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The incredible story of the Naihehe Caves in Navosa Valley
Posted 19 Dec 2014

Today, the Sigatoka Valley is known as the Salad Bowl of Fiji. It is famous for growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables. However, in the past, the Sigatoka Valley was known for its cannibalistic mountain tribes, intrepid missionaries and the largest network of caves in Fiji – the Naihehe Caves.

It was this piece of Sigatoka that I wanted to explore, and was told that the experience of the Naihehe Caves was one not to be missed. Excited to explore the hidden culture of Fiji’s tribal past, I threw on my bikini, grabbed Steve-the-photographer, and set off along the Queens Highway.  

From the onset, the stories and jokes began as soon as we pulled out of town. At the check-in a lovely lady handed me a hot pink sulu, a bottle of water, and bundled nine of us into a little van. She bid us farewell with a smile and said, “See you all this afternoon. If the cannibals don’t choose you.”


Our group was ushered down to the platform and we boarded our jet-boat to the other side of the Sigatoka River where a 4-wheel drive was waiting.

The bumpy trip through the mountains was completely captivating. The Navosa Valley is a combination of the interior of Middle Earth, Fern Gully and Pocahontas’s Promised Land to be. Wild horses ran alongside us, huge marble stonewalls cascaded along the path and cliffs revealing unimpeded views of the Sigatoka River below.

After about an hour grinding along ‘the road less travelled’, we then drove straight through a creek that had swallowed any resemblance of a track, and up the muddy bank, where we were met by a Priest named Jo. He was the custodian of the Naihehe caves.

We were greeted by a traditional welcome ceremony of the Navosa people as we walked down a bamboo bordered path. We then passed under a large gap beneath a rock and entered the caves.

It immediately started getting darker. We kept walking with our flashlights until we reached a dead-end. This is where we left all light behind. Squeezing under another rock-face, we were instantly transported to a world only previously known to the cannibal ancestors of the local Fijian people. 


The history of the Naihehe caves reads like a novel. It all starts in 1865 with a European missionary named Reverend Thomas Baker pulled a comb out of the Navosa chief’s hair. In Fijian culture it is considered an insult to touch a chief on the head and the Reverend paid dearly for the faux pas. Not only did the Navosa villages refuse to convert to Christianity, they also killed and ate him. His half eaten shoe can still be seen at the Suva National Museum. When another tribal chief heard the story, he assembled an army of warriors and went inland to convince the mountain tribes to join the new faith. Civil war broke out and the Navosa clans hid their women and children in the Naihehe caves. The same caves we were now standing in. For over a month, 400 mothers, teenagers and toddlers lived in near pitch darkness in the great big echoing cavern.

The Radisson BLU is the perfect holiday escape for families and accommodates large and small families. Home to Fiji’s only ‘White Water Tunnel’ water slide, the Radisson BLU is the premier place to unleash your inner child at Adrenalin Water Sports Park.

We were then taken to the chief’s chamber, which is mirrored by a beautiful aqua pool of water. Standing there, one got a sense of being surrounded by the ghosts of the hidden tribe. Their sojourn in the darkness had been longer then ours; their return to sunlight less voluntary. The story goes that the war ended when the enemies heard the laughter of children playing at the mouth of the cave. They lit fires around the Naihehe caves to smoke the families out. The Navosa chief vowed to convert to Christianity in exchange for their lives. 


Getting to Sigatoka Valley

Sigatoka is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Nadi Airport on the Queens Highway. Local buses also stop along the way. Check bus schedules for details. You can also take a tour with Off-Road Cave Safari. The tours include a trip on a fast jet boat as well as the adventure drive. Fiji Airways flies to Nadi daily from Sydney, Auckland and Brisbane and three times a week from Los Angeles, Honolulu, Hong Kong and Melbourne.

Organise your Fiji holiday

-    Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadiflights from Auckland to Nadiflights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi.

By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Adventure
Child Friendly Guide To Denarau Island
Posted 17 Dec 2014

Travelling with kids can at times feel more like work than a holiday, which is why many families seek out holiday destinations that offer activities designed to excite, educate and entertain the children, while also giving the parents a chance to getaway and relax. Denarau Island is that destination. With child-friendly luxury resorts, championship golf courses, pristine beaches and fresh seafood, Fiji’s Denarau Island has more in common with a five-star hotel than an actual island.  Well equipped with activities for every age, Denarau Island is a holiday destination that will create positive memories for your family and take the hassle out of holidaying with kids. Here are four destinations you can take your little ones for a great time:

Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, The Hilton 


It can be difficult to find privacy on an island packed full of resorts but the Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, managed by the Hilton Hotel chain, pulls it off effortlessly. Each villa features a private kitchen, terrace and even a BBQ so guests really can “get away from it all.” If you would like a little active indulgence, Fiji Beach Resort and Spa unsurprisingly features an impressive spa – and don’t worry, the kids can get pampered too. The resort has a complimentary IKA Kids’ Club, which hosts all day activities including crafting, cultural classes and of course the water sports. Children also eat for free at the Resort and there is a professional babysitting service.

