiar (especially the boardwalk entrance..)
    :)

  22. Congratulations on yet another anniversary and OMG those pictures are GORGEOUS. I’m so jealous!

    As far as the comment about the poverty and happiness…I guess it just goes to show that money does NOT equal happiness. :)

  23. Pingback: The Real Fiji (1) | Blairs Boys

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