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A Perfect Week in Wellington-Part 1
Posted 27 Feb 2015

Make the most of the last summer days with a quick getaway to Wellington, the city dubbed the coolest little capital in the world. It is renowned as a cultural hotbed with some remarkable architecture and numerous art galleries certain to satisfy those with an eye for art or history – and has a massive sporting culture to boot.

Take a look at our series on why New Zealand’s capital city is the holiday destination of the moment – starting with its arts and cultural scene… With its timeworn colonial buildings, street art, iconic sculptures and entertainment complexes this picturesque city will sweep you off your feet.

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Start your trip with the Artists in Action weekend from 28 February – 1 March, where you can visit painters, potters and printmakers in their studios all weekend from 10am to 4pm to see how they create their work, and pick up or commission a piece you’ll love.

All year round, you can follow the Arts Trail on the picture-perfect Miramar Peninsula, home to painters, photographers, sculptors and filmmakers. The Arts Trail takes you around Shelly Bay, Maupuia, Strathmore Park, Mora Point, Breaker Bat and Seatoun to galleries and exhibitions where celebrated New Zealand artists such as Jane Blackmore and Juliet Best display their work along the water’s edge.

For another cultural hit, discover the beautiful harbor area with The Wellington Writers’ Walk, where the waterfront is randomly dotted with typographical sculptures, quotes on concrete plaques and inlaid metal texts.

Follow the path to the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa on Cable Street.  Six floors of exhibitions with cafes and gift shops are dedicated to New Zealand’s culture and environment, free of admission charges. Here you can see Elf Soldier and Elf Lieutenant costumes from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films. Te Papa offers a Middle of Middle Earth Costume Trial designed by Weta Workshop, where you can hunt hobbits, dwarves, elves and men to the suburb of Miramar. Weta Cave, the studio behind critically acclaimed films like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Avatar and King Kong is located here.

If you’d rather stay inside Te Papa, innovative and interactive exhibits tell stories of New Zealand’s unique geological, biological, cultural and social history.

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Continue on your journey of New Zealand’s political and social history with a visit to Parliament. Learn about New Zealand’s parliamentary process on a free one hour guided tour that also covers the history and architecture.

Across the road is the largest wooden building in the world, the old Government Buildings. Completed in 1876, the structure resembles an Italian stone palace and is lined with crimson flowering Pohutukawa trees.  It has two grand staircases, eight vaults, 143 rooms, 126 fireplaces, 22 chimneys, 64 toilets, eight verandahs and seven porticos and now houses part of Victoria University of Wellington’s Law Faculty.

At Jervois Quay, a late English Classical style building houses Wellington Harbour Board Head Office.  On Queen’s Wharf the Bond Store, designed in French Second Empire style, is where you will find the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.

See the world’s largest specimen of the rare colossal squid, captured in Antarctica a few years ago and if you dare, meet Azorg the vilest Orc from Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films.

To round off your cultural vacation, get to the heart of Miramar for the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and be greeted by three trolls in the garden. A one-hour tour provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of the multi-award winning design studio and manufacturing facility that services the world's entertainment and creative industries. Weta’s design and effects work for films includes not only the Lord of the Rings trilogy but also Chronicles of Narnia, District 9, Adventures of Tintin and Elysium amongst others.  Visitors get to try some of the weapons made for the movies.  You can also buy limited edition sculptures hand crafted by artists at Weta and clothing, jewelry and books. 

And if a few days of culture isn’t your thing, then stay tuned for our upcoming articles that take a closer look at Wellington’s sports action, golden beaches, picturesque gardens and retail hotspots.

Getting to there and away

Check out Fiji Airways special offers on flights to Auckland and flights to Wellington

Plan your New Zealand holiday

- Flights to Auckland - Fiji Airways operates flights to Auckland regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Auckland, flights from Suva to Aucklandflights from Apia to Aucklandflights from Los Angeles to Auckland and flights from Hong Kong to Auckland.

Flights to Wellington -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Wellington regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Wellington, flights from Suva to Wellingtonflights from Apia to Wellingtonflights from Los Angeles to Wellington and flights from Hong Kong to Wellington.

