Pick up your FREE Vodafone SIM @ Nadi Airport With touch points all over Fiji, weâ€™ve got you covered
Is la n
Re so r
Bula and a warm festive Fijian welcome to you as we celebrate Christmas and hail in 2014.
C o: ot Ph
Thank you for choosing to holiday in Fiji and we hope your visit exceeds your expectations. Many of you will be planning to just wind down, relax and take a break at the end of the year, and there’s no doubt you’re in the right place for that! However, if you feel the need for some excitement as well Discover Fiji has some great ideas for adventure activities for you to try. If great food is more your thing, then we have plenty of ideas for wonderful and varied restaurants to choose from. And since it is the season for giving (like we need an excuse to shop!), you will find shopping in Fiji has never been better, with talented local artists and fashion designers blossoming onto the market and spacious department stores to wander through. We know you will enjoy reading about some of them in this issue of Discover Fiji. Have a wonderful holiday and best wishes for 2014 DISCOVER FIJI
UsefUl InformatIon at nadI aIrPort CUrrenCY eXCHanGe
Banks in the Arrivals Concourse are open for all flights. There are more currency exchange options in Nadi Town while most large resorts will accept foreign currency and credit cards.
moBIle Fiji has two mobile communications providers - Digicel and Vodafone - the latter has an outlet at the Arrivals Concourse. Internet Wireless hotspots and internet kiosks are available throughout Nadi International Airport. Access is via credit card or internet cards sold through a number of airport outlets.
Nadi International Airport is 6 kilometres (approx. 4 miles) from Nadi Town and 11 kilometres (approx. 7 miles) from Denarau Island. Nausori Airport is 16 kilometres (approx. 10 miles) from the capital Suva. resort transfers Prebooked shuttles to resorts leave from outside the Arrivals Concourse. t XIs Yellow Airport Taxis are located ta to the right of the Arrivals Concourse. Flag fall or starting rate for any journey out of Nadi International Airport is FJ$5 and it is mandatory for taxi meters to be utilised on all journeys. Car rentals A bona-fide tourist in Fiji may drive if in possession of a valid home country driving license for the same class of vehicle. The maximum speed limit in built-up areas is 50 km/h (30 mph) and 80 km/h (50 mph) on highways. Driving is on the left side of the road. Rental car companies are located past the Arrivals Concourse. PUBlIC BUses Coral Sun’s airconditioned tourist coaches depart Nadi International Airport twice daily for Suva at 7.30 am and 1 pm, making designated stops at major towns and resorts along the way. Pacific Transport and Sunbeam Buses also depart from the airport, making stops at major towns and cities.
ange It ’s best to ch currency your foreign cal mobile and grab a lo e Arrivals th at rd SIM ca before e, rs Concou to you proceed the Domestic Terminal.
General fIJI InformatIon aBoUt fIJI
330 islands scattered across 20,000 square miles or 32,000 square kilometres of land, the Fiji Islands lie on the 180 Meridian where the dawning of each new day occurs. Viti Levu is Fiji’s biggest island and is often referred to as the mainland. Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a 30-minute drive from Nausori Airport, located on the eastern side of Viti Levu. Nadi, which is located on the western side of Viti Levu, is considered Fiji’s tourism hub and is home to Nadi International Airport, Fiji’s main global gateway.
Fiji enjoys a mild tropical climate averaging 31°C (88ºF) during the summer months of November to April and 29°C (84ºF) during the winter months of May to October.
GMT + 12; Sydney + 2 hrs; Hong Kong + 4 hrs; New York + 16 hrs; Los Angeles + 19 hrs
Fiji Dollar - FJD Banks - ANZ, Bank of Baroda, Bred Bank, Bank of South Pacific and Westpac.
PassPort & VIsa reQUIrements
Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in Fiji and a return or onward travel ticket is required. Entry visas are granted on arrival for visitors for a stay of up to four months.
Tipping is not encouraged in Fiji and is left to the individual to determine whether to make a gratuity.
English is the official language, however indigenous Fijians also speak Fijian while IndoFijians speak Hindustani. Here are some Fijian words to get you started: Bula Hello Bula vinaka A warm hello Ni sa moce (ni sa mothey) Goodbye Vinaka Thank you Kerekere Please Mai kana Let’s eat
Fiji accommodation options are broad with everything from backpacker accommodation through to five-star luxury and beyond.
The electrical current in Fiji is 240 volts AC/50 cycles. Fiji has three pin power outlets identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 110v shavers.
Yellow Fever and Cholera vaccinations are only required if coming from an infected area as designated by the World Health Organisation. Hospitals are located in the major centres and there are health centres in rural areas. Hotels and resorts usually have a qualified nurse on the premises and a doctor on call. Water is safe to drink from the tap at hotels.
Fiji Link to take to the Skies
Discover Vanuatu Air Pass
Air Vanuatu has a new travel pass which allows visitors to explore Vanuatu’s outer islands. Known as the Discover Vanuatu Air Pass, it allows you to visit the world’s best beaches in Espiritu Santo, climb the most accessible volcano on Tanna Island, fly to Malekula where nature meets tradition or discover the undiscovered Torres group of islands in North Vanuatu. The pass is only available for purchase from Air Vanuatu offices or your travel agent outside Vanuatu. It goes on sale on April 30, 2014. Conditions apply. www.airvanuatu.com
Remember Pacific Sun? From 2014, Pacific Sun will be rebranded as Fiji Link. Pacific Sun, Fiji’s main domestic and regional airline, is wholly owned by Fiji Airways, and the rebranding of the airline is the next step in the on-going restructure of the domestic airline group. The new airline brand will have a distinct, yet partof-the-family, look with its parent Fiji Airways. The Fiji Airways earthy colour palette has been retained on the soon-to-be-adopted livery of ‘Fiji Link’ aircraft. The ‘Fiji Link’ wordmark reflects its connection with Fiji Airways as does the use of the Teteva and the Makare motifs on the tail, which are a prominent part of the Fiji Airways brand. www.pacificsun.com
Third HK Service
Fiji Airways will from January 6, 2014 mount a third FijiHong Kong service. The third service will be progressively rolled out, starting with two extra Monday services in December (9th and 16th) and then consistently every Monday from January 6, 2014. Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Stefan Pichler said: “The introduction of this third direct service between Fiji and Hong Kong will offer increased opportunities for our customers to experience and do business in this dynamic Asian gateway city. The convenient arrival and departure times allow our customers to transit Hong Kong to the Middle East, Europe or Africa.” So in 2014, flights to Hong Kong will be on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. www.fijiairways.com
Connecting Fiji to the world
Air Niugini’s Fiji Service There are now three flights a week to Port Moresby from Fiji. Two of those flights go via Honiara and the third on Wednesday is a direct Nadi/Port Moresby service. www.airniugini.com.pg
Air Calin aircalin.com Tel: +679 672 2145
Fiji Airways fijiairways.com Tel: +679 672 2272
Qantas qantas.com.au Tel: +679 672 2777
Air New Zealand airnewzealand.com Tel: +679 672 2955
Jetstar Airways jetstar.com
Solomon Airlines flysolomons.com Tel: +679 672 2831
Air Niugini airniugini.com.pg Tel: +679 331 7870 Air Vanuatu airvanuatu.com Tel: 672 2777
Korean Air koreanair.com Tel: +679 672 7775 Our Airline ourairline.com.au
Virgin Australia virginaustralia.com Tel: +679 992 0733
What’s Inside Discover
Nadi is the main port of entry (and exit) for most travellers to Fiji, earning it the nickname ‘The Jet Set Town’.
Denarau Island is the South Pacific’s largest integrated resort, home to some of the world’s leading hotel brands.
Fiji’s jet set town
The Mamanuca (pronounced Ma-manootha) island group, is a collection of 20 sand-fringed islands set among deep blue waters.
The Coral Coast
Island feel on the mainland
The Coral Coast was one of the first tourism areas to be developed in Fiji. Discover
A mix of old and new
Fiji’s east is home to its current and second capital Suva as well as its old capital Levuka (recently declared a World Heritage site on Ovalau Island).
The laid-back isles
The northern islands of Vanua Levu (Big Island) and Taveuni (Garden Island) are known for their leisurely pace of life.
A destination unto itself
Fiji’s adventure capital
Situated on the east coast of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, Pacific Harbour is a veritable mecca for active travellers.
Favourite Fijian recipes made using mostly local ingredients guaranteed to make a big hit everytime.
Volume 1, 2014
Regular Features Useful Information
4 5 6 7
Airline News What’s Inside Welcome
On the Cover Fiji’s new underwater wonder operating out of Bounty Island. Photo: SeaView
Hottest, newest, latest
Traveller stories and experiences
Fashion & skincare inspired by the Pacific
Fiji’s new underwater wonder
Governors’ Royal Treat
10 11 16 20
Bula & Welcome to Fiji If your aim is to relaX and have fun, then you’ve chosen well. There’s a reason why we Fijians are consistently voted amongst the world’s happiest and also friendliest people. It’s called pace of life. You will find a gentle, unhurried approach to your days here so take the time and smell the roses or rather the frangipanis. It helps that we’ve been blessed with beautiful islands and beaches - and lots of warm, sunny days. And there’s more. Our melting pot of cultures makes us truly unique in the Pacific so spend a little time getting to know us, your Fijian holiday will be all the more rewarding for it. As you go about discovering (and possibly rediscovering Fiji), we hope this edition of Discover Fiji becomes your trusted travel companion to our 333 islands.
It features information on What to do and Where to go, What to eat and Where to shop as well as comprehensive Area Guides and Travel Features. Finally, a note on who we are. Discover Fiji is published by Islands Business International, a Suvabased publisher with over 30 years of regional publishing experience, which includes the flagship news and business magazine Islands Business as well as inflight publications for a number of regional airlines.
Discover Fiji is a bi-monthly visitor magazine for the Fiji Islands published by Islands Business International. Publisher & Managing Director Godfrey Scoullar Group Editor-in-Chief Laisa Taga Advertising & Marketing Manager Sharron Stretton Contributors Mere Tuqiri Samisoni Pareti Robert Matau Lance Seeto Ian Neubauer Dev Nadkarni Anuja Nadkarni Design Stanley Prasad Dick Lee Virendra Prasad Islands Business International P O Box 12718, Suva, Fiji Islands Tel: +679 330 3108, Fax: +679 330 1423 Editorial correspondence to: Discover Fiji P O Box 12718, Suva, Fiji Islands Tel: +679 330 3108 Fax: +679 330 1423 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Star Printery 60 Carpenters Street, Raiwai, Suva, Fiji Islands. Unsolicited photographs are submitted at the sender’s risk. While all care will be taken, the publisher will not accept responsibility for accidental loss or damage. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Statements, opinions and points of view expressed by the writers are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, editor, or Airports Fiji Ltd. Information contained in this publication may be correct only at the time it was originally obtained by the writers and may be subject to change at any time and with out notice.
We hope you thoroughly enjoy your stay.
Godfrey Scoullar Publisher
© Copyright, 2014. All rights reserved.
What’s New DISCOVER - THE CITY Outside Suva’s city limits has sprung a shoppers’ mirage; but this mirage is real and recently opened to the Fiji public and visitors. The F$30-million Damodar City Centre is huge by Fiji’s standards and packs a broad selection of tenants to cater to almost all needs. This multi-faceted suburban complex is a destination in itself and is back-to-back retail, service and entertainmentoriented, surpassing similar urban or suburban all-inclusive, consumer-based commercial developments in Suva. Port Denarau in Nadi fits into this one-stop class too, but then again, Port Denarau is in a league of its own and tailored specifically to the tourist market. Instead of walking all over the city of Suva (although you really should) for groceries, electronics, currency exchange, electronics, catching the latest flick or a meal - Damodar City relieves you of that stress.
Park by Day & Night Barring the need for any specialised recreational equipment (other than your own), there aren’t many structured spots in Suva you can use and enjoy for free outdoors with family. My Suva Picnic Park supports a healthy lifestyle of outdoor activity away from television sets, play stations and other indoor leisure conveniences. It’s the perfect place in Suva to relax, day or night. The park is a recent project by the Suva City Council and has proved quite popular for people of all ages. The adults are just as keen to try out the swings. Thankfully, there are designated swings for children and the older folk.
But Discover Fiji urges you to explore Suva city anyway, preferably on foot, you’ll find many quirky items you’ll probably not find anywhere else. Fiji already has several city-type complexes within Suva’s central business district and surrounds. TappooCity, Mid City, Sports City, and Garden City already offer various consumer experiences. Damodar City just revved it up several notches. Its location is proximate to the University of the South Pacific and expanding suburban neighbourhoods. Damodar is synonymous in Fiji to the village-brand of cinemas, as in Village 6 in Suva and Village 4 in Lautoka. The Damodar Group has expanded its cinematic scope. Its four cinemas at the centre include a V Max and a Premier Class cinema. Damodar’s city concept revolves around the experience - eating, shopping, business, and recreation. There’s more - next to this hangout point is the Damodar City Aquatic Centre (yes, they’ve got naming rights). A dip in the pool, movies, drinks and dinner anyone? The Deets Location: Grantham Rd, Raiwai | Hours: 9am – 9pm daily Tel: +679 3311177 | E: email@example.com Facebook: Damodar City Centre Ample paid-parking on site Outlets include: Four cinemas, New World Supermarket (Independent Grocer Association certified USA affiliate), Jack’s of Fiji, Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Victoria Wines, Bad Dog Café, Prouds, Bondwell, Bank of the South Pacific, Hot Bread Kitchen, Digicel, Rip Curl, Adidas, Her Gorgeous Expressions, Sports World, Cyber City, Bhikha Bhai Sweets (Fiji style Indian savouries), Jade Fiji, Fexco Pacific, Vodafone, Mamacita Restaurant, and Chicken Express.