Sheraton Villas


The word Sheraton is synonymous with luxury and while this remains true for the Sheraton Island Resort on Denarau Island, it is also known as the perfect place for holidaying families on a budget. The Resort’s amenities include a golfing driving range, tennis courts, bike rental and a jump off point to Port Denarau, the gateway to the famous Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.

For the kids, the Sheraton has a childcare service, as well as the Lai Lai Kid’s Club. Parents that have registered for an SPG Kids Pass with Starwood Hotels, can have their children aged 12 or below eat and drink all they want for a daily flat rate.

Radisson BLU


The Radisson BLU is the perfect holiday escape for families and accommodates large and small families. Home to Fiji’s only ‘White Water Tunnel’ water slide, the Radisson BLU is the premier place to unleash your inner child at Adrenalin Water Sports Park.

Furthermore, the Kids Koro Club for children aged 4 to 12 includes treasure hunts, a kid’s Olympics and basket weaving. The highlight of the kids club stay is the popular ‘ceremonial lighting of the torches’ parade. An evening tradition, the kids dress up in Fijian warrior outfits and are escorted around the grounds by two Fijian warriors lighting the torches at sunset. The Resort also provides an extensive range of water activities, including banana boat rides, paddle boarding, scuba diving and water skiing.  

Fun Factory


It’s hard to go wrong in a place named after fun, and Fun Factory is no exception. Catering for children too young for most in-resort kids clubs, this expansive play centre features enough bright colours and movable objects to excite the young for hours on end. Relax and unwind as your kids do what kids do in a safe and clean environment. With so much for the kids to see and do on Denarau Island, it is clear Fiji is the perfect destination for families on holiday.

Fiji Airways is an approved carrier for flights with both small children and infants. Our restraints and bassinets are certified and our flight attendants experienced at catering to families on long haul flights. Older children can remained entertained for hours with our on board in-flight entertainment options that range from movies to games. Just plug in some headphones and thank Pixar. To find out more about travelling on Fiji Airways with children review our Special Travel Needs page.

Getting there and away

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways and take a short drive from Nadi Airport to Port Denarau, where the Fun Factory is.

Organise your Fiji holiday

-    Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadiflights from Auckland to Nadiflights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi.

By Daniel Hochuli continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Leisure
Sigatoka's Volivoli Cave: Fiji's natural attraction
Posted 15 Dec 2014

Step back into the past. Take a walk into an archaeologist’s dreamland where fossils of crocodiles, giant toads, and large animals are found. Welcome to Volivoli Cave, in Sigatoka, a site subject to many archaeological and scientific expeditions since the 1970s.


Considered to be one of Fiji’s national treasures, Volivoli Cave is the only archaeological site with true fossil deposits to be found in the country.

A mud filled canyon passage welcomes you as you come through the entrance. It leads you to several chambers with dazzling formations and beautiful underground river passages with floors enveloped in deposits of clay.

According to Dr Mark Stephens, a senior lecturer in Physical Geography, who has completed several research papers on the Volivoli Caves, the site is unique because it contains Fiji’s only preserved specimens of fossilised fauna long extinct on the archipelago.

The excavated fossils were described to be the remains of a crocodile, tortoise, a giant Fijian iguana, a bold snake, three species of frogs, and several large birds dated to be as old as 25,000 years.

“Volivoli Cave is the most important fossil sites to be discovered in Fiji,” said Dr Stephens. “We also found evidence of a settlement next to the cave,” he said.


‘Volivoli’ meaning ‘sand’ in the local dialect is also an important place for the local Fijian villages. The traditional owners of the caves from Yadua Village recently agreed to open the region up for eco-tourism. Indeed, the site is an exciting attraction for those channeling their inner Indiana Jones and all proceeds go back to Yadua Village and the preservation of the caves.

Located about 6 kilometres from Sigatoka Town, in the Sigatoka Dunes National Park, the Volivoli Caves are well worth the trek. 


Getting there and away

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways. From Nadi airport,  Sigatoka is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Nadi Airport on the Queens Highway.  

Organise your Adventure Holiday

Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadi,flights from Auckland to Nadiflights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi.

