We re­dis­cover the joys of Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort and why it is be­com­ing such a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for many rea­sons.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - EL­IZ­A­BETH WIT­TON

Ore­minded me why it is such a great place to visit when it is cold and wet in New Zealand. Trav­el­ling with my hus­band we flew with Fiji Air­lines. The com­plete, warm and help­ful ser­vice makes you feel as if you have ar­rived in Fiji be­fore you even land. A great start to the trip.

If you have not been to Fiji be­fore it is a very short 3 hour flight from Auck­land or 3 hours 55 from Christchurch. It is in the same time zone as NZ so there is ab­so­lutely no ad­just­ment at this time of year and there’s no jet­lag to deal with.

So, a few hours later we ar­rive from about 6 de­grees to 28 de­grees to the new in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal at Nadi. Im­mi­gra­tion was a breeze and about 20 min­utes from touch­down we were out­side look­ing for trans­fer to the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort.

The lunchtime/af­ter­noon flight ar­rives in the very early evening, so it is a sim­ple drive along the Coral Coast. The road is busy and as you drive through the vil­lages you get an idea of what the Fi­jian way of life is like.

Just about an hour af­ter leav­ing the air­port we pass through Si­ga­toka and a few miles on we turn off the main road, into a side road and we see a mil­i­tary style bar­rier in front of us pro­tect­ing the en­trance to the Outrig­ger Fiji Beach Re­sort. Then you hear a mas­sive ROAR of ‘BULA’ from Oesa, a gi­ant of a Fi­jian man, as he opened the gates for us. If you ever watched the movie Pla­toon and you re­mem­ber the wild char­ac­ter at the end farewelling Char­lie Sheen – then that's it!

As we ar­rive at re­cep­tion we feel the warmth and friend­li­ness of the staff that we know is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of Outrig­ger Fiji. Know­ing that this is not my first visit they wel­come me home!

It didn’t take long and we were soon fol­low­ing our bags to our room on the top level of one of the wings that stretch out from the lobby. Wow, what a pleas­ant space. With a view over­look­ing the Coral Sea and the sound of the waves land­ing on the reef we were al­ready start­ing to feel re­laxed.

As we were un­pack­ing our bags there was a knock on the door and we opened it to find our Talei Ser­vice But­ler out­side wait­ing to of­fer us bub­bles and canapes. This is a stan­dard ser­vice en­joyed by the Ocean View rooms, Suites and Bures - what a wel­come to Outrig­ger Fiji.

There are sev­eral din­ing op­tions and as one of us had never been here be­fore I made sure he got to en­joy all of the choices. From the re­sorts main din­ing bure ‘Vale Ni Kana’ which serves themed buf­fets at night through to Ivi, the award win­ning in­ti­mate for­mal din­ing

restau­rant – a great place for a quiet ro­man­tic din­ner. Choose the Kokoda (a na­tional dish) or the Cae­sar salad and you will en­joy the spec­ta­cle of the dish be­ing made in front of you. As for desert - the Crepes Suzette is also made at the ta­ble and apart from the fact that it is de­li­cious, is worth or­der­ing just to watch the the­atre of peel­ing the orange and set­ting the al­co­hol alight.

In be­tween these two restau­rants there is Bar­avi be­side the re­sorts main swim­ming pool of­fer­ing an Asian in­spired menu, and then my favourite - the Sun­downer Bar and Grill.

Sun­downer is ap­pro­pri­ately named as this is the per­fect place to have a predin­ner cock­tail (there are plenty of ex­ot­i­cally named choices) and watch the sun­set. More of­ten than not, you will be re­warded with a stun­ning coloured sky and some great pho­tos as the sun fi­nally sets on an is­land par­adise.

A good part of our day while on hol­i­day was spent re­lax­ing at the adults only Va­havu. We’d start with break­fast and then stretch out by the pool on one of the com­fort­able loungers. In the af­ter­noon I in­dulged in a cock­tail. I could have used the swim up bar but I stayed on my lounger en­joy­ing my book as I was served by the amaz­ing Ta­marisi. She looks af­ter every­one, pay­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail and en­sur­ing that her guests are well looked af­ter.

One thing we be­came aware of was the trans­for­ma­tion that Va­havu un­der­went al­most ev­ery af­ter­noon as staff quickly and ef­fi­ciently trans­formed it into a stun­ning wed­ding re­cep­tion venue.

With lights, flow­ers and sheaths of flow­ing white gauze it be­came a glo­ri­ous place to cel­e­brate a wed­ding on a warm trop­i­cal Fi­jian night.

It got me won­der­ing just how good hav­ing a des­ti­na­tion wed­ding would be.

This year Outrig­ger Fiji will be host­ing over 200 wed­dings and af­ter look­ing at what they of­fer I am not sur­prised. You can have your wed­ding on the lawn or beach, but the most pop­u­lar venue is in the beau­ti­ful hill top chapel – ‘Bure Ni Loloma’. The sweep­ing panoramic views of the Coral Coast and out to the Pa­cific Ocean have me oohing and aahing ev­ery time I have gone up the hill. →

Bar­avi Restau­rant.

Bure Ni Loloma wed­ding chapel.

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