Author: craig

Say Bula to Fiji time

This week The Greater and our friends at 105.3NEWFM are giving Newcastle and Hunter people the chance to win a trip to Fiji for two. Our PR guy Craig Eardley says The Shangri-La Fijian resort and Spa has grown up since he went there as a kid, as has Fiji generally, to become a perfect destination for romance or family fun.


Bula (Hello)

It is a word you hear a lot when you visit Fiji and it is always said with a big smile.

(Pictures courtesy of Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa

I have the vaguest memory of my first trip to Fiji, staying at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa. The hotel was called The Fijian then (ahem, it was a little while ago now). There weren’t that many hotels and resorts on Fiji at that time. The hotel is conveniently located less than an hour from Nadi Airport on the private Yanuca Island which is linked to the mainland by causeway.

Today the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa is a massive resort with 442 luxurious rooms and suites, six restaurants, two bars, three pools, a Kids Club, water sports, golf, tennis courts and a shopping arcade. What hasn’t changed is the pristine warm water in the deepwater lagoon, the friendly Fijian people and the relaxed atmosphere. For some strung out holiday makers used to being able to consume anything and everything within seconds, “Fiji time” can take some getting used to, but it is well worth it when you do.

The one thing that has changed in Fiji is tourism infrastructure. I was there earlier this year staying further along the Coral Coast from The Shangri-La and in the beautiful Mamanuca Islands. Once upon a time you went to your resort and pretty much stayed put. Now there are a range of tourist activities on land and on the water. On the main island of Vita Levu you can choose from a range of golf courses to a jetboat cruise on the Sigatoka River to four wheel drive adventures in the hinterland. Pearl Harbour (closer to the capital Suva) is becoming Fiji’s adventure capital with zip lines, whitewater rafting, and sea kayaking. Near to Sigatoka we spent a pleasant couple of hours at the Kula Eco Park where the kids patted iguana and snakes, fed turtles and we walked through a beautiful valley floor of bushland to see displays of native birds.

The food is also getting better and better. My travel tip is that you are always better to eat local foods because they will be plentiful, fresh and better value. When you are on a tropical island with no cows or bakery a hamburger is not going to be as great as it is at home. In Fiji, at lunch I can never go past a delicious and refreshing Kokoda (pronounced Kokonda) which is raw fish salad come soup where the fish is marinated in coconut cream, lime or lemon juice, tomatoes and chilies. We also had some beautiful meals of freshly cooked fish and other seafood which went down very well with a local Fiji beer or fresh juice.  

Fiji is a tropical island paradise perfect for romance or family fun.

This week (September 24-29) people living in Newcastle and the Hunter have a chance to win a trip for two to the Shangri La by playing Triple Play Getaway by listening to 105.3NEWFM.

You also have a chance to win a $2,000 Multi-currency Cash Passport (which could be put to good use on a Fijian holiday) by purchasing travel money or insurance from us before October 6 to enter our Greater Golden Passport Competition.    

 What’s your favourite Fijian holiday spot, travel story or travel tip? Please share them below.