By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Adventure
The Radisson Blu Resort Fiji is the perfect holiday escape for Australian families
Posted 9 Dec 2014

Travelling with kids is never easy and many Australian families prefer to stay at a resort that has excellent childcare facilities on their overseas holiday. In Fiji, one of the premier resorts for families is the Radisson Blu Resort on Denarau Island. Aussie families who have experienced the 5-star quality and service of the Radisson Blu Resort brand in Sydney and Melbourne will undoubtedly be impressed with the superior child-care facilities at the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji.


Getting to the Radisson Blu Fiji

Nadi Airport is only a short four-hour flight from Sydney to Fiji (five hours from Melbourne), making the tropical island of Denarau the perfect destination for Australian families looking to take a short holiday overseas. From Nadi Airport, the Radisson Blu Fiji is located just 20 minutes away and the Resort can arrange pick-up at the Arrivals terminal for your and all the family.

Aussie families with older kids will enjoy the Radisson’s own on-site water park known as Adrenalin Water Sports. Fun for all ages, the kids will love barreling through Fiji’s only whitewater tunnel slide, riding the jet skis or experiencing some hang-time the wild banana boat rides. Kayaks, hobbiecat and Aqua Trike hire are also available with reservations, as well as surfing and scuba diving lessons.


The Banana Bunch Kids Club

The young kids will love the ‘Banana Bunch’, Radisson Blu Fiji’s official Kids Club. The friendly and qualified staff, also known as ‘Bananas’, have a full-day’s itinerary planned and how to show the kids an exciting time. They will keep the little ones entertained while mum and dad sneak off for a luxurious massage at the Harmony Retreat Spa or for a couple of laps in the Radisson’s exclusive ‘adults only’ swim-up pool bar.

As the sun sets on a wild day of sun, sand and surf, the Bananas encourage the kids to get involved in the daily evening torch lighting ceremony at the Resort. The kids dress up as traditional Fijian warriors and, accompanied by two real Fijian warriors, walk the perimeter of the Resort igniting the torches that light the paths around the hotel. It’s a great cultural experience for the kids and also a bit of fun for the mums and dads who follow – cocktail in hand.


Dining at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji

Known as Lomani Wai, or dining-by-the-water, feasting at the Radisson Blu Fiji is a unique experience best shared with all the family. Sample the freshly caught fish and chips at Neptune's, or enjoy a slice of pizza while overlooking the beautiful Pacific ocean and watching one of the best sunset views on Denarau.

Parents who would like to dine alone at our Signature Tables or Cross Restaurant can leave the little ones in the expert care of the Radisson’s Kids Koro baby-sitter service. Available for ages four to 12 years old, the Koro Kids club will keep the children entertained while you enjoy a special night out together.


With so much to do for all the family, the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji is the perfect place for Australian families to take a holiday this summer. Fiji Airways has direct flights from Sydney to Fiji as well as flights from Brisbane to Fiji and flights from Melbourne to Fiji. Check out our Special Offers page for more deals on activities and flights to Fiji.

Getting there and away

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways and take a short drive from Nadi Airport to Port Denarau, where the Radisson Blu is located

Organise your Radisson Blu Holiday

-    Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadiflights from Auckland to Nadiflights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi.

By Fiji Airways continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Family, Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation
Discover the charms of Kiritimati
Posted 3 Dec 2014

“Fishing. Fishing. Fishing?” is the rhythmic chant that escorts me through the Kiritimati’s Cassidy International Airport. Rarely do tourists visit this exclusive coral atoll for anything else. So its little wonder that immigration officials have the “Purpose of Visit – fishing” routine down pat.

Recalling our descent onto the landing strip, I can see why Kiritimati, also known as ‘Christmas Island’, is a mecca for big game fishermen. The island is surrounded by stunning coral reefs and strong ocean currents that draw up small fish to the surface. In turn, these attract some of the sports main prizes: Salilfish, Tuna and Wahoo.


The raised coral atoll is situated in the Line Islands as part of the Republic of Kiribati and is famous for its position at the forefront of the time zone, experiencing their sunny days before the rest of the world.

Kiritimati whispers stories of British nuclear tests and promises unmet in the memories of those of old. It also holds its breath as the threat of climate change creeps up the shorelines of the low-lying island. But its people hold no grudge against the outside world as they continue to welcome onto their shores devoted anglers to test their game and bone fishing. The entire island is a wildlife sanctuary, home to many endangered seabirds, but it is the realm of reefs, sand flats and open ocean waters that draw the most praise from travellers and conservationists alike.