Seesaws, slides, tunnels, floored shade (Fijian version of a gazebo), pathways, a court, ponds, swings, exercise bars - My Suva Park. When night falls, the park turns into a multi-light display around the bridged pond. If you’re a fitness fanatic, My Suva Park allows joggers freedom to sweat it out without having to fret about passing vehicles. Exercise bars are located within distance from the actual park area and come with instructions. There’s full-time security on site for your added safety. Discover Fiji thanks Suva City Council’s special administrator Chandu Umaria and his team for the F$1.3 million My Suva Park, giving Suva ratepayers and visitors an opportunity for an outdoor fulfilment.
The Deets Location: Muanikau along the ocean front No charge Security: Police Post, foot patrols and CCTV camera on-site User-pay restrooms
The latest addition to Suva’s cafe scene, Lemon T, offers a slice of Asian cafe culture in the Pacific’s bustling Melanesian capital. Lemon T’s cosy, limegreen interior comes replete with kitsch lemon tree branches with hanging lemons that reach toward the ceiling while soft, loungy sounds by Norah Jones and her ilk play as you sip refreshing drinks. Try the signature iced lemon tea, which is perfect for hot Suva days. The free wifi on offer is sure to please international travellers with smart devices. Lemon T, Shop 5, Sabina Building, Victoria Parade, opposite Fintel Building, Suva.
another christchurch service Fiji Airways is introducing an additional Christchurch/ Nadi service to its schedule. The airline currently operates a weekly Sunday departure, and will be introducing a Tuesday service for the month of July 2014. The flights are on sale now. Fiji Airways is the only airline to operate year-round direct service from Christchurch to Fiji, and has been flying from Christchurch to Fiji for more than 20 years. Stefan Pichler, Fiji Airways Managing Director & CEO, says the supplementary service makes it easier for South Island passengers to fly direct to Fiji and on to the United States without an additional domestic New Zealand connection. ww.fijiairways.com
central’s new aDDition Central Rentals has two new additions to its fleet - SUVs and 9-seater people movers popular demands by locals and tourists. As with most of the fleet, both additions are automatic and air-conditioned. With superb service, hirers can look forward to the best advantage in hiring from Central Rentals.
Karalina’s Boutique A quaint boutique set in the heritage mall of Governors, Karalina Designs offers the discerning buyer a range of authentic Fiji designed and made clothing, jewellery and accessories which embodies the unique multicultural and tropical style of Fiji with fabrics which are often luxurious, elaborate and detailed in design. Karalina’s also stocks Deep Blue - Fiji Islands, which is a fantastic range of 100% cotton hand-printed shirts in Tropical Island & Ocean themes. The boutique is owned and operated by Carolyn Ah Koy, winner of the Fiji Fashion Week Designer of the Year in 2009 & 2010 and Established Designer of the Year 2010.
Fiji has its latest underwater wonder. Known as Sea View, it was built at a workshop on Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi. This is what makes it special, as it is the first and largest boat of its kind to be constructed locally. Operating out of Bounty Island, viewers are transferred to it on a large fast boat from Port Denarau Marina. kaya@TMTCLtd.com A new and revolutionary glass bottom boat for underwater reef and marine life observation will be arriving in Fiji soon. The vessel to be based in Pacific Harbour will offer tourists the opportunity to explore the amazing reefs of Beqa Lagoon. The “Looker 350” is an innovative 35-ft glass bottom vessel designed and manufactured in Europe. The vessel can carry up to 30 passengers. www.seafijireefs.com
heli tour’s sigatoka riDe If you’re in Denarau and thinking of doing a Sigatoka River Safari adventure, there’s another way to get there instead of via road…and it’s a lot faster. Only 15 minutes by helicopter, Heli Tours will deliver you to your destination - it is part of Heli Tour’s new combination package with Sigatoka River Safari. When you finish your adventure, you can take a ride back to Denarau on the Sigatoka River Safari ride or you can take a ride back by helicopter.
Traveller Stories & Experiences
PeoPle sPecial P Kiwi couple Mark and MaryBeth Buckton could not have asked for a better package when they decided to be part of an inaugural cruise to the mystic Lau Group with Captain Cook Cruises - seeing 11 slices of paradise in 11 days ((Full story on page 54). It is their third visit to Fiji. Their first was two years ago to celebrate MaryBeth’s mother’s 80th birthday, where 40 family members came for a week. And they’re coming back again in October, this time to the Mamanucas. Here’s what they said about the cruise: “We were fortunate to be passengers on the inaugural cruise to the Lau Group with Captain Cook Cruises. We felt we really did get to experience the ‘real’ Fiji. Beautiful beaches, warm clear water, healthy coral and busy colourful abundant fish; but most of all, the friendly and welcoming locals.”
We’d love to hear about your Fiji experience. Send your pictures and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hear y bu HearTy buL La, L a, brigHT sM sMi MiL iLes “The people are what makes Fiji special, young and old always so welcoming with a hearty ‘bula’ and bright smiles. Seeing and being alongside the local people in their home environment carrying out their daily activities was humbling. “Thank you for allowing us to join in with your meals, schoolling, church service and leisure activities, along with sharing your stunning beaches.”
reL reL Laxing axing & adven advenT Turous “We have found that cruising in Fiji on a small boat is an easy alternative to a resort-based holiday; being active, relaxing and adventurous all at the same time (and you only have to unpack once). Thank you Fiji for being so welcoming. Vinaka!” CoMing Ming baC M Ck for More M “We now choose to come for the warmth, the friendly people, fantastic snorkelling and it isn’t far from New Zealand. Our next trip is booked to the Mamanucas in October.” adviC dviCe dviC Ce T To o fe feLL LLow visi visiT Tors Tors “Get out to the islands and see the real Fiji and not just hang out in Denarau!”
It is that time of the year again - where gifts are the order of the day. But it does not have to be restricted to the festive season only. Gifts can be presented to your loved ones, friends and family any time of the year or at any special occasion gifts that say that you care. So if you’re thinking of buying something special - for someone special and Fiji made - here are some suggestions:
Tropical Scent Home-grown beauty and skincare brand Pure Fiji has added a lush, new scent to its signature line of the best: selling tropical body and bath products. The heady, intoxicating scent of guava not only smells great but it does good too. A superfood, guava is high in Vitamin C, an ingredient that boosts collagen production for youthful-looking skin. What’s more? Pure Fiji’s signature line (which includes other fruit and floral scents such as coconut, mango and passionflower) harnesses the oils of two potent coastal dwelling trees, dilo and beach almond which have tHe deets long been used in South Pacific To purchase, visit Prouds beauty rituals. Duty Free Stores Fiji wide. purefiji.com
We smell a beautiful tren brewing: fash d ion, beauty and skincare insp ired by the Fiji Islands
The indelible beauty of Fiji is the inspiration behind J Hunter Pearls stunning new collection. The unparalleled hues that have made J. Hunter Pearls world famous take their cue from the country’s rich natural heritage, from the cool greens and blues that evoke the aquamarine waters in which our pearls are carefully grown to the warm champagne, copper and gold tones reminiscent of tropical sunsets. Our choice of materials for the new line is influenced by the traditional Fijian way of life where weaving with sun-dried leaves and marsh reed is still everyday practice. We’ve used organic leather and cord to string and bind our pearls. These natural materials get better with age, exuding rustic charm with every wear. The knotting and tying in each ring, bracelet and necklace hint at the inter-connectedness of life in Fiji, where many people still live in communal villages.
GlaSS Take home an exquisite Fiji exclusive Hot Glass Fiji piece today. Alice Hill’s handblown range of scent bottles, decanters, carafes, memory pebbles will perpetually remind you of your Fiji vacation or your Fiji wedding. Hot Glass Fiji jewellery is available at TappooCity Suva and the full range of premium glassware from the Hot Glass studio in Korotogo, Sigatoka, and online: hotglassfiji.com DISCOVER FIJI
Natural artisan soap bars from Pacific Senses are luxurious and each bar is made here in Fiji using traditional cold processed soap techniques. Bars are coloured with natural pigments and oxides. Chocolate bars contain Chocolate & Cocoa Butter from Adi Chocolates Fiji. With the fragrance and elegance of original creations like ‘Don’t Bite me’, ‘Lemongrass’ or the Papaya and Coconut flavoured soap, they remind you of the tropics. The popular products include Frangipani, Lemongrass, Chocolate & peppermint cupcakes, Tropical Dream tHe deets cupcakes and Papaya & Coconut. Available at Jack’s of Fiji stores including Port Denarau, ‘Taste Kitchen’ in Martintar, and also the Pineapple Boutique Port Denarau. email@example.com
Going Traditional If you’re looking for local handicrafts, there are many choices to select from and they are available from a number of outlets. Check out the local handicraft centres in Nadi and Suva - and Jack’s of Fiji, Baravi Handicrafts along Queen’s Highway; Nad’s Handicraft in Nadi; Women’s Handicraft Centre in Sigatoka Town; and the Suva Flea Market might have a surprise or two.
Concoction Lautoka-based Paradise Beverages has introduced a new line of special rum this year. The rums are only available for retail at the Fiji Rum Company Shop at the Denarau Golf and Racquet Club, opposite the Sheraton Resort, where you can also sample the new line. tHe deets - Paradise Beverages or the Rum Company have seven rum brands available locally in Fiji - There are also Triple Pot and Column Still blends - Fiji Rum Store is located at Denarau Island, opposite the Sheraton Fiji Resort - If you wish to take your alcohol in your checked-in luggage, you can pack it in a ziploc sealed bag and declare the amount in accordance with your own nation’s allocations for alcohol limits.
Heavenly Tea A gift from FRIEND’s selection of herbs and teas would surely make a heavenly gift for visitors to our shores. FRIEND’s has a new selection of Fiji Style Herbal Teas - ranging from Lemon Grass, Cinnamon, Star Apple and Rosella Tea. These are 100 percent local pure tea sourced from local communities in Fiji’s Northern and Western divisions. These products are available at all Prouds, Tappoos and Jack’s stores in Nadi, Sigatoka and Suva. You can also buy one of these packs at Nadi International Airport and Tappoos stores in all major hotels at Port Denarau, and Shangri-La Fijian Hotel, Outrigger on the Lagoon, Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast. FRIEND is an NGO which supports poverty alleviation initiatives.
- COMPILED BY ROBERT MATAU
Wrap yourself in some South Pacific Chic Didn’t quite pack the right stuff to wear for the surprise island do or event? Or want to gift a loved one, friend or family something Pacific? No sweat! The South Pacific’s leading fashion line Mena has a range of pretty spiffy wear for you at several of Jack’s of Fiji stores in Nadi, Denarau, Suva and at the Intercontinental in Natadola – at prices that won’t break the bank. Inspired by the natural beauty of Polynesia, vibrant colours, ethnic and floral patterns and tastefully tailored silhouettes define Mena’s elegant line. You can find a range of different styles of dresses, tops and skirts, catering for every style. The design and styling are exotic yet contemporary and sophisticated. Mena Loheni, along with her four daughters Agnes, Jackie, Gina and Charlene, started the fashion line as a small home business 11 years ago in Samoa. The line consists of each of the girls’ personal styles, catering for all ages, sizes and styles that has not only taken the South Pacific by storm, but is also gaining love in Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand and further afield. Launched in Fiji recently, the Mena line has been well received both by locals and visitors, says Mena Director Agnes Loheni. The popular South Pacific brand has an array of different outfits in its collection. Varying from day dresses, separates, casual, evening, formal and cocktail, the oh-so-contemporaneously Pacific Mena label has you covered for any and every occasion. From flowing chiffon and soft knit maxis with universally flattering Empire silhouettes to wraps and carefully tailored curve hugging dresses, Mena has them all. ‘Feminine, sophisticated and happy’ is what customers feel when they’re wearing Mena, says Agnes. The range also carries trendy styles with the waist defining peplum top in royal blue and exotic floral print, which you can pair with its matching skirt or mix and match. Or you could opt for the figure hugging one shoulder cocktail number. To make the experience even easier for you, the brand also has an
accessory line that perfectly complements all the outfits in the store, so you could shop for your entire outfit at one stop. Mena’s high quality designs range from an affordable F$120 to F$250 for the higher range. Encouraged by this positive response, Agnes says Mena plans to introduce four collections a year in the Fijian market. The next collection is to hit Jack’s of Fiji stores in time for Christmas, she says. It will include a full range of evening and cocktail wear as well as men’s shirts. Bhavin Khatri of Jack’s of Fiji says the Mena range has caught the discerning eye of both visitors and local Fijians. The design and styling has shown how well traditional motifs can be applied to a line that is contemporary and spells sophistication, he says. The fashion world shone the spotlight on Pacific motifs when Prince William and Kate visited the South Pacific islands in 2012 and chose a small but elegant wardrobe of island wear for their public engagements. The ‘William shirt’ and the ‘Kate dress’ graced the fashion glossies’ pages for weeks after the visit. - Anuja Nadkarni
The Deets Mena, the South Pacific’s premier fashion line, is sold exclusively at the Jack’s of Fiji stores in Nadi, Suva, Denarau, and at the Intercontinental.
