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Together, Barefoot – Our Favourite Place To Be! Tropica Island Resort
Posted 8 Nov 2016

Planning a vacation with your spouse, closest friends, or just a long haul adult only break? While it may not be the first thing you look into when picking a hotel/resort, opting for an adult only resort can make a big difference in your overall luxury travel experience. That’s where Tropica Island Resort fits the bill perfectly.

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The Tropica Island Experience

Nestled into a private sheltered bay on the beautiful sun drenched island of Malolo, Fiji’s adult only Tropica Island Resort is only a short distance from Nadi International Airport but seemingly worlds away, promises a haven of romance, privacy and fun. Leave the kids and cares behind - it’s all about you and your better half.

Getting to this dreamy haven, we boarded an inter-island transfer catamaran from Port Denarau Marina (departs three times a day) at 9.00am which took 2 hours via other islands – this would normally take 55 minutes direct otherwise. Mid and lower decks provide air-conditioned comfort while the open-air top deck provides magnificent views of the surrounding islands and resorts along the way. Professional speedboat and water taxi transfers are also available on request one way or return, or alternatively for something really special a number of companies operate a seaplane transfer which will have you at the island in 10 minutes.

Relaxation & Rejuvenation

Arriving to the island, we were welcomed by the resort staff and their beautiful singing by the pier. Armed with a tropical welcome cocktail to toast our arrival to Paradise, guest manager’s Nancy and Joe made us feel right at home and part of the Tropica family at that moment. We were given a quick introduction to resort facilities and ushered along the sandy and scenic lush garden paths to our unique Beachfront Bure set alongside a white sand beach and coconut palms. Our Bure has an intimate unpretentious atmosphere and sits in quiet gardens with their own beach access and stunning panoramic views across the ocean and neighboring resorts. Waking up to the sound of the Pacific waves outside our Bure was absolute bliss.

swing on bure

While endless water views from our own beachside sun lounges or hammock are undeniably romantic, cuddling on our very own verandah swing also has its own dreamy appeal. Plenty of space for lounging on the grass too but definitely great for sand, sea and sun lovers - all about R&R!

Thanks to a recent renovation, the resort boasts 12 fully refurbished Beachfront Bures, 4 Deluxe Beachfront Bures and 14 new resort rooms - all with air conditioning. A boutique stocks a range of resort wear, jewellery, handicrafts, souvenirs, pharmaceutical and toiletry items.

Attentive customer service and welcome from the friendliest staff on earth is unrivalled. They love to sing, dance, play, laugh and share in the Fijian culture and they will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

The Perfect Setting

sunset bar

The open-air restaurant and bar with top-quality international and local cuisine and intimate, incredibly attentive service and complimentary water sports are just some of the features of this hideaway. The resort definitely offers total relaxation as we soak up the sun in the fresh water horizon pool overlooking the turquoise waters of the pacific. It is peaceful, intimate and perfect for relaxed sunbathing as we sip on a cocktail. The ultimate serene setting! Free wifi is also available throughout the resort so you can post those real-time updates on social media. Sure to make anyone jealous.

Here, the water is always warm, and we’re on Fiji Time (at your own pace). There’s lots of fun events, from Beach Bocce played frequently, to the landscaping team teaching you to weave, husk coconuts, climb a palm tree, drink fresh coconut juice or extract herbal remedies – lots always unfolding.

There’s always a romantic atmosphere for couples especially so at night when the resort is lit with bamboo fire torches combined with soft singing of both English and Fijian classic songs from the staff throughout dinner. Happy Hour is between 6pm-7pm and no other perfect place to relish in this then from their sunset bar. We indulged ourselves in a few of their scrumptious cocktails, watched a picture perfect sunset and enjoyed the rest of the evening with their talented in-house band. Plenty of opportunities for romance — savour a romantic candlelit dinner for two on the pier dock reserved only for private dinners, a long stroll on the beach, or endless sunset views from ‘The Point’.

The resorts speedboats are ready to whisk you away to a private picnic with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, or escorted snorkeling and diving day excursions or if you prefer even a sunbathing session for two at a nearby sandbank. Serenaded sunset cruise with champagne and canapés is also on the cards. Rustic relaxation reign supreme!

