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Page 1 of 13 |
Navua River Some of the best waterfalls in Fiji
Posted 21 Nov 2014

Situated a 40 minute drive south from Suva along Queens Road, you will come across the sleepy town of Navua. A sultry gem, hidden from the main tourist trails, Navua does not have the white sandy beaches of the Yasawa or Mamanuca Islands. Instead, it has the mighty Navua River and the best waterfalls in Fiji.

It is here, amongst the tropical green foliage of the Namosi Rainforest that we began our journey up the Navua River.

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The little wooden boat with its small outboard engine pushes up the rapids like a salmon swimming upstream. Clinging tightly to my life jacket, I look back at the captain, Jerry, and he is laughing away while bailing water out of the boat. Nothing fazes him! How did I get myself in to this situation?

We’re going waterfall hunting and the wild Navua River is one of the best places to see waterfalls in Fiji. With tropical jungle lining both banks as we bounce along in the little dingy, one could be forgiven in thinking we were on the Amazon River - without the piranhas and anacondas, of course. Fun fact, Hollywood thought the Navua River looked so much like the Amazon that the Anaconda movie was shot here.

Along the river, we see children playing and families taking a dip with the familiar ‘Bula’ ringing through the air as we cruise by them. Many parts of Viti Levu’s interior remain relatively undeveloped even today and the Fijian people who call this region home have used the untamed rivers in Viti Levu to access the tropical interior for centuries.  About three hours in (and several ‘Bula’s later), we reach a spot that Captain Jerry calls his favorite place in the whole world – the Nakavika Waterfall.

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The Nakavika falls look nothing short of a postcard selling paradise. Captain Jerry tells us that God spent a bit more time on Nakavika Falls and that is why its picturesque setting is like none other in the world. As we jump out the boat, the sound of the falls in the distance heightens the excitement and makes us forget the three hour bumpy ride.

The entire Upper Navua River contains over a dozen majestic waterfalls, which can at times tower a massive 40 metres above the river below.

If you’re looking for an adventure away from the tourist trails, the Navua River and the Nakavika Waterfalls tour with Discover Fiji is definitely a must.

Getting there and away

-    Fly to Suva with Fiji Airways and take an hour drive to Pacific Harbour from Nausori Airport 
-    Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways and take a scenic 2 hour drive from Nadi Airport along the Queens Highway

Organise your Samoa holiday

-    Flights to Suva - Fiji Airways operates flights to Suva regularly from many domestic and international ports including, flights from Sydney to Suva and flights from Auckland to Suva
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 Akuila Batiweti continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Leisure
Samoa Rising Five Must See Cultural Attractions in Upolu
Posted 18 Nov 2014

Samoa’s Upolu truly is an island full of hidden cultural treasures just waiting for the intrepid traveller to explore. The cosmopolitan island, which is home to more than three quarters of Samoa’s population, has everything from sacred religious structures to unique Polynesian handicraft to traditional displays of celebrations of Pacific nation’s cultural history. If you are spending your vacation in Samoa, here’s a quick guide to some of Upolu’s top five must see attractions.

Bahai Temple

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Majestically poised on top of the winding Cross Island Rd, the Bahai Temple architecture and grounds were designed to make you feel serene and at peace. Wander through the 22 acres of picturesque gardens and parkland, pause, sit and mediate. The white domes of the temple are spiritually uplifting and you are welcome to enjoy the temple for reflection and prayer. Enjoy beautiful chanting and singing at the Bahai Service every Sunday at 10am. The Temple is open daily from 6am to 6pm and is located 8km from downtown Apia along the Cross Island Road.

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Fiafia Nights

For those not in the know, a faifia is a Samoan cultural celebration that combines a smooth blend of traditional Polynesian music and dance followed by a traditional feast. While Samoa’s capital, Apia, offers a number of fiafia cultural nights, one of the best fiafia’s is at Le Manumea.  Owner Luna Paul from Cook Islands has combined the sounds and dances of her homeland with that of her adopted country. Book ahead to guarantee a table and be wowed by the skillful fireknife dancers, the backdrop to a meal prepared with alofa by Luna and her team.