Simmering towards a resurrection in 2014, the once prestigious GPH was a gem in Suva’s colonial yester-era of refined style and transpacific voyages. In his 2013 Grand Pacific clothing collection, established Fijian designer and artist Robert Kennedy captures the unruffled poise and breezy elegance of that time. Fabrics, designs, stitches and creative passion followed the inspiration that the interior and textile design specialist gleaned from his paternal great grandfather’s photo collection. “I was inspired by the GPH because it is so beautiful and it reflects a by-gone era of travel around the Pacific; a time when people travelled by ship or even sea planes. An era of elegance and style I suppose,” says Kennedy. “As I design my own prints, I was inspired by photographs taken by my great grandfather in Fiji in the early part of the 20th century. I was also inspired by tropical fauna and the colours of the Pacific.” American author James A Michener thought it worth a mention in his 1992 memoir The World is My Home. “And then came the target of my trip I would ever make to Fiji: one of the memorable hotels of the world, not majestic and not particularly spacious but a haven to all who crossed the Pacific on tourist ships or who now came by air plane. It was the Grand Pacific Hotel, famed GPH, of the travel books…”
tHe deets Available at T Tappoo’s flagship stores in Nadi, Sigatoka and Suva. Also available at its resort outlets at Sofitel, Westin, Novotel, Warwick, Sheraton, Shangri-La’s Fijian and Nadi International Airport. tappoo.com.fj
In 2011, Kennedy won the Fiji Fashion Week’s Established Designer and the Resort Wear Designer of the Year Awards. Following the international trend of fashion weeks, even Fiji has, through a dedicated core team led by Fijian fashion entrepreneur Ellen Whippy-Knight, produced premier fashion events in Fiji. Kennedy, whose current collection is available at Tappoos’ Fiji Market, says his target market is women over 25 years old “who want to wear something cool and easy that has a Pacific flavour to it. “I am also very aware of the diversity of sizes in women of the Pacific and my clothes reflect that.” While designs may vary, the stimulus behind Kennedy’s textile creations is Pacific by origin. His 2012 collection was inspired by Fiji’s Melanesian neighbours - Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands. He used print motifs such as feathers from PNG, carvings from the Solomon Islands and war clubs from Fiji. The result was more of a “tribal collection” than his current Grand Pacific brand. “Everything I design reflects the beauty of our islands,” Kennedy adds. -M MERE ERE TUq U IRI
On Land / In The aIr / On The WaTer / Under Water
Underwater Wonder water Under g viewin p gone u r e h t o an level
“Hey, its Finding Nemo,” cries a viewer. There’s an excited rush to the aft side by the rest, children particularly. Cameras were out in no time as cries of excitement swept through the crowd. Out in the blue waters of Bounty Island and darting about in the corals is a school of anemone fish - those little yellow and black stripes fish - reminding everyone of the main character of the movie Finding Nemo.
We are out in the Mamanuca waters, not far from Malolo Lailai Island, aboard Fijiâ€™s latest water adventure, the semisubmersible SeaView. With its wide viewing glass windows on both sides, air-conditioned interior and complimentary drinks for children and alcohol for adults, underwater viewing has gone up another level in Fiji. SeaView was built inside a workshop on Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi. This is what makes it special as it is the first and largest boat of its kind to be constructed locally. Keeping half of it submerged is the 80 tonnes of lead embedded onto the hull
of the ship. It is powered by two 300hp four-stroke outboard engines. Operating out at tropical Bounty Island, viewers are transferred to it on a large fast boat. It was a beautiful day on the day I boarded the SeaView. The sun was out in its full glory and the sea was as blue as it can get. The view under water was even
better. There were schools of juvenile scissortail fusilier and damselfish. Occasionally, a black streak surgeonfish swims by. There were also baby swordfish that accompanied the ‘sub’ around the reef and depending on the time of the day and whether it’s low or high tide, you may also catch glimpses of bigger fish and one or two reef and blacktip sharks. Bounty Island has been a marine park for over 10 years and the juvenile schools of fish you view from the semisubmersible SeaView have grown to large sizes over time. There is hope that turtles and pods of dolphins could make the reef their home as well. SeaView operates out at Bounty Island Resort and is serviced daily from Port Denarau Marina. WORDS - S SAMISONI AMISONI PARETI PARETI PHOTOS - SEAVIEW
tHe deets - SeaView operates from Bounty Island Resort and is serviced daily from Port Denarau Marina - For bookings call 999 1208 or email kaya@TMTCLtd.com - Also check https://www.facebook.com/ SeaViewFiji
Governors’ ROyal TREaT
tHe deets Gourmet coffees/desserts/muffins/ scones/biscuits, etc - eat in or take away…freshly baked onsite...available everyday. Opening hours: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Brunch Monday to Saturday - 9am-12noon Lunch Monday - Saturday: 12-2.30pm Afternoon Tea Mon - Sat: 2.30-4pm Dinner Thursday and Fridays: 6-10pm (last order 9.30pm) Sunday All day breakfast 9am-2pm (selection of Benedict’s, frittatas, and a range of new and creative dishes, ie “Fu Man Chu” Omelette - filled with red pork & caramelised onions).
away fRom the hustle anD bustle of the cosmopolitan melting pot that is 21st century downtown Suva, is a place that offers a step back in time, to when the South Pacific was more than a destination for a little fun in the sun. Feejee Island Traders Heritage Mall revisits the mystique of the South Seas that first drew explorers, adventurers and traders to the exotic islands. The building which houses the Heritage Mall itself is a testimony to the history of Fiji and the Pacific. Once the residence of Fijian High Chief and Pacific statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, the restored colonial estate now houses South Seas Treasures Fine Furniture and Exotic Gift Store, Karalina’s Fiji Designer Boutique and Fiji Real Estate Centre. And the mall’s crowning glory is the Governors Gourmet Coffee House and Restaurant. To enter Governors is to walk through the mists of time. As you cross the threshold, you cross from the post-modern, virtual, internet connected world of the 21st century to a time when even the most mundane of activities carried with them a sense of adventure and every experience had the potential to be history in the making. The walls are adorned with photographs and paraphernalia, each capturing the essence of the romantic South Seas. Every picture is post-card perfect, offering a snapshot of island life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Given that the most common form of transport of that era was the sailing ship, it is not surprising that Governor’s carries a maritime motif. From a tribute to the old King’s Wharf in Suva, to images of sailing ships and stylised private dining and meeting rooms - Captain’s Table, Explorers’ Room, Bosun’s Quarters, and Norm’s Bula Talei Bar - Governors easily transports the visitor to the “old world” of the South Pacific.
world-class bistro Despite being open for just a few months, it has already hosted some notable patrons including the King and Queen of Tonga and Lady Hillary, wife of Sir Edmund Hillary, a Kiwi mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist, who in 1953 together with a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Governors also pays tribute to the “golden age” of the islands, with facsimiles of vintage pages of The Fiji Times Newspaper serving as place mats. Governors is more than a living museum. It is easily a world-class bistro/ restaurant. Patrons can either soak up the interior atmosphere or sit outside on the large verandah surrounded by a lush tropical garden and enjoy food and beverages from the kitchen which boast local chefs and cooks who have provided their finefare at some of Fiji’s five star resorts. Governors has introduced a two-hour Happy Hour on Thursdays and Fridays beginning 5.30pm. It is also available for private functions, including weddings, family reunions, corporate, anniversaries, or whatever the occasion is.
Governors, the only South Pacific museum themed restaurant in Fiji, invites you to a celebration of great food, cocktails and wine. November – Friday & Saturday evening dining….6-10pm. From December onwards we will change to Thursday and Friday evening dining. Sat, Mon- Wed are available for private functions. Soft and mellow classic sounds provided by our in house keyboard maestro, Miti Qiolevu and a venue which offers you a step back in time to capture the romanticism of the “old” South Seas, Governors is truly a night out with a difference in Suva.
karalina’s boutique After lunch, don’t miss to wander through Karalina’s Boutique (Karalina by Carolyn Ah Koy Designs), winner of Fiji Fashion Week Designer of the Year in 2009 & 2010 and Established Designer of the Year 2010, great designs with a distinctive islands style all her own. Governors and the Feejee Island Traders Heritage Mall...they are more than a shopping and culinary experience. It is a date with history. But there are more surprises in store…the best and biggest is it’s affordable!
Diners can expect a selection of Ocean fresh Fiji Seafood, Stuffed Crab Backs, Giant Sea Prawns, Quality New Zealand Lamb, Chargrilled Steaks & Sumptuous Vegetarian dishes to choose from, including our selection of delicious homemade desserts and specialty coffees. A menu much like one would expect on one of the old “steamers” that sailed the Pacific Ocean. Topped off with a good selection of wine & spirits to accompany the meal, come and enjoy three of life’s true pleasures…. food, wine and great music !!
Starting from December 5th every Thursday and Friday From 5.30 -7.30pm Happy Hour beers, wines and cocktails with a range of tanatalising nibbles/tapas on our Garden Verandah.
Make your Reservation now on Ph 3375050. 46-50 Knolly Street, Suva. 2 minutes from our CBD and a listed Heritage Site.
Fiji’s very own
MAMA’S PIzzA worth coming back for
A family affair...Robin Ragg (right) with daughter Morna. Photos: Mama’s Pizza
you mIGht not assoCIate PIzza zza with Fiji the way you would a Bula shirt or a tanoa, but we’re talking of the very special Mama’s Pizza here - one that’s as iconic of Fiji as the colourful shirt and the distinctively carved wooden bowl. And perhaps the only reason it’s not as well known to visitors as the Bula shirt and tanoa has more to do with the humble, understated and soft spoken style of the amazing Mama who created the first, authentic Fijian pizza way back in 1984. Yes, Mama’s turns 30 in 2014. Mama’s pizzas are different. If you’re the type who thinks a pizza is a pizza is a pizza, Mama’s will make you think again. You notice the difference the very moment you dig your teeth into your first wedge. Though you will be sitting in a typical pizza eatery setting, you will happily notice that what you are eating is not the run of the mill, mass produced product - but one that’s been made with fresh ingredients with some characteristic flavours and with great care. After all, Mama or Robin Ragg first began making pizzas for her own little kids when they were growing up. Robin (“It’s with an ‘i’ not ‘y’ because my parents wanted me to be a boy,” she says) loved to cook for her two girls and a boy. But that pleasurable activity turned into a small business to support the family, when she had to go through a divorce in the early 1980s. “My father put his house on the line to borrow the funds for our first pizza restaurant which we started in 1984 on Nadi town’s main strip,” Robin says. The first few weeks were spent trialling her fare and collecting feedback. “I made a note of every comment and tried to use it to make the pizzas the way people wanted them.”
Enjoying a pizza at Mama’s Pizza. Mama’s big break came when she was able to tickle the palates of the wealthy local Gujerati Indian community. “They would come in big groups on Sundays and order different pizzas. A couple of times I noticed they carried some condiments from home to sprinkle on the pizzas before they ate them,” Robin recalls. “It was like BYO toppings for my pizzas.” She got talking with them and noticed that they were a mix of assorted herbs and Indian spices. Offering to experiment for them, Robin through much trial and error came up with the perfect topping mix to produce the popular ‘Nadi Special’. The pizza is the most popular on the menu even after 30 years. Interestingly, it remains popular despite being a completely vegetarian pizza (many in the Gujarati community are vegetarians, for whom the original recipe was created). It’s not just with the Gujeratis or Indians that the Nadi Special is a hit. Tourists - especially the growing ranks of vegetarians adore it and come back for more. Taking a cue from the success of the Nadi Special, Robin experimented with other flavours too and came up with some other all time favourites - The Big Bird and the recently launched Tandoori Chicken. Of course, Mama’s dishes out most of the regular all-time favourites like Mozzarella, Hawaiian, Meat Lovers, Neapolitan and others. Her other innovations include the Pacific Rim, which is a seafood delight, the Super Vegetarian, which takes the Nadi Special to new heights and a Prawn and a Tuna topped pizza with Mama’s special sauce. Mama has fine-tuned the flavours of her fare to such uniqueness that an entire generation of Fijians, no matter where in the world they live, long to dig into a Mama’s pizza whenever they come to Nadi. Mama’s makes its own sauces and spice mixes. “We make most of the ingredients ourselves and have a trusted set of growers for good produce,” Robin says. She puts the success of Mama’s to strict quality control and listening to customer feedback. In all these years, Mama’s has grown from a single restaurant to three - Nadi town, Namaka and Denarau. Robin has assiduously kept away from big commercial ambitions despite franchise offers from Suva, Sigatoka and even as far afield as Auckland and Sydney.
“Locals who have migrated come back to eat Mama’s Pizza whenever they are in the Nadi area. Some of them even take back our pizzas to the US when they go back,” says Rebecca Hughes, Mama’s Pizza duty manager. Robin is particular with the value for money proposition that her pizzas deliver. “She wants to use the best ingredients and even if their prices go up, she is reluctant to change the price tags of the pizzas,” Rebecca adds. True to her brand name, Robin is mama not just to her pizzas she cares greatly for her staff. Several of the 38 people who work at the three restaurants have been with Mama’s since the first pizza was sold. “You’re only as good as your staff,” she says. If you’re in Nadi, don’t miss the Mama’s Pizza experience. – DEV EV NAD NADkARNI k You’ll probably return to Fiji just for it.
adi N For a cultural fix, visit the colourful South Indian temple sri siva subramaniya ubramani on the Nadi Back ubramaniya Road, then get lunch at nearby tata’s, a hole in the wall that serves delicious curries. See the late actor Raymond Burr’s private orchid collection at the Garden of the sleeping Giant, then take a jungle walk through tropical rainforest at the foothills of the nausori highlands. Cover yourself in mud before taking a dip in the naturallyoccurring hot springs in Sabeto Valley, halfway between Nadi and Lautoka. navala Village in the ba highlands is worth a visit for its traditional, thatched dwellings (a rarity) and scenic surroundings. Windsurf at nananu-i-ra Island, off Rakiraki.
