Jan­dals, Can­dles and Sun­downer Cock­tails

Let's Travel - - DESTINATION FIJI - By Shane Boocock

It’s the mag­i­cal smile that beams from a child’s face when they get to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing new for the first time. This is what hap­pened when a new kinder­garten build­ing and out­door climb­ing frame was of­fi­cially opened at the Conua Kin­der School in Fiji’s Si­na­toka Val­ley, as all the young kids clam­bered on to the climb­ing frame to use the slide. With 95 jan­dal wear­ing se­niors watch­ing on and 30 bare­foot kinder­garten kids aged 4-6 years…it was a pro­ject that was heart­felt by ev­ery­one.

The Com­mu­nity Tourism Pro­ject is one of the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort’s most re­cent ini­tia­tives for the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity on the Coral Coast. Since 2010, they have helped build a bus shel­ter for the chil­dren, a cov­ered walk­way, fenced the en­tire school, re­painted the school build­ing and built a com­mu­nity hall (meet­ing bure).

One of the most pop­u­lar guest ac­tiv­i­ties at the re­sort is to help par­tic­i­pate in the com­mu­nity con­struc­tion and paint­ing projects. A do­na­tion of $100 Fi­jian dol­lars from each par­tic­i­pant goes to­wards fund­ing each pro­ject. On av­er­age about 40 guests spend half a day ev­ery Thurs­day at the school when a pro­ject is in process. Ev­ery guest stay­ing at the re­sort also do­nates $10 Fi­jian dol­lars per room-stay to each pro­ject, which is then added to the guest’s fi­nal room bill. Rarely does any­one refuse.

Some leisure guests and visit­ing groups have been so moved by the projects that they have of­fered ad­di­tional as­sis­tance. Jen­nifer McDaniels from Omaha in Ne­braska was one such guest. When she learned that there was no li­brary at the school she re­turned to Omaha

with her hus­band and be­gan fund rais­ing and ar­rang­ing book drives. It re­sulted in a com­plete learn­ing li­brary for the school chil­dren that she then had shipped at her ex­pense from Amer­ica.

An­other group of chil­dren visit­ing the re­sort with their par­ents ob­served there were no com­put­ers at the school. So these young Aussie kids went back home and pulled to­gether friends and fam­ily and put on school fund rais­ers, even­tu­ally do­nat­ing 12 lap­tops, desk­tops and servers that now sit ad­ja­cent to Jen­nifer’s new li­brary.

The peo­ple who live in this val­ley are by and large sub­sis­tence farm­ers, so lux­u­ries such as com­put­ers, and books are un­heard of. Even ba­sic farm equip­ment is non-ex­is­tent as ev­ery­thing is done by hand or on horse­back. Very heavy work is shoul­dered by bul­lock teams. A visit­ing Aussie truck driver, Mr. Gre­gory Hilder, and wife Patsy, were stay­ing at the re­sort and help­ing one day with one of the projects when they re­alised that the only Si­na­toka Val­ley trac­tor needed a $3,000 oil-pump re­pair job.

Once back home he found a mate with a trac­tor just ly­ing idle, so with the help of an­other friend who do­nated a con­tainer, Greg had the trac­tor crated and shipped (at his ex­pense) to the Si­na­toka Val­ley com­mu­nity. When the con­tainer was opened Greg had also in­cluded ropes, barbed wire, fence posts, a ca­noe to help with their wa­ter pipes that run across the Si­ga­toka River and other farm­ing tools like spades, shov­els and dig­ging equip­ment – now the whole com­mu­nity have the use of it.

These are all heart­warm­ing, feel good ini­tia­tives that the re­sort’s Gen­eral Manger, Peter Hop­good sim­ply says, “It’s our way of re­pay­ing the com­mu­nity.” It gives guests the added ex­pe­ri­ence of in­ter­act­ing with lo­cals, which is both a win-win for the guests and the lo­cal vil­lage peo­ple of the Si­na­toka Val­ley.

Most leisure guests ex­pressed that it was the best day of their hol­i­day work­ing on the projects. Outrig­ger’s next com­mu­nity pro­ject in 2017 will be to help re­build a Spe­cial Needs School in the area.

