Swaying palm trees, beautiful beaches, hot weather - is Fiji really paradise? Well, we had a nice relaxing time in Fiji but we wouldn't travel to the other side of the world when there are beautiful beaches much closer to home. Part of the problem was that the price to go to a paradise island was extortionate compared to staying on the mainland. We opted to stay on the mainland partly because of the price and also because the paradise islands tend to be 'all in' so Richard would have starved for the week without steak and chips on the menu every night. We later met some people that actually left one of the islands early because they were bitten to death by sand flies which are much more painful and unpleasant than mosquito bites (as I found out in New Zealand). And the idyllic weather wasn't quite idyllic as it rained and was overcast for half the time we were there.
Having said all that we really did have a nice time in Fiji. We met lots of friendly people, both tourists and Fijians. The refreshing thing about the Fijians was that they didn't seem to want to sell you anything but just genuinely wanted to say hello and have a chat so we had to get out of our suspicious tourist routine and we really enjoyed chatting to people.
After one night in Nadi (pronounced Nandi) we jumped on a bus down to the Coral Coast, so called because a coral reef adjoins the shore. This means that the beach is full of white coral rather than white soft sand which looks pretty but you wouldn't want to go barefoot. Because of the tides it was impossible to go swimming in the sea until dusk because it wasn't deep enough to cover the reef. The Coral Coast is a nice area because it is picturesque and it is very quiet. A wonderful place to go to really get away from everything although there are five or six resorts within a couple of miles so we ventured out in the evening to small local bars and restaurants.
The Crow's Nest was a nice peaceful place to stay with semi-detached split-level apartments. There was a kitchen, a lounge and a balcony with a lovely view over to the palm trees and the sea. There was a great pool at the resort and the couple of days it rained we found that there was a great selection of board games at reception.
After six nights at the Crows Nest we went back to Nadi for our final two nights in Fiji and spent a couple of good nights out, the first at Wailoloa Beach, a beach with grey sand but a nice beach front hotel bar at Club Fiji and then just back from the road a very friendly small hotel called Beachside where we had a lovely meal and met some lovely people. The second night we went to the West Coast Cafe at Ed's Bar which was the most kicking place we found on Fiji but is still a laid back bar.
The next flight would take us over the date line so we actually arrived in Hawaii before we left Fiji.