First trip to Fiji. Here is my Just back report. Wasn’t sure what to expect... had heard horror stories about the food on Mana and about shoes getting pinched so I was a little nervous! Feel free to ask any questions.
Flew Airpacific – slept the whole way through. Straight through immigration. Whilst hubby was getting luggage I went to the duty free and got a 6 pack of Fiji water ($15), a bottle of vodka (some brand I have never heard of $26) a bottle of JimBeam ($44) and a slab of Tooheys Extra Dry for $100.
Went outside first cab driver that we saw, I asked how much and he said $25 to Denaru so we were happy. 25 minutes later we arrived at the dock. Checked in the baggage at South Sea Cruises and went to get breakfast. Went to hard rock Cafe. $15 each for breakfast. Very very small serves, but friendly staff . Then went to Yees to get some provisions. It is like a IGA / Mini Mart type supermarket. I got cans of coke $2 each, some bags of twisties $3 each and hubby got some red bulls. Had a quick look at the booze and it was much dearer than the airport. The bottle of vodka I paid $26 for at the airport was $75 here.
Just before we got on the boat they said my luggage was too heavy and wanted to charge me extra. We only had one big suitcase between the two of us, but I had stashed all my drinks (including slab of beer and 6 pack of water in it). They were happy for me to move stuff into other bags to make sure not one bag was over 26 kg.... We had met up with a mate that was on the same flight and were waiting to board the boat, when he realised his boat ticket was in his back pack, which had been checked in as checked luggage. After quite a few laughs and understanding nods they let him on the boat and just said during the ride he should come down and identify his luggage so they could get his ticket out for him!!! Hahahah Good one buddy.
Boat ride was fine. We went inside downstairs, where there were plenty of seats to choose from and was air conditioned. Small canteen selling drinks and snacks etc. Boat stopped 3-4 places before we reached Mana island to drop off and pick up more passengers. About 1.5 hours later we arrived at Mana. A lovely band met us at the dock singing Fijian music to welcome us. We were then asked to sit in the “waiting bure” for everyone to be ready. Our mate was off to the back packers , which is only like 50 meters from where the boat docks. He headed off and then they took us all together down to the reception area. It was a bit like school camp tour with them pointing out all the amenities along the way. We were all seated in the lounge and they explained a few house keeping matters, then gave us room keys and prepaid meal vouchers. They then ask you to identify your luggage, then they write your bure number on it and drop it off later. We went wandering to find our bure (they give you a map). We had Island bure 129. Nothing fancy. King size bed is comfy, there is another single bed in the room and a two seater couch. I was excited about the “outside bathroom”. Toilet and basin are inside, with sliding glass door into a rock wall shower. Wall is about 2.5 meters tall, so no one can peek in. Shower had great water pressure and was awesome!
Bags arrived after about half and hour. We had a sleep as it had been a very long trip We went for a walk exploring and got our bearings. Then we walked over to Ratu Kinis backpackers to visit our friend who was staying there. Resort security just wanted to know our room number before we went through, but wasn’t too interested. The friendly lady at reception told us our friends room number and pointed us in the right direction. We went looking, but it was getting dark and there were quite a few big dogs wandering around so I got scared and went back to the backpacker restaurant. $4 Local Beer on tap, $35 jugs of Bourbon and Coke or Vodka Orange. Has a look a menu and headed home. Our friends had booked a table at the South Beach Restaurant for 7.30pm so we went down to have a drink with them and meet up. Fiji Gold beer is $8, Crown or Hiniken $15. We had a group of 14 people and they were struggling. Took about two hours before we got our mains and then they got confused and brought out some stuff we hadn’t ordered and some stuff we ordered was missing and they had to try again. Mains were reasonable prices. I had Ribs ($32) and other mains were between $28 and $50. Waiters were friendly and cheerful, but just very slow. We called it a night and got tucked up in bed nice and early. Room had fan and aircond and a light blanket on the bed, so all good. 5 pillows all up. Reading at night is hard as the lighting isn’t great and there is only a bedside table on one side of the bed, but we were fine.