Fiji’s Jet Set Town Nadi is the main port of entry (and exit) for most travellers to Fiji, earning it the nickname ‘The Jet Set Town’. Nadi Town is essentially a one-street town, home to department store chains and mom-and-pop stores, a handicraft centre and a stunning South Indian temple. Halfway between Nadi International Airport and town, you’ll find Martintar, an area renowned for its nightlife and restaurants. Backpackers head to Wailoaloa (literally ‘black water’) so named for the volcanic sand found here. Thirty minutes north of Nadi is Lautoka, Fiji’s second largest city. Known as the ‘Sugar City’, it is home to the country’s largest sugar mill. Further north are the scenic rural towns of Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki, the last of which is a popular windsurfing spot.
Head to martintar early evening, an area bustling with bars and restaurants. Grab a drink at ed’s bar, then take your pick from Chinese (Small Plates), Continental (Taste Fiji, Antoinette’s), Indian (Sitar), Japanese (Daikoku) and Korean (Arirang) eateries. For North Indian cuisine, head to saffron tandoori Restaurant in the Jack’s of Fiji Mall. lC’s in Namaka is a popular Chinese joint. Mama’s Pizza for pizzas is also in Nadi town and Namaka.
YASAWA ISLANDS LAUTOKA
NADI BAY MAMANUCA ISLANDS
DENARAU NADI TOWN
Nadi Town is home to Fijian department store chains Jack’s of Fiji, Prouds and Tappoo, which stock a mix of local products and international brand names. Visit the Handicraft Market to see artisans making local craft.
The aerial view descending into Nadi International Airport sometimes elicits audible exclamations of ooohs and aaahs from first-time visitors to Fiji. Sights of cliché white sand beaches, multi-toned spans of ocean, meandering rivers, green forest covers against elevated slopes, and white foam trails from moving passenger boats beckons the airborne traveller to visions of impending pleasures of sun worship, cocktails at sundown, and minimalist clothing. While you can do those activities in and around Nadi, there are other places to visit and things to see that will have you discovering another side of Fiji. Discover Fiji recommends three activities you can do ad hoc - tour of the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, mud baths and thermal pools, and indulge in good food at the New Nadi Farmers Club to gratify the soul after a hard day of leisure. If you’re in the city of Lautoka transiting on a cruiseliner with a two-day layover, the suggested activities are ideal. And if you’re wondering what to do with your time one day prior to your flight out of Nadi International Airport temple, thermal pools, Farmers Club.
Outside the Resort Walls Spot of Culture The Sri Siva Subramaniya temple sits at the southern end of Nadi Town. It’s a rainbow of colours with even more intricate paintings of Hindu deities on the inside of the temple ceiling painted by artists from India. Modest dressing is required for women when entering temple premises, otherwise sarongs are provided at the entrance. A guide takes visitors through this holy sanctuary and will explain the significance of the illustrated gods and goddesses of the South Indian faith. The largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s a remnant (changed location and shape over time) of the period in Fiji’s history, especially 19051912, when Indians were brought from India to Fiji to labour in the sugarcane fields. A portion of them were South Indians who brought with them their culture and religion. A vegetarian restaurant is on the premises and if you’re into horoscopes, you can have a reading done at the temple (within certain hours).
Mud Baths & Thermal Pools It’s not every day you get slathered in soft, mildly hot mud from head to toe. It feels more like clay and the local folks who own the land that the thermal pools spring from will tell you the mud has healing properties. The location of the Sabeto Mud Pools couldn’t be more idyllic. Majestic mountain ranges overlooking the threepool natural spa provide the perfect backdrop to nature’s gift. The ritual involves a dip in the mud pool, applying the mud all over your body, basking in the sun to dry the mud mask, rinsing, and subsequent invigorating dips in the thermal pools. Cosmetically, processed facial mud masks are supposed to cleanse oily spots. If that’s true, then daily mud masking at the Sabeto mud pools will certainly take care of that and the warm springs soothe tired limbs too. It’s less expansive then a commercial spa treatment and an example of nature-
based tourism. If you’re concerned about tourism ethics, the funds generated from the activity goes back into the community. Getting there is a bumpy ride flanked by sugarcane fields but it all adds to the charm of this inland-based therapeutic activity.
Trip Advisor Certified Bar & Restaurant You’ve done the temple run (not the game), feeling invigorated from your Sabeto thermal bath and now you’re famished. The best place to satisfy your hunger pangs is at the New Nadi Farmers Club Bar Restaurant (The Farmers Club). Ranked number three of 58 restaurants in Nadi by TripAdvisor, The Farmers Club serves moderately priced quality Fijian, Australian, Chinese, and Indian dishes in spacious and relaxing ambiance.
The best place to satisfy your hunger pangs.
You have a choice of eating indoors or in their tropical beer garden overlooking the Nadi River. The refurbished Farmers Club is owned managed by Fijian-Australian couple Tom Liu and Tracey Farrington. With the TripAdvisor rating, they currently set a Nadi standard for value in food and service.
The Deets New Nadi Farmers Club Bar Restaurant - Location: Ashram Rd, around the corner from Tappoo Nadi. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-12am (depending on crowd flow) - Tel: +679 7775442, +679 6700415 E: firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/nadifarmersclub www.nadifarmersclub.com - Reservations are not necessary but appreciated if you’re a large group. 2013 Winner Certificate of Excellence (this award is given to businesses that consistently earn high ratings from TripAdvisor travelers). Sabeto Mud Pools - Location: Wailoko Rd, Sabeto. Cost: Adults FJD$15, children under 10 years FJD$8 - Hours: Monday-Sunday 7am-6pm.
Tracey Farrington...genius behind BBBCo’s casual resort wear.
Inside The Farmers Club is the Bondi Beach Bag Co (BBBCo) Fiji boutique, an extension of Tracey’s Australian business. Tracey is the creative genius behind BBBCo’s casual resort wear and supplies major department stores Myer and David Jones, as well as boutiques around Australia, Fiji and other countries. Not only do you get to eat a value-for-money meal at the new Nadi Farmers Club, browse the in-house Bondi Beach Bag Co Fiji boutique for your essential beach-to-bar wardrobe. - Mere Tuqiri
Sri Siva Subramaniya Swamy Temple - Location: Southern end of Nadi Town’s main thoroughfare Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday 6am-8pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 6am-7pm Tel: +679 6700977 E: email@example.com facebook.com/NadiTempleFijiIslands www.sangamfiji.com.fj - Entrance fee is FJD$5. Devotees from around the world will gather at the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swamy Temple January 9-19, 2014. Purpose: Annual celebrations. Religious body piercing for devotees will take place on a designated day, visitors are welcome to observe.
$ 2 for
Beachcomber is a slice of paradise situated on a marine sanctuary in the heart of Mamanuca Group of Islands and is a haven for sun, sand, fun and adventure. Its mere 19kms from Port Denarau (Nadi) & 15kms from Lautoka. Full and ½ day trips are offered with island Bbq lunch, afternoon tea, snorkeling, fish feeding, coral viewing, turtle feeding at $149p/p & half price for kids (4-12yrs). Motorized water sports such as parasailing, banana boat and jet skiing etc are at additional cost .
Ph+ 679 6661500
SO EASY TO GET TO, YET SO HARD TO LEAVE!!
35 acres of Virgin rainforest, all -weather walking track, a triple tiered waterfall, rapid-fed Swimming pools and a daring zip line course hovering over the jungle. All day passes include unlimited zips, lunch and refreshments FJ$189p/p , 1/2 price kids.(4-12yrs) Free pick up from Denarau Island or Nadi. 30 minute Drive from Nadi International Airport.
Ph+ 679 6669735 www.ziplinefiji.com
“ZIP THROUGH NATURE” “FEEL THE RUSH”
Denarau Denarau Marina is the main point of entry to the beautiful mamanuca and yasa y wa Islands. Here, you’ll find super yachts, cruiseline groups, cruise operators such as south sea Cruises and Captain Cook (which offer day cruises to nearby islands) and great fishing charters. Denarau’s 18-hole championship golf course, set amidst lush tropical greens with bunkers shaped like marine creatures and waterways, is suitable for all levels of golfers. In addition, there are four all weather lit courts and six natural grass courts for tennis players. Each resort also offers a variety of water sports from jet skiing, parasailing, waterskiing, fishing, diving and snorkelling. If your idea of activity is more sedate, there are beaches and pools aplenty as well as a number of day spas to indulge your every whim.
A Destination Unto Itself Denarau Island is the South Pacific’s largest integrated resort, home to some of the world’s leading hotel brands (Hilton, Sheraton, Sofitel, Radisson and more). You’ll also find a championship golf course and tennis ranch as well as a shopping centre and a bustling marina that serves as a gateway to Fiji’s picturesque outer islands. Only 20 minutes from Nadi International Airport and eight minutes from Nadi Town, a causeway links Fiji’s main island Viti Levu to Denarau.
Each resort boasts world-class restaurants (such as Sri Lankan/ Aussie celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita’s flying fish fiji at Sheraton Fiji) making Denarau a veritable food mecca. Then there’s the Port Denarau joints which run the gamut from casual (familiar and exotic pizzas at mama’s Pizza) to grown-up Indian fare at Indigo. You’ll also find the hard Rock Café’s only Fijian outpost here alongside lulu bar Fiji, a hip café by day and a jazzy lounge bar by night.
For souvenirs that smell as good as they look, head to Sofitel Fiji, which houses a flagship store for home-grown beauty and skincare brand Pure fiji. For local fashion, traditional artifacts and everyday essentials, visit the Port Denarau shopping complex.
ThiNgS TO DO
Whether your idea of fun is jumping out of a plane (with a parachute, of course) or engaging in some spa or retail therapy, there’s literally something for everyone on familyfriendly Denarau Island. Here are our picks.
jet boat ride This one’s been described as “Fast - Loud - Wet!”. Take an exhilarating 30-minute jet boat ride along the Denarau oceanfront or through a nearby mangrove-lined river. Highly-trained jet boat drivers will blast you over the water then do a 360-degree spin. Fun for the whole family.
tHe deets Jet Boat and Banana Rides as well as Parasailing are all offered by Adrenalin Fiji, which is based at Port Denarau Marina, and operates daily.
Jump on the Banana Ride and try not to laugh as you hold on while the skipper effortlessly pulls the inflated raft along for your tailor-made ride. A really fun activity for individuals, families and groups, the banana carries up to seven passengers per ride.
Soar above Denarau Island and admire the views to the Mamanuca Islands or watch the beachside activities. Adrenalin Fiji’s purpose-built European vessel allows safe deck launches and flights are suitable for one to three passengers (with a combined maximum weight of 180kg). Book the photographer to capture a lasting holiday memory.
Denarau golf, tennis t All level of golfers will enjoy Denarau’s 18-hole championship golf course, set amidst lush tropical greens with bunkers shaped like marine creatures and waterways. For tennis players, in addition to four all-weather lit courts, there are six natural grass courts on Denarau. Post game, hit the Golf and Racquet Club for eats and drinks.
5 cruise Denarau Marina is the main point of entry to the beautiful Mamanuca and Yasawa Groups of Islands and here you’ll find a multitude of cruise operators (including Captain Cook Cruises and South Sea Cruises) offering single and multi-day cruises.
6 skydive Skydive Fiji offers novices the opportunity to experience freefall tandem skydiving over beautiful Fijian islands and reefs before landing primarily on one of the resort beaches on Denarau Island. Fiji’s warm climate and views make for a great skydive experience. “It was a real pleasure just jumping out of a plane in a pair of shorts and T shirt and not be cold,” says one satisfied customer on TripAdvisor.
7 Pamper Denarau is home to some of the best spas in the South Pacific, with the latest treatments from around the globe as well as signature Fijian therapies such as the Bobo (bombo), a traditional healing massage passed down through the ages. At Port Denarau, experience local skincare brand Pure Fiji’s therapies and products made from indigenous ingredients such as organic cold-pressed drift nut oils, raw sugarcane and anti-oxidant leaf hydrosols at Spa Denarau. You’ll also find Spa Maya, Fiji’s first Indian concept ayurvedic spa here. It offers the indulgent Shirodhara, where warm oil is continuously dripped over the third eye chakra (forehead) for the better part of an hour as part of a deep scalp massage.
Denarau is a veritable food mecca with a host of signature restaurants to choose from at big-name resorts. In addition, Port Denarau is home to a number of excellent dining establishments offering everything from American (Hard Rock Café) to seafood (Bonefish) and Indian fare (Indigo). Mama’s Pizza, a home-grown chain with several outlets in Nadi has a family-friendly outpost at Port Denarau as does Cardo’s, which is renowned for its steaks and seafood.
If you have exhausted all the adrenaline-pumping activities at Denarau and still looking for action, why not try your hands learning how to cook, particularly cooking local cuisine. Flavours of Fiji at Denarau conducts cooking classes for those interested. It is an excellent activity one can do - as an individual, a group or family - while on holiday on the man-made island.
PHOTOS: ADRENALIN FIJI, SKYDIVE FIJI, WESTIN FIJI, PORT DENARAU
Outside of the resort boutiques, Port Denarau is the place to head to for some retail therapy – and to discover Fijian brands. Jack’s of Fiji runs a number of boutiques here, which carry local handicraft and fashion. Pineapple Boutique specialises in high-end designer resortwear. Dahia Shoes is doing interesting things with local materials such as raw barkcloth. In addition, you’ll find a number of surf-inspired Fijian brands.
rum tasting? t
11 watery adventure
If you’re looking for more fun, there is a new underwater world adventure which operates out of Bounty Island and is serviced daily from Port Denarau Marina. It is the first and largest boat of its kind to be constructed locally. The semi-submersible SeaView with its wide viewing glass windows on both sides, airconditioned underwater viewing has gone up another level in Fiji.
