A roadtrip on the main Island of Viti Levu might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine a holiday in Fiji. Most head directly for the smaller resort islands but after 6 weeks of Island hopping in French Polynesia we were looking for a different kind of experience. As usual Noah has put together a video summarising our experiences in Fiji and more details can be found in the post below it
Big Bula Water Park
After a red-eye flight to Fiji and a night’s sleep we were looking for a relaxing first day. Big Bula Water Park was just a short drive from our hotel and we spent a fun day there testing all the water slides. We were a bit hesitant to pay the 330 dollars family entry (roughly 1000 DKK) for such a small park (basically a 30 x 200 meter stretch of land packed with water slides), but it was worth the money and there were more slides than 10 times the size.
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pools
On our second day we visited the Sabeto Hot Springs. Google maps will lead you right to it but you need to drive around 3 kilometers on unsealed roads to get there (not a problem). Tour agencies charge around 100 FJD for the tour but driving there yourself – entry is only 30 FJD for adults and 15 for children. You start the tour getting all muddy and after leaving it to dry in the sun you clean it off in 4 different pools with cleaner and cleaner water. All pools are heated by the hot springs but without the Sulphur smell that often follows in other places.
Captain Cook tour to Tivua Island on Noah’s birthday
For our full day tour to Tivua Island we had perfect weather. The guitar playing and singing crew made sure we were entertained on the 90 minute ride to the Island and fresh fruit and tea was at our disposal. We enquired about the Scuba diving possibilities but when we told the instructor that we had been diving at Rangiroa a week ago he advised against it as it was mainly an introductory dive. We enjoyed our day there snorkeling (not spectacular), playing volleyball, planting coral, eating a great lunch and the free drinks throughout the day.
Nakalavo Village Homestay
After a few days in Nadi we headed to the Village Homestay. We knew this would probably be one of the most memorable experiences on our entire trip but also the one that would push us most out of our comfort zone. It turned out we were right on both accounts.
Arriving at the village we were welcomed by our hosts Isa and Navi. For the next 4 days we would live together with them in their house in the village. To be allowed to enter the village you must present a Sevu, Sevu (present) to the elders which is typically about 1 kilo of Kava (local root used to make a slightly intoxicating drink). You must also participate in a Kava ceremony with the elders and drink Kava with them and once completed you are officially part of the village.
Being Sunday on our arrival we were also invited to go with them to church. Though we are not religious and most of it took place in the local language it was a big experience. It is nothing like a Danish church during the 2 hours there were loud music and singing (with a band), a preacher that tried to convince us that all our wealth should be given to the church and what seemed like a very loud and angry senior pastor (we did not understand a thing). Vitus lasted about 30 minutes and then joined the other children outside for some juice, cookies, and play.
It would easily take 4 full pages to describe all the things we did during our stay in the village but sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. Kitchen, toilet and shower facilities were VERY basic but the homecooked meals were great, people were extremely friendly, the boys played a lot with all the other kids in the village, we collected fresh water mussels in the river, hiked to the top of the mountain with the local kids as guides and just experienced village life.
Definitely an experience to remember and recommend, but do remember to bring an open mind and do not expect resort-like facilities.
After 2 days in the small village, we took a half day trip to the famous Natadola beach (45 minute drive from Sigatoka). We followed google maps and there was a also clear sign at the turnoff from the main road. After another 5-6 kms we took a right but instead of the beach we ended up in a small village and had to backtrack. Continuing down the road (hoping for a sign) we then ended up on a longer stretch of unsealed road and another village where google maps asked us to take a right on an old overgrown railway track. Backtracking again we were able to stop a car heading in the same direction and he agreed to show us the right turnoff. It tuned out that we needed to take a right at the big blue sign for the Yatule Resort and Spa to get to the right place.
Once on the beach we were greeted by a horde of locals who all wanted to sell us horse rides on the beach and massages. Lunch was however not so readily available as the only two hotels on the beach had decided to bar entry of all non-residence due to recent Covid outbreaks. By 3 pm we could no longer sustain ourselves on chocolate chip cookies (the only edibles we had) and headed back to the village. The beach was actually fine with a nice coral reef, but the lack of food, the need to listen to 10 different locals offering exactly the same services and a longish drive to get there made it a less than ideal daytrip for us.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
At the entrance to the Sand Dunes National Park you will find a map showing a short and long walking trail. If you want to experience the Sigatoka Sand Dunes you HAVE to take the longer one as the short one will only lead you to the beach and you will miss most of the fun. The long route is only about 5 km. and though we had a clear blue sky a gentle breeze made the temperature bearable. After playing in the dunes the track will lead you to the beach where we went for a swim (the track is not well marked so take a picture of the map before you head out and you should be able to navigate it without any trouble). If you are not a big fan of large waves you can walk a bit further down the beach. Just before sandy beach turns to hard coral you will find a protected little inlet where you can cool off without being smashed around.
Relaxing at Fiji’s adventure capital Pacific Harbor (no shark dives this time)
Pacific Harbor is known as the adventure capital of Fiji offering Zip Lines, Shark dives and visits to the famous Beqa lagoon. We stayed in a really nice 2 bedroom appartement in a resort and with both pool area, table tennis and pool it was quite a contrast to the homestay. Unfortunately, Line, Jesper and Noah were all feeling a bit under the weather so instead of snorkeling with bull, tiger and lemon sharks and going snorkeling in the famous lagoon we ended up staying at the resort most of the time.
Water fall hike and Top Gun Maveric in Suva
Suva would be the last stop on our Viti Levu roadtrip before heading back to Nadi and our flight to Perth, Australia. Non of us could really remember why we had booked 2 days there and reading up on the “what to do in Suva” did not reveal a lot of interesting attractions. As Line was still not well Jesper and the boys went for dinner and a movie in downtown Suva on our first night. The movie of choice was Top Gun Maverick which turned out to be a truly brilliant movie (hard to imagine that Top Gun 2 could be anything but a total flop).
Fortunately Line was feeling better the next day and one of the few attractions found near Suva is the Colo-I-Suva national park offering a number of waterfall hikes. Looking at the weather forecast it seemed we had picked the one day without rain for a hike – great (apparently it always rains in Suva). The park is only a short 10-15 minute drive outside the city and once inside the park we asked the rangers about the different trail options. Their main response was “just walk 500 meters to the lower pools and back”. Asking about the longer route they looked quite surprised but gave us directions and a warning that it might be a little muddy (they were right). The sign said 4.5 kilometers but our watches measured closer to 7 but all in all it was a great day out.
On the way back to Nadi
On our way back to Nadi we found a secluded beach with crystal clear water and a beautiful reef just 50 meters from the main road. A nice surprise