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By Glen Smith continue reading
Tagged: Community, Culture, Family, History, Leisure, Relaxation
Getting married in Fiji - A wedding guide
Posted 10 Feb 2015

Thousands of couples get married in Fiji each year, with some opting for an intimate beach ceremony or others choosing to share their big day with loved ones with a resort ceremony. There is a huge choice of wedding venues in Fiji, as five couples proved when they tied the knot onboard one of Fiji Airways’ flights, earning us a Guinness Book of World Records record for the world’s highest altitude wedding on an aircraft.

While most couples don’t get married at 41,000 feet, destination weddings are growing in popularity, says Samantha Amjadali, wedding guru and Digital Manager at EasyWeddings.com.au.

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“In the past travel was quite expensive, so destination weddings were about the couple heading overseas for an intimate ceremony. Often none of their loved ones could afford to join them to witness their vows,” says Amjadali. 

Things have, however, changed. “These days, with travel being so affordable, couples can still enjoy the romance and adventure of a wedding overseas, but with their friends and family present,” she explains. 

Fiji is a popular wedding destination for Australian and New Zealand couples for a variety of reasons, says Amjadali: “Fiji is easy to get to, its affordable, the there is no language barrier, the food is magnificent and the scenery is literally paradise.”

Fiji resort wedding packages

Many resorts offer wedding packages, which include a wedding coordinator to take care of everything, from the ceremony to the menu.

“All-inclusive packages take the burden of having to organise every last detail off your shoulders. Resorts like InterContinental Fiji offer some fantastic packages that offer lots of value,” says Amjadali.

Local Fijian customs and foods

Many packages can be tailored and Amjadali advises couples include some local Fijian customs in their ceremonies or serve local delicacies. “Consider serving some traditional food, such as slow cooked suckling pig or fish, which is barbequed for hours in a lovo (an underground pit). Have the whole Fijian experience,” she says.

Having your own celebrant or minister

“Some couples want a particular celebrant and they will fly them over to their destination wedding,” says Amjadali.

Under Fijian law, a couple’s own celebrant can participate in the wedding vows but a local celebrant must solemnise the marriage and sign the marriage certificate.

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The legal requirements

Before couples get caught up in planning every detail of their overseas wedding, they should first investigate the legal requirements.

“Find out what the local marriage laws are and whether your marriage will be recognised in Australia or New Zealand. You may also need to do some paperwork beforehand, or get visas or inoculations,” says Amjadali.

To get married in Fiji you need to apply for a marriage license ahead of the ceremony by providing:

  • birth certificates
  • passports
  • if applicable, divorce certificate
  • if previous spouse is deceased, a death certificate
  • in some cases a Certificate of Single status is required, if the marriage is taking place between: a Fiji citizen and a foreign citizen, former citizens of Fiji or foreign citizens residing in Fiji

A wedding coordinator will be able to help you with getting the wedding license in Fiji, but ask about this in the initial planning stages or you could run out of time once you arrive and not be able to marry.

Are marriages in Fiji recognised in Australia?

Marriages entered into overseas are generally recognised as valid in Australia, the Smart Traveller website advises. However, rules vary from country to country so be sure to check what rules apply to the country you’re intending to marry in.

When to get married in Fiji

The best time to visit Fiji is generally late March to early December. The wet season lasts from November to April when cyclones can occur.

Honeymooning in Fiji

After getting married in Fiji, it makes sense to extend your stay and indulge in a romantic honeymoon. In fact, Fiji is the second most popular honeymoon destination (after Europe) for Aussie couples, according to EasyWedding.com.au’s 2014 annual wedding survey.

Amjadali says most couples are in need of rest and relaxation after their big day. “The wedding planning cycle is, on average, about 18 months. At the end of it, many people just want to relax.”

Plan your wedding in Fiji

EasyWeddings.com.au is a one-stop online resource for wedding information, including apps, planning tools and a gift registry. 

Getting to Fiji for a wedding

Fly to Nadi or Suva with Fiji Airways. Check out our great deals and special offers with our partners

Plan your Fiji wedding or honeymoon

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

Flights to Suva - Fiji Airways operates flights from Sydney to Suva and Auckland to Suva.

Join BulaMail

Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula!

For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to:

  • Fiji Airways sales fares
  • Limited time partner offers
  • Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday
  • Exciting prizes and giveaways

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By Glen Smith continue reading
Tagged: Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation, Romance, Wedding
Kahawa Coffee Shop in Suva
Posted 21 Jan 2015

From humble beginnings over 15 years ago, Kahawa Coffee Shop has grown to become one of Suva’s most popular havens for the astute diner. If you are looking for great coffee in Suva or a quick bite to eat, look no further than Kahawa.

