Travel

Fiji is Open. Here’s Where You Should Go First

Pack your bags.

things to do fiji
Photo: @fijivacations

Recognising Fiji Day and 51 years of the island nation’s independence, the country’s Prime Minister gave the news that after nearly two years of being closed, its borders will once again be opened to international visitors wanting a slice of Fijian happiness from December 1, 2021.  

Fiji remains an ideal destination where travellers can spread out amongst 333 islands, stay in boutique resorts, have an entire beach to themselves, and escape any crowds. Whether looking for an adventure, a romantic getaway, or a leisurely vacation, Fiji provides the perfect level of remoteness to detach from the worries of back home, from just 3.5 hours flight from the East coast of Australia. 

Before you pack your bags, there are a few things you need to know.

How to get to Fiji

When it comes to flying to Fiji from Australia, there’s no better airline than Fiji Airways. They fly direct from most major cities in the world, including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

How to get into Fiji

To enter Fiji, you will need to be fully vaccinated and come from a “Travel Partner” country (defined as one with high vaccination rates and low-test positivity rates). Currently, these are Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Travellers are no longer required to produce a Covid-19 pre-departure PCR or Rapid Antigen Tests, as of April 29, 2022.

If you’re flying back from Fiji, from November 1, 2021, Australian travellers returning from overseas no longer have to hotel quarantine. Find out more here.

Current restrictions to know

When you land in Fiji, within the first 48 hours, you should book transfers, tours, accommodation, and adventures supported by CareFiji Commitment.

things to do fiji
Photo: @bulaccino

Eat like a king in Fiji

A raft of new restaurants and bars have opened up all around Fiji, including an Airstream pizza van, serving piping hot slices. In Wailoaloa, you will find a beachfront bar, with great cocktails, food and music at night. The Distillery Co Fiji is worth a visit if you want to try their Blue Turtle Gin and Make Vula Vodka—created from scratch using native herbs. 

Unique Food Experiences
Bulaccino, a popular café in Nadi, Denarau and Suva, launched tours to their organic farm in 2020 to bring awareness to the food that is served on their plates. Over in Taveuni, the Gaiatree Sanctuary is a great example of ‘farm-to-table growing their own organic Fijian superfoods, fruits, herbs and spices. Their Spice of Life tour includes a full immersion in the farm followed by a delicious lunch prepared using all the ingredients across the farm. KokoMana in Savusavu has a tour of their cacao farm where they demonstrate ‘tree to bar’ chocolate. Learning about the whole process of how cocoa is made into fine-flavour chocolate, KokoMana is one of the few places in the world where chocolate is made just a few metres away from cocoa trees.

things to do fiji
Photo: @likuriisland

Where to stay on the main island

The main island is where most travellers start. If you’re looking for places to stay, head to Likuri Island Resort for a true Fijian island experience on the Coral Coast. Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is also great if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, with the luxuries of the Marriott brand. Situated on the north part of the island is Volivoli Beach Resort, great for those who love soft adventure including diving and snorkelling, kayaking through mangroves, and tours to waterfalls. You will find a blend of white sandy beaches, coral reefs, a sunny climate year-round, plus friendly Fijian hospitality and culture with an exciting range of water sports. It’s the less touristy part of the island.

things to do fiji
Photo:@shangrila.fiji

Plan an adults-only escape

If you’re looking to escape from the kids, especially after months of homeschooling, then you’re in luck, some of Fiji’s resorts have adult-only wings. The Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, offers a range of accommodation options, as well as access to the Marina for day trips to Mamanucas (Malamala Beach Club) or Tivua Island with Captain Cook Cruises. The Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa has the Waitu Wing, which is an adults-only with poolside fine dining, and a cocktail bar in the converted wedding chapel. The resort has had a full renovation so lots of new dining options over at the main resort too. Book the Reef Wing at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort for complimentary afternoon canapes and cocktails, and its own pool area.

things to do fiji
Photo: @cloud9_fiji

Take a day trip

There are plenty of fun day trips to be had in Fiji. Cloud 9 is a two-level floating platform in the middle of the Mamanuca Islands, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two, and dance to the DJ onboard. The Malamala Beach Club is on its own island and only a 25-minute ferry ride from Port Denarau. You can also hike Fiji’s dramatic peaks on the Talonoa Treks or surf the waves at Cloudbreak. Eco-Trax is an abandoned sugar railway line, which has been given a second life. By way of electric-assisted bicycles mounted side by side, the tracks take visitors along the beautiful Coral Coast through villages, mangroves and pristine coastline to arrive at an unspoiled beach for a swim and tropical fruits.

things to do fiji

Rent an Airbnb and call Fiji home for a few days

Airbnb’s offer a home away from home, so why not rent one for the family for your next visit to Fiji. This villa is a stunning one bedroom mountainside home, perfect for honeymoons and romantic getaways. On Maravu, you will find this two-bedroom island retreat, offering acres of privacy, with access to the water, snorkelling, restaurants, and a horizon edge pool. For the family holiday, book the Grand Villa, which accommodates up to eight guests. Perched on a hillside, the villa offers palm trees and sandy beaches just steps from the front door. It also comes fully staffed with a cook and housekeepers.

