One of the best, (read only), good things about Mr F working away for such a big part of the last decade, was that he clocked up a looooot of airpoints. What to do with all those airpoints? Why take a luxurious holiday of course…
Up until last month we hadn’t taken a true family holiday before, due to the fact we married people from the opposite sides of the world from each other and have spent all of our holidays, (and funds), visiting relatives. So it was definitely time we took a vacation to spend some quality time having fun together as a family.
I had never specifically considered going to Fiji, but it turns out Fiji is the most economical place to go using airpoints. When I found out that we could either afford 1 trip to Australia, OR 2 trips to Fiji, using the same amount of points, it didn’t seem like a very hard decision – Fiji it was.
That being said, I’m SUPER glad we choose Fiji! The Fijian people are so friendly, the island we stayed on was so beautiful, the weather was idyllic, and it was genuinely a postcard perfect holiday.
It was truly paradise!
We splashed out on accommodation and stayed at the Sheraton Villas, Denarau. The Villas was one of the few resorts we could find with 2 bedroom apartments available – an essential when holidaying with kids if you ask me. If you are ever looking for a hotel in Fiji I highly recommend the Sheraton group. The rooms are immaculate, very luxurious and you get to use the amenities of all 3 of the 5 star resorts (just in case you fancy swimming in all 10 or so of the pools)…
After spending a couple of days exploring the resort(s), and pigging out on delicious food, we ventured off Denarau Island and took a tour of the Nadi area. When I booked the tour in NZ I was expecting it to be a group bus tour, but it turned out to be a private tour with only our family and a local guide – a completely wonderful way to get acquainted with the local sights and customs! Our first stop was the Nadi markets, where the locals get their fresh produce:
My favourite part were the stunning flower arrangements…
We bought a selection of fruits and vegetables, most of which we had never tried before…
Definitely some interesting flavours (most of which were not well received by my fussy family).
After the markets we visited the “First Settled Village,” a great place to learn a bit of Fijian history and see inside some traditional Fijian village homes.
The next stop on our tour was THE most beautiful rainforest garden called “The Garden of the Sleeping Giant.” This was one of my favourite spots on the day. There were so many different types of exotic orchids, flowers and tropical plants. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time here to explore, because I would have liked to have stayed and walked up to the top track. But we enjoyed meandering the main gardens.
Finishing up with a complimentary tropical juice. Mmmmm….
Lastly, we visited the local mud pool and spring spa where we lathered ourselves in slimy mud.
I can’t believe I’m about to post this photo, but here goes…
Yep, we got into the spirit of things and turned ourselves into mud people. Our guide joked that now we fit in among the Fijians lol.
Notice there is one family member missing… Miss Abbie was not going anywhere near that mud for love nor money! Haha it was really quite funny but she wouldn’t come within about 10 metres of her and had the cutest little sulky pout on.
Poor girl. It’s not like I could go and give her a reassuring hug – just imagine her running in the other direction every time I took a step near her. She did not trust us not to make her get mud on her one single bit.
After we washed it off in the mud pool (eww – I got in and realised we were swimming with FROGS!) we got to go into the hot spring pool. Abbie was a little more willing to join us for that…
Ahhhh it was delicious.
Big smiles all around.
We had a really lovely guide (pictured above). He was so passionate about his job, his village and his people. It was incredibly humbling to hear that he and the other guides earned $80 Fijian per week. On current exchange rates that works out to be $52 NZ dollars, or $39 US dollars, or $49 AUD or 26 British Pounds per week. Later I asked our driver/guide what the minimum wage in Fiji was and he informed me that it was $2.50 Fijian per hour and that the employees in our hotel were probably earning around $3 per hour. We also learned that not all of the people serving there are getting paid for their hours. The ladies offering massages, or selling their handicrafts, only get paid for what they sell. I always feel blessed by what we have, but that day felt particularly so.
To finish off our tour we paid for a family massage, because it was so quiet at the hot springs and I couldn’t stand the thought of all those ladies standing around in the hot sun with no reward. This was a first for our children and again Abbie was very unsure about it at first. But I know her love language is affectionate touch and she loves it when I give her massages. The kind ladies pushed Neil and my tables together and sat her in between us. Very soon she started to relax and enjoy them fussing over her cuteness. Later that evening when I asked her what her favourite part of the day was she quickly answered “the massage.”
We all went home that afternoon smelling of coconut oil and with Fijian necklaces adorning our necks.
I think that’s where I will leave it for today. Next time I will tell you all about our cruises to several other islands.
Thank you for letting me relive my holiday a little bit. Since I got back work has been so intense and Fiji is like a distant memory. It’s been wonderful to go back through all the photos and look forward to us doing it all again next year.