Day 174 – Fiji to Melbourne

Our final day in Fiji and there’s nothing else I’d like to do than to sunbathe but I think the weather has other ideas. We managed to catch a few rays in the morning but by midday a big dark cloud had arrived and it was raining for most of the day. With our flight this evening, we had a fair few hours to kill.

After grabbing some lunch next door, we played a few card games with a couple of girls on our Feejee Experience tour and then read for the rest of the afternoon before heading to the airport.

The flight to Melbourne was at 8.20pm and we were due to arrive at 12.40am. Taking this into account as well as the stories we’ve heard from other travellers about the strict Australian customs, we figured we probably wouldn’t be out of the airport until around 1.30am at the very earlier.

Because of our late arrival, the plan was to sleep at the airport for a few hours before heading over to our booked hostel early in the morning. Australia will probably be the most expensive country we visit on our RTW trip and with hostel prices averaging around £17-20 a night in a dorm, we really need to keep an eye on our budget.

The flight from Nadi to Melbournedeparted on-time and smoothly, a bit too smoothly as we arrived more than an hour earlier than expected! In two minds as to what to do, we called up our hostel which we had booked for the following night to see if they had any beds for the night. No was the answer. By the time we had finished discussing what we wanted to do that night, it was almost midnight and we decided to just stay at the airport. That, at least, would save us around £40 for the night.

We headed upstairs and found a closed cafe with stools outside. A few people had the same idea as us and were already set up for the night. We had three stools each and pushed them together to make a bed and rested our heads. Considering there was an announcement every 20 minutes and bright lights, I actually managed to get some sleep though it was very disrupted.

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Day 173 – Feejee Experience Day 4: Playing in the mud pools

We woke this morning relatively hungover-free considering the amount of alcohol we drank last night. To top it off, breakfast was spent listening to a few of the girls complaining about bed bugs. Two or three of them had bites all over their arms and backs….unlucky!

It’s the last day of the tour and we spent the morning chilling out on a beach before heading for lunch at what appeared to be someone’s house which had a large front garden.

The itinerary stated that we would be having an “Indo-Fijian” lunch. Which part was Fijian, I’m not too sure as it was basically a curry but perhaps I’m just being slightly ignorant. Before lunch, we had a roti making class where we could each cook our own rotis. We had to roll out the dough before cooking it on a wood-fired BBQ to be served with our main meal which consisted of four little curry dishes.

Rolling out the roti

Rolling out the roti

Cooking the roti

Cooking the roti

Now it's John's turn

Now it’s John’s turn

After lunch we headed to  the Sabeto hot mud pools. We arrived at the first pool but this wasn’t that warm so we headed over to another pool. This was nicer as it was warmer and more secluded. Once we had enough, we cleaned up at the on-site shower facilities and started to hang out with the millions of kids at the pools playing ball games.

They were so cute and so enthusiastic to play games with us.

Playing with the kids

Playing with the kids

After spending around an hour and a half or so at the mud pools, we got back into the van for the last time to be dropped off at our respective resorts, ours would be Mama’s Tropic of Capricorn again.

On the way back, we realised that we forgot to pick up our bag of clothes which we left at the side of the mudpool. The bag had my leggings and John’s T-shirt…slightly frustrating as they were my only pair of leggings with me but I guess they’re pretty cheap and I can probably pick some up in Australia.

After saying goodbye to Emmy and Mr P, we arrived back at Mama’s in good time where we spent the evening eating Fijian fish and having a few drinks.

Our last team photo before going separate ways

Our last team photo before going separate ways

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Day 172 – Feejee Experience Day 3: Visiting a Fijian village and school

It’s time to get our sarongs as we visited a tiny Fijian village and school. But first, we stopped off in Suva city to buy some stationary for the kids. We walked around a few shops and returned to the van armed with some pencils and notebooks as well as a new pair of sunglasses for me.

We then made our way to Wailotua village on the east side of the island. We arrived at a Fijian home where we all had to wear our sarongs. Girls also had to cover their shoulders out of respect. On our arrival, we were greeted by members of the village with a big Bula before handing us a flower necklace each.