Went down to breakfast around 9am. All the staff along the way are friendly and bright and chirpy. Lots of “Bula’s” all the way down.... for grumpy me that doesn’t do mornings it was all I could do not to tell them what I thought of their Bula’s.. but soooo friendly and sweet.
Our friends were getting married today so they were trying to hide from the rest of the guests for a while. We had pre paid for breakfast, but not once were we asked for a room number or the voucher when we went in. We sat outside on the deck which had a nice view of the North Beach. Buffet had hot dish selection (beans, hashbrowns, spaghetti, bacon, ham, vegetables or tomatoes). Also a different soup each day. Selection of fruits, cereals, yoghurts, pastries and breads were also on offer. Pancakes and eggs made to order were also available. I went and saw the egg ladies and got an omelette. Very large serve and quite good. Went outside and hubby was sitting listening to the band... Waitress had seen him when he sat down, but he was still waiting on cutlery and tea and coffee... SO I began to understand “Fiji Time”. By the time he got back from his trip to the buffet still nothing.... I went and found some cutlery and went and asked about tea and coffee.... turns out they had run out of tea and coffee pots that morning and were waiting for some to be washed....
After breakfast went and had a lay out by the pool. Read my book and relaxed. Wedding was at 3.00pm so we had to round up the groom at around 12.30pm and get him dressed up and prepared. Headed over to his parents room (614) one of the double story units right on south beach. These were nice, two bathrooms, one upstairs with the bedroom and a fold out couch downstairs in the lounge for a second bed. They had a lovely patio area out the back looking onto the beach and an upstairs deck. At 2.30pm we went down to reception where the “Bula Bus” a Fiji style truck with bench seats along the back would be taking us down to sunset beach for the wedding. The set up at the beach was lovely. The bride was dropped down in the little “love truck” white decked out bridal mini truck / golf cart. So cute! Ceremony was short and whilst the bridal party did the photos we were served champagne. The is no chairs or shade at Sunset Beach and there was a fair bit of wind, so the kids and old people were complaining, but the view and colour of the water was amazing. So we loaded the bride and groom into the love truck and we all went back in the Bula bus.
Reception was at the North Beach Boat Bure at 6.30pm with a specially put on Lovo. Whilst we were waiting the bride and groom had us come up to their room for a while. They had honeymoon suite way up past the airstrip. They got the use of a golf cart for the stay to get to and from their room (would have been a 15 minute walk to reception). We went to reception and asked for a lift and they were happy to drop us off at 007. This is the furthest of the Honeymoon suites. Lovely room, amazing bathroom with sunken outdoor spa and huge deck, and direct beach access. To get into the spirit of things we pimped out the golf cart with some Fiji Gold cans tied behind it and a “Just married” sign made out of a pizza box.... The resort staff thought it was very funny. During predinner drinks some of the guests decided to go and join in the resorts Kava ceremony. They all came back a little worse for wear and with numb tongues!!
Dinner had lots of choices from the lovo and some cold salad and seafood options as well. Desserts were lots of different cakes, fruits and Spanish churros with chocolate dip. Staff were friendly and the guitarist that played for us was lovely. The couple had brought wine over from Australia and beer and softdrink was included. Spirits could be charged back to your room. One of the more colourful guests found a special at the bar and came back saying her had “$30 for a of pi$$”. This turned out to be an ice bucket with 7 pre mix drinks (like vodka cruiser /udl type things). Otherwise there drinks are $7 each. Same guest after indulging in a few may have “borrowed” the catering departments golf cart and gone for a spin down to the beach.... security staff took this well and jus asked him nicely to take it back to where he found it!!! Same guest also went for a skinny dip in the main pool partway through the wedding reception. At around 11.30pm the wedding party was told they were clearing up the area and asked everyone to relocated to the main lounge, which kicked on til about 1am.