Julie Fiji 7 Comments

Ahhh…Fiji.  Paradise.

Fiji was everything we expected and more. Crystal clear aquamarine water, white sandy beaches, amazing sunsets, beautiful islands.

We joke around that Fiji is our vacation from our vacation…a very long vacation, I know.  Here we got some much needed R & R from our fast paced travels around the world. I can’t complain about the challenges and busyness of long term travel…I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else in the world. But it is nice to take a break from the challenges and work that comes with long term travel, especially at the pace we are going.

Climb a Palm Tree

Fiji was not in our original itinerary when we first started this yearlong trip. While searching for flights to take us from Taiwan to New Zealand, the cheapest flights took us through Fiji. Tim asked us if a visit to Fiji sounded like a good idea and he got a very enthusiastic and unanimous answer “Yes!”

It was a no brainer to add Fiji to our itinerary so we allotted one week here, just long enough to take a little vacation and get a feel for this small island country. We could not take too long in Fiji since winter was fast approaching in New Zealand and Australia and we wanted to visit these two countries before it got too cold.

Plantation Island Resort

Fiji is a country composed of a chain of islands, some large, like the main island, Viti Levu, and some smaller, like the Yasawas and Taveuni.

We spent one week at Plantation Island Resort on the Mamanuca Islands. Typically not much of resort type travelers, it was in Fiji where we made an exception. We wanted the experience of staying on one of the smaller islands and Plantation Island Resort was perfect for us.

This resort is great for families on a budget. With three swimming pools, long stretches of beautiful beaches, ocean kayaks and paddleboards, water sports, and several restaurants, this place had it all. We were here during the Easter holidays so we were vacationing with lots of families from New Zealand and Australia, getting us even more excited for the next phase of our trip.

Plantation Island Resort is a budget resort, so it was nothing fancy. But it was its beautiful setting and its numerous water activities that made us choose this place. We stayed in a studio room in a small cottage with views of the beach. Once again, putting our money into activities rather than accommodations, we traded a stay in a one or two bedroom apartment for surfing lessons and chartered boat excursions. From our room we had a view of the beach and the sunsets, and these sunsets are some of the most beautiful we have ever seen.

Fiji Resort

Ferry to Mamanucas

Plantation Island Resort

Our Room

Plantation Island Resort

So, what is there to do for an active family in Fiji?  The list of options is endless.

Go Snorkeling

Honestly, the waters were so clear here that snorkel gear almost wasn’t necessary. Just getting off the boat and walking onto the island we could clearly see the schools of fish in the water.

No Snorkel Necessary

We did go snorkeling on two occasions, taking a boat away from Plantation Island Resort to the many reefs in the Fiji atoll.

Coral in a rainbow of colors and bright blue starfish were the highlight here. We saw some fish, small neon blue fish, larger black and yellow fish, but not in the numbers we were expecting. Still, it was a lot of fun for Tyler and Kara. Tim and Kara ditched snorkel equipment for a simple pair of goggles, preferring to swim around freely without giant goggles covering their faces.

Tyler Snorkeling

Julie Snorkeling

Blue Starfish

Go Paddle Boarding Around the Resort

We did this almost everyday. Tyler and Kara perfected their paddle boarding skills they learned in Cambodia and loved playing games where they tried to knock each other off of their boards. For Tim and I, paddle boarding was just another way to get some exercise and explore the reefs just offshore from the island.


Take a Trip to Modriki Island

Modriki Island, also called Monuriki Island, is the site where the movie “Cast Away” was filmed. It is also located in the Mamanuca Islands so it was just a short forty-five minute speedboat trip away from Plantation Island.

Tim and I loved this trip. Modriki Island is one of the most beautiful places we have seen so far. It was pretty cool playing on the beach and swimming in the ocean, right where most of the movie was filmed.

Modriki (Monuriki) Island

Check Out the Raft from the Movie “Cast Away”

On Plantation Island Resort sits the raft used in the movie “Cast Away.” Now, sixteen years after the filming of the movie, there is not much left of the raft. It is missing most of its logs, it is rusted and falling apart (the raft was constructed around a metal frame), but it was still neat to see.

Cast Away Raft

Take Surfing Lessons

Fiji is one of the world’s premiere destinations for surfing so there was no place better for Tyler and Kara to get their first surfing lessons. We hired Malolo Surf to give us lessons.

At 8 am we were picked up from Plantation Island and taken out the the waves named “Swimming Pools.” In Fiji, the waves don’t crash on the beach. Instead, they crash over a reef or shallow area located just offshore from an island. The area known as “Swimming Pools” has smaller waves, perfect for beginners like ourselves. Tim and I had surfing lessons before, sixteen years ago on our honeymoon in Hawaii. Essentially, we were beginners as well.

Kara Rivenbark

Our instructor, Inia, got us acquainted with our boards, gave us a demo on board our boat, and then had us swimming out to the waves. Inia wore flippers and helped us catch the waves. Our boards were a lot smaller and harder to control than the ones we had in Hawaii, making today’s surfing lesson a lot more challenging.

Tyler and Tim immediately got the hang of it, catching their first waves and riding them forever. If we caught the wave just right, we could ride it a good 100 meters or more. It was awesome. It took Kara and I several tries before we were able to stay up on the board, but once we got the hang of it, it was so much easier. Kara stayed on her knees, always falling off when trying to stand up. This gives her something to work on during future surfing lessons, something we are all looking forward to later on during this trip.

Pizza, Drinks, and Jumping Off the Upper Deck of Cloud 9

Another Fiji favorite…Cloud 9.

