A Few Days in Fiji
For four days in late August, Emmett and I spent time in and around the city of Nadi on Viti Levu, Fiji's main island. Lounging in the sun for a few days before heading off to New Zealand for a year sounded like a perfect way to start our 2016 traveling. We stayed at a hostel in the backpacker's street of the Wailoaloa area of the city. We were only about a ten minute taxi ride from the international airport (in fact, we could see the planes take off). Our hostel sat on a volcanic sandy beach that was a nice walk and everything we ate & did there was relatively inexpensive. More importantly, though, Nadi was a good base to stay in while taking day trips around the area. While there, we got a chance to experience the blend of Indian immigrant and native Fijian cultures, climb an enormous sand dune that we had all to ourselves, and visit one of the most picturesque beaches we've ever seen in person.
Sri Siva Subrahmanya Swami Temple in Nadi is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern hemisphere. We spent a few hours exploring the brightly-colored Dravidian-style temple grounds one afternoon when we first got to Nadi. A dress code required us to cover our legs (and my arms & shoulders) with cloth provided at the check-in desk.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes
After a long (but dirt cheap) excursion on public buses, we were dropped off in a village at the foot of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. In order to climb the dunes, we basically walked through someone's backyard. (Apparently, there is an official park entrance off of the highway but that's not where we found ourselves after asking to go to the dunes.)
One day in Nadi, we woke up early, took a shuttle to Port Denarau and then caught a fast catamaran with South Sea cruises to spend a day on Kuata Island. Kuata's white sand beach is one of the most picture post card-perfect places either of us has ever been. As part of the South Sea cruise package, we got access to Kuata's Barefoot resort for the day which allowed us to have a bit of a luxury experience without the cost of lodging. After having been independently traveling, it was quite strange being catered to by the resort staff for a day.
After our arrival on the island, we immediately joined a snorkeling boat that was going on a reef shark excursion. This was Emmett's first experience snorkeling, ever.
The reef itself was not as colorful as some of the places I've snorkeled before like the Florida Keys or Bocas del Toro in Panama. But I always enjoy hanging out with any sea life, especially these cute reef sharks.
All in all, we had a pretty great few days in Fiji. The only thing we didn't get to do that we'd wanted to was check out a village market in the interior of Viti Levu. Also, since leaving, we've heard about cool places to dive in Fiji (especially this one). We may just have to go back for a little bit longer someday...