If you have a taste for rum, why not try some real ‘hot’ local ones? They are available for retail at the Fiji Rum Company shop, opposite the Sheraton Fiji Resort, where you can sample them too. The new lines include Coconut Rum Liqueur, White Rum Rare, Banana Rum Liqueur and many more.
THE LEGEND... The early 1800’s witnessed the arrival of Espero Cardo and his herd of some of the world’s finest beef cattle to Fiji. Originally bound for Australia, this shipment of prized animals from the pampas of Argentina was pirated in the Koro Sea by war canoeists of the Tavuteke Clan. The services of stockman Cardo was necessary and so his life and cattle were spared. The Fijian grasslands proved ideally nutritional for raising the perfect beef beast. Now, four generations later, the perfect steak is available in Fiji’s best little steak house of the Pacific.
Cardo’s Steak House Port Denarau, Nadi - Reservations: 675 0900
comes to Fiji wIth seXy anD soPhIstICateD digs in a paradisal beachfront setting, the Karma Beach Bali is one of the holiday island’s best-known haunts. By day, it’s family-friendly, a place to work on your tan or go for a swim, grab a massage or nosh on a bucket of prawns and chilled white wine. At night, it becomes a place for revelry, moonlight cinema and cutting-edge tunes laid on with elan by some of the biggest DJs in the world. In recent years, Karma has replicated the concept at beach clubs on Indonesia’s Gili Meno island and Little Harbour Island in the Bahamas. In August, it launched its third incarnation on the foreshore of the Wyndham WorldMark Hotel on Fiji’s Denarau Island. “Our beach clubs appeal to global travellers who might be a bit bohemian but still expect the best of everything,” says founder John Spence.
“Our beach clubs appeal to global travellers who might be a bit bohemian but still expect the best of everything.”
“Karma Beach Fiji is no exception.” Set between the Wyndham’s oversize oasis pool and the sea, Karma Beach Fiji has tables for up to 80 persons set under traditional Fijian bures - bungalow-style dwellings made of wood, straw and thatch. There, guests can enjoy selections from Karma’s signature modern-Mediterranean menu like grilled lobster, pan-fried haloumi salad or ceviche - raw-fish seared in lemon juice and coconut milk - served in a coconut shell. The music, like the cocktails, starts off smooth and loungy at midday before picking up a few beats per minute (and a few shots of vermouth) late in the early afternoon. “There is something authentic about what Karma is doing in Fiji, says Bar’el Wachtel, a Nadi DJ. “Its music selection is not represented in any other venue on the Fijian mainland.” After a long, boozy lunch, head over to Kara’s elevated,
palm-fringed sandpit fronting the bay for a pole-position on one of 24 sunbeds. Watch in amazement as the sun, a burning planet, melts through layers of tropical cloud and plonks like an eight ball into the slick blue expanse that is the Pacific Ocean. The sky morphs from blue to yellow to orange and a thousand shades of red before settling into a deep shade of purple and capitulating to black. Stars pop out, the music turns up a notch, your waiter offers you another drink. Night may have fallen, but the difference between a beach and a beach club is bright as day. Karma Beach Fiji opens 7am to 11pm daily. Entry is free except for special events. For reservations and enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +679 675 0442. - IIAN AN LLOYD NEUBAUER N DISCOVER FIJI
COOkINg UP A STOrM
For those of you visiting our shores for a holiday, why not dabble in a bit of cooking? So when you return home, you can be able to show off to your friends and families that you can also be a master chef and cook up a Fijian dish. Those who have attended the cooking classes by Flavours of Fiji, located on Denarau Island, feel it is an excellent activity one can do - as an individual, a group or family - while on holiday on the man-made island. Discover Fiji decided to send one of its roving reporters to attend one of these classes and hereâ€™s what he says: 38
Both Malisa and Alona, owners of Flavours of Fiji, are great lovers of food, who have attended numerous cooking schools around the world and have modelled Flavours of Fiji on the best of the best! If cooking is not your cup of tea, then you have a very good excuse to call up Flavours of Fiji for a cooking class. For three delicious hours, a very capable host and cook will take you through a variety of Fiji’s most popular Fijian and Indian cuisines where you will learn about the local food culture. In my class, we had to prepare ‘Kokoda’raw fish marinated in fresh lemon juice and served with coconut milk as entrée and ‘Ota Vaka Miti’ (tree fern) infused in coconut milk sprinkled with cubes of tomatoes and onion. For dessert, our host Eci showed us how to make “Vudi Vakasoso”, which is ripe plantain simmered again in coconut milk. Today, our Fijian dishes were served with slices of “dalo, tavioka and kumala” (taro, cassava and sweet potato). I actually enjoyed preparing Kokoda. Perhaps because I didn’t have to worry about slicing up the “walu” into cubes or scrape and squeeze the coconuts. Through the guidance of Eci, we squeezed fresh lemon into a small bowl of raw fish cubes Fiji style, being careful not to let the seeds into the bowl. The bowl of fish is left to
The Deets Flavours of Fiji Ltd No. 5 Denarau Industrial Park, Denarau Islands Ph: 6750840 Email: email@example.com www.flavoursoffiji.com
marinate in lemon juice for about an hour before dressing and serving. Preparing the ota was a lesson in patience for me. I had some difficulty slicing the ferns because the tops tend to curl up and my clumsy attempts at slicing failed. From these slices, we boiled water in a pot and blanched the tree ferns. The trick about ferns is not to overcook them, so 4 to 5 minutes on the boil is sufficient. After we cooked our Fijian dishes, our Indian cook “Arti” began teaching us our Indian dishes. Today, we were doing a “spicy pumpkin curry” as entrée, “chicken and potato curry” as the main and “roti”. For dessert, we learnt how to prepare a popular Indian sweet called “Lakari” - it’s made from flour which is deep-0fried before camelised in a sugar syrup. Before this cooking class, I thought I already knew how to make a delicious chicken curry. Flavours of Fiji shared some of their secrets. Lesson one, you don’t really need to heat up the pot before you add your vegetable oil. Secondly, and this was quite a revelation; you need not cook on high flames. Keeping your stove dial on low to medium was sufficient, advised Arti. I learnt this the hard way. Frustrated by the slowness in getting the roti cooked, I turned the stove knob to high and the roti was burnt in no time! There is also no need to mix your curry and masala powder with water - you can just sprinkle them straight to the pot. Then add your spices, curry leaves, garlic and onion with a pinch of salt. Your sliced up meat and potatoes go in next before you add tomatoes. Flavours of Fiji allows you to go behind the restaurant curtain to see and know how and why your local meals are cooked the way they are. Both Malisa and Alona, owners of Flavours of Fiji, are great lovers of food, who have attended numerous cooking schools around the world and have modelled Flavours of Fiji on the best of the best! Over a glass of white on a long hardwood dining table, a complimentary fresh fruit platter and fresh tropical juice, the two couples and I enjoyed lunch that we cooked ourselves. For a clumsy chef like me, Kokoda and Chicken and Potato Curry never tasted so delicious as it did today, thanks to Flavours of Fiji! - Samisoni Pareti DISCOVER FIJI
caPtureD on filM The picturesque Mamanuca islands have played host to numerous reality TV shows and films over the years, among them: survivor (Mana Island); Castaway (Modriki Island); and Celebrity love Island (Bounty Island). As elsewhere in Fiji, the Mamanuca is great for all kinds of water sports. CRuIse A myriad of day cruises departing Port Denarau give visitors a chance to experience the area (without having to overnight on an island). suRf Surfers head to Cloudbreak – one of the world’s top surf spots – near the islands of Tavarau and Namotu. Pa P Rty R One of the longestrunning resorts in the area, beachcomber, is the official party island.
Castaway Island Resort’s executive chef lance seeto has put the Mamanuca on the world map with his innovate Pacific fusion cuisine. likuliku lagoon Resort, home to Fiji’s first overwater bungalows, is also renowned for its fresh, creative cuisine.
Many village visits include market stalls where locals sell masi (a handmade bark cloth painted with natural dyes); handicrafts, shells and necklaces.
Magical Mamanucas The Mamanuca (pronounced Ma-ma-nootha) island group, is a collection of 20 sand-fringed islands set among deep blue waters. Situated inside the Malolo Barrier Reef, this stunning group of islands is easily accessible from the mainland and offers ideal conditions for boating, scuba diving, snorkelling and other water-based activities. Here, you can find the island used in Tom Hanks’ film Castaway alongside traditional Fijian villages and many popular island resorts, perfect for families, couples and independent travellers.
turtle Power An area wide partnership between tourism operators, local communities, government and corporate organisations has resulted in the mamanuca environmental society, which raises awareness of the need to protect the area’s marine and terrestrial resources. Lucky guests get to see turtles released into the wild.
. . . d e n o o r Ma i’s PartY islanD on fij
If youR IDea of a south seas PaRaDIse is that of a patch of lush green circled by white sandy beach in an ocean of crystal aquamarine waters, then Beachcomber Island Resort fits that image perfectly. In fact, on any clear day, you can actually catch a glimpse of Beachcomber from your window as the plane lines up for landing at Nadi International Airport. Not so long ago, the same image was a flying billboard as a blown up image of Beachcomber was displayed on the fuselage of then Air Pacific, rebranded now as Fiji Airways’ leased jumbo jet. Having spent a night on Beachcomber recently, I have to say that this is one island I wouldn’t mind becoming a beachcomber in. Pity, it has to be for one night only. You virtually can do whatever you please, when you feel like it. Want to swim, the sea is just a few baby steps away from your room. Hungry? Head Chef Jim and his assistants will whip up a mouth-watering dish in no time. Or perhaps if you need to quench your thirst with a chilled Fiji Gold beer, Beachcomber’s Barefoot Bar is the place to be. At Beachcomber, you can do as much as you like or nothing at all. Laze in a hammock, read a book, get a great massage. Forget DISCOVER FIJI
r combe Beach time for the ife. rl of you
the office!, it’s up to you. Under new ownership, Beachcomber has gone up a few bars as Fiji’s party island. Returning guest Dean Scerri of Sydney seems to think that although there are a lot of activities to keep one occupied during the day, Beachcomber comes alive at night! “The flawless young fire dancers really get the night off to a great start,” says Dean. “The night is then followed by dancing, meeting other young travellers from all over the world and, of course, enjoying a few drinks. Get yourself to Beachcomber for the time of your life.” I don’t really fit into the “other young travellers” category Dean talks about. But I think I fall perfectly into what the resort’s brochure describes as those who are young at heart! Parties usually wind up into the wee hours of the morning. It seems to be guided by one of those golden unwritten rules, ‘until the last one
drops!’. That certainly seems to be the rule the night I was in Beachcomber. With another school year coming to a close in Australia and New Zealand, the entire island was exclusively booked out by Australian teenagers out to celebrate their summer holidays. It was party in the day and more party in the night. If they are not dancing, they are out in the water to swim, or to dive, or to snorkel. SPLASH Water Sports is based on the island and guests can also enjoy scuba diving, wind surfing, wake boarding, water skiing, kayaking, parasailing or deep sea fishing. It’s hard to get bored. If you want to venture out of the island, SPLASH Water Sports can take you out on a sea safari, island hopping around the Mamanuca group of islands or off for a Fijian village excursion. Beachcomber also offers tours to Sleeping Giant Zip line Fiji, located on the Sabeto mountain range, not far from Nadi Airport. Fast boat transfer is just half an hour away. It takes about 20 minutes to walk around the whole island of Beachcomber and the best time to do that is in the evening. Strolling around the beach as you watch the sun set in the Mamanuca group, you will soon realise that getting marooned on -S SAMISONI AMISONI PARETI PARETI Beachcomber is not a bad idea at all!
Meet the critters at kula eco Park Equally great for kids and couples, Kula Eco Park is home to Fiji’s endemic flora and fauna such as the banded and crested iguanas and five types of musk parrots to name a few. Opp. the Outrigger Resort. —fijiwild.com —
golf at nataDola baY Voted one of the world’s top beaches by Conde Nast Traveler, Natadola now has a championship golf course to match. Natadola Bay blends world-class golf architecture with dramatic landscapes from rolling pastures through to absolute beachfront. —natadolabay.com
go on a river safari
Island Feel on the Mainland
The multiple award-winning Sigatoka River Safari transports you deep into the heart and soul of Fiji aboard custom-built safari jet boats. Visit authentic Fijian villages and experience a day in the life of the real ‘kaiviti’ (Fijian). —sigatokariver.com
The Coral Coast was one of the first tourism areas to develop in Fiji. It stretches 130 kilometres along the southern shores of Viti Levu, with easy access via the Queen’s Highway, which connects the jetset town of Nadi and the capital city Suva. It boasts large resorts, some smaller accommodation options with a distinctly Fijian feel and a world-class golf course. Many of these properties enjoy white sandy beaches and magnificent views of the waves breaking along the famous coral reef. You get the best of both worlds here: the small island feel of beachside resorts and interesting excursions such as jet boat rides, cave tours and an eco park found only on the mainland.
eXPlore naihehe caves With Off-Road Cave Safari, getting to Fiji’s largest cave system is half the fun. A barge transports your all-terrain vehicle (with driver) across mighty Sigatoka River. From there, it’s an off-the-beaten-track journey along winding mountain ranges and through remote villages to the spellbinding Naihehe Caves. —offroadfiji.com
The Coral Coast
Outside the resorts, Koko’s Bar on the old Queen’s Drive in Korotogo does casual eats with spectacular ocean views. In Sigatoka Town, head to Cuppabula in the Tappoo shopping complex for coffee and cake.
