We had a rough idea of what we wanted to do in Fiji before we arrived, but apart from our first night’s accommodation we hadn’t actually booked anything when we landed. There are two main modes of transportation between Fiji’s 332 islands – flights & ferries. Mike hates small planes with a passion, and as a general rule, won’t fly in anything less than 16 rows, so that left us with the latter as our only real option for getting around. Unfortunately reliable information about Fiji’s ferry schedules is pretty hard to come by online, so we decided to wait until we arrived before making any solid plans.
We spent our first couple of nights just outside of Suva while we organized and booked our transport up to Taveuni. The hotel staff were quite perplexed when we told them we’d prefer to take the 14 hour overnight ferry, instead of the short 1 hour flight. They had to call around a bit to find out the actual schedule, as they didn’t have that information either. Much to our luck there is a new ferry service between Suva and Taveuni that leaves twice a week, and it was scheduled to leave the next day which meant we only had to spend one extra night in Suva.
The MV Lomaiviti Princess is a “new-to-Fiji” boat — formerly the Spirit of Prince Rupert, from our very own BC Ferries back home in Canada. It was a little odd stepping on board and seeing the telltale signs of what was once a BC Ferry, yet being halfway around the world in a very different culture. The local Fijians had brought all manner of things on board, and set up little “camps” all over the ship, settling in for the 14 hour journey ahead. Mike and I instead, opted for a cabin. At $135, we figured it was the only way we’d actually get some sleep. We were able to plug in our laptops and watch some movies which made the trip go much faster. And having our own bathroom, might have been worth the ticket price alone! (After 14 hours on the rocking seas, the public toilets were none to pleasant.)
Taveuni, the Garden Island, is Fiji’s third largest island, and known for the Rainbow Reef which lies just off shore in the SomoSomo Straight. Famous for it’s abundance of soft corals, the Rainbow Reef is one of Fiji’s top dive spots.
We spent a week at Garden Island Resort, 2 days of which we were the only people there. We did 5 days of diving, and spent the other 2 relaxing at the resort and checking out the local sites, including a natural waterside, and the international date line.
After a week of fantastic diving we once again boarded the MV Lomaiviti Princess, and settled in for another 14 hour journey. Upon arriving in Suva, we negotiated a taxi ride to Pacific Harbour, about an hour away, and checked into The Pearl, where we spent the remainder of the week.
Unlike the Garden Island Resort, which we had almost to ourselves, The Pearl was quite full, and thanks to the nightly happy hour and fabulous pool, we managed to meet several people and had a really great week.
We pretty much just relaxed by the pool all week, with the exception of one more day of diving, where we did Fiji’s famous Shark Dive (an incredible day which deserves a post of it’s own), and day trip to a local swimming hole, with some friends we made at the hotel.
All in all we had a fantastic two weeks in Fiji. It was great putting away the laptops and having an actual vacation for a change.
Posted by: Kelly