Visitors Guide R
On May 14, 1987, Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka (ram-BU-ka) and 10 heavily armed soldiers entered the House of Parliament in Suva and carried out Fiji’s first military coup. The Indian-dominated Labour government was overthrown, and a series of unelected Fijian-dominated governments held power until the elections of 1992, which put Rabuka in the Prime Minister’s office. Rabuka remained Prime Minister until 1999, when his party was defeated by Labour in an election held under a new constitution. Yet another coup occurred in May 2000, though Rabuka and the army were not involved this time. At the moment, Rabuka is outside both the army and government, though he remains a force in Fijian politics. Ask for him at the Suva Golf Club – if you happened to connect, you might just be able to talk him into joining you for a round!
The government controlled Broadcasting Corporation has five channels – one broadcasting in English, two in Fijian and two in Hindi. There are two major commercial networks that have FM transmitters in various parts of the country. While radio in Fiji dates back to 1935, it is only in recent years that you could say popular radio was world standard. In the early days, the mountainous terrain would have prevented signals travelling outside Suva. A little over a decade ago part of my involvement in radio was syndicating old radio dramas to Fiji for broadcast. Even then, radio played a different role – because of the lack of television sets, radio had to entertain, not just provide a music service. For a period of time video was entertaining locals prior to television, espcially rugby games where they would pause and reply any try oodles of time. Live rugby on television didn’t give as much viewing pleasure!
RADISSON BLU RESORT DENARAU
There are heaps of resorts on Denarau Island (accessed by a causeway near Nadi). Many people make this their resort Fiji holiday and some combine a mainland resort with an island esscape (the marina on Denarau is where launch transfers depart for the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.
The five-star Radisson Blu Resort Fiji is beachfront, with large lagoon swimming pools and lush tropical gardens. The resort is 20 minutes from the international airport and offers watersports, day cruises and helicopter tours. There’s on-site dining, a spa and free Wi-Fi. There are other comparable resorts nearby (Sofitel, Hilton, Sheraton, Westin) but the Radisson has positioned itself slightly less expensive, which is a smart move. On my last visit I was also impressed with the inexpensive pizza outlet. A large swimming pool and pizza – what more does a kid on holidays want?
Contact us regarding The Radisson Blu Resort Fiji
RAFFLES GATEWAY HOTEL
Raffles Gateway Hotel has been looking after families, couples & business travellers since 1969. Conveniently located within walking distance to Nadi International Airport and 8km from Nadi town, it is an affordable hotel accommodation option for those who need a first or last night handy to the airport because of flight times.
The property recently underwent a complete room refurbishment, an upgrade of conference & function facilities & installed a state of the art kitchen
Raffles Gateway Hotel is also the mainland sister hotel for Plantation Island Resort & Lomani Island Resort based in the Mamanuca Group of Islands.
Contact us regarding Raffles Gateway Hotel
This has a colonial style setting with lovely, colourful gardens – think of “a home away from home” holiday – Rakiraki Hotel is located half way between Nadi and Suva on the Kings Highway. It’s a bit off the beaten track and has a relaxed pace and home style cooking. There are 36 air-conditioned rooms, a swimming pool and lawn bowls.
Reef shoes should be used when walking in water – coral cuts can happen and there are nasties like sea urchins – buy a cheap pair that you don’t mind throwing away or use those joggers that have one last week in them – but do use them, your feet will thank you.
Fiji is a multi-racial, multi-cultural nation so there are a variety of Christian churches, mosques, and Sikh and Hindu temples throughout the country. All religions and beliefs co-exist quite nicely.
Visitors are more than welcome to attend Sunday worship and I highly recommend you do if the opportunity arises. While I think the Ten Commandments are a pretty good set of rules to live by, I’m not particularly religious but the Methodist service I attended was memorable for the music and the insight into Fijian family life.
Of indigenous Fijian Christians, around 66% are Methodist with Catholic about 13%. Christianity came to Fiji from Tonga when the missionaries were on their Pacific pilgrimage.
It is wise (and usually much better value) to book accommodation with an airfare before arriving in Fiji as part of an overall package, especially for travellers from Australia and New Zealand. Booking directly with a resort may actually be more expensive and you don’t get the security and back up from the Travel Compensation Fund if anything goes pear-shaped. Travel agents can also often access wholesale airfares that are not available to the public.
Every year Small Guide Travel is represented at the annual BFTE (Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange) and, apart from inspecting the resorts, it allows us to negotiate the best possible accommodation rates with the properties we choose to represent.
(see Accommodation for a list of all resorts we represent with links or individual properties by name)
Unlike travel to Vanuatu, for example, most visitors don’t get away from their resorts to sample ‘real’ local restaurants, some of which are very good. Because nearly half the population is Indian, you can always find an authentic, tasty curry that will be pretty spicy. There are a number of Chinese restaurants as well. If you are near Nadi and want to venture out, the Daikoku Japanese Restaurant gets rave reviews and, by Japanese restaurant standards, is not expensive.
Most resort restaurants are good and the larger ones offer lots of choice (e.g. the Shangri-la Fijian has six restaurants). Now, most people will readily recall if a restaurant is good or bad, but mostly they won’t be able to remember the actual dish(es) unless it was a recent dining experience. I had one very simple dish in Fiji many years ago that still remains the best ever salt & pepper squid. It was in the Water’s Edge Restaurant on Castaway Island. With a nice glass of chilled white wine and the azure waters just across the sand… magic!
ROYAL DAVUI ISLAND RESORT
Royal Davui is on Beqa Island, south of the mainland and was voted the most Romantic Island Hideaway in the South Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic for two years running by respected travel magazine Conde Nast – secluded and luxurious, everything is first-class – accommodation, cuisine, location and their weddings. A ’davui’ BTW is a conch shell, the traditonal way of making a call to bring people together.
Davui is only a small island and therefore only a few guests can be accommodated at any given time, so be prepared for an exceptional experience on the service side of things. Royal Davui Island Resort is an adults only resort and is recognised by Trip Advisor as one of the world’s Top Ten hotels for romance.
Contact us regarding Royal Davui Island Resort