Bedarra Inn Outrigger
Sand Dunes Waikele Cave Tours River Safari -
Tambua Sands Hideaway
- Kula Eco Park
The small township of Sigatoka is home to Fijian department store/ souvenir chains Jack’s of Fiji, Prouds and Tappoo as well as smaller traders. Check out the fresh fruit and vegetable market for a slice of rural life. Baravi Handicrafts in Korolevu makes for a great pit stop on the road from Sigatoka Town to the capital Suva.
Warwick Hotel Naviti Hotel
CORaL COaST CaLLiNg the hoRse neIGheD. Pause. It neighed again. The horse or as the people of Nadroga prefer - stallion, is their regional icon. But that neigh was a ringtone. Sidetrack - Nadroga/Navosa is one of Fiji’s 14 provinces with an extensive geo-political coverage that includes the Mamanuca group, Vatulele, and the entire Coral Coast. All three are tourist hotspots with a hierarchy of accommodation and extensive activity range. I’m with transient early morning travellers in a
licensed Viti Mini Bus from Suva to Sigatoka. Coincidentally, the multiple-sitter Toyota Liteace was entering the land of the stallions when the mobile owner’s neighing cell tone arrested the lull. That ‘stallion’ buzz instantly switched my Thursday disposition to Coral Coast mode. Following a damp week, that Thursday morning was punctuated with cool breezes and promising pockets of sunshine that persevered throughout the day; ingredients for a stress-free jaunt on Fiji’s only tourist train excursion - The Puffing Boto. Fijian language 101: Boto means frog. The Puffing Boto is a two-carriage red train operated by the Coral Coast Railway Company. The station is in Cuvu, along the Queens Highway, just before the turnoff to the Shangri-La Fijian Resort & Spa and 10 minutes by road to Sigatoka Town. It’s not the sort of train you’re familiar with whizzing through sheltered platforms. The Coral Coast Railway oozes originality into its number 38, diesel-driven engine. There are numerous ways to experience the Coral Coast and from different vantage points too. From a boat on a river, on a horse along the beach, highland tour on foot, in the water with dive gear, or on a train that will take you on a village hop from Cuvu Station to Sigatoka Town. The Puffing Boto is an alternative sight-see vehicle that works the existing sugarcane railway tracks. It’s a recreational service locals also enjoy.
The Deets Puffing Boto timetable: Monday to Saturday; Departs Cuvu Station 10am; Travel time: Est. 1:45 minutes; Destination: Sigatoka Town for souvenirs, shopping; Fare: Cost is relative to your van pickup point along the Coral Coast through to Natadola; Return: Either via train (Town-Station), provided vehicle, or your own means; Coral Coast Railway also does village tours by train. Booking is recommended. Tel: +679 6520434 or +679 3560914 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Backroad View I’ve never sidetracked through Sigatoka’s backroads, actually make that most of Fiji’s back treks, but sometimes it’s the outback that tugs at you and frames a special image of a different Fiji. On the Coral Coast, you’ll get flash resorts and unstructured rustic charm in one package. The Puffing Boto moves at a leisurely pace, enough to absorb the scenery. Village settlements flank the rail lines, some with pig pens housing their fourlegged occupants. You get a visual inkling of how some people live daily on the other side. Children from passing settlements are aware of Boto’s candy ritual and stand anticipating a handful of sugar rush thrown to them. This is often met with happy shrieks, smiles and waves. As the Boto gingerly maneuvers towards its destination, the scenery changes from landscaped gardens to overgrown greenery, stretches of sandy beach, mangrove patches, short tunnels to streams of road traffic. Expect one or two obstructions from stubborn cows foraging on the tracks or the odd person walking towards the moving train; that’s normal.
The Boto The Coral Coast Railway started in 1986 with the Natadola Beach excursion. That has ceased and the Cuvu-Sigatoka Town trips emerged in the 1990s. The spark behind the Coral Coast Railway is Australian investor Barry Hancock and former business partner Peter Jones. Barry is the original Puffing Boto. I’m not being libelous because that’s his nickname. Barry ‘Boto’ Hancock hasn’t missed a trip to Fiji since 1969. Somewhere along the timeline, one particular Fijian lass at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort christened him Boto and the name has since stuck and even patented. Why Boto? I shall not divulge. The presence of railway lines was the business motivator. Barry: “We saw the tracks and thought no one else was doing it in Fiji. We didn’t want a hotel business, but something subsidiary to the industry; it was to compliment Shangri-La’s guest activities in which they could go out and do other things.”
Sigatoka Town Aside from mainstream souvenir shopping, visit the Sigatoka Women’s Handicraft Centre on the riverside. Handicrafts can be custom-made on order. Ask for Litia Sovea. The market has organic vegetable and fruit produce. For a meal with a vegetarian lenience, visit the towering Radha Krishna Temple and Restaurant.
Coral Coast Do List • Tavuni Hill Fort (ancient Tongan fortified settlement). • Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. (traces of Fiji’s Lapita links found here) • Kula Eco Park (indigenous fauna and flora). • Biausevu Waterfall (also known as Savu na Mate Laya Falls). • Hot Glass Fiji (glass blowing - Korotogo). • Sigatoka River Safari (village tour with a spin). • Off-road Cave Safari (Naihehe Cave) • Coastal Inland Tours (river cruise, waterfall, valley tour).
- Mere Tuqiri DISCOVER FIJI
Alice Hill’s hand-made glass
hOT er Discov a h ve a if you r glass o flare f g! blowin
eXCluDInG the ReaChes (and clutches) of the world wide web, Alice Hill’s hand-made glass blowing expertise brings the world just a little closer to Fiji. The raw material glass nuggets may be imported but the entire production process takes place in a studio at Alice’s hillside residence overlooking the ocean in Korotogo, Sigatoka, an hour from Nadi International Airport. Hot Glass Fiji is Fiji’s premier handblown glass producer. Hot Glass Fiji is about personalising merchandise; it’s about giving people top shelf, Fiji-made gift options handblown with personality. Mainstream Fijian gifts or souvenirs would typically be woven or wooden. Hand-blown glass? Now that’s unique to Fiji. Designed primarily for the wedding market, the glass pieces reflect their sources of inspiration from the hues and sprays of breaking waves, spectrum of colours through water, Fiji’s flora, to the modest looking shell on the beach.
Hot Glass Fiji merchandise are premium products that will eventually be sold in privately owned boutiques, five-star resorts, and galleries. Alice has a production line of gifts and wedding sets. While Hot Glass Fiji jewellery is currently sold at TappooCity Suva, the gallery pieces can be bought from the studio and online. The eBrochure on Hot Glass Fiji’s userfriendly website has an exquisite range of glass pieces - business card holders, scent diffusers, scent bottles, napkin rings, memory pebbles, decanters, carafes, tumblers - all in Fiji dollars. “Everything is original but there is a technique for everything I make,” says the glass whisperer. The glass blower controls the hot medium in its liquid state; she manipulates the lines, the overlaps, the colour combinations, and the design. The appeal is in the challenge, fluidity and spontaneity of the work. The United Kingdom-husband and wife team of Alice and Alex Hill started the business mid-2013. They’ve lived in Fiji for 10 years, previously operated a dive business (Alex’s forte), and now it’s almost a natural digression to Alice’s specialty, the art of blowing glass into the shape of her choice. Glass blowing is an ancient craft and Alice’s local apprentices are fortunate to be learning the technique.
Appointments for a one-hour or four-hour course in glass blowing are possible, at the end of which you get to take home the glass piece you created.
To develop its spa range for bathroom ware and scented oils, Hot Glass Fiji has collaborated with Fiji-based company Essence of Fiji (spa products). On the wedding niche (especially visitors who come to Fiji for that special occasion) and gifts: “Quite a lot of weddings are very intimate and all my products can be customised. If a guest is given a memory pebble, the wedding date and the name of the couple can be engraved on it. “When all is done, usually the couple wants to give immediate family members a gift each to thank them for being there on their special day so I came up with a range of giftware - scent bottles. I’m working in partnership with Essence of Fiji in Nadi and they have devised some beautiful scented oils for me. “So it’s about visual, there’s blues and greens on the bottle and you get the senses of the smell of Fiji, the frangipani, lemon, coconut all diffusing scents of your time here.” There are plans to incorporate a gallery in the studio that will showcase Hot Glass Fiji products. Walk-ins are welcomed even if to settle your glass blowing curiosity. Appointments for a onehour or four-hour course in glass blowing are possible, at the end of which you get to take home the glass piece you created. “I’ll do a demonstration then they’ll make sand cast their memories in memory pebbles or make a drinking glass or bowl with me, I’ll teach them and give them that experience; the day after they come back and take their creation home.” Hot Glass Fiji is about practical and contemporary glass with a Fijian twist that reminds you of your time in Fiji. Most -M MERE ERE TUq U IRI importantly - you can use it every day.
tHe deets Location: Korotogo, Sigatoka | Email: email@example.com Website: hotglassfiji.com | Facebook: facebook.com/hotglassfiji Twitter: HotGlassFiji | Tel: +679 9093200 Hours: Monday - Friday 10am-3pm
Pacific HArbour Whizz along eight thrilling ziplines (many over 200 metres long) through dense rainforest canopy and over river streams (zip-fiji.com). Post zipline, pick up organic nutmeg, fresh peppercorns and whole vanilla pods for a steal at nearby w wainadoi spice Gardens. Explore the rapids and waterfalls of Luva River; raft pristine Upper Navua Gorge; or sea kayak and snorkel incredible coral reefs with Rivers fiji (riversfiji.com). See up to eight species of sharks including Bull, Tiger and Silvertip sharks on aquatrek’s shark Dive (aquatrek.com). Take a guided tour on self-drive jet skis that take you sight seeing and snorkelling with lunch on Beqa Island ((jetski-safari.com). Tee off at The Pearl South Pacific Resort’s 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course, set amongst tropical rainforest and winding canals, with 66 bunkers and multiple water hazards on 12 of the 18 holes. (thepearlsouthpacific.com). Go inland on a self-drive buggy, before trekking to waterfalls (terratrektoursfiji.com). Cruise to a secluded beach on beqa Island and swim at a natural waterfall with Paradise Beach Fiji ((fb.com/ paradisebeachfiji).
Fiji’s Adventure Capital Situated on the east coast of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, Pacific Harbour is a veritable mecca for active travellers. Whether it’s zip-lining through a tropical rainforest, paddling class II to III rapids or hand-feeding hungry sharks; this area’s got it all. What’s more? Nearby Beqa Island is home to Fiji’s legendary firewalkers, who walk on hot stones unscathed. Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau called Beqa Lagoon ‘The Soft Coral Capital of the World’, cementing its reputation as a premier dive destination. The area has a variety of accommodation to suit different budgets.
Pacific harbour TO NADI
UPRISING BEACH RESORT
TAUNOVO AIRSTRIP THE PEARL SOUTH PACIFIC RESORT
Besides The Pearl and Uprising Resorts, The Arts Village complex has a number of eateries including the long-running Oasis, which serves up international cuisine. Next door, the newish Baka Blues Café is winning fans with its BBQ and Cajun inspired menu and live Blues music. Head to nearby Kumaran Chetty’s Restaurant for spicy local curries.
ROVODRAU BAY - Golf - River Rafting - Eco Tours - Cultural & Arts - Shark Dive - Zipling
Browse the little shops at the Arts Village for resort clothing and holiday souvenirs, then grab a coffee or a bite to eat.
Pristine Wilderness VIsItoRs to fIJI antICIPate a maRIne wonDeRlanD - snorkelling in pristine waters with colourful corals, lounging on white sandy beaches, and perhaps shark diving for the more adventurous. Fewer travellers realise that Fijiâ€™s interior offers some stunning natural attractions as well. One of these is the Upper Navua Conservation Area, an internationally acclaimed wetland. This pristine wilderness is accessible thanks to Rivers Fiji - an eco-tourism company that operates white-water rafting trips through the Upper Navua gorge. I am heading to the conservation area for my maiden attempt at white-water rafting. We meet early at the Rivers Fiji office, next to the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour. It is a three-hour drive southeast from Nadi International Airport. My guide for the day, Moses Batirua, begins to detail our itinerary by stabbing a large map on the wall with his finger. We will make our way into the Fijian highlands, he says, until we reach the vicinity of Nabukelevu village. This will take about an hour. Here, we will board rafts and make our way 24 kilometres
it is stic a fanta re u t n e v ad t amids e m o s awe . y t u a e b
downstream on the Navua River, which will take around four hours including a stop for lunch. The finger on the map traces the river’s course until it stops at Wainadiro village. At this point, Moses says, we pack up our kit, change into dry clothes, get back on the bus and drive for a little over an hour back to Pacific Harbour. On the 4WD bus, we bounce into the mountains along a rutted dirt track. I can smell the sweet, moist odour of rainforest and fertile earth. The sun’s morning rays stream through the bus windows, and outside there is a splendid vista of lush green forest. There is also evidence of mahogany and pine logging along the track but once we make it to the conservation area, the vegetation changes noticeably. The forest cover is now thicker and undisturbed.
Location Location Location
spectacular scenery We are in the heart of Fiji. When we reach the end of the track, we exit the bus, don vests, helmets, and get issued with a paddle. There is an easy 10-minute bushwalk to the ‘put in’ point where the rafts and equipment have been prepared in advance. After a paddling and safety demonstration, it is time to clamber into a canary yellow inflatable raft. I’m in the same boat as Moses who sits at the stern and steers using two large oars. We start our journey downriver by gliding gently into a picturesque canyon with high rock walls and abundant vegetation. The scenery is spectacular but the serenity doesn’t last long as we soon begin picking up speed on a collision course with the first set of rapids. As the white-water comes into view, my adrenal gland kicks into gear and my grip on the paddle tightens.