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Sporting an appetizing menu of fresh produce and home-made pastries and sweets, the Kahawa Coffee Shop, located on Level Two of Suva Central Building, is a sanctuary of comfort and relaxation for a weary traveller amidst the hustle and bustle of Suva’s busy CBD. 

On my first visit, I found it difficult to choose from the numerous appetizing options, but soon settled on freshly squeezed fruit juice, a toasted Walu Panini and a visit to the popular salad bar.

I approached Suva’s only ‘make it yourself’ salad bar and filled my bowl with a variety of cold meat, capers, thinly sliced red onion, grated carrot, crisply green lettuce, sweet corn, marinated eggplant, hard-boiled eggs and fresh bean sprouts.

Whilst waiting for my freshly squeezed fruit juice and toasted Walu Panini to arrive, I admired the effectiveness and simplicity of Kahawa Coffee Shop’s business model. The venue has successfully managed to attract patrons from a wide demographic, from the professional elite to school children.

The delicious sweet juice was produced from all locally sourced ingredients and was the perfect healthy refreshment for a busy, humid Suva day. The toasted Walu Panini was served with a homemade creamy mustard sauce that seamlessly complemented the fish. 

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For those with a sweet tooth, Kahawa Coffee Shop doesn’t disappoint. There is a daily selection of mouthwatering homemade pastries and baked goods. The chocolate, carrot and walnut cupcakes definitely caught my attention, however sadly, my lunch hour was over and I had to hurry back to the office.

Next visit, I will satisfy my cupcake passion and top it off with a dairy-free seasonal fruit smoothie!

Kahawa is the perfect place to meet a special someone, read a great book, laugh with friends, get your daily caffeine fix, devour scrumptious sweets or enjoy a delicious, healthy meal. 

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Check out some of Suva’s other dining venues such as <Daikoku Japanese Restaurant> Suva’s vegetarian eatery: Highland Natural Foods.

Getting to Suva

Fly to Suva with Fiji Airways. From Suva Airport, head to Albert Park in the city centre to attend the Hibiscus festival. 

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways. From Nadi airport, you can easily reach Koroivulo Park and Prince Charles Park for the Bula Festival and Lautoka for the Sugar festival.

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 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.

Join BulaMail

Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula!

For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to:

  • Fiji Airways sales fares
  • Limited time partner offers
  • Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday
  • Exciting prizes and giveaways

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By RAJAN SAMI continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Family
Wasabi warning: Daikoku Japanese Restaurant in Suva
Posted 8 Jan 2015

In the 10 plus years I’ve been eating at Daikoku Restaurant in Suva, I’ve never had a bad meal.

First off, I must admit I have a major bias for Japanese from my university days in Tokyo. I developed a taste for quality Japanese cuisine and Daikoku, as Fiji’s premier Japanese restaurant, has managed to capture the essence of the land of the rising sun in many of its delicious dishes.

And it seems I’m not alone. Daikoku Restaurant was recently awarded a TripAdvisor 2014 Certificate of Excellence and hold a 4.5 star rating on the independent website. 

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When I’m being good, I’ll order the sashimi platter (salmon, tuna and white snapper) along with miso soup, salad and rice. However, in my many moments of weakness, the vegetable tempura or the ton-katsu (crumbed, deep-fried pork cutlets) wins out.

And I love the wasabi ice cream to finish: it awakens the sinuses and cools the palate.

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Of course, Teppanyaki — essentially a Japanese BBQ — is what the iron chefs of Daikoku specialise and the spectacular show they put on is a big draw card making it a great place to bring family and friends.

What many restaurateurs in Fiji fail to grasp is that food is only a part of a much bigger story. Let the chefs at Daikoku Suva wow you with their extraordinary knife skills and watch the rice fly as they skillfully prepare your food. A must try is the teppanyaki shrimp in cream sauce, it’s a house specialty favourite.

As for beverages, Daikoku has a wide selection of Japanese beers and sake to choose from as well as Fiji Bitter and other wines.

