Our first stop in Fiji was at the Westin Hotel on Denarau Island just outside Fiji’s second biggest town Nadi on the west coast. The capital is Suva, about 3 hours away. Denarau Island was created by draining swamp land to create a focus for the growing tourist industry, there is a golf course in the middle and around the outside they have built two Sheratons, a Hilton, a Sofitel and the Westin (there maybe others but those are the ones we saw). There is also a Marina, Port Denarau, where all the fishing and diving trips and day cruises go from. It is all very upmarket and glossy but apart from the lovely Fijian people who work there it is all a bit generic and sterile. The most bizarre thing about the Denarau Island holiday paradise is, there is no beach!! Our room was very comfortable, the pool was nice and there were two restaurants and a café. The one outstanding feature of the hotel was the breakfast buffet!! It had everything you could think of including a juice bar where you could blend your own juices from bowls of fruit, veg herbs and spices. It even had complimentary sparkling wine (Blanc de Blanc) every morning just in case you needed to pep up the orange juice. Continue reading Fiji, part 1 (and part 2)
Well, what can we tell you all about Samoa? In brief it is a beautiful country with lovely people and stunning scenery.
We arrived early in the morning on our flight from Honolulu and were met by Michael, a member of staff from The Seabreeze Resort, our first stop in Samoa, he had a car waiting complete with iced water and cold towels to refresh us after our journey – great start.
We arrived at Hilo airport at the south end of the island, picked up our hire car and drove approx. 30 miles to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It was an easy ride through residential suburbs and pleasant forest; the road climbed gently but there was nothing to suggest that we were driving up a live, and very active volcano. We arrived at the National Park entrance, stopped at the visitor information centre to pick up some maps and talked to a park ranger to find out how they suggested we use our time in the park. Opposite the visitor centre we saw the entrance to the Volcano House Hotel, it looked similar to other park lodges we have stayed in, nothing fancy and all about the park location. We left our bags in the car while we checked in, and then went to find the bar to get some lunch. Wow, that was when we saw the view!! Looking out of the panoramic window in the bar we looked straight out onto the crater of Kilauea, and right in the middle, in a smaller crater we could see smoke rising in a cloud into the air. Continue reading The Big Island (Hawaii 5.2)
For our stay in Maui we were booked in to the Inn at Mama’s Fish House; a group of holiday cottages clustered around a famous fish restaurant. When we checked in we were upgraded to a two-bedroom garden cottage, it was beautiful, really spacious, tastefully furnished and recently fully refurbished at great expense. We discovered a welcome tray in the kitchen with the usual tea and coffee but also a loaf of homemade banana cake, a huge fresh papaya and a fresh lime – that was breakfast sorted for one morning. Having had an early start we didn’t stray far that afternoon, but we did walk through the restaurant to see the beach. The setting was idyllic, a beautiful tropical garden opened on to a grove of palm trees and a virtually private beach, technically all the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public but this was as private as could be. The beach was steep and there was a reef off shore which protected it from the surf, in between was an area of rock pools. Not really a swimming beach but great to sit and gaze at.
Well, we can’t tell you very much about Kauai, the bug we picked up in Alaska and the journey to Hawaii left us pretty exhausted, add in the sudden change of temperature and we were good for nothing for a couple of days. That said the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation Hotel was a pretty good place to convalesce! We stayed in our room quite a bit but when we did feel up to going outside the gardens were beautiful and as for the beach, well the photo’s speak for themselves.