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More Than A Few Nights In Beautiful Fiji

By Daniel Resnik on August 27, 2014 in Other

Photo: Daniel Resnik

Photo: Daniel Resnik

‘Bula’ is the official Fijian greeting and nowhere in the world will you receive a more hearty and sincere welcome.

Recently I had the pleasure of heading over to the island paradise to review two classic Fijian resorts for The Beast, because resort life is what it’s all about over there.

Fiji Outrigger On The Lagoon

This is the longest running 5-star resort in Fiji and is only 80 kilometres from Nadi airport. It was voted by TripAdvisor as the number one family resort in Fiji and the South Pacific, and also one of the 25 best family resorts in the world in 2014. Once ensconced at the Outrigger you discover why this resort is so highly rated.

Situated in the heart of the famed Coral Coast of Viti Levu (the main island of Fiji) and set on 16 palm-filled hectares, this place has got it all. Consisting of 207 rooms mixed in with 47 strategically placed bures, the resort has a unique village feel. It has the largest resort pool in the South Pacific as well a pool exclusively for the use of adults. With a gym, tennis courts, kids club, cultural evenings and fire dancing, outdoor movies, bars with live entertainment, cooking lessons, a spa and massage sanctuary, butler services, babysitters, boutiques and gift shops, a wedding chapel, five restaurants, and a private beach for snorkelling and kayaking, there’s definitely something for everyone.

Award-winning executive chef Shalesh Naidu is the only 5-star Fijian born chef and under his influence the Outrigger won the best fine dining restaurant and the Fiji Excellence in Tourism award in 2012. Standing on the scales back home, I now understand why he has such a great reputation!

At the highest point of the Outrigger, surrounded by far-reaching views of the Coral Coast, site the intimate Bebe Spa Sanctuary. The spa menu is extensive, but I can highly recommend the ‘Drua’ massage, which is performed by two therapists and can be best described as pure bliss.

There are also activities on offer that allow you to explore away from the resort, such as a visit to a traditional local village via a jet boat ride (the Sigatoka River Safari), where you get to see how local Fijians really live. This was an enlightening cultural experience well worth taking part in.

You can also pass time with a visit to the Kula Eco Park, a 10.2-hectare property within walking distance of the resort showcasing Fiji’s spectacular bird, reptile and marine life.

Castaway Island Fiji

Stepping off our boat onto the white sands of Castaway Island, we were greeted by a dozen staff singing a traditional welcome song in perfect harmony, followed by a loud ‘bula!’ I instantly fell in love with the place. The azure water and the palm-fringed white sand beaches set the tone for the entire stay.

Castaway Island was the first private island resort to be developed in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands group and has been a benchmark for all other island resorts.

Surrounded by some of Fiji’s best diving sites, the resort takes up only ten percent of the 70 pristine hectares of island upon which it sits. This ensures there is ample room for island discoveries, which include rainforest bushwalks with awe-inspiring views.

Before we checked in we were introduced to the island’s TV presenting, book writing, radio broadcasting and award winning executive chef Lance Seeto, who gave us some island Fijian culinary history while his chefs prepared a delicious six-course introductory meal. The dishes combined a fusion of Indian and Fijian spices and included a dhal vegetable soup and a mixture of local curries such as mango and lime duck curry, assamese fish curry and lamb rogan josh. I’d go back just for the food!

Accommodation at Castaway is bure style, with 66 freestanding, air-conditioned bures strategically placed around the island and along the beaches, all providing peaceful private settings.

There are two swimming pools on the island (including an adults-only pool), four restaurants, a spa sanctuary, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, water skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, catamarans, tennis courts, beach volleyball and a kids club. Given the Fijians love of rugby, a game can be organised at a moment’s notice, or you could lay in one of the many hammocks and do nothing.

Close to Castaway Island is the uninhabited Modriki Island, where the movie Castaway starring Tom Hanks was filmed. We went there via a short boat ride to explore the island and snorkel a nearby reef named the Seven Sisters. The marine life combined with the brightly coloured corals and sponges was spectacular.

Castaway Island is one of the most beautiful and serene resorts I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at.

How to book:
Outrigger On The Lagoon
Castaway Island

How to get there:
The Travel Café, Bondi
(02) 9130 1345