things to do fiji
Photo: @Southseacruises

Venture to the outer islands

Fiji is made up of over 300 islands, each offering its own slice of beach and jungle, and cuisine. Head to rain-soaked islands such as Vanua Levu and Taveuni, for a more off the beaten track experience. You can hike trails, chase waterfalls, and get lost in the jungle. The Yasawa Island is remote and less developed, offering nature experiences, while Wakaya Island is where you go to indulge in luxury at the all-inclusive Wakaya Club and Spa. Kadavu is known for its world-class diving spots and volcanic peaks, which are dramatic, and beautiful.

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Travel

Find Volcanoes, Wine Islands, and Thrills in Auckland

One minute you're on a ferry to wine island, the next you could be bungy jumping off of New Zealand's tallest tower.

things to do auckland
Photo: Natasha Bazika

The city of Auckland is a free spirit. It is easily the most geographically blessed city in New Zealand. Within an hour, you could be tasting wines on an island, chasing more than 50 volcanoes, or leaving footprints on a black sand beach. Keep in mind, that Auckland is the country’s most populous city but certainly doesn’t feel cramped.

Instead, the city is buzzing with trendy eateries, boutique shops, quiet streets, and expansive green parks. Around every corner, you’re never too far from something beautiful to see.

From world-class wines to kickass thrills, here’s where to find what you’re looking for in Auckland.

things to do auckland

Seek the thrills

If you thought Queenstown was the home of the adrenaline rush, wait until you see Auckland. In the middle of the city, you can jump off a sky tower or a bridge, zip through the jungle, and scream on a high-octane jet boat ride. The Sky Tower, which can be seen from every corner of Auckland is more than just a landmark. Take a ride to the top and sign up for a Skywalk, where you can wander around the platform, which just so happens to be 192 metres above the ground. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping, you can always jump off it. It’s New Zealand’s highest jump, and can only be described as just like being a movie stuntman, or a superhero. 

The other iconic place to jump off of is the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Unlike the Sky Jump, this one will have thrill seekers dipping their hands and head in the ocean. It’s a 40-metre Bungy, and a great experience. Although, if you’d rather still take advantage of the bridge views, book a climb, which takes you right to the top for sweeping views of the city.

Another way to take in the city is via Auckland Adventure Jet, which takes passengers for spins and tricks on the water.

Just a 35-minute boat ride from Auckland is Waiheke Island, where thrill-seekers will find Eco Zip Adventures. Across three separate lines, you will zip high above a working vineyard and lush, ancient forest canopies, soaking up incredible views back to the city and beyond.

things to do auckland
Photo: Natasha Bazika

Sip wine on Waiheke Island

Whether you want to spend a weekend or a day, Waiheke Island is a must-visit. It’s around a 35-minute ferry ride to the island from Auckland, and once there you can hop from winery to winery. The island is quite large and the terrain is rugged, so trust the experts and book a tour with Ananda Tours. The small, family-run business is owned by Jenny who has been on the island since before the vines were planted and she’s the best person to seek out when getting the Waiheke Island experience. You can book a private tour or group tour, and they can be catered to your preferences and tastes. A few standout stops include Kennedy Point, where they produce fully certified organic Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay wines. You can also state estate-grown olive oils, which the island has plenty of. Enjoy a tasting on the deck with views of Kennedy Bay, or enjoy a picnic under the olive grove.

For the best views on the island, head to Batch Vineyard. As the highest vineyard on Waiheke, you will be treated to panoramic views of the rolling hills, blue waters, and even Auckland city. Their sparkling wine, Blanc de Blancs is a must-try.

When it comes to lunch, there are two spots to choose from. The first is Stonyridge, which is also where you can taste premium award-winning wines, including a Cabernet blend Larose—New Zealand’s cult wine. The second is Mudbrick, a romantic spot, set amongst beautiful gardens with even more spectacular views, and a bar and bistro serving up some of the best dishes on the island.

things to do auckland
Photo: Natasha Bazika

Eat your way through the city

Auckland’s dining scene isn’t pretentious, but the food quality is good enough to rival the best restaurants in New York—but the city doesn’t like to brag. Instead, it celebrates good food in every setting, from waterside restaurants to trendy Mexican eateries in a shopping centre.

Inca, is helmed by critically acclaimed chef, Nic Watt. Inspired by Watt’s travels to Peru, diners can expect to find Nikkei cuisine, including spicy chicken karaage, hand-pressed corn tacos filled with pork cheek and spicy tuna. You wouldn’t expect to find such a good restaurant in a shopping centre, but there it is.

