Visitors Guide M
There’s no need to worry about taking malaria medication but taking an insect repellent is still a good idea for comfort.
MALOLO ISLAND RESORT
Malolo offers luxury and seclusion with white coral sand beaches, panoramic views, those picture-postcard seas and has excellent facilities.
All 49 beachfront bures are air-conditioned and feature fridge, tea/coffee making, separate bathrooms, lounge area, overhead fans and spacious verandas. There’s a Family Bure that sleeps up to 8 people.
The beautiful lagoon and beaches make this the prefect tropical backdrop for a tropical wedding.
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The Mamanuca (Mah-mah-noo-tha) group of islands are in the mostly shallow waters to the west of the main island of Viti Levu. There are island resorts for couples (Tokoriki, Matamanoa, Musket Cove), families (Castaway, Mana, Treasure, Plantation) and young travellers wanting to party (Beachcomber). The diving and snorkelling are excellent and the islands are easy to get to. The currents are not as pronounced as further north around Taveuni so most of the coral is hard (but still worth exploring!)
MANA ISLAND RESORT
Mana is a large resort between Castaway and Matamanoa islands in the Mamanuca group.
There’s a variety of accommodation options (bures, executive suites etc) and it offers value for family holidays. It’s also popular with Japanese groups and Japanese couples who nip in for a tropical wedding. There are lots of activities for both children (activities all day) and adults (all watersports including diving and game fishing). There are beaches on both sides of the island so one is always sheltered and the diving nearby is excellent.
There is an airport on Mana and the island is also home to the upmarket Tadrai Island Resort.
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MATAMANOA ISLAND RESORT
Matamanoa is a small, intimate and secluded private island resort in the Mamanuca Islands. It’s a volcanic cone with dense vegetation, coconut palms, sandy beaches and coral reefs.
Matamanoa has a year round policy of not accepting children under the age of 12 years – apart from this appealing to couples, there would be better family resorts anyway because of its intimacy. There’s a freshwater pool and the ocean as well as tennis, watersports and diving.
There are air-conditioned hotel rooms and two-room beachfront bures. There’s a day/night tennis court and an excellent dive operation. The beach is a lovely location for a tropical wedding .
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MATANGI PRIVATE ISLAND RESORT
Off the island of Taveuni (20 minutes by water taxi) is Matangi Private Island Resort. Matangi has been voted one of the world’s best private islands and featured in the book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die” – the island caters to a maximum of 12 couples with nine bungalows and three treehouses.
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There are markets in Suva (busy if a cruise ship is in), Sigatoka and Lautoka. Just a tip on shopping – in Fijian culture haggling is considered impolite, with the Indian vendors it is mandatory. You will be able to tell them apart immediately.
Fiji is free of most tropical diseases – there is no malaria or yellow fever in the country. Government-owned hospitals are located at urban centres throughout the country and private specialist medical consultation is also available (surgery hours are usually between 8.30am-5pm) in Nadi, Suva, Lautoka, and Labasa. An initial consultation fee costs around $20 Fijian. Patients who are not Fiji citizens are charged a minimal hospital fee – facilities are of reasonable standards. For dental emergencies you will also have a long wait at a hospital and there are dental surgeries in Nadi, Suva and Lautoka. If you haven’t had a check up for a while, it could be time. Before moving to the tropics to live for a few years I had a routine check-up and they found a tooth that would have soon required a crown so that was attended to before the damage happened.
Most resorts have nightly entertainment – lovos (feasts), fire walking (Coral Coast), kava ceremonies and mekes. The meke is a traditional way of telling stories through song and dance. It could be a war dance or a love story – either way it is colourful and a pleasure to watch – mind you, if you have seen women custom dancing in Tahiti and the Cook Islands, you may find this a bit tame.
Fijian dollar notes are available in $2, $5, $10, $20 and $50 denominations and coins are available in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c and $1. There is no limit to the amount of money to be brought in (although there may be a limit on how much you can take out of your home country) and visitors are allowed to take out currency up to the amount imported. Exchange rate at the time of writing – Around 54 cents Australian or 68 cents New Zealand to buy a Fijian dollar.
The Fiji Museum is in Suva, located in the Botanical Gardens. It contains archeological exhibits dating back some 3500 years as well as much on the development of local art, craft and culture. There are a number of galleries (pre-history, history, Indo-Fijian and an art gallery) and a café that serves refreshments. Among the exhibits you’ll find the rudder from the HMS Bounty and the remains of Reverend Baker’s boot. He was the only non-Fijian missionary known to have been killed and eaten. Guided tours are available.
- Mon-Thur: 9:30am – 4:00pm
- Fri: 9:30am- 3.30pm
- Sat & Public Holidays: 9:30am – 4:00pm
- Closed Sundays
Admission is $F7.00 for for adults and $F5.00 for children (4-12 yrs). Children under 4 yrs are Free. Locals are F$2.20 and students F$0.50.
While not technically a museum, the large Hindu temple in Nadi is worth a visit.
Fijian men must pick up a guitar the same way Australians pick up a cricket bat or Americans pick up a baseball mitt – everyone seems to have at least a few chords. Most of them also know how to sing. And, for those who aren’t that musical, there’s the bass box in the string band (as a tourist you may get to join in here – if you can count to 4 you’ll be okay). There’s one piece of music you will probably hear many times – Isa Lei – a song performed to farewell departing guests. When it comes to your turn, chances are you’ll have a have a tingle up the spine and a tear in the eye with an inner thought of returning again soon. You don’t need to know the words. but they are:
Isa Isa vulagi lasa dina
Nomu lako, au na rarawa kina
Cava beka, ko a mai cakava
Nomu lako, au na sega ni lasa
Isa Lei,(Isa Lei) Na noqu rarawa (noqu rarawa)
Ni ko sa na vodo e na mataka (e na mataka)
Bau nanuma (Bau nanuma), na nodatou lasa(na nodalasa lasa)
Mai Suva nanuma tiko ga
The last line in English is “precious moments beside Suva Bay” – this line will change to “precious moments” from the resort you will be leaving.
MUSKET COVE RESORT
Located in the Mamanucas, Musket Cove Island Resort is only 17 kilometres from Nadi.
It’s a first class resort with beachfront bures and villas with kitchenettes or breakfast bars (there’s a well-stocked supermarket). There’s a nice swimming pool and all the usual watersports like windsurfing, snorkelling, diving and sailing are on offer.
The resort overlooks a sheltered lagoon, which is a haven to visiting yachts from around the world. If there’s a major race on and the yachts have gathered it’s also party time.
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