So our whole aim of going to Fiji was to RELAX.
When we do trips to Singapore or Korea, we visit family, extended family, long-lost family we never knew we had, old friends, friends of family, old friends of long-lost family that just wanted to get in on the free feed… apparently most of these folks have never seen a baby before as well. That’s their reason for wanting to catch up, right? Meet the babies. What can I tell ya. They’re cute babies?
So we wanted to go to Fiji.
Where we know NO ONE. Where we got no obligation to visit anyone. Just relax. Rest. Eat. Chill. Sleep. Other superlatives of Do Nothing. Ya know, the good life.
But if you got a hankering to do something other than nothing, there’s the Marina? I mentioned it in my last post. But they’ve got some souvenir stores, a grocery store with super expensive groceries (I’m talkin’ $7 bag of chips), restaurants, the actual port where you get on the boats to go to the legit islands with the crystal clear oceans and sparkling white sand. You can do day trips out to some islands if staying on them for the duration of your stay isn’t what you’re after.
We did one to Malolo Island last time – absolutely gorgeous and lots of fun cos we did snorkelling and hand-line fishing – but I didn’t think Benji could hack it at his age. You know, other than his paralysing fear of sand, I don’t think he would’ve last 10 minutes on the boat before jumping overboard. And it’s like 2 hours on the big boat, then another half hour on the little boat over the coral to the island. If you don’t know my child, he is always trying to dive in head-first into large bodies of water. It keeps me up at night.
So no day-trips for us this time. But the fam (excluding me and Benji) did a wee bus trip into Nadi town. Not much to do there except marvel at the enormous crowds and squish through the market. Everything in town is really cheap – super affordable. Like a bunch of the cutest lil tiny finger-sized bananas that taste like lollies cos they’re so sweet, are only $2!! The aunties and uncles were all lovely and were hi-fiving Nate and just overall, friendly folks. Nate was incredible. He survived the trip with no tantrums, even with his excessive sweating, the overwhelming crowds, the-worst-sushi-in-the-world (hubby’s words, not mine) and stifled, hot air.
So town was a one-time, novel thing for them. But we hit up the Marina most days.
The Marina is a 5 min taxi ride away – costs like $7 to get there and back.
You can get on the Bula Bus and it’s $8 for an entire day and it takes you from hotel to hotel to the Marina, round and round. Novel for kids; inefficient for adults lol. We did it one time to the Marina and back, and that one time was ENOUGH. Benji was a nightmare – just wanted to jump off the moving, open bus. I think with just Nate it would’ve been fun to do a couple of times – he loved it.
They’ve also got the $1 yellow bus around Denarau – I can’t remember its route exactly, but I think it also goes into town? But it gets awfully crowded at times. We caught it once from the Marina back to the Sheraton when, for some reason, there were nooooo taxis lurking about.
Oh! And since we went to Fiji in 2010, somewhere between then and now, they’ve opened a water park! Right in the middle of Denarau Island, so you can catch the Bula Bus or taxi or walk there. We didn’t go though cos it’s massive water slides and obstacles and bouncy castles and a bunch of other hazards. I dunno, Benji-at-home is hard enough as it is… I didn’t really wanna throw him at slipping/sliding contraptions for him to knock himself out on. Seriously. Nightmares. I’m saying it again: keeps me up at night.
Around the resorts, they’ve got gyms, spas etc. The gym was very nice, so says my father-in-law. I was tempted to go try it out cos I felt the need to work on my non-existent glutes but I didn’t bring any shoes for working out in. How convenient 😉
They also have resort activities – like zumba, aqua fitness, yoga, coconut tasting, torch-lighting ceremony, flax-weaving, kokoda-tasting, beach volleyball… all free and provided by the resort. I think the cooking class you had to pay for, but the other stuff was free I think. And no, I didn’t do any of them COS I’M LAZY AF. The others did coconut-tasting though. Apparently it was fun. Like the dude climbs the tree and stuff. I was sleeping I think. General take-away: I did nothing. I excelled at it.
The spas are eye-wateringly pricey within the resorts. We ended up booking a more reasonable one just outside of the island – but they do free pick-up and drop-offs to any of the Denarau resorts. It was super reasonably priced and hubs said it was his best massage ever. He’s a sucker for deep-tissue massages but I’m not. I felt like a bruised, sad apple after. I don’t know what it is, but out of the 4 or 5 massages I’ve had in total in my entire life, I’ve only ever enjoyed 1 of them. My track record ain’t good, so I’m always hesitant to try another.
Our fave restaurant was Indigo at the Marina – it’s Indian (and other asian) cuisine. Best biryani and dal EVER. LEGIT. We had it like 4 or 5 times?? Like actual. Most folks eat at Hard Rock or one of the places that do big seafood platters and stuff (we did that last time), and Indigo was pumping too, but honestly, not only was the food at Indigo amazing, but the girls were also lovely. We were put off a couple of the other restaurants cos we couldn’t get service, but the ladies at Indigo treated us like family. My mum-in-law got so emotional saying bye to them on our last night lol.