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Surfing and day trips to the infamous Cloud 9, Cloudbreak and Tavarua Island can be arranged too with fishing trips tailored to your requirements and experience.

After experiencing one of the resorts popular day trips to Modriki Island, where the famous Castaway movie starring Tom Hanks was shot, it was a great way to unwind, relax the mind and body at the Resort’s Day Spa. Their range of products and treatments using local Fijian skin and body care products definitely promises total rejuvenation and wellbeing. Heavenly pampering couples massages, radiant facials and luxurious spa manicures and pedicures, was a great way to start our sensory journey to body and mind rejuvenation. Options are endless, soaking in coconut and cinnamon aromas, indulging in an exotic body polish cleansed with fresh sugar cane crystals, whatever treatment you choose, their professionally certified therapists ensure you leave feeling relaxed and revitalized.

For couples looking for a dream place to get married with breathtaking sea views of the Pacific Ocean receding into the horizon, the resort offers to help you craft the perfect wedding or honeymoon experience.

The resort is undoubtedly an ideal place to stay for adults looking for fun, or to celebrate those special occasions – whether it be a wedding, special anniversary, birthday or just a family or friends getaway. Romantic? Undoubtedly. Unique? Absolutely!

Seize the opportunity and make the very most of your luxury holiday and go to a place where you and your partner have only dreamed of visiting - Tropica.

This place will make anyone feel very special! Place Tropica Island Resort at the top of your next Fiji holiday and you won’t be disappointed.

[Images supplied by Tropica Island Resort]

By Tui Ganilau Continue Reading
Tagged: Resorts, Relaxation, Romance, Honeymoon, Rejuvenation
Cruising the Yasawa Islands with Blue Lagoon Cruises
Posted 3 Nov 2016

Our decision to holiday within the magnificent Yawasa Islands was sparked by the amazing stories that come from anyone that has ever visited this small group of islands in Fiji. Their stories describe a place of vast untouched beauty, numerous islands bordered by long white sandy beaches and surrounded by an ocean coloured in various shades of blues and greens. It really sounded too good to be true. For the uninitiated, the Yasawa group is an archipelago of about 20 volcanic islands in the Western Division of the Fiji Islands. There are many ways to explore the Yasawas. However, if you’re looking for an experience that provides you with first class comfort, effortless travel, five- star service, lots of great food and plenty of opportunity to do as little or as much as you want- choose Blue Lagoon Cruises.

Cruise
Blue Lagoon Cruise

The Perfect Escape

Looking to escape the cool winter months, our holiday began with a 3 hour flight from Sydney Australia where the weather was muggy, chilly and wet. Fiji as an overall holiday destination was an easy choice for us. Besides Fiji’s famous exotic beaches, sunshine, friendly people and generous currency exchange rate; it was the short travel distance, affordable and frequent flight options by Fiji Airways that made our choice a winner. Ultimately this meant more money to spend on any extra activities we wanted. Touching down in Fiji, I recall the Captain’s welcoming words “Ladies and gentleman welcome to Fiji, home of the Olympic Sevens gold medal champions”. This announcement was received with deafening cheers and thunderous applause by all the passengers. Two days prior to our arrival, Fiji had made history by winning the inaugural Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament. It was also the island nation’s first ever medal in any Olympic event. With all the positive energy and hype from the nation’s recent win, we couldn’t have timed our getaway more perfectly. There was no doubt that the enthusiasm and energy of the locals were at an all-time high.

Adventure Awaits

Upon arrival in Nadi, we were shuttled to Denarau Marina where we checked-in for our cruise at the South Seas counter. At that point, the afternoon itinerary was handed to us and our luggage taken by front desk where it was tagged and allocated our room number. Admittedly like most travellers we were a little cautious about misplaced luggage, so when it left our hands we were a tad bit uneasy. Our nerves were quickly put to ease as we were reassured by the polite concierge that our luggage would be handled with great care. Our job at that point was to simply unwind and enjoy the start of our Fiji holiday. After a brief 30 minutes exploring the Denarau Marina shops and restaurants, we departed on board the Cougar 2, a high- speed transfer catamaran. During our transfer, we were spoilt with soft drinks, nibbles and best of all - champagne. The scenery on the transfer was breathtaking as we cruised past numerous smaller islands known as the Mamanuca group of islands. About forty minutes later, we arrived at our rendezvous point, the Sacred Islands.

