With over 300 islands in total, Fiji has a variety of landscapes ranging from waterfalls and rainforests to coral reefs, with spectacular scenery, amazing beaches and some of the most unexplored dive sites in the world. Having sampled the best on offer, were giving you a top 10 list of must-dos on your honeymoon:
1. Picnic on a Private Beach
You cant but try this; its like landing on a deserted island in the middle of paradise with absolutely NOBODY else around to spoil it! Most Fijian resorts are situated on idyllic islands full of bays, alcoves and private beaches just perfect for a secluded picnic. Most can organise a delicious hamper for you - comprising lobster, cheese plates, salads and wine or the food of your choice - and then deposit you by boat on your own private beach for a day of uninterrupted fun! Some even have beach bures and hammocks installed for your comfort and the staff won't come back for you until a prearranged time or unless you radio them and tell them youve had enough sun for a day...
2. Scuba Dive in Virgin Reefs
Probably the most beautiful diving spots in the world - including heritage - listed reefs - are located in the waters in Fiji, so youd be mad not to strap on a tank and go down. If youve never dived before, most resorts have fully qualified PADI instructors to teach you and take you out to some spectacular sites - wow, what a way to see coral and marine life for the first time 20 meters under: even a reluctant editor was thrilled by the experience! If youre more adventurous, you can encounter reef sharks, dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles, moray eels and even tuna. Youll find black coral, profuse soft corals, hard corals, walls, caves and prolific fish life - its a wonderland and most of it remains unexplored and untouched, so be among the first!
3. Take part in a Kava Ceremony
Made from ground powdered roots, Kava is Fijis national drink - it looks like muddy water and has a slight peppery flavour; very much an acquired taste but its something you should experience! strained in water through a muslin cloth, Kava is prepared by the locals in a special wooden kava bowl and then smaller bowls are passed around a circle. When accepting kava, you clap once before drinking - and then three times after. (A specially large helping of Kava is known as high tide). Your tongue will go numb and youll feel very mellow as the evening progresses and the bowl keeps rotating in your direction (our Fashion Director was addicted!) You might be invited to join a kava ceremony during a village visit, or participate in one at your resort - it is both a social pastime and a cultural tradition.
4. Eat a Lovo Feast
The Fijians have a delicious way of preparing their food: they wrap chicken, seafood, meats, potatoes, bananas and other vegetation in silver foil, then they encase it in whole palm leaves and place them in an underground oven covered entirely with sand or dirt. The food cooks in its own juices and retains all its delicious flavour. Watching the preparation of food in a lovo oven is fascinating: then watching the locals unwrap the leaves and see the steaming, aromatic food is mouth-watering! Most resorts hold lovo feasts at least once a week and especially on special occasions like holidays or weddings! YUM!
5. Watch and Participate in a Meke
The performance of the Fijian dancing is called the meke - involving locals dressed entirely in national costume of flower leis, grass skirts and tapa cloth - beaten from the bark of the Paper Mulberry tree and handpainted using brown paints made from mangroves, bark and nuts. Tapa cloths plays a significant role in rituals and celebrations. It can be used for chiefly sashes, waistbands, and streamers to adorn weapons. the men often perform warrior dances that tell a story while the women sing songs illustrated by movements and gestures: the Fijians have beautiful, melodic voices. At your resort, the dancers might afterwards draw you into the celebration and teach you a few steps.
6. Visit a local village
The best way to become fully acquainted with Fijian culture is to visit a local Fijian village: most resorts are located on islands with native villages nearby and staff will gladly escort you. You can meet the village chief, the local Sunday School children might sing religious songs, there might be a meke and even some kava - a warning: be polite & and try it if offered! Often you can see the local women at work making cloth, or weaving baskets and mats. You get to see traditional Fijian life, even visit sacred sites or native caves which abound with special legends, even art. As kavalagis (white people) there are some rules you should observe. Women should avoid wearing swimsuits or shorts away from their resort, as this is regarded as offensive; wear something modest like a sulu and a sleeved top.
7. Sail on a sunset cruise
Fijian sunsets are so romantic youll just melt with delight! I guess its the clear, unpolluted skies and waters that bring out the deepest, richest oranges and reds as the sun goes to sleep every night. Many resorts organise sunset cruises as part of their agenda and they entertain you with Fijian singalongs, tropical cocktail punches and hors doeuvres as you admire the scenery. We took part in a sunset cruise at Turtle Island where everyone dances and got so punch-happy that eventually people started climbing onto the roof of the boat and diving into the water!
8 Attend a Fijian Wedding Ceremony
If youre not game enough to exchange vows under a palm tree during a Fijian sunset, at least we hope youre lucky enough to be present when another couple weds in paradise! We actually witnessed two weddings in Fiji and they really are special. At one resort the staff spent all day making beautiful florals, leis, headpieces and adorning the wedding raft with red hibiscus. Right on the sunset, the Aussie bride was carried onto the raft which sailed down to the chapel: a bamboo canopy adorned with flowers also. All guests wore frangipani leis and were handed rice to throw at the happy couple when the ceremony was over! It was emotional and quite a privilege to be such an intimate part of someones special day. choirs were singing, champagne was flowing...
9. Go for a Midnight Snorkel
Do you know how bright a full Fijian moon is on a cloudless night? If your bure sits right on the beach and you feel like a refreshing dip after dinner, why not grab the snorkeling gear in your room, an under water touch and your partner for a late night exploration of the coral? dare we say it - even skinny dip? The Fijian beaches are safe and the water exceptionally warm at night: and with a full moon, you can literally see right down under the water of your toes. One of the amazing things you will discover is the sulphurescence of the water: at night time your skin is covered and you will definitely glow in the dark.
10. Take a seaplane or Helicopter flight...
The only reason the we recommend this activity that is the incredible ocean around Fiji is spectacular from the air: maybe it's part of the journey to the resort, or an activity you can request on arrival. As part of our trip around Fiji, we were airborne approximately 10 times inside varying types of aircraft - and each time the view was breathtaking! you can see the incredible reefs, the sandbanks, the leaping dolphins, even a whale. Youre just low enough to avoid the clouds and high enough to see the graduating blues and greens of the water as tiny atolls break it up. As you ascend or descend, coconut palms with red bark resemble pink flamingoes and the fish eggs in spawning season look like orange pollen scattered in the ocean. You might be lucky - as we were - to encounter a cheeky pilot who dips your tiny four seater, tells you to hold onto your luggage and swerves sideways to give you a rush...