Fiji: McKay's 30th birthday

Fiji: McKay’s 30th birthday

For my 30th birthday, Esther took me on vacation to an undisclosed location—turns out that location was Fiji.  Fiji is perhaps the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to.  We stayed on a very secluded island resort called Nanuya Island Resort, located midway Yasawa Group of Islands in Fiji.

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Starting with the bad, the only negative part of the trip was actually getting there.  Although it’s only a 3.5 hour flight from Sydney to Nadi, the Nadi international airport is a nightmare to get through.  Lots of lines and people; not enough service at customs.  Plus, once we arrived at the main island, we then had to get to the outer island where we were staying.

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Esther was a little grumpy after the red eye, but a very yummy Vonu beer (which means “turtle”) settled her down a bit.

If I ever see Vonu at a bottle shop, I’ll pick up a six pack.  It’s a delicious beer.


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There are two ways to get to our island: 1) a water commuter boat which would have taken us about 5 hours b/c they stop at every resort along the way (and ours was near the end of the line); 2) sea plane.

Esther opted for the sea plane and it was an absolute blast.  Once the sea plane (finally) arrived to pick us up, the fun part of vacay started.


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I got to fly the plane for about 5 minutes… definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

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The view of the islands from the sea plane.

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Once you’re out there, everyone taxi’s around via boat.  Now that I think about it, I didn’t see a single car or road once we were off the main land.

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Our “bure” aka bungalow.  Very clean and nice.  We loved it.

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The view from our patio.

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Beautiful vegetation and scenery everywhere.  At night (and during the rain) these really fat toads would come out and hop around.

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The bar at the lodge.

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We got so tired from swimming, reading, and sun bathing so we felt that we had earned a break.

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Esther and her new book—Steve Jobs’ biography in an unpretentious 5 kilos.

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Pre-dinner cocktails.

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The sunset.

One of the best parts about the island was the proximity of the other small islands around it, which meant there weren’t many ocean waves.  Just calm water perfect for swimming and snorkeling.


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One day we went to a water cave w/ eels swimming at the bottom.

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A shot of our bungalows from a boat.

The weather was a little off-and-on while we were there.


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On my actual birthday, it poured rain the entire time.  But luckily it didn’t effect the snorkeling.  I was still able to go out for a swim.  Even in the rain, Fiji is very relaxing.

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My 30th birthday dinner…  Look at how mature I am.

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One of the “watch outs” in Fiji is the food. We had heard that many resorts don’t have very good food and we actually experienced some strange tasting food on the main island.

But the food at our resort was OUTSTANDING.  Lots of reef fish, lobster, steak, and chicken.  We had a “banafie” pie (banana & toffee) that was probably our favourite dessert.


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The Scrabble got pretty intense during the trip.  Esther beat me by 1 point in two of the three games, but in the third game I smashed her by 40.  So I was a +38 on the week… no big deal.

Is “yac” a word?  Hrmmmmmmm… IDK Esther.


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The #1 highlight of the trip for me was the snorkeling.  Just 10 metres off the shore of our resort in the water behind me was hundreds of reef fish swimming among bright coral. The only other place I’ve been snorkeling/scuba diving was at the Great Barrier Reef, and I would say that the snorkeling at our resort was better than that.  I spent several hours out there and hope to come back to do more some day.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation or even a honey moon.  Most of the couples we met on our trip were staying for 2-4 weeks and island hopping from resort to resort.  Many of the couples we met said that Nanuya Resort was the best one they had visited yet.

If you want to step it up to a 5-star resort, Turtle Island Resort was on the island adjacent to us.  It’s about FJ$2,000 a night to stay there, but it’s all inclusive and apparently very luxurious.

The final thing to keep in mind when taking a trip to Fiji, all prices on the island are in Fijian dollars.  So fancy beach cocktails were about $12 and dinner main courses were about $30-$40 dollars… but that’s all in Fijian. The Australian exchange rate (when we visited) was $1.80 so really, you’re looking at just under 50% of the cost that an Australian vacation would cost.  Outstanding value!

I hope to visit Fiji again when we have a couple of weeks to really unwind and island hop a more.  It’s a place I will never forget.