Me and John with our sarongs and flower necklaces

Me and John with our sarongs and flower necklaces

Inside, us tourists sat on one side of the room whilst the members of the village sat on the other side with the men at the front and the women at the back. Mo was chosen as the chief to represent us so he got to sit at the front. After introducing ourselves and learning a bit more about the Fijian culture, we headed into the back room where lunch was served. There were prawns, vegetables, rice and various other delicious items.

Village members singing a song for us

Village members singing a song for us

Once our bellies were filled, we headed over to the village school which was just a few minutes walk down the road. It was a tiny school and after a quick walk around the school we headed to the classroom with all the kids. As soon as we appeared you could see the excitement in the childrens’ faces.

We sat on chairs at the front of the class whilst the children sang songs and performed dances for us. You could see that they were all eager to please with some mini dance-offs happening among some of the girls. Funny stuff. At the end, the children all got up and got us all up to dance with them. It was very cute.

The village school

The village school

The kids performing a dance for us

The kids performing a dance for us

Now for some more water fun. We headed towards a little river where we were met with two bamboo rafts which are used as a traditional Fijian transport method along the river. Luckily the river wasn’t very deep so I felt relatively safe although when we sat on the raft we were pretty much sat in the water from the weight of us all. When we got to our destination we had a bit of time to splash around in the water. The guides made us play a game of cat and mouse which actually was a little bit scary – I hate being chased not that I was the mouse or anything.

We then headed back to the village where we dried off and returned to the home with all the members of the village. I had to borrow a long sleeve top off Erin as mine was soaking wet from the rafting and I didn’t have another spare shoulder covering top. Back in the house, the village members sang songs for us and each of us gave a thank you speech. They then got us all up to dance like the kids did at the school. A lot of fun!

As the day came to a close we said our goodbyes and headed to Volivoli Beach where we stayed at Uprising Beach Resort. This was the nicest of the resorts with the nicest pool and bar area with sand on your feet. We were put in dorms of four. As it was our final night, we all decided to make a bit of a night of it. After dinner, me, John, Erin, Lucinda, Geoff and Becky drank in our dorms and then began drinking games in the bar. It was a lot of fun and  we all got very very drunk with Lucinda passing out in the toilets and being carried back to the dorm by the big strong Kiwi guy.

Playing drinking games

Playing drinking games

Once people started heading to bed, me, John, Erin, Becky and Geoff decided to head to the pool. Erin, Becky and Geoff decided to strip and go skinny dipping in the pool. John jumped in with just his boxers whilst I stayed on the side of the pool still drinking with Emmy.

At about 3am, we finally headed up to sleep. Me and John moved into Becky and Erin’s dorm as Lucinda was being sick in our room and we didn’t want to sleep there. Plus they had two spare beds.

So yet another eventful day but it’s been great.

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Day 171 – Feejee Experience Day 2: Rainforest trek to a waterfall

After a relatively low key evening, we were up early ready for today’s activity of walking through a rainforest to a waterfall. I put on the cheapo pumps I had bought yesterday specifically for today’s task as we were told that our shoes may get ruined.

A group of us got into the back of a pick-up type truck and took us to our starting point. The walk was pretty easy but very swampy and at time our foot up to our ankles would be submerged in warm, muddy water  – I’m so glad I bought these pumps instead of wearing my walking boots! We walked through several streams which came up to your knees but most of the walk was through grassland rather than a typical rainforest.

After about an hour or so we arrived at the bottom of a pool. Apparently we had to trek another 20 minutes or so to get to the top to see the waterfall before sliding down three pools to the bottom. Whilst everyone was enthusiastically stripping down to their swimwear, I got a bit panicky and scared because I didn’t know how deep the water would be by the waterfall, especially if I had to swim down the three pools back to the start.

But I was assured by the Fijian leaders that I would be able to walk back down though they said it would be a little bit difficult as it was steep, very wet and swampy. I went anyway but didn’t bring my swimwear as I assumed I wouldn’t be splashing around in the deep water and swimming back down considering I can’t tread water.