Other venues to see a fiafia includes the Tanoa Tusitala on Thursdays from 6.30pm (Adults SAT65 | Kids under 12 half price); and Ooh La La Ice Cream Bar hosts the Siva Afi Entertainers on Tuesday and Thursdays from 7.30pm. 

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

Slip back into Samoa’s colonial past and view mementos of Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish author of the world famous novel “Treasure Island”. Although he only lived in Samoa for the last five years of his life (dying in 1894), the Museum boast a fine collection of letters, books, and furniture as well as some unique artefacts that offer visitors insights into his family life in Samoa. For the devoted traveller, walk the path up Mt Vaia to his grave and a beautiful view of Apia makes the trudge worth it. Be cautious when it is very wet.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3.30pm and on Saturdays 8am to midday. Virtually every taxi driver will know how to get here as the Museum is on of Samoa’s more popular tourist attractions. Just follow the signs on Cross Island Road from Apia’s town centre. 

Samoa’s Churches

Did you know that there are over 1000 churches in Samoa, but just 300 villages? Samoa and the devoted people of Upolu have churches dedicated to all dominations of Christianity. As you drive from Faleolo Airport around Uplou, the churches line the roads. Each village and denomination is trying to outdo the other in terms of size and beauty. Recently the new Catholic Mulivai Cathedral (Immaculate Conception) opened in the heart of Apia with great fanfare dwarfing independence celebrations. Samoa’s Sistine Chapel, its dome is heavily decorated with culturally significant murals and the church is bedecked with art from dome to floor. 

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Did you know that there are over 1000 churches in Samoa, but just 300 villages? Samoa and the devoted people of Upolu have churches dedicated to all dominations of Christianity. As you drive from Faleolo Airport around Uplou, the churches line the roads. Each village and denomination is trying to outdo the other in terms of size and beauty. Recently the new Catholic Mulivai Cathedral (Immaculate Conception) opened in the heart of Apia with great fanfare dwarfing independence celebrations. Samoa’s Sistine Chapel, its dome is heavily decorated with culturally significant murals and the church is bedecked with art from dome to floor.

Vanya Taule’alo Gallery

Hidden away in a peaceful tropical garden only 15 minutes from Apia, The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery gives you a personal insight into Samoan and Pacific art and handcraft. Feast your eyes not only on the prints and paintings on the walls but also on artistic handcrafted wooden bowls and funky jewellery, elegant pearls and unique décor art works. Walk around the beautifully appointed garden or sit on the deck and catch your breath.

The gallery is open every second day – Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 4pm. Getting there is not difficult. Drive out of town towards the airport, turn left at gallery sign at corner near Vaitle Market. Continue inland for 2.5 km to Mulivai Lane and make your way to a second gallery sign at a T junction. Turn right at sign, gallery is just along the lane.

Getting there and away

Fiji Airways flies direct to Apia from Fiji regularly.

Organise your Samoa holiday

Flights to Samoa -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Samoa regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Samoaflights from Suva to Samoaflights from Los Angeles to Samoaflights from Honolulu to Samoa and flights from Hong Kong to Samoa.

By RAJAN SAMI continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Leisure
Take a trip to Heaven by staying at Yasawa Island Resort & Spa
Posted 10 Nov 2014

Did you know that there are 15 different ways to say ‘Heaven’ in the Fijian language? It’s a fact that is hardly surprising given that the stunning archipelago is a tropical paradise filled with white, sandy beaches, swaying palms and crystal clear waters. Yet, nowhere in Fiji is heaven more apparent, than on the Yasawa Islands. In fact, one of those very Fijian words for ‘Heaven’ is ‘Yasawa’.