Adventure Awaits
Fiji Princess

The Sacred Islands

The Fiji Princess, our cruise ship, was docked in the turquoise lagoon and awaiting our arrival. On board the ship we were greeted by the local crew and briefed by Apisai the cruise director about cruise safety procedures. It was difficult paying attention as we had been served lunch and were in awe at the breath-taking backdrop of the Sacred islands. We could easily see why they called it the Sacred Islands because besides its complete isolation from other islands, it was untouched and we were the only ones there. In the middle of lunch I remember thinking that, if for some reason we didn’t reach the Yasawa group of Islands then that would be okay, because this was already paradise in itself. This was a sobering thought because the cruise hadn’t even begun. We spent the rest of that afternoon swimming and wandering the beaches, while other passengers went kayaking and snorkelling the lagoon. For some odd reason the famous beach image from the 1953 romantic drama “From Here to Eternity” kept coming to mind. It felt like we were in an iconic piece of paradise. After a couple of hours enjoying Sacred Island it was back on board the Fiji Princess to freshen up for happy hour and the Captain’s dinner. The à la carte menu was locally inspired and was nothing short of 5-star quality. Singing Fijian island tunes and 1980’s music, the friendly Blue Lagoon crew eased us into our first night on board. Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 10am and offers just about everything that would be desirable on any breakfast menu. The omelettes whisked up by the talented young chef were a go-to meal for us every morning. The daily intercom announcements will ensure you don’t miss any pre-scheduled meal or activity. And in the likelihood that you do miss breakfast - don’t worry because there is always morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner to look forward to. The Blue Lagoon staff have a saying, “the more you eat the better you float”. True to their motto, no one ever went hungry on board.

Traditional Fijian Lovo
Traditional Fijian Lovo

The Beautiful Nanuya Lailai Island

Early morning on the second day we pulled anchor and voyaged our way towards Nanuya Lailai. This is home to Blue Lagoon Cruises very own private beach. Nanuya Lailai is encircled by two other islands, creating a beautiful sheltered lagoon. Standing from the top deck of the ship you can see straight through these crystal clear waters to the bottom of the ocean floor. The stern of the ship is tied to a coconut tree roughly 25 metres from shore. On the beach you have massages on offer, a beach bar, and sun loungers. You will not be short of activities either with fish feeding, snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding to look forward to. Our evening activity was also spent back on this private beach where we enjoyed cocktails and kava under the stars, traditional Fijian lovo food and entertainment by local neighbouring villagers to a Fiji traditional meke dance. Offered on the third morning and perhaps one of the highlights for us was the hike over the hill to the other side of the island. Don’t get us wrong, the first two days were magnificent but the guided hike gave us a good insight into everyday local island life. Local village plantations, old island bures (thatched houses) and the 360 degree breathtaking views of the island hilltops were unforgettable. It was a point where we found ourselves questioning the madness of living in big cities when the simplicity of places like this exist with people that showed so much ease and contentment with their lives. The hike ended with a cup of lemon leaf tea and cakes by the beach at Lo’s Tea Shop.

Meke
Traditional Fijian Meke

The Infamous Sawa-I-Lau Caves

Later that afternoon we set sail for stunning limestone Sawa-I-Lau caves. This was another natural wonder to behold and something you simply can’t miss on your trip. Made from limestone, these caverns are a combination of fresh and salt water. A large hole above the caves is its only light source and its surrounding walls give an eerie echo with every sound made. There are cool Fijian legends about these caves. The waters aren’t shallow either, with a bottom of at least 12 feet deep. Its lots of fun with a bit of courage and adventure involved. Let’s just say the Blue Lagoon Cruise wouldn’t be complete without it.

Sawa-i-Lau Caves
Sawa-i-Lau Caves

All good things must come to an end

Our fourth and final day was spent at Drawaga Island. We attended a local village school where Blue Lagoon community initiative “Vinaka Fiji” volunteers work. We thought this was a cool way to give back and support the local village communities, particularly its children. The shell markets at Drawaga were also buzzing with cool souvenirs on offer. The evening ended with dinner and a party night but for us, a quiet game of monopoly was all we had energy for as we turned in for our last night of the cruise.