Another great trendy restaurant is Hello Beasty, which is home to the famous, prawn and crab toast. This work of art starts with a slice of crispy deep-fried bread, smothered with prawn and crab mousse. On top, there are slices of wagyu, drizzled with a sweet and sour sauce. Although, there are plenty of other great dishes on the menu, including a Sichuan tuna tartare, Korean fried cauliflower, and potstickers swimming in chilli oil. Try the yuzu mandarin soda if you’re looking for something fizzy to go with dinner or lunch.

Deli De Bossi is a recent opening and already becoming a favourite breakfast spot. Apart from coffee, you can get all kinds of toasted sandwiches, filled with everything from mushrooms to hams and salamis.

Another iconic eat-hit list is Parade in Ponsonby. Here, the burgers are served in a pretzel bun and filled with chicken or beef.

Most of these restaurants are casual, but if you’re looking for something a little fancy, book a table at Kingi. Taking cues from Sydney’s own Josh Niland, the dishes at Kingi focus on sustainable seafood, caught locally by local fishermen. The blue cod wings are a must. They’re covered in burnt lime and served with a ranch sauce for dipping. The stracciatella with feijoa is also a standout dish, that’s light and a great start to a meal. Inside, the dining room is cosy with bench seats, fire heaters, and exploded brick walls.

After dinner, walk down the street and grab dessert from Miann. The flavour of the day is always chocolate, and they serve up seriously good desserts. Try the tasting platter for a piece of each pastry on the menu of the day, or pick one that is most desirable to you. Although, the tasting platter is only $23 and you’d be missing out on tasting a little of everything they offer if you didn’t get it.

things to do auckland
Photo: Natasha Bazika

Discover art, culture, and movie magic

One of the best ways to learn about a city or country is by visiting its top museums and galleries. The Auckland War Memorial Museum sits atop a hill in Auckland’s Domain, which also happens to be the city’s oldest volcano. This museum is one of the most important as it tells the story of New Zealand’s natural and military history. Take a self-guided walking tour to explore at your own pace. There are plenty of interactive features for the kids and adults. The museum also hosts exhibitions. An ancient Greek exhibition is currently on display and is one of the largest exhibitions the British Museum has ever loaned to Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Art lovers, spend a few hours wandering around the Auckland Art Gallery, Toi O Tāmaki. You will find artworks from around the world, including a Picasso or two. Although, the exhibitions are a real treat. Yona Lee’s, An Arrangement of Five Rooms is an incredible installation, spanning multiple rooms, which you can sit on and touch—to immerse yourself in the artwork. Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda, is another must-see exhibition exploring the most pressing issues of our times: climate change and resilience, tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty), activism and social justice.

While art and history museums are insightful and a great way to educate a visitor, there are some other museum types that can be a lot of fun and interactive. Weta Workshop Unleashed is a new Auckland attraction and an incredible experience you don’t want to miss. Step into the world of filmmaking, explore how horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films are made and at times feel as if you’re in a movie. Comedic tour guides will introduce you to movies that are in production and explain every aspect, from prop making to effects, and more. There are even mysteries to be solved, making it fun for the whole family. It’s truly an unmissable experience in Auckland, and one of the best, unique tours you might ever experience.

things to do auckland
Photo: @sidwithlens

Walk on a volcano

Erupting over 100,000 years ago, Pukekawa is one of Auckland’s oldest and most popular volcanoes. Today, the Domain parkland is the remains of the explosion crater and most of the surrounding tuff ring of Pukekawa. Most days you will see people running around the park, families picnicking on the weekend, and tourists snapping photos by the pond or under a magnificent tree, grown from an experiment conducted by the Auckland Acclimatisation Society. Enter from one end, enjoy a picturesque walk, and exit through the historic Parnell shopping and restaurant area. On a sunny day, the atmosphere is charged with romance, but even in the rain, it’s a moody, beautiful sight to see. The Auckland War Memorial Museum’s large neo-Greek architecture is also a standout, commanding top-of-the-mountain views.

where to stay in auckland

Where to stay in Auckland

If you’re looking to sleep on top of the world, you can’t beat a room in Cordis Auckland’s new Pinnacle Tower. From the pillowy-cloud-like beds, guests have sweeping views of the city from the Sky Tower to Rangitoto and Mount Eden. Enjoy a breakfast buffet in the Eight restaurant downstairs, and canapes and drinks in the Cordis Club lounge on the 14th floor. There’s also a health club, spa, and swimming pool. The hotel is within walking distance to some of the best eateries in Auckland, making it a prime option.

Although, if you’re looking to stay in the heart of Britomart, Auckland’s hub of shopping, eating, and drinking, then The Hotel Britomart is where you want to be. From its exterior of hand-made bricks to its beautifully timber-lined rooms, The Hotel Britomart does detail like nobody else. Plus, the best of downtown waterfront Auckland is just outside your front door. With 5 Green Star Design and Build ratings from the NZ Green Building Council, The Hotel Britomart is the country’s ONLY 5 Green Star hotel, and has sustainability built in from the ground up. 

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