It is this fortuitous name that the Yasawa Island’s premier hotel, Yasawa Island Resort & Spa, delivers to its guests. Winner of the TripAdvisor 2014 ‘Traveller’s Choice” award in the small luxury hotel category, the Resort is the quintessential example of beauty in an untouched paradise and perfect if you’re looking to be spirited away into a pristine tropical paradise.

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Intimate and secluded

Privacy and exclusivity are what sets the Yasawa Island Resort and Spa apart from many other resorts in the ‘heavenly’ islands and indeed, Fiji. There are no other resorts nearby, no traffic and no televisions; there is only the sounds of the palm trees swaying and the ocean lapping a stone’s throw from your private villa.

The resort has 18 very large traditionally thatched, beachfront houses called bures that are understated in their luxury. Burrowed in between the swaying palms trees right on the beach front, each Bure contains an expansive deck with daybeds; a discreet outdoor shower and air conditioning.

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Dining

Specialising in first-class modern cuisine including succulent seafood caught daily just off the coast, the renowned chef’s at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa enjoy pushing the boundaries to surprise and delight their guests. Indeed, every meal, whether you are dining at the restaurant or on the beach under the stars is a culinary experience. Variety abounds and menus change daily accenting the freshest, regional ingredients of the day.

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Activities

You’ll find plenty to do at Yasawa Island Resort. All motorised and non-motorised activities as well as trips and tours are included in the daily tariff (excluding fishing, diving & spa).

There are 11 pristine white beaches to choose from for a secluded uninhibited picnic. Or perhaps snorkelling on one of the untouched reefs, kayaking in the tropical waters or visiting a traditional Fijian village is more appealing.

In addition, you can play a game of tennis, beach volleyball or take a guided walk to the local villages and catch a local rugby match.

Pamper

For many guests, taking a trip to ‘Heaven’ is all about the pampering and Yasawa Island Resort’s famous all Ultimate Spa Bonus allows you to have a 50-minute Spa treatment each day of your stay at the beachfront Baravi Spa for a one-time payment of only $450FJD plus tax.

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What are you waiting for? Yasawa Island Resort is definitely a ‘heavenly’ destination. Fly to Fiji today with Fiji Airways.

Getting there and away

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways. Transfers to Yasawa Island resort are made by plane to the resorts own private air strip.

Organise your Fiji 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 Nadi, flights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi.

By Akuila Batiweti continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation, Romance, Surf and Dive
Bonjour Vanuatu: A Whirlwind Tour of Port Vila and Espiritu Santo
Posted 4 Nov 2014

Located 1,211km west of Fiji, the breathtaking archipelago of Vanuatu is one destination that I will never forget. Having flown into Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, with Fiji Airways, I placed my bags at the quality budget hotel, City Lodge, and headed into the vibrant Vila Market.

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It’s easy to see why Port Vila is a popular spot for tourists. The city is full of history built upon a fusion of Melanesian and European influences. First settled by the Portuguese, then the British, Port Vila briefly changed its name to Franceville in 1889 under leadership of French citizen, Ferdinand Chevillard. Although its independence only last a few months, Franceville was one of the first nations to practice universal suffrage and even had its own flag – a red and white flag with a blue rectangle holding five-stars.

Indeed, The town centre is fringed by a picturesque sea wall and finished with French touches. You’ll find restaurants like ‘Lejardin des fleurs’, cafes and boulangeries as well as the Bon Marche supermarkets, which sell freshly baked baguettes and French cheese.

Despite the political machinations of the European settlers, Port Vila was first home to a number of Melanesian tribes. You can get lost in their ancient culture at the National Museum of Vanuatu, which has a great selection of traditional artefacts including the tamtam (drums) and Lapita and Wusi pottery.

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For those looking for some adventure, there’s beaches, water sports and scuba diving all located on the town’s western foreshore. One of the exciting finds of my trip was the Mele Cascades, about a 10minute drive out of Port Vila. Here I discovered a turquoise pool at the base of a 35 metre waterfall. It was hard to say no to a refreshing dip!

