Lo­cal get­aways, in­ter­na­tional es­capes

Now’s the time to head back to par­adise for top cui­sine, snorkelling, ad­ven­tures and friendly smiles.

Time Out (Sydney) - - THIS MONTH IN SYDNEY - By James Wilkin­son

In Fe­bru­ary, Fiji took a bat­ter­ing from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston, with the Cat­e­gory 5 storm dam­ag­ing many parts of the na­tion’s north and leav­ing over 30,000 peo­ple home­less. Yet for a na­tion that’s re­garded as the friendli­est on the planet and where the sig­na­ture ‘bula’ term – lit­er­ally mean­ing ‘life’ – is at the fore­front of ev­ery­thing Fi­jians do, tourism is the lifeblood.

There have been can­cel­la­tions aplenty and for­ward book­ings are down, pri­mar­ily on the back of con­cerns the coun­try is dev­as­tated. But it’s not: only a cou­ple of prop­er­ties are closed for re­pairs.

Around the na­tion, it’s back to busi­ness as usual. Here are Time Out’s picks for three top get­aways across Fiji.


Few places in the South Pa­cific can match Fiji’s Co­ral Coast, with quiet beaches, top lo­cal cui­sine, friendly ser­vice and ac­tiv­i­ties aplenty. Lead­ing the way down here is the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort ( www.outrig­ger.com), a lux­ury prop­erty un­ri­valled in Fiji for food and drink, day-spa treat­ments and a but­ler ser­vice for a mid-range price tag.

Seven dif­fer­ent room types are on of­fer and Time Out rec­om­mends book­ing a beach­front bure (hut), which is a spa­cious 50m2 and comes com­plete with a king bed and pull-out sofa, has a daily Talai but­ler ser­vice with com­pli­men­tary Cham­pagne and canapés, and is just a me­tre from the beach.

Nearby is the Sun­downer Bar and Grill, which over­looks the beach and aims west, mean­ing sunsets here are spec­tac­u­lar, par­tic­u­larly with a Bar­avi Bar­rel (a rum and pineap­ple cock­tail) in hand. The lunch and din­ner menu fea­tures lo­cal seafood and Aus­tralian meats, in­clud­ing mahi mahi and Cape Grim sir­loin. Fine din­ing is to be had at Ivi, where bar­be­cue king prawns, rare roast veni­son fil­let and a man­grove crab won­ton bisque rule the menu along­side the best wine list on Fiji’s main is­land.

Across the ex­pan­sive re­sort, there’s also a Va­havu adults-only swim­ming pool com­plete with a swim-up bar and bistro, the Bebe Spa on a hill­top over­look­ing the Co­ral Coast, and a late-night bar and disco, the Vaka­vanua Lounge.

Those with kids will love the meimei nanny ser­vice, which of­fers child mind­ing and ac­tiv­i­ties for kids aged six months to 12 years for up to eight hours per day, while kids and adults alike will en­joy a visit to the lo­cal Conua School, where guests can help re­build the vil­lage hall or paint the class­room walls (a bit of ‘vol­un­tourism’ can make your Fiji ex­pe­ri­ence es­pe­cially re­ward­ing).

MUST DO: Book a jour­ney with Si­ga­toka River Sa­faris ( www.siga­tokariver.com), which of­fers jet­boat rides along Fiji’s long­est river and in­cludes a visit to a Fi­jian vil­lage, where you can get a first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of life in this coun­try (chil­dren three and un­der are free). Golfers should go a round at the Vi­jay Singh-de­signed Nata­dola Bay Golf Course, home of the Fiji Open, where sev­eral holes have a spec­tac­u­lar vista along the beach and la­goon.


When you sail around the head­land of Malolo Is­land in the Ma­manu­cas and view Likuliku

La­goon Re­sort ( liku­liku­la­goon. com) for the first time, ten over­wa­ter bun­ga­lows set the scene for what you’re about to ex­pe­ri­ence, which is unique for this part of the South Pa­cific.

If you don’t get an over­wa­ter bun­ga­low, there’s an­other 35 lo­cated right on the beach. All fea­ture tra­di­tional Fi­jian de­signs and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, with lux­u­ri­ous fur­ni­ture, dou­ble bath­rooms, out­door show­ers, lounges, daybeds and plunge pools. From the beach in front of your villa, the la­goon awaits, and it is loaded with trop­i­cal fish and co­ral in clear turquoise wa­ters, while a ten-minute boat ride away you’ll find sev­eral un­in­hab­ited is­lands that are ideal for snorkelling.

Meals are in­cluded at this kid-free re­sort, with the kitchen helmed by Shane Wat­son, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive chef at Perth’s highly ac­claimed Print Hall. Wat­son’s sig­na­ture dish? Lo­cal mud crabs: for break­fast in an omelette, and fried for lunch and din­ner. En­joy the claws over a glass of Akarua Pinot Noir from Cen­tral Otago in New Zealand. Wat­son also of­fers kitchen gar­den tours and cook­ing classes.

MUST DO: Those with the need for speed should take a jet­ski and snorkel tour out to Mo­driki Is­land (where the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away was filmed) and go wind­surf­ing around the la­goon or div­ing nearby.


A 15-minute drive from Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port is De­na­rau Is­land, where you’ll find glob­ally branded re­sorts in­clud­ing

Wyn­d­ham ( www.wyn­d­hamap. com), where apart­ments come with fully equipped kitchen, liv­ing room, laun­dry and pri­vate bal­cony or court­yard, and are a few min­utes’ walk from the beach. When the new wing was con­structed, Wyn­d­ham also added the Mar­avu Pool and

Bar, an adults-only sec­tion of the re­sort that in­cludes a swim-up pool bar. The main la­goon pool op­po­site the beach also had a makeover and this is the place to spend a few hours be­fore sun­set drinks at the beach club, which has bean­bags on the sand, the ideal spot for a Mar­tini, Mo­jito or the lo­cals’ adapted Piña Co­lada. Then score a ta­ble at Ma­macita, an eatery that serves clas­sic Mex­i­can dishes along­side Fi­jian-in­spired takes on the cui­sine. Daiquiris dom­i­nate the cock­tail list.

MUST DO: Out at Ro Ro reef near the famed Cloud surf break is Cloud 9 ( www.cloud9.com.fj), a two-level float­ing bar that serves up lo­cal rum cock­tails, ice-cold Fiji Bit­ter and wood-fired piz­zas. Score a hang­ing chair or a day bed, and grab a snorkel and ex­plore the la­goon.


Fiji Air­ways ( www.fi­ji­air­ways. com) flies di­rect to Nadi. In Busi­ness Class on the wide-body Air­bus A330s, ex­pect a sig­na­ture rum cock­tail, top Aus­tralian wines, flatbed seats, en­ter­tain­ment on de­mand, pil­lows, blan­kets and lo­cal fare from chef Lance Seeto.

Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort Bebe Spa, Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort

Liku­liku La­goon Re­sort

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