One of my favourite phrases I try to incorporate into my daily routine is; “You’re on FIJI TIME”, never heard of that saying before? Well until I had a local Fijian – several local Fijians actually, say it to me, I would have had no clue on what the heck that meant either.
It was another stressful day at work. Trying to distract myself, I start browsing through Instagram and Facebook. I couldn’t help but look at all those photos of lucky travellers basking under the sun, laying on powder white sand, with only a crystal clear ocean in sight. Photo after photo, I kept seeing one particular spot that I absolutely fell in love with. Where is this blissful paradise you might ask?
A country made up of more than 300 islands; filled with beautiful beaches, lakes, people full of character – and not an exaggeration but permanently stamped smiles on their faces. It is Fiji of course.
Luckily for me, this blissful paradise is only a short flight away. During the 4 hours flight from Sydney to Nadi, I scan through the list of backpackers accommodation I had made after reading countless reviews and finally decide on one (Yes, you guessed it. I didn’t book prior to leaving!).
Although the drive to Bamboo Backpackers from Nadi International Airport took as little as 15 minutes, I felt a little panic. I had no idea where I was and the whole drive was in complete darkness. Suddenly feeling at ease when the beautiful ocean surrounded by trees with hammocks came to sight. I arrived in Wailoaloa Bay.
Luck was on my side, Bamboo Backpackers being one of the most popular hostels had an available bed. Although even if there wasn’t one, there were many hostels nearby to choose from – beds as cheap as $10aud a night.
Along with other travellers, I settled into some sort of routine. Our days consisted of lazing about by the water, joining the locals play sports or pool, having sneaky naps on the hammocks and eating delicious Fijian cuisine. Once the sun went down, we would all make our way to join the locals with their Kava night. We listened to them play their guitars, whilst we passed around a wooden shell where we would drink Kava (now this isn’t the best tasting drink but wow the effects of it was strong). I would only need a few big gulps until I found myself on a hammock, watching the stars, not a care in the world, completely relaxed.
Wailoaloa Bay is the backpackers’ dream. Travellers from all over the world instantly connected, we were all some what trying to leave behind our chaotic lives we live back home and just wanted to experience the proper Fijian Island life and culture – and that we did.
TIP: Make sure to join the daily activities the hostel has to offer. The trips to Nadi town, village and markets are a great way to experience the Fijian culture.
Sabeto Hot Springs & Mud Pool
Ever think being covered in mud and feeling that slimy dirt harden, whilst it dries on your skin would be fun? Far from it, right?
I have no idea how my roommate managed to convince me to do this with her but oh I am so glad she did.
My favourite Fijian experience was exactly that – being lathered in mineral mud, feeling it slowly dry, harden and crack on my skin. I felt like a little kid again, covering myself with mud, splashing it onto my roommate – for once in a long time I felt completely carefree.
And then what did we do once we were ready to rid of the mud? We dipped into what looked like a massive hole in the ground filled with brown water – doesn’t sound too appealing does it? But once in there, the water felt perfect against my body, it was the ideal temperature, and the mud instantly washed off.
We were then taken to other hot springs, where we could relax, and as usual just laze about. A worker decides to join us, we ask her about all the benefits of mud baths and hot springs.
Not only are they great for a day of unwinding and pampering, they are believed to alleviate aches and muscle pains, cleanse not only our skin but also our soul.
My visit to the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud pool was an unforgettable experience.
After a few days of lazing about at the backpackers, I decided it was time to explore out of Nadi. You know those holiday photos you see on ads? The ones that make you think to yourself, “Yep, that is definitely edited, it is just too beautiful for it to be real” . Well after a short ferry ride from Port Denarau, Nadi, I hopped off the boat and felt like I stepped right into a billboard ad.
I had arrived at a small island – an island surrounded by glassy, turquoise water that glistened under the sun, powdered white sand that felt like baby powder against my feet, and filled with coconut trees that gently swayed with every slight breeze. Stunning is an understatement.
It is a perfect place for relaxation and over dosing on your Vitamin D levels.
I have to admit, I really envied the couples I saw EVERYWHERE on this island. It is a perfect piece of paradise, a place where you should spend time with someone you love. In saying that, if you’re like me and love your own company, it is still an awesome island to check out solo. The minute I stepped onto that island, I became friends with the workers there. They showed me cool spots to go snorkelling, the best spots in the island to chill on a hammock and sunbake, and they made me amazing cocktails whilst trying to teach me some Fijian language. I couldn’t be happier with how my time at Treasure Island turned out. There were so many things to do on that island – solo, a couple or as a family.
TIP: Treasure is just one of the many beautiful islands that make up the Mamanuca chain so if you’re not strapped for time be sure to check out the other islands, each one equally as beautiful as the other. Although for solo travellers I recommend Beachcomber and Bounty.
You’re on Fiji time
Throughout my short time in Fiji, I developed very strong friendships with not only other backpackers but also with the locals. The locals who worked for the hostel, hung around the beach, and even locals whom I met during bus rides and ferry rides – they all had something in common which made it so easy for others to warm up to them. Every single one of them were happy to sit back, have a chat and have a good laugh. As I said before, Fijian’s are full of character. Majority of them are honest, very genuine and have the intention to assist anyone who may need it. On top of that, they also enjoy throwing around the phrase “You’re on Fiji time”, it was a phrase us tourists heard regularly. Being a very curious person, on my last day in Fiji, I had to ask the true meaning of that saying.
“Relax, you’re in Fiji, the pace here is slower because we believe nothing good ever happens in a hurry, if you don’t stress, it will just happen eventually”
After just a few days, I felt like I became a brand new person. By surrounding myself with the beautiful Fijian locals, observing and experiencing their way of life, acquiring knowledge on their culture, I was able to change my perspective on how I deal with stress and any issues that may come my way – whether it’d be work related, relationships or financial worries, I learnt how to deal with the stress just like the locals – live my life on Fiji time.
Fiji is definitely a great place to unwind, learn new skills and top up on some Vitamin D. Whichever type of travel experience you’re looking for, Fiji will have you covered!