Whitewater Rafting, Kayaking, & Sea Kayaking Adventures
st Rea Fiji’s Be
Ph 3450034 www.resorthomesfiji.com
P: (679) 345-0147 M: (679) 9922-148 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.riversfiji.com P.O. Box 307, Pacific Harbour, Fiji Islands DISCOVER FIJI
When we hit the rapids, water sprays high over our heads and a wave rolls over the front end of the boat. I am soaked instantly from head to toe. I find myself sitting momentarily in an inflatable yellow bathtub filled to the brim. There is water everywhere and I can’t help but be filled with glee, it’s like being a kid all over again. As we emerge from the other side of the rapid, the water empties from the vessel quickly and we ready ourselves for the next assault just metres ahead. All around me I can hear screams of exhilaration ricocheting off the canyon walls as each group smashes into turbulent water. After careening through multiple sets of rapids we enter another majestic canyon and float peacefully on glassy water. This pattern continues for the next few hours as we alternate between gliding along sublime stretches of river with panoramic views and spearheading Class III rapids with steely determination and hearts in our throats.
It is a fantastic adventure amidst awesome beauty. The Upper Navua Conservation Area is recognised as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention, a treaty that seeks to protect the ecology of the world’s unique wetlands. The Upper Navua, like other Ramsar sites, is a haven for endemic and endangered species. Many of these species are still unknown to science. Only recently new species of gobie fish have been recorded in the Navua River and it is believed that more aquatic and terrestrial species remain to be discovered in the area. Rafting down the river it is possible to see numerous Sago Palms, which are unique to Fiji and threatened with extinction. After lunch all the wastes are stowed on the rafts and we paddle back into the current feeling energised and ready for another session. The next few hours are filled with excitement and splendour. By the time we make it back to Pacific Harbour, I am both jubilant and exhausted. -S SEAN EAN HOBBS HOBBS
THE EAST Head to the suva market (early while it’s still cool) to see a wide variety of fresh, tropical fruit, flowers and vegetables on sale. Learn about the country’s history at the fiji museum, Monday thru Saturday ((fijimuseum.org.fj). Get pampered at one of Suva’s beauty spas (Beauty Mantra; Head to Toe; Jade; Pure Fiji Spa), which offer world-class treatments at affordable prices. Hike through tropical bush and cool off with a swim at the Colo-i-suva national Park, some 20 minutes outside Suva (forestry station guide recommended). Visit moon oon Reef Reef, some 90 minutes outside Suva, to see spinner dolphins in the wild (takalana.blogspot.com). Head to levuka on Ovalau Island, the site of Fiji’s first capital and first World Heritage Site.
A Mix of Old and New Fiji’s east is home to its current and second capital Suva as well as its old capital Levuka (a potential world heritage site on Ovalau Island). Look past Suva’s grungy exterior and you’ll find plenty of charm among its colonial-era buildings. Go local by browsing the fresh fruit and vegie market; eat at one of the city’s many affordably-priced restaurants; or indulge in a treatment at one its many beauty spas. Getting off the main island, Leleuvia in the Lomaiviti Group offers a rustic laid-back experience while Fiji’s southern most island Kadavu is known for its diving, bird-watching and fishing. Further east lies the Lau Group, a series of enchanting islands that have emerged as a new cruise destination.
Suva is a veritable food mecca and the upside is it’s much cheaper than other, more touristy areas. Head to Daikoku for Japanese; Ashiyana or Maya Dhaba for Indian; Restaurant 88 for Chinese. For Fijian-style seafood, try Takayawa Vale ni Kana in Toorak, Suva Bowling Club or The Cottage on Saturdays.
MAKOGAI NAIGANI WAKAYA
Besides department store chains Jack’s of Fiji, MHCC, Prouds and Tappoo, you’ll find souvenirs at the Handicraft Centre, resortwear, bula shirts and colourful sari at small owner-operated stores dotted around the capital. Head to the Pure Fiji factory outlet in Vatuwaqa for tropical-scented body and skincare products at a steal (Saturdays only, 10am to 1pm).
Day 2 Lavena, Taveuni
Woke up to a wall of lush green, mistcovered mountain and huge splashes of white as waterfalls cascade over high cliffs right to the ocean! Whoever dubbed Taveuni Eleven slices of paradise in 11 days, Captain Cook Cruises offers an the Garden Island of Fiji must have done amazing peep into the mystic Lau group of islands on Fiji’s eastern so after viewing this spectacular sight. sea borders. Passengers spent the day hiking or taking the tender boat to the many waterfalls that can It did not dawn on me until the Reef Endeavour be accessed on the Lavena nature walk. BBQ lunch was served on the eased effortlessly into Port Denarau to keep my cabin beach and I bought myself a fresh bu (green coconut), took a photo door open. Unlike my next-door neighbour, Andrea. then tweet it, much to the envy of many of my friends. Although not recommended by the captain, Andrea got Richard’s adventure took the cake today though. He took a walk away with it because she had her mother Margaret with with his wife to Lavena village after the waterfall hike and he met his her. At 90, Margaret prefers the sea breeze to the cool air cousin from Sydney at the Lavena Lodge! Both men knew they would of the air condition in their cabin. But that open door I be holidaying in Fiji. But all his cousin knew was that Richard was reckon was a great way to welcome paradise each day of cruising with Heather in a remote part of the country. Richard and the cruise. Heather arrived on Lavena by Reef Endeavour that morning just as his Margaret, Andrea and I were all part of Reef cousin and wife were arriving at Taveuni on a small plane from Nadi Endeavour’s inaugural Discovery of Lau Cruise in International. Small world! October. All together, 126 guests went on the cruise complimented by the 56 ever cheerful and helpful ship crew. In 11 days, the ship visited some parts of Fiji that had never been visited by tourists. Some of these islands are much closer to Tonga than to the Fijian capital, Suva. Lauans have interacted and traded with the Tongans long before the arrival of Europeans into this part of the Pacific Ocean and their strong influence could still be seen by visitors to Lau to this day in their skin complexion, language, architecture of their houses (their being no corners but rounded ends), their polotu (church service), even the sports they play. More often than not, a village green in Lau will not be complete without a concrete cricket pitch! I kept a journal during the 11-day cruise of Lau.
Day 3 Welagilala, Lau
Day 1 Departs Port Denarau A ticker tape musical send off by the ever-popular Fiji Police brass band threatens to blast off the rain clouds that hover off Port Denarau. 126 passengers from Australia mainly with some sprinkles of New Zealanders and Europeans including two “brave” children and two teenagers are on board. Evening was spent with pre-dinner cocktails before a la-cart dinner was served at the Reef Endeavour’s Captain Cook Lounge.
A postcard of island paradise is Welagilala; little patch of green circled by wide, white fine sandy beach amidst a sea of inviting aquamarine waters. Its attraction is its remoteness. It used to be a lighthouse outpost but in this age of GPS navigation, the lighthouse is now an empty tower of rusting metal. Sea bird colonies make Welagilala their home now, and the two caretakers on the island say turtles nest there as well. Passengers spent the day swimming, snorkelling or diving with Dan and James, the Viti dive master and instructor on board Reef Endeavour. Welagilagi is now under lease to an Australian millionaire who wants to turn it into his family’s private holiday getaway. Did check with Richard and he said the millionaire was not another long lost cousin!
the east Day 4 Bay of islands, Vanuabalavu This natural wonder comprises three limestone caves located on a bay of aquamarine waters that is littered with scores of little outcrop of islands. Passengers spent the morning swimming in the Qara ni Vola Yaca (name writing cave) and Qara ni Bose (meeting cave). The latter is where the custodians of the Bay of Islands believe was the war room of their ancestors. Swim through a small opening, you will enter into a cathedral-like interior. All around the high ceiling can be seen what looked like seats and this is where the vu (ancestral gods) of Daliconi sit to map out their war strategies.
Day 7 Fulaga
Day 5 Sawana, Vanuabalavu Polynesian hospitality was the order of today as the people of Sawana rolled out their world-renowned Tongan friendliness to welcome passengers and crew of the Reef Endeavour. Little boys performing warrior spear dances and little girls doing solo maiden dance of Tau’olunga were a hit. Molly who was part of the cruise with husband Mike, owner of Viti Dive, was fascinated with the unique masi (tapa) design two girls were wearing on the day. Instead of the traditional brown and smoky white dye, their masi were brown and black! The girls’ mother, wife of the village pastor (who is posted to Sawana from Tonga), says she used young mangrove shoots to make the black dye.
Day 6 Waiqori, Oneata Deep into Lau territory and the strong Tongan influence continued with a refreshing polotu in picturesque Waiqori Village. It is Sunday and everybody on the island turns up in their Sunday best to attend polotu on their beautiful concrete church up on a knoll. Chief of Oneata and his people dressed the Fiji Director of Captain Cook Cruises, Commander Semi Koroilavesau, in masi to show their appreciation for the visit. The singing in church was inspiring; instead of the electrical music beat, the choir leader uses a metal dong. Delicious Fijian dessert of vakalolo (mashed ripe banana and cassava served with caramel sauce) and fresh bu awaited us after the polotu. Afternoon was spent on a secluded beach away from Waiqori. I joined two of the five Petersen sisters in finding a track from the beach to Oneata District School to deliver donations of stationery.
Fulaga is easily the most spectacular island of Lau. With a passage too narrow for ships like the Reef Endeavour to navigate, tender boats were lowered in the open sea for snorkelling, coral viewing and sight-seeing in the beautiful Fulaga Lagoon. Little mushroom islands dot the lagoon as well as spectacular sand banks. Folklore speaks of a giant cockerel that rested on a rocky outcrop many moons ago and feeling hungry, started scavenging for food as cockerels do using their powerful legs. Those legs stirred up the dirt; rocks started to crumble and went flying down the lagoon. Scattered rocks are now little islands and the people of Fulaga are known as the people of Vanua Seu, the foraging islands. Fulaga is one of the last remaining islands in the group that still uses outrigger canoes. They build their own from vesi trees that grow on the island and canoe sails were weaved from pandanus. Mention th ad and re is ceive a FREE drink
Day Cruise to Tivua Island Sail aboard the tall ship Ra Marama or sailing catamaran Fiji One. Tivua Island is surrounded by a circle of white sandy beach and 500 acres of coral gardens - for a Fiji Island day adventure. • Full day Island cruise • Departing daily 10am Port Denarau Marina, Nadi, returns 5pm • Activities include Kayaks, Glass bottom boat, Volleyball & Fiji culture • Includes Return Nadi & Coral Coast Transfers. • PADI Diving and Spa treatments are available • Tropical buffet lunch with beer, wine and soft drinks • Island & water activities • Return Nadi hotel transfers Visit us at Port Denarau or Nadi Airport call +679-670 1823, see your tour desk or book online at www.captaincook.com.fj 3, 4 & 7 Night Cruises, Cocktails & Dinner Cruise also available.
Day 8 Vuaqava Until the arrival of the Reef Endeavour today, Vuaqava was off limits to outsiders. Its main attraction is the large seawater lake at the centre of the island. It’s a 2.5km hike from the beach to the lake, along the way, hikers get to enjoy natural forests littered with hardwood species like vesi. Remains of old forts, settlements and burial caves can be seen along the trail. Habited until the early 1900s, Vuaqava was abandoned and considered tabu except for two of its inhabitants who were struck by a mysterious illness. Descendants of the two survivors now live on nearby Kabara Island.
Day 10 Udu, Totoya Udu Village offered a school stop for guests of Captain Cook Cruises. Sixteen children and their three teachers make up Udu Village School, a village with 15 homes. Many guests came along with stationery, stuffed dolls and clothes and the children reciprocated by performing several dances. The boys danced about elves that have horns on their heads, long white beard and skinny legs, while the girls performed the Mokosoi dance, a popular yellow fragrant flower. Totoya is the home of a famous string band in Fiji. The Voqa ni Ua kei Daveta Tabu is named after a sea passage on the island where the island’s ancestral god resides.
Day 11 Namuana, Kadavu
Day 9 Naikeleyaga, Kabara Kabara people are natural wood turners. In fact, they are the traditional builders and carvers of Lau’s high chief. Vesi grows in abundance on their island as well as neighbouring Vuaqava. Kabara Islanders not only are skillful with their carving tools but their women and men are exceptional dancers too. Their performers will stand out in any event through the head decorations their women dancers wear. This is the island where young girls still wear their hair locks proudly, a peculiar Lauan custom that celebrates the maiden’s virgin purity. Naikeleyaga hosted passengers to an island feast on their village rara (green), not far from the concrete cricket pitch.
This was the climax of ancient Fiji experience when guests witnessed the ritual of turtle calling on Namuana Point on Kadavu Island. The Reef Endeavour had steamed westward after Totoya and as the sun rises behind the ship and pods of dolphins play on starboard, Namuana Point comes into view. The ritual started with the priest stating the three golden rules: no camera, no pointing at the turtles and no loud talking. The women seated on the ground away from the priest - who is perched on a huge boulder that leans on to the water some 40 metres below - then started their chants: “Ni nanumi ira nomuni tamata, moni vude sara mada Consider your people please and do surface we beg of you,” the women sang. In some of the stanzas of the chants, a lali (wooden gong) and guitar are used. I would have missed it if it wasn’t for the priest’s son. He actually pointed to the blue waters below and all I could see was this huge patch of brown near the water’s surface. It stayed afloat for a few seconds before it dived into the deep again. The women continued with their chant, this time with a lot more vigour and excitement. They are happy no doubt that one of the turtles has heard their plea. About three minutes later, the priest’s son again pointed down to the water. This time it was a smaller turtle, may be 10 to 15 years of age, probably a green turtle, swam on the surface of the water from the left of the point to the centre for about two to three minutes before it too made its words: Samisoni Pareti* dive into the deep. It was magical! photos: Jonathan dass
• Pareti was a guest of Captain Cook Cruises in their maiden Discovery Cruise of Lau in October 2013.