If you haven’t trav­elled to the Coral Coast re­gion of Fiji be­fore then you are in for a plea­sur­able and re­lax­ing treat. Lo­cated in the heart of the coast on the west­ern side of the main is­land of Viti Levu, 80 km along the Queen’s Road from Nadi air­port, is a lux­ury re­sort which em­bod­ies the Fi­jian tra­di­tions of friend­li­ness and hos­pi­tal­ity – the place of choice here is the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort.

The re­sort of­fers 207 rooms and suites and 47 bu­res set among 16 hectares of gar­dens on the shores of a reef-fringed la­goon, a per­fect place for swim­ming and snorkelling or stand-up pad­dle board­ing.

Re­sort fa­cil­i­ties in­clude five restau­rants and bars, a trop­i­cal swim­ming la­goon, ac­tiv­i­ties cen­tre, kids clubs, bou­tiques and gift shops, fit­ness cen­tre, flood­lit ten­nis courts, pri­vate beach, golf train­ing fa­cil­ity and Bebe Spa Sanc­tu­ary. There are also five spe­cific adult-only zones through­out the re­sort in­clud­ing a sun loung­ing area as well as a din­ing ter­race, a large pool with swim up bar, res­tau­rant and func­tion space.

The re­sort’s award win­ning Ivi Res­tau­rant is lo­cated ad­ja­cent to the 100 year old ‘Ivi’ tree from which it gets its name and serves creative Pa­cific Con­ti­nen­tal cui­sine fea­tur­ing fresh lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional fare for din­ner only, de­liv­er­ing a la carte din­ing with a menu at­tuned to the sea­sons.

Ivi Res­tau­rant is an adults-only do­main de­signed to pro­vide an in­ti­mate set­ting for cou­ples look­ing to en­joy fine food and wine amidst the am­bi­ence of the re­sort’s sig­na­ture res­tau­rant. Many of the re­sort’s staff are trained not only in sil­ver ser­vice but also in pro­vid­ing gueri­don ser­vice for ta­ble-side prepa­ra­tions such as Cae­sar salad, crepe flambé, tra­di­tional kokoda and liqueur cof­fees.

One of the out­stand­ing fea­tures of Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort that sets it apart from other re­sorts is the Talai but­ler ser­vice pro­vided by staff trained by the Aus­tralian But­ler School which is avail­able to guests stay­ing in tra­di­tional bure, deluxe ocean view rooms and suites.

Unique to the re­sort is the Kalokalo Bar, lo­cated on the high­est point of the re­sort, on the hill­top of Vakalo­ma­lagi Hill – Heav­enly Hill – with breath­tak­ing views over­look­ing the re­sort with sweep­ing views of the Coral Coast and sun­sets for which this part of Fiji is famed for.

Shar­ing the hill­top is Bebe Spa Sanc­tu­ary, pro­nounced ‘behm-beh’, is the ul­ti­mate pin­na­cle of lux­ury in Fiji. Bebe houses eight treat­ment rooms, uniquely sus­pended from the main struc­ture, which fea­ture pri­vate bal­conies and open-air show­ers or sunken spa-baths. A range of face, body and mas­sage treat­ments, some of which are uniquely Fi­jian – such as the Bobo mas­sage, in which the masseuse uses warm co­conut oil and arm, el­bow and fore­arm move­ment to re­lieve mus­cle ten­sion are avail­able on the menu.

Visit­ing Fiji in the wetter win­ter months of De­cem­ber to April, the hu­mid­ity is higher but then the nights and days are warmer. The drier win­ter months from May to Novem­ber is prob­a­bly the best time to en­joy con­sis­tently fine, warm days in a place where you can kick off your jan­dals, and sip on a sun­downer cock­tail sur­rounded by flick­er­ing can­dles.

How­ever, no mat­ter what time of year you visit, the Coral Coast and the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort is one place that should be on ev­ery­one’s list of de­fin­i­tive hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions in Fiji.

Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort: This 5-Star ho­tel on the Coral Coast is de­signed in a style of a tra­di­tional Fi­jian vil­lage. The re­sort boasts 207 air-con­di­tioned deluxe rooms and 47 air-con­di­tioned bu­res set on 16 hectares. Re­sort fa­cil­i­ties in­clude five restau­rants and bar op­tions, a large trop­i­cal swim­ming pool, adults only swim­ming pool and bar, plus pri­vate beach and spa. All Deluxe Ocean View rooms, suites or tra­di­tional bu­res re­ceive a VIP Talai But­ler Ser­vice.

Si­na­toka Conua Kin­der School

Si­na­toka Conua Kin­der School

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