Drawaqa Community
Drawaqa Community

The package we chose was a 4 night wander cruise package and we would highly recommend the same. Besides the mesmerizing islands and all its beauty, it was the hardworking and happy staff of Blue Lagoon Cruises that made this trip so enjoyable. Definitely a trip that is worth doing at least once in your life.

 

By Aulden Warbrooke And Jade Lee Continue Reading
Tagged: Adventure, Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation
Places to Stay in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Posted 19 May 2016

In our last piece from our trip to Vanuatu, we give you an insight into the accommodation that we were treated to. No doubt – they were all amazing and something we would have no qualms about returning to.

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Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa

Grand Hotel and Casino

Port Vila has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all travellers and budgets. Of our six-night stay in Port Vila, the first two were spent at the lavish Grand Hotel and Casino. The hotel is hard to miss with its towering structure overlooking magnificent views of Port Vila Harbour. A glass of wine watching the sunset from our high- rise patio was the perfect way to relax after a long day of adventure.

Grand
Grand Hotel & Casino, Vanuatu

The service was most commendable along with a great range of breakfast and dinner options. The famous Vanuatu beef is a must try as the chefs grill it to absolute perfection. It will definitely challenge all your ‘best steak’ experiences. The location, class and elegance of this hotel make it a fantastic accommodation option.

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Grand Hotel & Casino, Vanuatu

Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa

Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa is only a ten minute drive from Port Vila’s main town centre. If resort style accommodation is more your preference then this would be the perfect choice, especially for families and couples. The views out to Erakor Lagoon are breathtaking. They have a wide range of kids and adult activities so there is always something exciting to do.

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Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa

Our stand alone bungalow accommodation was perfect and a welcome change from our usual room accommodation. The local band that played during the Saturday night buffet dinner was understated and truly deserving of celebrity status. The perfect way to spend our last evening in Port Vila.

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Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace is truly a unique place to stay. It is the newest accommodation provider in Port Vila. It opened in early March this year with an enthusiastic team that were welcoming and keen to ensure our stay was comfortable. The hotel is small but is located prominently on the foreshore overlooking Mele Bay which gives guests in ocean view rooms, a magnificent view.

There is a restaurant in the hotel that serves authentic Chinese cuisine. However, other food options are conveniently only a short distance walk from the hotel. Although it has only come from small beginnings, Crystal Palace is sure to attract its own clientele and flourish.

In the words of our Vanuatu hosts, “Tankyu tumas” (Thank you sincerely) for reliving this journey with us. We hope your stories and experiences of Port Vila will be just as wondrous and memorable as ours!

By Aulden Warbrooke And Jade Lee Continue Reading
Tagged: Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation
Fiji Takes Ian Harding’s Breath Away
Posted 26 Oct 2015

Hollywood heartthrob Ian Harding has praised Fiji and its people, after visiting here in July. Harding, who star’s on the hit American TV show Pretty Little Liars as Ezra Fitz was in Fiji flying Fiji Airways, and staying at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, and Turtle Island Fiji.

Two videos posted on the Fiji Airways Facebook page and YouTube channels show an interview with Harding, who was on a week-long visit, and have had over 122,000 views.
The extremely popular actor, who has 3.1m followers on Instagram, 1.9m on Twitter and almost 1m fans on Facebook also spent the week highlighting his experiences on his social channels.

The 29-year old star praised Fiji Airways crew for the flight.

“Other places that I’ve been to, I’ve noticed that sometimes the flight can be very formal … there isn’t like a casual comfort to it. (But) everyone who … working on that flight was very welcoming, very warm, and very professional. The food was quite great; I missed the first meal because I had fallen asleep, which I think is a good sign.”

He was extremely impressed with his time at the InterContinental and Turtle Island Resorts, referring to his Fiji experience as a dream which seemed too good to be true.
“I’ve been snorkelling, glass-bottom boating, went to an island tour where we saw caves; all the guides were very knowledgeable. I’ve been white water rafting, and we jet-skied out to an island, where it had a tiki bar and food and then we jet-skied back, perhaps a little too fast. It’s been a blur of joy.”
Harding has been inspired by the Fijian way of life and the beauty of the country.