When we got to the top, we arrived at a little pool with a waterfall and a big swing rope. I kind of wished I had brought my swimwear now as I could have paddled int he shallow bit. Oh well. I dipped my feet into the pool and decided to be camera lady for everyone. So here are a selection of photos at the waterfall.

John jumping off from the cliff

John jumping off from the cliff

The waterfall and pool

The waterfall and pool

A couple of others also didn’t fancy sliding all the way down so we walked along the edge and carefully made our way back to the starting point.

Once everyone was dried off, we started walking back. When we eventually hit a deeper part of the stream, we were placed on a little wooden boat for a relaxing ride to our van.

On the wooden boat

On the wooden boat

After an eventful morning, we were taken to our next resort, Uprising Beach Resort. This was also pretty posh and we finally had lunch. I had a chicken caesar salad whilst John had a monstrous burger and chips. The afternoon was ours so we mostly spent it reading our books and playing card games.

In the evening just before dinner we gathered for a ‘coconut show’. During the show, a lady gave us a talk on the numerous things which you can make from coconut including a hat, armband, basket. It was like a show and tell class at school.

All ready for the coconut show

All ready for the coconut show

Modelling a coconut hat

Modelling a coconut hat

Group photo holding all things coconut with Emma and Geoff all dressed up

Group photo holding all things coconut with Emma and Geoff all dressed up

 

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Day 170 – FeeJee Experience Day 1: Sun, sand and crabs

Time for the FeeJee Experience. This was the first time we had signed up to an arranged tour after 5 months on the road. We had looked into other options about getting around the main island to see and do things, but it looked like FeeJee Experience was the best option.

We were picked up early in the morning from the van and introduced to Emmy and Mr P. Emmy the guide and Mr P the driver. There were a few pickups near us so we started to meet up with the other people on our tour. It was a real mix of people however John and I were the only couple.

The tour we booked was the Whole Hula, four days and three nights going anti-clockwise around the main island. This worked out at about £180 each. That included breakfast each morning and the activities.

With everyone on board and introduced to each other we headed to Nadi town to pick up supplies for the tour. We had to buy a sarong each (for later on the tour) and some trainers which I could ruin (also later in the tour). We had a chance to look around the town, the highlight being this little sugar cane train

Mini sugar cane train in Nadi

Mini sugar cane train in Nadi

After the excitement of the morning it was time for the beach. We stopped at Natadola Beach, a quiet beach on a bay. We had a little sunbathe and got to know some of the other members of the group before going for a swim. The swim didn’t go well, a really big wave whacked into me and knocked my sunglasses off my head. Despite John’s best efforts they were gone.

Natadola Beach, Fiji

Natadola Beach, Fiji

We sat down in the shade to eat a huge BBQ lunch which was really nice. It also gave us another chance to get to know some of the people on the tour, four young English girls, a south African, a girl from Switzerland, three lads from New Zealand and an Aussie guy.

After the beach we headed to Sigatoka Sand Dunes for some sand boarding.  We had sand boarded in Peru in Huacachina earlier in our trip, this time we used boogie boards rather than snowboards.

Ever the enthusiastic John headed up first, and went down at great speed, ran out of sand and finished in the grass.

My attempt wasn’t much better, I rushed down then hit a bump at the end and whacked into the sand using my face as a break. Cue a huge “ohhhh” from everyone watching and a very concerned John. I was ok bar a face and mouth full of sand.

Sand in the face after sandboarding

Sand in the face after sandboarding

John had another go and then Mo one of the lads from New Zealand tired to stand up on the way down.  Here was his effort.

Before we headed off we had our first little team photo, the first of many long procedures due to the 10 cameras.

FeeJee Experience Team

FeeJee Experience Team

We headed to the resort where we would be staying the night, the very nice Mango Bay resort. All of us stayed in the big dorm. We were also allowed to bring our own drink. So we stopped off at the local shop and bought a couple of crates of beer. John’s favourite, Fiji Bitter.

We had a nice meal in the evening, not traditional Fijian food but something deep fried with chips. There was then some hermit crab racing, very amusing, but I think it was fixed with the Fijian crab winning!

Hermit Crab Racing at Mango Bay Resort

Hermit Crab Racing at Mango Bay Resort

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