End of June 2014 and only 12 days left in Australia before my flight back home. I was in Cairns at the time and the weather forecast announced tropical rains for the next 10 days... Let's go crazy, let's go to Fiji ! Flights booked and less than 24 hours later I was flying over the pacific ocean.
VITI LEVU // NADI - SUVA
At that time I had no idea what to expect once there and had no plans whatsoever. Once in Viti Levu, the main island, I realised everyone was going to the Yasawa / Mamanuca islands. That's where you can find all the famous resorts and white sandy beaches. I chose not to do that. I didn't want to get sucked in the touristic masses and wanted something more authentic. Instead, I chose to follow some locals' advices and went to Taveuni. To go there you have to take a bus that takes you to the capital; Suva. By the way, you have to know that Fiji operates on Fiji time. It basically means if your bus is at 9am, it might be there at 11am. If the trip takes 3hours maybe you'll be there on time for the sunset 9hours later.. Very disturbing for an European! But hey, you go with the flow! Once in Suva, you can take an overnight ferry for a scheduled arrival at 9am the next day. I got there at 2pm... ;)
Worth mentioning: while on the ferry I watched the sunrise.. Taveuni is the first proper island to see the sunrise everyday! Ok this is purely based on time zones but still pretty cool!
Taveuni is known as Fiji's Garden Island with nature reserves harbouring an abundance of native plants and wildlife. This island is absolutely stunning. Waterfalls, waterslides, hikes, scuba diving, snorkelling, bull sharks, manta rays, villages... You name it.
If you go to Fiji, I highly recommend you go swim with Manta Rays. The ones i saw were between 4 to 6 meters wide. There's a real beauty in the way these giant eagles like glide underwater... The best time to see them is during a full moon which creates strong currents that manta rays use to catch planktons. Those currents are so strong, fighting them would be a waste of energy. Just let yourself drift.
I wish I captured more photos and videos but the 5D MkIII is a bit bulky and doesn't like to be wet ;) I did bring it with me once though. Jungle treks, river crossing, slippery rocks, waterfalls, panoramic views, coconut hunting... Exciting!
Scuba diving is another activity you shouldn't miss. To me, this was definitely a more memorable experience than the one in the Australian great barrier reef. Cristal clear water, tons of colourful fishes, giant corals, moray eels, sharks... Absolutely stunning! You will want to stay underwater.
Time flew faster than expected and I already had to fly back to Sydney. I didn't want to risk missing my flight so decided not to take the ferry on my way back to Nadi. I chose to board a small aircraft. The sunset view from above was astonishing! All these islands surrounded by turquoise waters... speechless! You could even see lava trails running down hills!