Where to dine in suva DIsCoVeR fIJI knows you loVe your food just as much as Fijians have a penchant for theirs. And for an emergent South Pacific island municipality, Suva has a diverse food culture that tempts the palate. Regardless of your culinary taste, you’re bound to find something you enjoy. Your gastronomic options include Korean (Korea House), Malaysian (MHCC Foodcourt) Japanese (Daikoku, Dolphin Plaza), Indian (Ashiyana, Maya Dhaba, Hare Krishna Restaurant, TappooCity), Fijian (Old Mill Cottage, Harbour Centre Foodcourt, MHCC Foodcourt, Takayawa Vale ni Kana), Chinese (TappooCity, Peking, Vine Yard), and Mexican at TappooCity. You’re spoiled for choice with progressive Western/international cuisine at Tiko’s Floating Restaurant, Sea Salt, iCrave, The Galley (Yacht Club), and Governors Gourmet Coffee House and Restaurant.
The Governors deserves a brief narration - It’s more than just a culinary affair at Governors (See story on page 20). Is a fresh salad all you crave? We recommend Kahawa’s salad bar at Suva Central. It’s very popular so be there before the lunch rush. Note that most of Suva’s trendy cafés offer more than just a caffeine fix; they serve up appetising meals as well. All the food courts including Henry’s Kitchen (Suva Bowling Club) serve a fusion of food with ample sitting space. Hungry Honchos, Jody’s, Nando’s are fastfood restaurants (burgers/fries, sandwiches, wraps). Hungry Honchos is the newbie on the block with comfortable interior. McDonald’s needs no explanation. The Hot Bread Kitchen on Butt Street has decent quiches, sausage rolls, beef/chicken pies, creamed buns and more - they’re good for quick bites on the go and can be quite filling. DISCOVER FIJI
the east Most meals are reasonably priced and you don’t need to travel far to your restaurant of choice. Relative to your current location, here are some notable restaurants and cafés within the Suva precinct. fooDCouRts: R Rts:
TappooCity, MHCC, Downtown Boulevard, Dolphin Plaza, Harbour Centre, Mid City Cafés: Caffee One (TappooCity), Kahawa (Suva Caff Central), Bad Dog (Victoria Parade), Gloria Jean (MHCC & Mid City), Esquires (Dolphin Plaza), Café Victoria (Gordon St), Mango Café (Ratu Sukuna Rd), Café 30 (McGregor Rd), Highland Natural Food (Parade Arcade) Club houses: Royal Suva Yacht Club (The Galley), Suva Bowling Club (Henry’s Kitchen) hotels: De V Vos on the Park (Sea Salt Restaurant), Tanoa Plaza (Zest Restaurant), Holiday Inn VICtoRIa PaRa R De: Ra Maya Dhaba, Peking, Vine Yard Palace, Ashiyana, Daikoku, Palm Court Bistro, McDonald’s GoRDon stReet: Singh’s Curry House, The Enchanted stInson PaRa R De: Ra Tiko’s Seafood & Bar PRa Ratt Ra att stReet: Hungry Honchos, Hare Krishna ReGal lane: Nandos CentRal R Ral stReet: Jody’s CaRnaRVon stReet: Old Mill Cottage, iCrave butt stReet: Hot Bread Kitchen knolly stReet: Governors Gourmet Coffee House w Imanu RoaD: wa Curry House, Korea House tooRak: R Rak: Takayawa Vale ni Kana - MERE TU TUqIRI
FEEJEE ISLAND TRADERS HERITAGE MALL Newly opened, this restored Heritage building, only five minutes by taxi from Suva’s city centre, has in a short time established itself as a “must visit landmark”. The Historical Mall offers it’s visitors a step back in time and is Fiji’s only South Pacific Museum Themed Restaurant/ Mall. Sit back in either the air conditioned lounge or the airy garden verandah and soak up the interior décor, photo’s and paraphernalia, all of which captures the essence of the romantic South Seas, and offers you a snapshot of island life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Governors has Suva’s most comprehensive breakfast menu, a tasty lunch selection including fresh Seafood & NZ Steaks. Open for dinner every Thursday and Friday, the menu includes our signature “Stuffed Crab Backs” and “Fiery Cajun Giant Prawns”, Prime NZ Char Grilled Steaks and other comfort and island dishes. A fully stocked bar will serve you up an ice cold beer, cocktail or a selection of wine to choose from. Our in house bakery offers the best Cheesecake & dessert
selection, muffins and other goodies every day……..so if it is just a coffee or freshly squeezed tropical juice and desert, pop in either in the morning or afternoon……you won’t be disappointed. Every Thursday and Friday afternoon from 5.30 – 7.30pm we have a Happy Hour on our Garden balcony with tantalizing small bites and tapas to select from. The Mall offers you two themed private dining/meeting rooms, “The Captains Table” or the “The Discovery Room” both seating 10-12 pax, or, hire the entire venue for that special celebration, with seating for up to 100 +. Two time Fiji Designer of the Year Award winner, Carolyn Ah Koy, also has her clothing boutique “Karalina’s” located in the Mall, and offers the discerning buyer a range of tropical ladies fashion and men’s 100% cotton hand printed tropical resort wear shirts. “South Seas Treasures” – fine furniture and gift store is also located within the Mall.
Breakfast Monday - Saturday 9am – 12pm Lunch Monday – Saturday 12pm – 2.30pm Afternoon Tea Mon – Sat 2.30pm – 4pm Dinner Thursday and Fridays 6pm – 10pm SUNDAY all day breakfast 9am – 2pm
Make your Reservation now on Ph 3375050. 46-50 Knolly Street, Suva. 5 minutes from our CBD and a listed Heritage Site.
Fiji’s Hidden Paradise, Savusavu is known for its dive spots, pearl cultivation and yachting facilities.
Experience beautiful Savusavu Bay aboard Chululu Cruises, which let’s you swim, snorkel and picnic at a remote beach. Book via hot springs hotel (hotspringsfiji.com). Fish to your heart’s content with Ika Levu Charters ((fishinginfiji.com). Hike to a remote waterfall, go mountain biking or river tubing with Naveria Tours ((naveriaheightsfiji.com). See how unique pastel-hued pearls are cultivated at the J. hunter Pearls farm and splurge at their showroom afterwards. (pearlsfiji.com). (pearlsfiji.com)
For casual fare, head to Captain’s Café at Copra Shed Marina or Captain’s Table for seafood and steaks. Savusavu Wok is fast becoming popular for Chinese. In the town centre, Joseph’s Decked Out Café serves icy cold beers and spicy fish and chips while Surf n Turf does great curries and homemade ice cream alongside seafood and steaks.
The Laid-Back Isles The northern islands of Vanua Levu (Big Island) and Taveuni (Garden Island) are known for their leisurely pace of life. Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second largest island and is easily accessible by flights from Nadi or Suva to the main gateways of Labasa in the north and Savusavu, a tourism hotspot located at the foot of the peninsula. Fiji’s northern region also includes the smaller islands of Laucala, Qamea, Matangi, Namenalala, Nukubati and Kaibu, with a range of accommodation options.
Fiji’s third largest island, Taveuni is world renowned for its amazing underwater habitat including the 31-km long Rainbow Reef. A nature lover’s paradise, it has unique flora and fauna and dense tropical forest, where you can enjoy pristine walks, horse riding, historical sites and bird watching.
The North LABASA
Explore Taveuni’s wild southeastern coastline, black sand beaches and beautiful forests on the lavena Coastal walk w . Hike to the three tavoro wa w terfalls at the Bouma National Heritage Park, each is on a different altitude level. Snorkel at wai w tabu, a marine sanctuary.
LAUCALA QAMEA TAVEUNI
Opposite Matei Airport, Coconut Grove has an eclectic menu, featuring local, Asian and vegetarian meals. Dinner bookings essential (Tel 888 0328). South of Matei, Tramonto offers pizzas and cold beers along with great views. Head to Lawrence’s in Naqara Town for delicious local curries.
Laucala A Billionaire’s Private Retreat
For the past few weeks, I have been suffering from PLSD - Post-Laucala Stress Disorder. Symptoms include involuntary salivation, verbal diarrhoea and incessant daydreaming about sipping white rum on a yacht at sunset, eating chicken that tastes like lobster, having an 18-hole golf course to myself and being chauffeured by jet boat to a secluded beach where a masseuse and champagne lunch awaited my arrival. Set in the translucent blue waters of northern Fiji, Laucala (pronounced Lathala) is a wholeof-island resort owned by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, co-owner of the Red Bull energy drink company, net value US$5.3 billion. After buying Laucala for $10 million from the heirs of American publishing baron Michael Forbes, Mateschitz spent a sum rumoured to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars transforming Forbes’ low-key Melanesian hideaway into a self-sustaining Disneyland
for adults. Self-sustaining in that the property has its own greenhouses, hydroponic bays, an orchid nursery, a coconut plantation, bee hives, a boutique cattle farm, an abattoir, quail pens, subterranean coconut-crab enclosures, a piggery, a duck pond and more - a total of 240 acres of farmland that produces 80 percent of the produce needed to feed Laucala’s maximum 89 guests and 370 staff. That’s a staff-to-guest ratio four times that of the average 5-star hotel. Like something out of a James Bond movie, Mateschitz’s private residence is set on the island’s highest hilltop, in a jungle clearing with a 360-degree view of reefs and sea. There’s a master home and two guest villas each with individual sun decks, infinity-edge pools, jacuzzis and al-fresco dining pavilions - a resort-within-a resort that is nothing less than presidential. When Mateschitz isn’t there, the rack rate is US$40,000 per night. If it sounds a bit rich, there are 25 ‘regular’ villas starting at US$5,000 a night. Set on private beaches, over lagoons and on cliff tops, they are concurrently high tech - outfitted with everything from Bose sound systems to mobiles with a butler speed-dial - and down to earth, influenced by natural materials like rainwood, driftwood, coral, palm, pebbles. And they are the size of houses.
Laucala is not only the best property I have visited in my career but several times more impressive than the runner-up. The indoors section of my bathroom measured 30 square metres and featured a bathtub hewn out of a boulder, a monsoonal shower head and a toilet that looked as if at any moment it was going to take off. A Californian king-size bed framed the top level of a master bedroom that descended into a sunken living room with oversized sofas, custom-shaped rugs so thick and plush one could sleep on it; and a Laucala signature ‘jellyfish’ chandelier made of shells, corals and beads that came to life every time sea breeze breezes through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Then there’s the villa’s actual living room, with more couches, rugs, an espresso machine and three bar fridges overstocked with top-shelf liquor, wines, freshly squeezed and bottled watermelon juice and Red Bull, of course. At different times in the day, staff snuck in and left small dishes of Russian caviar, New York cheesecake or Iberian ham for guests to discover.
THE DEETS – Laucala (laucala.tv; +679 888 0077) offers house-size villas with all meals, beverages (except for premium wines and champagne) and 2 x 90-minute spa treatments for US$5,040 a night for two peopl.e – Private transfers from Fiji’s Nadi International Airport are US$1,200 per person return. – Diving in a unique underwater world, rainforest tours, horseback riding, surfing, golfing on the 18-hole championship course, or meeting local artists.
On my last night, they raided the bathroom, filled the tub with bubble bath, sprinkled orchid petals all over the place and left a magnum of Louis Roederer on ice alongside a silver tray with handmade chocolate truffles and a thankyou note from David Stepetic, the general manager. “We aspire to be the best,” he says when I ask him if Laucala is the best resort in the world. After years of yawning at the self-congratulatory, adjective-laden press releases the travel industry has such a penchant for, Stepetic’s reply is a breath of fresh air. Calling Laucala or anything else for that matter ‘the best in the world’ is meaningless. Even as a seasoned travel writer, I don’t know what kind of private island resorts lay hidden in the deep blue but I can say without reservation that Laucala is not only the best property I have visited in my career but several times more - Ian Lloyd Neubauer impressive than the runner-up.
Flavours of Fiji
Coconut Curry Chicken The curry recipes of Fiji are handed down through generations from the South Indian indentured labourers brought to Fiji in the late 1800s by the British to farm sugarcane. With many of their indigenous herbs, spices and chilli not available when they arrived, they were forced to adapt recipes from the Motherland. With much less heat, Fijian curries are milder, allowing the aromatics to be accentuated.
400gm Chicken thigh fillets 1 only white onion, chopped fine 2 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped fine 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped fine 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (jeera) 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (sarso) 2 teaspoon hot masala powder 2 teaspoon Turmeric powder (haldi) 1-2 pieces red chillies, chopped with seeds 2-4 stems curry leaves, picked 2 tablespoon ghee 1 cup coconut milk 1 bunch coriander, roots & leaves Sea salt
1. Remove skin & excess fat from chicken, and dice into cubes 2. In a pan on medium heat, add a tablespoon of ghee and temper the curry leaves, cumin seeds & mustard seeds until the seeds begin to pop 3. Add the onion, chillies, garlic & ginger until the onions become translucent 4. Add the remaining ghee, masala & turmeric powders to form a paste 5. Add the chicken pieces and mix thoroughly, simmer for 15 minutes 6. When the juices from the chicken begin to evaporate, increase heat and add the coconut milk & coriander stems 7. If the curry is too thick before the chicken is cooked, add a little water 8. Bring the curry to the boil, then reduce to simmer for further 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked 9. Season the curry with salt 10. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves
Taken from Castaway Island Resortâ€™s executive chef Lance Seetoâ€™s lifestyle cookbook Coconut Bliss, which documents his life changing experience living in Fiji and learning a different way to see the world and the food we eat. lanceseeto.com