Our Fiji experience – a trip of a lifetime

To help celebrate 10 years of GrownUps, we gave away a trip of a lifetime to Fiji. Greg our lucky winner shares his experience with us.

View the competition and all the entrants here.

His trip included:

Day 1:

Following a comfortable flight on Fiji Airways FJ410 and taxi transfer, we arrived at the impressive Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa late afternoon to be welcomed into their adults-only Waitui Beach Club in time for complimentary, poolside cocktails and canapes against a beautiful sunset.

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Day 2:

The next day dawned following a very restful night in our luxurious, beachfront room overlooking the pool.

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To be followed by breakfast on the beach.

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Then, after some leisure time at the pool and a late checkout, we were off to Port Denarau in the early afternoon to board our Blue Lagoon Cruise on board The Fiji Princess for the Mamanuca & Yasawa Islands.

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Departing Port Denarau mid-afternoon for a couple of hours cruising to our first anchorage at Modriki Island, the location for the Tom Hanks film ‘Cast Away’.

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That evening we enjoyed sunset cocktails and canapes and a meet and greet with the Captain and crew. Followed by a sumptuous dinner with wine and local entertainment.

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Day 3: Another fabulous day. Early morning ashore Modriki Island via tender.

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Note Tom’s plea for help!

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Then short cruise to a reef location to swim with the sharks (sorry no photo’s as no underwater camera) before anchoring in Soso Bay for a visit to the local village and formal welcome in the Meeting House in our sarongs.

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This was followed by a village walk to include the local school (note the cyclone Winston damage), church and arts/crafts for purchase

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This evening was a Thali Indian Night, including dress up and Indian feast.

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Day 4:

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Sunday dawned beautifully fine and this being a day of rest and worship in Fiji, provided those so inclined to return to Soso village to attend a traditional church service and experience the heavenly voices emanating from the local choir. The alternative was a snorkelling trip to the reef.

Later that morning we set sail to the southern end of Naviti and arrived at the beautiful and tranquil Naukacuvu Island for a leisurely afternoon on the beach and an introduction to paddle boarding.

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We were joined by the Chef for a cooking lesson to make the traditional dish ‘Kokoda'(a raw fish salad).

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Once we were back on the boat for the evening we enjoyed cocktails on the sky deck and watched another magnificent sunset.

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Then it was time for kava!

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Followed by a sumptuous Fiji buffet and the bingo “Fiji” style. Our table of 6 was the most successful, winning 3 of the games!

Day 5:

Magnificent dawning as we prepare for yet another relaxing day amongst these idyllic islands. Today’s itinerary takes us to the amazingly beautiful Scared Island beach before we anchor at Yalobi Bay.

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But not before chilling out in the ship’s pool…

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We then pack our picnic lunch and take the tender to Sacred Island beach for reef snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing.

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Then mid-afternoon the crew turn up with afternoon tea on the beach, not that it’s needed as much as a late afternoon refreshment before reboarding for Waya Island and anchoring at Yalobi Bay.

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For yet another spectacular sunset

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And cocktails on the lower deck prior to the Captain’s dinner, followed by crew entertainment

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Day 6:

We weigh anchor early morning and cruise north to the famed Blue Lagoon.

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This idyllic stretch of ocean is ringed by beautiful islands and Blue Lagoon Cruises’ own private island peninsula on Nanuya, where the crew position the Fiji Princess right up to the beach and tie her off to a coconut tree.

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Decision-making time! How do we fill in the day???

Stroll along the white sand beach…

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Or catch up on some reading while waiting for the BBQ lunch.

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Following afternoon tea on the beach, it was time to reboard, freshen up, enjoy a cool beer on the sky deck and witness yet another spectacular sunset.

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Back to the beach via tenders for evening drinks with a couple of Aussie mates.

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While awaiting the uncovering from the earth oven of our traditional dinner, Lovo.

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Following our sumptuous meal, we were then provided with “Meke” entertainment from the Matacawalevu villagers from across the bay, including singing, dancing and guest participation to end a wonderful day.

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Day 7:

A beautiful Wednesday morning dawned to find us at Sawa-I- Lau Island and the prospect of an “easy” (only 3 hills) guided tramp to the other side of the island with panoramic views.

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Passing through a small village to be greeted by enthusiastic locals.

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Before arriving at the Lo’s Tea Shop to sample her famous cakes.

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We then had the option to take the “easy” coastal return walk or water taxi back to our ship. The canny ones opted for the water taxi while the fit and healthy got bogged down during their return.

Day 8

Our next morning activity involved a guided snorkelling safari to a spectacular reef area before we cruise north to visit the majestic Sawa-I- Lau caves. These ancient limestone formations were carved by constant wave action and are known as the resting place of the 10-headed Fijian god, Ulutini. The first of these caverns is quite magnificent with light filtering through a ceiling hole. Then the more adventurous of us entered the secondary, more secretive cavern via an underwater tunnel. Complete darkness and quite airy.

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The plan for the evening was a seafood dinner at Tamusua village, but the first sign of inclement weather resulted in cancellation and dinner onboard.

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Day 9

Our final breakfast onboard as we cruise back to Port Denarau to be serenaded by the crew with a traditional Isa Lei farewell song as our exploration of the beautiful Yasawa Islands comes to an end.

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Following disembarkation, it is a short taxi ride back to the Sofitel and the Waitui Beach club to spend our last day recovering from our adventurous explorations and appreciating yet another idyllic sunset.

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Our timing was rather fortunate as the Sofitel were celebrating the second birthday of the Waitui Beach Club.

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Of course, it would have been rude not to accept their invitation for complimentary poolside cocktails and canapes against such a beautiful sunset and then party our final night away before flying out back to a wet and wintry Auckland in the morning on Fiji Airways FJ411

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Our sincere thanks and gratitude to GrownUps, Fiji Airways, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Blue Lagoon Cruises and Cigna Travel Insurance for providing such a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Greg