Visitors Guide T
The tabua (tam-bua) is a sperm whale’s tooth and is a much-prized possession. Presenting someone with a tabua is the ultimate symbol of respect. Tabuas are utmost in any Fijian ceremony, whether it be family, inter-tribal or state occasions. They feature in births, deaths, marriages, when welcoming visitors or asking favours. They are used to seal contracts and reconcile differences.
Tabuas are not bought and sold, they just circulate from family member to family member, from tribe to tribe as they have done for generations. Recently, companies have seen the value in taking the tabua as a trusted brand. For example, joining the Tabua Club with Air Pacific gives fliers advantages and flying Tabua Class gets you up the pointy end of the plane.
TADRAI ISLAND RESORT
Tadrai is a very recent five-star resort and it is simply stunning.
Located on Mana Island Tadrai is a luxurious adults only retreat. The 100 square metre villas are air-conditioned with outdoor showers, spacious en-suites, Wi-Fi, personal wine fridge, flat screen LCD TV and DVD library. Private plunge pools open directly onto elevated decks with panoramic ocean views.
There’s fine dining in the Na Vatu Rock Pool Restaurant, in-room, or order a gourmet picnic to take to any of four secluded private white sand beaches.
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A tanoa is a carved, wooden, kava bowl. Apart from its obvious practical use in the kava ceremony, they make nice souvenirs and can be used as salad bowls etc – they range in size and quality and you’ll pay accordingly from a few dollars to $100.
Tapa cloth can be an ideal souvenir – it’s light to take home, and it is used to decorate a range of items – photo frames, photo albums, earrings etc and the cloth by itself can become a wall hanging, a tea towel or a tablecloth. You will probably find your resort will have a shop that stocks tapa goods – if not, Jack’s Handicrafts in Nadi has a wide selection.
TAVEUNI ISLAND RESORT
Award winning Taveuni Island Resort (once called Dive Taveuni) offers excellent honeymoon accommodation.
The bures are fantastic (with open air private bathrooms), you can join the communal table for dinner or have five star candle lit dinner for two – throw in some terrific diving, friendly hosts and staff, some good nearby excursions (like the Buma Falls) and you may have enough reason to splurge on the domestic flight from Nadi.
Non-staying guests are not allowed on the premises.
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Telecom Fiji Limited provides local telephone services throughout Fiji. The Colonial Sugar Refinery Company introduced the first service in 1895 and the government took it over in 1910. Fiji International Telecommunications Ltd (FINTEL) provides international services via satellite and undersea cables. International and domestic direct dialing, facsimile, Internet and email services are available. Telecom also offers paging and voice-mail. Mobile communications are provided by Vodafone Fiji Ltd, a venture between Vodafone Australia and Telecom Fiji.
While local TV can give an insight into local culture with news style programs – I’m sorry, unless it’s a rugby final with Fiji playing, enjoy island life without it.
Fiji has frequently been called “The Crossroads of the Pacific” because the 180th Meridian passes through the islands. In fact, The International Date Line has a dogleg here so the entire archipelago falls into the same time zone – 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Tipping is not encouraged anywhere in Fiji. Tip with a smile and ‘vinaka’ (thank you). Some resorts however operate a staff Christmas fund – a box will usually be found near reception and donations are purely voluntary. Fijian custom says that if you give something for nothing, the person receiving will owe you – and that’s how a tip is perceived. Tipping isn’t easy in touch rugby either – the locals are elusive.
Privately owned Toberua (Tom-berua) Island Resort sits on a tiny island between Suva and Ovalau Island. That’s on the rainy side of Fiji, right? Well, wrong. The sheets of precipitation that often wash across the capital don’t often reach here, and Toberua is as sunny as the Mamanucas. The 15 recently refurbished bures are thatched and nicely decorated in the traditional Fijian style, and the meals are usually served outdoors. Unlike many other small island resorts around Fiji, families with small children are welcome here with special tariffs and babysitting services. You can scuba dive, deep sea fish, snorkel, sail, or windsurf. Ecotours to nearby bird santuaries and mangrove forests are also on the program. As elsewhere, you should bring along insect repellent. Prices here are often lower than what’s asked at the better-known resorts off Nadi. It offers intimate weddings for couples (and small group of guests).
On the map it looks like it is a long way from Nadi but with good connecting flights and launch transfers you can only be an hour’s distance from clearing Customs to a colourful cocktail at the bar. The resort offers nice wedding packages.
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TOKATOKA RESORT HOTEL
You probably wouldn’t want to have your whole tropical experience here but being located right opposite Nadi Airport, this is the handiest accommodation property for travellers who want to be near the airport for the first or last night. Often flight arrivals and departure times don’t allow for a transfer to/from one of the island resorts and a Nadi night is necessary.
There are studios and one & two bedroom villas (all with air-conditioning), 24-hour reception and a pool with swim-up bar, swim lanes, island, children’s pool, waterfall & waterslide. There’s a poolside restaurant & bar, beauty clinic, babysitting (F$5 an hour!) and rooms that cater for travellers with a disability (six villas).
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TOKORIKI ISLAND RESORT
Tokoriki has a Robinson Crusoe feel with comfortable beachfront bures on a private island. It offers extensive water sports, fishing and diving. It’s a small personal resort nestling on a fine white sand beach and, while it’s a bit of a cliché, you are welcomed as a visitor and you leave as a friend. The diving is excellent and has a “no children” policy.
Tokoriki is one of our favourite boutique resorts for weddings and honeymoons. The resort has an onsite wedding coordinator to ensure everything is perfect on the day (and they only allow one wedding on any given day). Couples can choose to marry in the Fijian style wedding chapel or on the beach and the luxurious Sunset Pool Villas are simply divine with their own private plunge pools. The dive sites around Tokoriki are excellent and they can arrange a romantic picnic for couples on their own private island.
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If you pick up a brochure on Tonga from a travel agent you will probably read that the Kingdom of Tonga is a “rare sprinkling of jewels set in the turquoise blue of the Pacific”. It could well say the same in a dictionary. The diverse natural beauty, the people and the culture make Tonga a unique and rewarding destination. Tonga is the only Pacific nation never to have been subjected to foreign rule and, as such, traditional lifestyle has been maintained. The monarchy is important, as is the church and the sense of family and inner peace can be somewhat enviable.
There are tours around Viti Levu, inland outings and day trips to Suva. From Nadi you can take a tour to The Garden of the Sleeping Giant (orchids), village tours and tours of the markets. Reception or your resort’s Tour Desk will make arrangements for you.
Traveller’s Cheques can be used in Fiji but our question is, why are you travelling with them? With credit/debit cards, ATMs and cash, is there a need? Surely these things must go the way of the dinosaur?
TREASURE ISLAND RESORT
Treasure has 67 air-conditioned bures on a private island, all within 30 metres of the beach. Located in a marine park there are resident turtles, coral reefs and no mosquitoes. There’s a daily kids club, free kayaks, sailboats and windsurfing. There is also a very cute wedding chapel, a day spa and a dive operation. Basically, it’s a good value destination for both couples and families.