Tapas temptations

In the evening I headed to Tilly’s, the restaurant at Chantilly’s on the Bay Resort, for tapas.

Aubergine rolled with basil and feta is a favourite, as is the generous plate of goat’s cheese and spinach arancini. The up-market studio apartments here all have amazing water views and the place has a very quiet, private feel – the perfect place to relax.

A sojourn in Santo

Halfway through my island escape to Vanuatu, I headed up to the island of Espiritu Santo. I met up with a group of Australians and spent the week exploring the reefs off Santo. It’s impossible not to be impressed by Vanuatu’s stunning beauty and marine life.

One of the more exciting experiences was seeing the spectacular “S.S. President Coolidge” run-aground. The luxury cruise liner-turned-WW2 troop carrier, struck a mine as it entered Santo Harbour in 1942. The near 200 metre long vessel is today a protected dive site and is easily accessible without the need of specialised equipment.

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Getting There

Fiji Airways flies direct three times a week from Nadi to Port Vila and once a week from Suva to Port Vila.

Organise your Vanuatu Holiday

Flights to Port Vila, Vanuatu – Fiji Airways operates flights to Vanuatu via Nadi. Hong Kong to Port Vila, Los Angeles to Port Vila, Melbourne to Port Vila, Brisbane to Port Vila, Sydney to Port Vila, Christchurch to Port Vila and Auckland to Port Vila.

By Nichole Sarkis continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Leisure
Get Hooked: Big Game Fishing In Fiji
Posted 3 Nov 2014

Where can I go big game fishing in Fiji?

There are many reasons to visit the beautiful and welcoming Fiji Islands. Its idyllic sandy beaches and palm fronds waving gently in the ocean breeze beckon travellers from all over the world. From exotic honeymoons, family beach holidays to some of the best diving available anywhere in the world, the Fiji Islands offer something for everyone.

One increasingly popular adventure activity is the sport of big game fishing. A growing number of anglers from around the world now travel regularly to Fiji and consider the islands one of the best game fishing holiday destinations available.

Surrounded by thousands of miles of deep ocean, Fiji's main islands are the visible tips of extinct volcanoes that rise over 5,000m from the sea floor below. These peaks provided a foothold for a plethora of hard and soft corals and the extraordinary amount of marine life that lives on the reefs.

As with any ecosystem there are prey and predators and the predators here are very well fed indeed.

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Fiji’s World Record Breaking Game Fishing Haul

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has recorded numerous World Records caught in the Fiji Islands, in fact there have been two new World Records taken in the past few years.

In 2009, Tim Simpson landed a 31.6kg Wahoo on a 4kg fishing line; while in 2010, Fiona Stallard landed a 21kg Wahoo on a 3kg fishing line. Tim is a professional game fisherman but Fiona was a complete beginner. It just goes to show that with the right boat and professional crew and right location, anybody can succeed at big game fishing, indeed even catch a World Record!

Both World Records were taken aboard the charter boat Bite Me operated by Bite Me Game Fishing Charters. Based out of Matava Eco-Adventure Resort on Kadavu Island, the resort and game fishing operation enable anglers access to the Wahoo, Trevally and Marlin that dwell in the clean waters of the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef.  Known as the world's fourth largest barrier reef, it is a magnet for adventurous divers, snorkellers and game fishermen.

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Hooking The Big Game Fish

The species list of tropical game fish available to anglers is an enviable one. All species of billfish found in the Pacific Ocean are regularly caught in Fiji Island waters. Top of the list and caught frequently is the Blue Marlin. Reaching sizes in excess of 1,500lbs, this apex predator is renowned for its sheer power and spectacular leaps across the ocean. At certain times of year Black marlin migrate along outer reef slopes and during the winter, large numbers of Pacific Sailfish form up into packs enabling many anglers to first experience the thrill of tagging and releasing their first billfish.

