Bula Fiji! Our review of this tropical destination

Day one

Deciding to go on a ‘Fiji holiday’ seemed like the logical next destination on our travel list.  We’d heard lots of good things about it and some friends were about to head off for the second time, so it was a done deal.  We decided we would do a shorter trip, as we thought four nights would be plenty.  We were leaving NZ near the end of Winter (late August 2015) too so we were super excited for some warmer weather – yay!  It was so refreshing to step off the plane and feel the sun.  Bula Fiji!  So here’s our review.

Rakeiora Superman
Fiji are you ready for Super Rakeiora!

Where we stayed

For us it didn’t seem like there was an overload of options when it came to accommodation, which is actually really helpful and makes it so much easier.  We took into account feedback from friends, we asked for recommendations from our travel agent, and of course we did our own research reading travel reviews and looking through photos.  So we decided on Radisson Blu as apparently it was one of the most family friendly resorts.  That was our largest deciding factor on reflection.

Day one
Day one at Radisson Blu

But as it turns out, on Denarau Island all the resorts are next door to each other so you can easily just walk from resort to resort and check each one out.  Perfect to scope out other accommodation should you want to plan a return trip.  We easily ‘sniffed’ out the parks and made use of them!  It feels like you’re in a near totally seperate part of Fiji when drive to Denarau Island so it is more tourist like on this side.

On arrival at Radisson Blu we were impressed.  You always get a ‘feel’ when you first walk in and this place felt light, bright and welcoming.  It was cool to hear some local drumming too.  I always wonder though if the people doing this enjoy it when they do it so much like this?  Just a rhetoric question.

Walking around Raddison
Exploring Radisson Blu

Check in was ok with not too long a wait, then we were off to our room.  As we had been in Rarotonga before this trip (review here), we were comparing this to our stay at Pacific Resort, which was pretty darn beautiful to be honest.  So this didn’t have that same deluxe feel walking around but the room was still very nice.  It was spacious and nicely furnished.  For me, one of the all important questions always is, how comfy is the bed and how nice are the sheets?  As expected, it was perfectly fine.

Staff were generally quite friendly, again not as hospitable as Rarotonga, but still nice enough.  We were sure to make use of the pool seeing as we had come from a cold winter and I just had to try (even though it was just once) swimming up to the bar to order a drink.  Tick that one off the bucket list!

So would we go back to Radisson Blu after staying there and checking out the other resorts?  We decided that yes we probably would.

What we did while there

We didn’t actually do a whole lot during our time in Fiji.  It was only a four night trip so there wasn’t that much time to really explore.  We enjoyed walking around all the other resorts and exploring that way.  Definitely recommend doing that and it’s so easy to do.  Nearby is the Big Bula Water Park but Rakeiora was a little young for this at the time.  But there was a nearby kiddy car ride so he was happy with that.  Coming from Winter in NZ we had to lap up some time at the pool!  So we actually spent quite a bit of time there.

Southseas Island
Southseas Island

South Seas Cruise

Our highlight would have to be the day we went on a boat cruise with South Sea Cruises around some of the smaller islands.  We set off on a bus from our resort, which Rakeiora absolutely loved in itself!  Then we boarded our boat and set sail.  This was just a day trip so most islands were just pointed out but we did stop off at one – Southseas Island.  Interestingly, the boat couldn’t dock that close and there wasn’t a wharf so you had to walk out for a bit, which was fairly sharp shells.  One of the workers from the island came and carried Rakeiora over and his face was a bit shell shocked like ‘who on earth are you and why are you carrying me?!’  We were grateful for the help though.

Rakeiora being carried
Mama, Papa?? It’s ok son

It wasn’t a large island but it was really quite pretty.  We were given an introduction and lunch was put on, with local entertainment while everyone ate. But, it was pretty much time to just sit and relax and enjoy the island.  There were hammocks to lay on, a pool in the middle and of course the beach.  Needless to say, we spent most of our time next to the beach and the boys enjoyed a dip.  It was so hot though and bright – remember sunglasses!  Overall, a really nice day doing something a little different and exploring.

Rakeiora on island
“Cool Island”
Rakeiora by the pool
“Nice pool”
Island hopping
The tour of the cruise

Bula Bus Trip

On another day we caught the ‘Bula Bus’ over to a small shopping centre on Denarau Island – Port Denarau Marina. This is quite small but a nice place to have a look around, have a meal and get a few items if you need to.  Rakeiora enjoyed an indoor play land that we found upstairs.  Only one other little girl came while we were there so he had fun and made a new friend for an hour.  It was nice to enjoy the air conditioning for a little bit too!

Overall, we don’t feel like we really missed out on doing anything.  We didn’t go back to the main island at all but it wasn’t on our to do list anyway, so given the time frame we were there, we were happy with what we were able to do.

Getting around

As we had booked through our travel agent, a transfer was arranged for us to and from the airport.  This was via a van and we went directly to Denarau Island and a few other passengers were dropped at other resorts nearby.  Otherwise, we walked around and like I said, caught the Bula Bus.  Definitely no need for us to hire a car while we were there.

Let’s talk about food!

The first place we always tend to eat is where we’re staying.  It’s just a lot easier and then we know we’ve tried what is right there on offer.  As I write this, our trip to Fiji was nearly three years ago (slack I know!) so it’s actually quite hard to remember what the food was like!  But, from memory everything was nice.  We definitely weren’t blown away at any point otherwise I would remember.  There aren’t actually a huge amount of options on Denarau Island for food, apart from at all the resorts and the Marina.  Breakfast we chose to ate at Radisson Blu each morning, which was a buffet of the usual offerings.  Always a nice way to start the day filling up the stomachs and talking about the plan for the day.

What I would have liked to have tried is more local food, which we might have found if we had have ventured into Fiji.  Let me know if you’ve been and this is right!

Dinner at Raddison
Dinner at Radisson Blu

Flights

For flying, we’re actually big fans of Air New Zealand.  We’ve always had a really good experience flying with them and this trip was no different.  The service is always right up there with the best.  The in-flight entertainment makes the time in the air that much more enjoyable so the overall experience is more positive in our opinion.  These flights are sometimes a tad more expensive, but I think it tends to be worth it.

Our overall rating of our Fiji Holiday

So Fiji, if we’re rating this trip out of 10, we would give it a solid 7.  Like I said at the beginning, our trip prior to this was Rarotonga so this was our back of the mind comparison.  It was definitely a place we were glad to have been to and we enjoyed our time while we were there.

Vinaka – thank you Fiji.  If we can, we will be back of course.

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