So defo try the biryani, dal and if you feeling game, THE CHILLI CRAB. We had it 2 nights in a row and we prob would’ve had it more had we discovered it earlier. Roughly half way through our trip my father-in-law was all, “You guys do crab?” And they’re like, “Duuuh~~” and we’re all, “Ok we’ll try that next time we’re here…” The following day, so much sadness and regret that we’d discovered it so late. It was so damn good, we ordered 2 bowls the following night. I might’ve had 1 entire bowl of crab to myself.
You need the bib cos you get legitimately MESSY. Like I had sauce in my hair. So good. They provide the things that crack open the shell (handy for the massive claws), but we mainly used our teeth like animals. They also provide a long skinny scoopy thing (the technical term) for you to scoop out the flesh. Or if you’re a primitive caveman that’s yet to discover tools, like me, you can suck that sucker out. It’s funny cos the photos and the verbal description of me on this trip are not of the same person apparently.
After the dinner, around 6.30pm, they generally had a show in the middle of the Marina most nights. Lots of traditional dances. Nate’s fave was the fire dancing.
We also tried dinner at the resort restaurant, the Flying Fish. It’s the Sheraton’s beach-front, table-in-the-sand restaurant. That was pricey. But we had the 5-course degustation menu. Also, worth noting that if you enroll as an SPG member you get 15% off dinner there – handy. Anyway, gorgeous, delicious, wonderful and of course the ambience was lovely. A quartet of waitresses serenaded a couple near us – likely celebrating an anniversary? That was utterly charming. I kinda wished the Hubs and lied and said it was my birthday or something.
We had a few cocktails and had the chilli fries a couple of times during the trip. The cocktails were around FJD$35 and the chilli fries were around FJD$20. Spendy. My fave cocktail was probably the strawberry daiquiri – soooo yummy. You can drink it poolside, or you can sit in the pool like a G and shiver from the pool and the cold drink freezing your core. Anything for a photo op.
If you’ve got older kids and you’re keen on palming them off and you don’t have the grandparent option, they’ve got Kids Clubs for over-4’s or you can hire one of their nannies for only FJD$27 for 3 hours. I saw heeeaps of people using nannies and allll of them seemed ABSOLUTELY LOVELY. Like they’re in the pool laughing with the kiddos, pushing a sleeping baby around in the stroller, cuddling wee bubbas and singing to them… honestly, I was like, “yeah let’s use a nanny!!” but the husband would be all Sad Guy all, “but I wanna make memories with the kids~” and I’d be all, “Boo, you whore,” and he’d be all, “You gotta stop referencing Mean Girls (2004),” and I’d be all, “Whatever. Those rules aren’t real… YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US.” Self hi-five.
So nannies – great idea.
Um for the adventurous folks, the resort had jet-skiing and paddle-boarding and other exteme sport nonsense that I’d look at and go, “Damn that’s cool, but I like lying down so…”
If you got littlies that aren’t petrified of sand like Benji, you can obvs just sit on the sand and build sand castles. I mentioned in my previous post about the wee shop that sold floaties – you can also buy sand toys there. Actually all the little souvenir stores around the resort sold the same stuff: togs, sunscreen, hats, floaties, sand toys etc. as well as the usual souvenirs.
They’ve also got a playground (on sand) next to Feast restaurant. The Westin has an excellent enclosed playground (on sand). Nate played on them daily. Benji cried from the sidelines cos sand.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, there’s heaps of sand on the resort side and loads of loungers for any sun-bakers. Guys, I saw heaps of people lying right under the sun, all sorts of shades of brown and red… if you must, please use your sunscreen and don’t fall asleep.
Our villa was one of the ‘garden view’ villas – the back doors opened out onto a grassy patch and then there is this massive shallow pond full of lilies and fish!! HEAPS of fish. Nate and I spent AGES just watching them (Benji kept trying to dive in so we quarantined him inside). There’s also frogs! You can hear them at night when you’re walking back to your room and if you look hard enough you will see them, all throughout the day. I thought maybe this was something cool, purely for littlies, but I saw a lot of older kids (teens? Youths??) running around laughing and screaming, trying to catch the frogs. Fun for all ages.
So yeah. Lots of fun. Hopefully next time we go, Benji’s conquered his fear of sand and doesn’t have a death wish, so we can go to one of the boat-ride-away islands. I don’t know what my father-in-law would do trapped on an island though… he’s like a friendly, colossal-sized, lone wolf… you gotta give him loads of space to stalk around at his own pace, wonder at how much the buildings and staffing costs (asian thing), talk to all the locals and eventually wander back to his angry wife. I wonder if an island is big enough for him.
Anyway. So that about sums up the Doing portion of the trip. Next up I’ll have a post about What I Ate and What I Wore. Forewarning: temptation was rife. I did have 3 cocktails. There was a buffet breakfast every morning. Like I’m only human. I didn’t go too crazy with tryna be healthy, but I also didn’t want it to be a bitch when I got back home to my plainer, healthier routine. Spoiler Alert: it’s been hard. Tim Tams, Caramilk and Pringles OH MY.