Fiji’s Coral Coast is a perfect choice for a flop-and-drop kind of holiday, but also a place where you can get out and see some of the local life if you want to. And I wanted to. This was only my second visit to Fiji, and on the first – a fleeting work trip to cover the opening of a new hotel – I felt as if I’d been there but seen nothing of what it was like.
So although my last trip was also for work, it was wonderful to be able to combine some time at the Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji resort on the island of Viti Levu with the chance to have a look at real life in Fiji. But first, there was time to soak up the beauty of the surroundings and really experience why so many people love to holiday in Fiji.
A few minutes after I got to my room in the main section of the hotel, a little refreshment was delivered. It was gone in a flash! I was staying in a deluxe ocean view room, which comes with the resort’s Talai service – a traditional butler service “with a South Pacific twist”. This means that guests in deluxe ocean view rooms, suites and burrs are delivered champagne and canapés every afternoon.
One of the things I loved was the changing skies and weather. The sunsets – at cocktail time, of course – were unforgettable. It was really hard to stop taking photos as the colours changed.
One afternoon we sat over cocktails high on the hill behind the resort (hitch a lift on the resort shuttle to the bar and spa up there) and watched a different kind of changing sky.
By day, there was plenty to see on the Coral Coast. A half day tour took us to Tavuni Hill Fort, an historical site dating back to the 1870s. From the hill behind the fort, we looked down on the Sigatoka River, the longest in Fiji.
When we stopped at a local village, we were welcomed with a traditional kava ceremony. The kava, made from the crushed root of a member of the pepper family, is supposed to have medicinal properties but mostly seems to just make you mellow. I’d been warned about the numb-tongue effect – and yes, it’s quite true. A most peculiar sensation. We sat on the floor in a school hall, facing our hosts, the men of the village. The kava is mixed in a large wooden bowl, and ladled into a wooden cup which is carried from person to person. Before taking the cup, you must clap once, then down the lot in one swallow. Kindly, some of the servings were smaller than others.
Another day, we visited the food markets in Sigatoka township, full of smiling faces and wonderful produce.
In the evening, there’s lots of entertainment and a chance to see some traditional Fijian dance.
Fiji is said to be one of the friendliest places in the world. Apart from their smiling faces, the thing that impressed me most about the resort staff was their amazing ability to remember everyone’s names after only one meeting. As for Fiji – I can’t wait to go back and see more of it.
A Glass Half Full was a guest of Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji.