Bula!!! Happy New Year to everyone reading! I brought in 2016 on a boat that was cruising through the Yasawa islands of Fiji. The second week of the year was spent on the mainland, relaxing in a resort. My Fiji trip was with my mum’s side of the family, all sixteen of us. It was at times a little crazy travelling with this many people. The stand out moments would include my mum loosing her suitcase in the airport for 20 minutes, catching taxis together and organising sixteen people to meet up in agreement at certain times. If you can imagine the start of the ‘Home Alone’ films, when they are leaving for the airport, at times we looked the same. It was certainly a different type of holiday, one never experienced before, but I enjoyed every minute with my loved ones.
Night one was spent on the mainland. The room was not big enough for the six of us in my family, so they gave us a second room. It wasn’t luxury, but it had air conditioning and a bed, it was all we needed. The next day we jumped in a car, picked up some essentials including kava and fireworks. We then ate some Indian food for breakfast, which brought back lovely memories of the Sri Lankan food I was eating just weeks before. We met up with the rest of the family at the Port to jump on our boat for the week. We travelled with Captain Cook cruises which I loved as you got to move around to all of the beautiful islands. It was not a huge cruise ship, yet it was all-inclusive food wise, had a bar and inclusive water sports.
The beautiful tropical heat was so easy to sit in and the swimming and snorkeling every day was incredible. The fish and coral I got to see was absolutely mind blowing. I have seen the Great Barrier Reef, but do not remember seeing nearly as much as what I was lucky enough to see in Fiji. I felt like I was swimming around in a tropical fish tank. The fish swim around you as you are snorkeling over the coral and the swell pushes you along, so you really just have to jump out of the boat and float.
I had my first scuba diving lesson on the boat, which was a great experience. It is so bizarre to breath under water as your brain is telling you the complete opposite. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the experience once the initial fear and panic went away. I hope to one day try it out in the ocean, but I may need a couple more pool lessons under my belt first.
At night time we all enjoyed dinner together and played card games with a cocktail. The weather unfortunately was not the best as cyclone Ula was bringing terrible winds, rain and swell. The boat took most of the swell, however it was disappointing with the wind and rain as sometimes it was too dangerous to leave the boat for swimming. We made the most of it though and did not let the cyclone ruin our experience.
It was sad to leave the boat after a beautiful seven days out in the ocean, however we had the second part of the holiday to go. We all said goodbye to our new family friends we met on board from Melbourne as well as saying goodbye to the befriended crew and hopped on a bus to the Radisson Blu Resort. This was my grandparents plan for their 50th wedding anniversary. We arrived to huge apartments and a lovely big pool. We met up with the one family left, to make up everyone from mum’s side of the extended family. We spent our time reading by the pool, swimming, going to town, drinking a lot of cocktails, pool hopping between the hotels and eating. I enjoyed a lovely massage in the spa on one of the afternoons. This was very much a holiday. We celebrated my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, my uncle and aunt’s wedding anniversary and also my cousin, Rebecca’s birthday. It was a holiday to be remembered and it was great to have everyone together.
Before we went our separate ways, we spent the last day at the thermal mud baths on the mainland (Sabeto Hot Springs). This is such a fun activity with a group. First you lather up in mud, and then you dry out and crack in the sun. Into pool number one to wash off most of the mud. Following with 3 further thermal springs, each progressively getting warmer and cleaner. It was hilarious and you are very relaxed by the end of it.
Fiji, for a student is a very expensive country for accommodation, airport transfers, food and alcohol as a lot of things are imported. Whilst you can support the economy, there are a few things you can do to make it more affordable. 1. Buy duty free alcohol and bring it with you on holiday. 2. Travel on the local buses rather than by taxi. 3. Eat a buffet meal and buy no other food for the day. 4. Book an all inclusive travel deal (food, accommodation, airport transfers) 5. Buy food from the supermarket and cook breakfast and lunch, only eating out once a day. 6. Go and explore the islands, that is where you will find the incredible parts of Fiji.
The islands of Fiji are stunning, the weather (even with a cyclone) is beautiful and the people are so lovely, happy and welcoming. If anyone has had an experience of Fiji, please comment below I would love to hear from you.