Verfasst von: rbontour | Oktober 15, 2010

Official Fiji & Shark Lovers

We don’t want to miss to write a few conclusive words about Fiji’s beauty and general traveling conditions. So far, all our stories focused on culture, but actually there are plenty of reasons, why we wouldn’t hesitate a minute to return to these astonishing islands!

First of all – and to finally put all prejudice aside – the statement „Fiji is an expensive paradise“ is absolutely wrong!! It’s the opposite. It’s a mecca for backpackers and we can’t believe that we were about to cancel our trip due to these false claims. It always depends on how you travel, who you ask (don’t ever be afraid of locals, ask whoever crosses your way) and what you want to get out of your stay.

Sure, luxury is readily available, especially in the Yasawa or Mamanuca islands. But this wasn’t what we wanted. It wasn’t our goal to sunbathe several weeks on the same white sandy beach and see nothing else but a resort and its artificial set-up. Still, we did see the Mamanuca and Yasawa group a day before we left Fiji. We booked a day cruise and spent one afternoon in a resort on Waya Island. Yep, the beach was stunning, but one day was fine for us… We have too much energy. After a full day hanging around the beach, doing nothing, we suffer from a disease called ‘boredom’ and seek for some more action :-).

In regards of how you travel, we learned it’s so simple to get from A to B or hop from one island to the next. Instead of taking several expensive inland flights, taxis or private shuttles, there are many local „chicken buses“ or cheaper cargo ferries and boats. Of course, the buses take a bit longer, they may not be as comfortable and you eventually encounter some creepy critters (= Krabbeltiere) on your seat, but at least you experience everyday Fiji life and you can talk to locals to get insider tips. Also cargo ferries are a good means of transportation. Instead of paying over US$200 for air fare per person, we jumped on a 12 hours cargo (night) ferry for US$28 per person. Well, there was neither a complimentary tomato juice nor a bag of peanuts, BUT it was much more memorable and exciting! (Especially when you sneak into a free first class cabin on a cargo boat and realize that it was not even worth it to sweat and to be anxious for hours to get caught as Fiji First Class is definitely not comparable to Europe or US first class).

Here some of our travel cost highlights:

  • up to 4 papayas = US$0.50 (all other fruits and veggies the same)
  • backpacker accommodations (hostels or B+B) = US$25 per night for the two of us
  • delicious Indo-Fijian curries = US$3 (huge portions, sufficient for lunch AND dinner)
  • happy hour Fiji Gold beers = US$1.00
  • … or fancy hair cuts for Robert = US$1.50

The Alternative To „Beach Bumming“
So, instead of „beach bumming“, we decided to explore and discover the inside of this wonderful country with its lush tropical scenery. It’s difficult to find the right words… we sometimes stood just there with our eyes wide open, gazing at the beauty of the islands‘ interior: crystal clear rivers; expansive views over surrounding mountains, succulent green rainforest canopy or offshore islands; palm tree gardens; hundreds of colorful wild plants and flowers; majestical waterfalls or swimming holes… and, and, and!

We hiked, we trekked, we climbed or we cycled… most sights cannot be reached by car or bus. Hence, we mainly hiked with locals as it is culturally inappropriate and also too dangerous to simply hike anywhere. A scary machete was one of the most important utensils on our nature tours. Several times our guides had to weed out our way… no paved roads or signs! One of our longest adventure tours was the challenging slog to the tip of Des Voeux Peak (1195 m) on the island Taveuni – approx. 4 1/2 hrs. up and 3 hrs. down. It was an excellent hike, which resulted in extremely sore muscles as every other day we had another hike or trek on our schedule!

Spectacular Underwater World & Diving With Sharks
As Fiji is also known for its innumerable underwater sights, we decided to join the diving community. In Savusavu on Vanua Levu we took 3 days to get our PADI and become certified divers.

We had 6 dives in total and there would have been many other truly amazing dive sights, but unfortunately diving is also an expensive sport on Fiji… Nevertheless we still had heart-pounding and fabulous experiences! The waters are teeming with life – we saw heavenly glowing soft corals, sea plants that change color when you touch them and also a phenomenal diversity of fish. The final thrill was our SHARK DIVE in Beqa Lagoon on Viti Levu. We saw bull sharks, blacktip reef sharks, silvertip sharks, whitetip reef sharks and gigantic dark groupers. Going nose-to-nose with a pregnant bull shark was incredible! Although the dive was more or less a show than a natural dive, it definitely was the adrenaline of a lifetime. It was an ultimate shark feed and we were amazed how we were able to witness so many sharks in their natural habitat and learn that these animals are not just the „horrifying“ predators they are made out to be.

This was our last dive on Fiji. We are already looking forward to see Australia’s Great Barrier Reef… our next destination!

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Responses

  1. Oh great!!!!

  2. hi Brigitte, hi Robert, I only can say I love to read your blogs, just amazing how you both can do this, I’m jalousie :-), btw: I’m currently in Nashville at a show, its also a Mecca of being not so expensive…..please explain me „boredom“ a good friend of mine Ralph used to say to me, I must take sometimes the time to do nothing :-).
    But I only can say if in reality the scenery is only half as good as I can see on your pics then its already called paradise. Now I think you are already nose-to-nose in Australia, take good care and stay healthy, love Dad


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