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While it is not the cheapest place in Suva to catch a bite to eat, you will leave the restaurant feeling that you received value for money. The sushi and sashimi are freshly prepared and the teppanyaki is delicious.

When we want to eat well, we do it at home. Eating out is about good food, yes but also about service and atmosphere. Daikoku Suva has this down to a tee with its polite and efficient waitresses, authentic interior and excellent food.

Daikoku Restaurant is located near Dolphin Plaza on Victoria Parade in the heart of Suva City. There is also a second Daikoku Restaurant in Nadi on the corner of Northern Press Road and Queens Road.

Thinking about travelling to Suva? Discover more about Fiji’s vibrant capital with these articles: Secret Suva Fiji’s Fresh Food Safari

Getting to Suva

Fly to Suva with Fiji Airways. From Suva Airport, head to Albert Park in the city centre to attend the Hibiscus festival. 

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways. From Nadi airport, you can easily reach Koroivulo Park and Prince Charles Park for the Bula Festival and Lautoka for the Sugar festival.

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 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.

Join BulaMail

Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula!

For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to:

  • Fiji Airways sales fares
  • Limited time partner offers
  • Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday
  • Exciting prizes and giveaways

Join BulaMail!

By RAJAN SAMI continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Family, Relaxation
Suva's Vegetarian Eatery: Highland Natural Foods
Posted 6 Jan 2015

Whether it is the indigenous Fijian delicacies cooked with the root vegetable, taro, or the flavours of vegetarian Indo-Fijian cuisine wafting into the streets of Nadi and Suva, the locals of Fiji have always loved their vegetarian foods.

For the vegetarian traveller to Fiji’s capital, Suva, Highland Natural Foods is your one stop destination. Officially opening its doors earlier this year, the all vegan/vegetarian café/juice bar offers the public a fusion of global ‘health and wellness’ trends with the finest locally sourced ingredients.

Since the grand opening, Highland Natural Foods has received an extremely positive response from the public and is effectively achieving their aim to be Suva City’s ‘place to go’ for a healthy, vegetarian lifestyle. 

Highland Natural Foods Manager, Lesi Wong, describes the products on offer as feeling like “a hug from the inside”.

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Indeed, the store is an all-vegetarian Mecca for freshly squeezed juices, health-booster smoothies, herbal teas, a variety of nutritious salads, multigrain wraps, wholesome cereals, plant-based products, dried herbs, essential oils, homemade sauces, ‘wellness boosters’ and raw food produced from organic local produce.

All products on the menu are both meat-free and dairy-free. In addition, Highland Natural Foods produces its own butters, sauces and dressings primarily using locally produced products.

Smoothies include the Protein Power (pawpaw, banana, pineapple juice, and Whey protein) and the Green Activator (banana, vudi, pineapple and barley green). While the artisan juices include the Green Hornet (cucumber, carrot and green barley) and the Flu Buster (apples, lemon, ginger and a dash of cayenne).

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You can add ‘wellness booster’ super foods supplements to beverages to boost your nutritional consumption.

For those with an appetite, the lunch menu includes vegetable pattie wraps and club sandwiches as well as vegetable pattie pita bread and a selection of nutritious vegetable, bean curd and chickpea salads.

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Highland Natural Foods is a locally owned enterprise, passionately committed to the health and wellbeing of Fiji’s community. Highland Natural Foods provides easy accessibility to organic, wholesome, ethical food with excellent customer service in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

The establishment is the perfect option for the health-conscious individual, the backpacker on the run or the family on holiday.

Check out Highland Natural Foods at Parade Arcade, Scott Street, Suva.

Getting to Suva

Fly to Suva with Fiji Airways. From Suva Airport, head to Albert Park in the city centre to attend the Hibiscus festival. 

Fly to Nadi with Fiji Airways. From Nadi airport, you can easily reach Koroivulo Park and Prince Charles Park for the Bula Festival and Lautoka for the Sugar festival.

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 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.

Join BulaMail

Be the FIRST to receive sale fare alerts and you will also have access to our monthly newsletter – Last Friday Bula!

For Last Friday Bula, you will get exclusive, priority-access on the last Friday of every month to:

  • Fiji Airways sales fares
  • Limited time partner offers
  • Inspiring ideas to help plan your holiday
  • Exciting prizes and giveaways

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By SHANI REN WILLIAMS continue reading
Tagged: Family, Relaxation
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