Fiji was wonderful with temperatures of about 25 degrees during the day. It was winter however, and they had quite a cool seabreeze coming in, so I wouldn’t say that it actually felt that warm. Water temperatures were excellent, which made for a lot of good snorkeling.
The picture above was taken on an island called Matacawa Levu, which is situated in the Yasawa group of Islands. They are most likely Fiji’s prime tourist destination, as the differences between each of the islands are large – there’s something there for everyone.
Upon arriving in Fiji, I stayed in Nadi, the city that houses the international airport, for four days. While it’s a bit of a tourist trap, you can actually visit interesting buildings in the area. For one, the city houses one of the largest hindu temples in Asia Pacific.
In addition, the mountain ranges surrounding the city are well worth exploring. It’s also a good place to start your visit to Fiji from, as it’s quite easy to find information on any of the 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago.
While in Fiji I had a lot of reading to catch up on, so I decided to head into the islands – preferably some quite far away with little drunk british tourists (believe me, this is a difficult thing to achieve in this part of the world). I ended up on an island called Matacawa Levu, which had an absolutely lovely beach with great scenery.
While it suffered a bit from the tides (the only times of the day that you could easily go swimming were in the early morning and late evening), and it was exposed to wind, it was a great location just to relax a bit and read a book. The people were excessively friendly and as there was only one place on the island to stay, everything had a very laid back feel.
As I really wanted to see some of the other islands as well, I left after four days and headed on to a second island, Nacula. This was a larger island which had a reef just in front of the beach and great swimming and snorkelling all day long. In addition, it had a number of high hills which you could climb, after which you could truly walk around the entire island.
There was one downside to this, though. On most islands in the Yasawa range you have little or no mobile phone reception. I thought this was absolutely splendid, and did not see any problem in not turning off my cell phone after using it as an alarm clock in the morning. However, one luxury resort, called “Turtle Island” which was not too far away from Nacula, did have a cell phone base station.
This wouldn’t have been a problem, as the island was on the other end of this nice little hill. However, when I started climbing it early in the morning, I was suddenly greeted by all these little text messages and voice mails from yours truly which I didn’t really want to get during my relaxing holiday 🙂 Thanks anyway, but I hope you didn’t mind me not replying while I was there.
A short boatride from Nacula is the beach where both the “Blue Lagoon” movies were filmed. The beach itself is not accessible – you are kindly advised not to enter it by local security personnel. The entire beach is leased by a cruise company that wishes to keep it privy to the select few that can afford one of their luxury cruises.
To Philippe: head over to Fiji! They play rugby everywhere!
Local school children on Nacula.
The capital of Fiji, Suva, has about 300 000 inhabitants. Above you can see the old government buildings, which are now the home of the palace of justice, as well as Albert Park, the national stadium.
While some things, such as the National Museum, are definitely worth visiting – it has on display large amounts of pacific art, as well as more information on the history of Fiji and the tumultuous colonization period – the city does look a little bit run down. There’s nothing like visiting the capital to get to know a country’s people, however.
After visiting Suva, I took the ferry to Levuka, which used to be the capital up until teh late 1800’s, when Fiji decided that it would be unfeasible to expand the city beyond it’s current frontiers. As an alternative, Suva was declared the new capital of the country.
Rugby field with mountain backdrop.
The oldest Masonic Lodge in the Asia Pacific region. The building was built in 1875. However, as was to be expected, the locals never really understood what all this was about – rumours soon passed through Levuka that the building had an underground network of tunnels that lead all the way to Scotland. The building has been associated by locals with the devil itself, and was burned to the ground in 2000 after the coup.