Everything I had heard about Kiritimati paled in comparison to the real deal: That first shock of turquoise sparkles like the Garden of Eden for fishermen and divers alike. The sheer brilliance of the lagoons that surround the world’s largest coral atoll stuns me as I arrive at my base for the day, the Ikari House Lodge


Kiritimati’s residents populate the four villages, intriguingly named Banana (nearest to the airport), Tabwakea, Poland and the main village, Ronton (London). On the way from the airport we had passed communities of low-lying huts surrounded by hammocks and the occasional “kava bar”, mostly deserted in the hush of the early morning. The silence here, as crisp as the sea-air, is only broken by the sound of the sea birds that seem to permanently inhabit the skies.

These images are trumped, however, by what sits at the doorstep of the Ikari House Lodge. Owned and operated by Jacob and Lavinia Teem, Ikari House sits right on the edge of the lagoon with a view that makes the “crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches” cliché, all of a sudden, nouveau. 

I walk into the maneaba that serves as a dining area and am simultaneously walking onto the beach. Reviews of the lodge weren’t kidding when they said that the boat would pick you up right where you had breakfast. A group of seasoned fishermen chat at the dining table (picnic tables in the sand) and are served a champion breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausages by the smiling Tetima.


Kiritimati island water activities

The guests are happy to testify to Ikari House’s exceptional role in their fishing adventures. Mark, a particularly excited Australian angler, is a returnee to Kiritimati Island and rates the fishing lodge as the best option on the island. We soon set off to experience what Ikari House is most famous for – bonefishing.

For those not as crafty with the rod as I, bonefishing is the term used when fly-fishing in shallow inshore water. The hotel’s name, “Ikari”, directly translates as “bonefish” in Gilbertese, Kiribati’s local language, and the Kiritimati sand flats have a legendary reputation amongst the bonefishing community.

There’s a light shower sprinkling overhead when we jump off the slippery jetty onto the Wai Knot, our noble vessel, and I chuckle to myself over the clever pun. The early rain doesn’t obscure visibility too much as we still manage to spot a manta ray, breaking the surface to see us off on our way to the famous Paris Flat in search of some bonefishing action. After fifteen minutes of windswept hair/raincoat and another 15 of pleasant conversation while we wait for a bite, I feel my first bit of action at the end of the line.


For those not too keen on spending the entire day on the water, but rather in it, I am told the diving off Kiritimati Island is just as exquisite. Cursing myself quietly for not booking a longer trip to allow for some exploration of the allures of Kiritimati’s deep, I listen to a fellow traveller’s stories of underwater caves and a blossoming marine eco-system that has divers falling prey to its charms.

Kiritimati island land activities

For those feeling slightly waterlogged and looking for a day to spend on solid ground, Kiritimati is the breeding ground for over 18 seabirds and home to some 35 bird species and teeming with opportunities to witness an exclusive feathered fiesta.

The next stop is Motu Tapu Island, where Uriam Anterea, guide from the Kiritimati Island Wildlife and Conservation Unit, will take our wonder with Kiritimati from the seas to the skies.  The Kiribati Islands are host to number of bird species, with sensitive ones restricted to predator-free islands or motu.

Motu Tapu is crawling with birds, literally.  Walking through the dry vegetation, I grow more hesitant with each step as burrows, nests, eggs, baby and juvenile seabirds, and protective mothers are scattered amongst the dry weeds and creepers that crackle beneath our potentially fatal feet.


Kiritimati’s sea food safari

After six hours in beautiful Micronesia, the pangs of hunger are more than satisfied by a selection of seafood, my feast being crumbed fish (which I’m told by Tetima, is sweetlips) and chips served at the lodge. For those that don’t have time to sit and dine, eagerly rushing from one fishing spot to the next, Kiritimati’s famous “Tuna Jerky” is a salty snack that must be sampled. Sundried strips of yellow-fin tuna, this island delicacy is a bit of an acquired taste, but embodies the taste of the sea and can be seen in the backpacks of every angler, boatman and barefoot child.

Sitting on the beachfront of Ikari House as the boys load my minimal luggage onto the truck, I look back at the past couple of hours I have spent on this untouched atoll and wish I had more time to explore. Cramming a fishing trip, sightseeing and bird-watching into seven hours is no easy feat, but the serenity of this modest island, eagerness of the locals and the promise of an amazing day on the water made it a walk in the park...or in the sand rather.

If you’re looking for an escape from the hordes of tourists that make five-star vacations sometimes stifling, pack a bag and catch the next Fiji Airways flight to Kiritimati Island.

It will surprise you as much as it did me.



Getting there and away

-    Fly to Kiritimati with Fiji Airways 

Organise your Kiritimati Fishing Adventure Holiday

-    Flights to Kiritimati - Fiji Airways operates flights to Kiritimati once a week.

By DRUE SLATTER continue reading
Tagged: Culture, Fishing, History
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