Indeed, during the winter months it is quite possible to achieve a “Grand Slam” of big game fishing – namely the tagging and releasing of three different species of billfish in a single day.

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What Fiji is best known for in game fishing circles however is the annual winter gathering of huge numbers of Wahoo. This species is considered one of the fastest fish in the ocean having been recorded at speeds in excess of 50kmph. With razor sharp teeth and resembling a streamlined torpedo, Wahoo dart into the spread of lures behind a boat, smash the tastiest looking lure and take off for the horizon at break-neck speed. These fish really are the origins of the term 'screaming reel'.

Called 'Ono' by the Hawaiians meaning 'good to eat', Wahoo visit Fiji in such numbers that their schools can sport numbers of up to 50 fish. When a game fishing boat encounters a wahoo school the resulting pandemonium of screaming reels and excited anglers is a sight to behold.

Also high on the list for visiting fishermen is the Yellowfin Tuna. Considered one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean, they are caught almost year round. Growing in excess of 100kg they can be an enormous challenge to land.

Yellowfin form huge schools feeding on bait balls that they corral on the surface. It is common to see hundreds of sea birds such as Boobies, Noddies and Terns wheeling and diving over a frothing mass of ocean as yellowfin charge into the ball of baitfish with such speed that they leap clean out of the water. A sight to get any fisherman's heart racing.

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Popper Casting In Fiji

Over the past few years, a new type of fishing called “Popper Casting” has come to the fore. Once the preserve of a handful of secretive specialists, it is now gaining widespread popularity. Popper Casting involves casting enormous floating cup face plugs at reef edges and working the lure back to the boat in a furious series of noisy bloops and chugs. The primary target species is the Giant Trevally, colloquially known as “GT”.

Looking somewhat like a throw-back from the dinosaurs, this reef bruiser grows to sizes in excess of 70kg though any fish over 40kg is considered a trophy fish. There are some regions off Kadavu island that have become so specialised that most rods used for popper casting are custom-built and handmade. Often an individual rod and can cost upwards of $1,000.  With a top of the range casting reel to match, this type of fishing is not for every holiday angler but anyone can get a taste for this sport by targeting smaller GTs on lighter tackle. Some anglers even fly fish for GTs over shallow lagoon sand flats.

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Big Game Fishing Conservation In Fiji

There is no doubt that commercial fishing around the world has had a significant impact on the abundance of game fish species. Fortunately the Fiji Islands recognise the importance of a healthy fishery, not just for the small local fishing industry and the seafood it provides for Fijians but also the increasing income generated by visiting anglers.

Charterboats like Bite Me play their part by tagging and releasing all billfish. Like billfish fishermen, GT anglers have very strong preservation ethics and all GTs caught aboard charterboats like Bite Me are released unharmed. Anglers use monstrously heavy tackle to ensure a short fight. GTs are gently lifted from the water, a salt water deck wash hose placed in their mouth, a quick photo and then released immediately.

The amazing abundance of marine life in Fiji is a national treasure and one that every visitor to this beautiful paradise should experience, whether it is a day’s fun fishing aboard a game fishing charter boat or simply snorkelling along any one of a thousand stunning coral reefs.

The Fiji Islands, particularly Kadavu Island and Taveuni Island are considered some of the world's hot spots for big game fishing and as sport continues to develop, Fiji is careful to ensure the eco-system and reefs remain unharmed by human activity.

Getting there and away

Fly to Nadi or Suva with Fiji Airways. From Nadi or Suva Airport then fly to Kadavu with Fiji Airways. From Kadavu airport take a 45 boat ride to the resort

Organise your Fiji Diving 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.

Flights to Suva - Fiji Airways operates flights to Suva regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Suvaflights from Sydney to Suva and flights from Auckland to Suva.

 

Flights to Kadavu -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Kadavu daily from its domestic ports including flights from Nadi to Kadavu and flights from Suva to Kadavu

By Adrian Watt continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Leisure, Surf and Dive
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