“If I could freeze Fiji Time… I realise it’s not just simply explaining why people sometimes can be late… but a desire to live, more than to just be part of the rat-race. I’ve noticed that I’ve looked at my phone fewer times a day, and there’s internet and all kinds of stuff so I could, but just haven’t, and it’s been pretty marvelous. People are wonderful, food is fresh, and look at this – points to sunset on the beach – people will think it’s a backdrop for a movie, but it’s not. It’s wonderful.”

Ian has also just won the Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actor in a Drama for his role as Ezra Fitz in Pretty Little Liars, along with Tyler Blackburn for Choice Summer TV Star. Tyler also holidayed in Fiji last year and stayed at the exclusive Dolphin Island.

By Leanne Goff continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, , Resorts, Leisure, Relaxation
In Transit 24 Hours in Melbourne (Part 2)
Posted 22 Jun 2015

With its hole in wall cafes, hidden street art, cobblestone laneways and clandestine restaurant entrances, there’s more to the cultural and sporting capital of Australia than meets the eye.

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Art Galleries
Take a 10 minute walk to St Kilda Road where you will find the National Gallery of Victoria. Art plays a big role in Melbourne's overall culture and there are few better places to take in some of Australia’s greatest offerings than the NGV. Part gallery, part museum, part garden and all cultural hub, it's a truly expansive facility featuring an eclectic mix of art and exhibits ranging from ancient Egypt all the way to post-modern impressionism. General entry is free. 

The second art gallery is in the Ian Potter Centre that you can visit while you are still at Federation Square.

Walk and laneways
Continue to walk along St Kilda Rd to the Shrine of Remembrance and return to the city through parklands that include the Royal Botanic Gardens. 

When back in the city don’t miss out on the arty laneways including Hosier and Rutlege Lane opposite Federation Square, Centre Place between Collins Street and Flinders Lane and Degraves Street. 

Shopping Mecca
Take a short walk to the Emporium on Melbourne Central, Bourke Street Mall and tree-lined Collins Street, the ultimate shopping strip and business centre.

China Town
Don’t miss the fine dining experience in the Chinatown district in Little Bourke Street.  There’s souvenir shopping down that way, too.

South Wharf & Docklands
Catch the City Circle from Spring Street yet more top shopping at South Wharf’s Direct Factory Outlet.  Stroll the street or have dinner and soak up views of the city, Southern Observation Wheel, Bolte Bridge and Westgate Bridge at night.

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What not to miss? 
Watching the sunset at South Bank followed by dinner on the waterfront. The restaurants along the South Bank precinct are high-end French, Italian, Japanese and Seafood establishments.  Dinner cruises are also popular as a way to combine good food and an enjoyable spectacle.

Have a bit more time? Here some tips if you are not time conscious.
 
- Stroll around Melbourne's spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens and enjoy a Devonshire tea by the lake.
- Cross the Westgate Bridge for amazing views of the city skyline as well as scenic suburbs and Albert Park, site of the Melbourne Grand Prix.
- Walk along leafy Lygon St in Carlton for an authentic Italian meal, it’s the place where Melbourne’s famous café culture was born. 
- Take a tram to the bayside suburb of St Kilda for a swim, meal or walk along the waterfront promenade to Luna Park. Take a ride on the world's longest running 'human operated' Scenic Railway (Big Dipper).
- Visit Queen Victoria Market for a cheap meal, to pick up a souvenir and enjoy the atmosphere.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: 27 February to 15 March

The world’s largest food and wine festival takes place in Melbourne in every year in various venues around the city.  Now in its 23rd year, the festival highlights why Melbourne is a world-class gastronomic destination, attracting visitors from across Australia and around the globe. From famous dining spots to unexpected places, rooftop bars to hidden cellars, each year the festival puts up a remarkable show.  

For more info: melbournefoodandwine.com.au

Getting there and away

Fiji Airways flies direct to Melbourne 7 days a week.

Organise your Fiji Holiday

-    Flights to Melbourne - Fiji Airways operates flights to Melbourne daily from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Melbourne, Los Angeles to Melbourne (via Nadi), Honolulu to Melbourne (via Nadi) and the Pacific Islands to Melbourne (via Nadi).
-    Visit our Special Offers page to find great partner deals from Melbourne and all our other ports and cities we fly to.

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By Glen Smith continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Community, Leisure, Relaxation
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