Cloud 9 is a floating bar/pizza joint located offshore of the Mamanuca Islands. We loved this place and visited it twice. How cool is Cloud 9…a floating bar with views of the Fijian islands and its absolutely amazing water. Tim and I couldn’t get over how beautiful the water is here!

Tyler and Kara loved this place. Great pizza and great fun. Tyler and Kara showed Tim and I how to stand on the railing of the upper deck, then jump off, plunging into the most amazing aqua water below.

The drinks were pretty good, too!

Cloud 9

More Ocean Fun at Plantation Island

Like I said earlier, Plantation Island is tons of fun for kids. Tyler and Kara went for a “donut ride,” a ride in a floating raft pulled by a speed boat. What wouldn’t be fun about bouncing along the water and skipping over the waves. When you get back to shore, climb up the floating climbing wall and jump into the ocean.

Find a Comfy Hammock Suspended between the Palm Trees

This was a favorite activity of Tyler and Kara. After snorkeling, swimming, paddle boarding, and surfing, they still somehow had energy to go for a run around the resort. It has been so long since we were willing to let Tyler and Kara out of our sight, always having this fear in Asia that they’d get kidnapped and we’d never see them again. What a difference being in Fiji. Now, they could wander on their own, something we all really appreciated.

I know it was really fun for Tyler and Kara to get off on their own, exploring the resort and coming up with running routes. Once they were done, hot and sweaty again, they’d grab their kindles, find a hammock, and get comfy. Paradise!

Nice Spot!


Fiji Has The Best Sunsets

Every evening the sky put on an amazing show for us. The afternoons when the skies were filled with clouds were the best. Tim and I would watch as the sun slowly drifted down to the horizon, lighting up the sky with pinks, purples, and oranges. Throw in the beach and some palm trees and you have the most awesome sight ever.

Fiji one week

Fiji Sunset

Fiji Sunset 3

Our one week here was the perfect amount of time for our family. Beach time is nice but it does not take long until we are ready for something new. Yes, we can only take so long in paradise until it is time to move on.

Kara was our family’s biggest Fiji fan and she assures us that she will be back again someday. As our ferry carried us back to the main island on our last day, Kara watched the beach and palm trees drift away, feeling a little sad.

We made some awesome memories here and I am so glad that Fiji made it into our itinerary this year.  What an amazing place!

Fiji & Nearby Destinations

MODRIKI ISLAND: Taking a day trip to Modriki Island is one of the best things to do in Fiji.

ADVENTURE TRAVEL: Here are 50 adventures to turn your next trip into an epic travel experience.

AMERICAN SAMOA: We cover the best things to do in our article Best Things to Do in American Samoa and have a guide to 20 things you should know before visiting American Samoa. Learn how to visit one of the most remote national parks in the USA in our Guide to the National Park of American Samoa.

SAMOA: In our Guide to Samoa, we cover the best things to do in Samoa, planning information for Upolu and Savai’i islands, a sample itinerary, plus where to stay and where to eat. Learn how to combine Samoa and American Samoa in one trip with our Samoa and American Samoa Itinerary.

BALI: Learn more about Bali in our guide to the best things to do in Bali, how to visit the Aling-Aling Waterfalls, what it is like to visit Bali on Nyepi Day, and how to do the Mount Batur Sunrise Hike. Get suggestions on how to plan your time with our 7 Day Bali Itinerary and 10 Day Bali Itinerary.

TRAVEL BLOGGING: This website started with a trip around the world and has become one of the most popular travel sites on the internet. Learn more about what it is like to run this website in our article My Life as a Travel Blogger…An Unexpected Journey.

Are you planning a trip to Fiji? Read all of our articles about Fiji in our Fiji Travel Guide.

One Week in Fiji


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Comments 7

  1. Avatar for jay
  2. Avatar for Amanda Franklin
    Amanda Franklin

    Hi Julie! I’ve been hooked on your outstanding blog for almost a year now! Earth Trekkers is my absolute favorite travel blog. I see so much of my family in yours as we seem to enjoy the same type of travel and adventures. You gave me great advice when I asked you a question about the Dolomites earlier this year. That trip is now behind me and I’m planning the next….hopefully a combo of New Zealand and Fiji, as budget friendly as possible (if that’s even possible). If my family of 4 were to go to Fiji for a week and stay where you stayed and did similar things to what you did, what would be a realistic Fiji budget? (not including flights)? Thanks in advance!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hi Amanda. I’m glad you like our blog!! Sounds like you are visiting another one of our favorite spots! We stayed at Plantation Island Resort on the Mamanucas. We really liked staying on this island and there was tons to do to keep us busy. However, hotels/resorts are expensive. Plantation Island was a big stretch for our budget but it was one of the cheaper options on the island. Honestly, the resort is just OK. It’s great for kids, with lots of water activities and a beautiful setting, but the rooms are so-so and the food is so-so. We stayed in a studio with garden view, since we could all fit in this one bungalow, and prices are coming in at around $300 per night (I just checked Booking.com). If you want to stay somewhere with better reviews, you will have to pay more. On Booking.com, take a look at Malolo Island Resort, it’s a little more expensive but it gets much better reviews. In 2015, we averaged $365 a day. That included the hotel, food, and activities. So, for 2020, $400 would be a rough daily estimate? We brought our snacks (we purchased them in Taiwan) and this helped us keep our food expenses down. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Sonja Oliver
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We have traveled to Fiji and we had no issues with Tyler’s peanut allergy here. We stayed at Plantation Island resort on the Mamanucas and visited Nadi. Finding him peanut free food was very easy here. Most restaurants served “western style” food. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Missy McNaney
  5. Avatar for Dee

    Beautiful pictures, Julie! It looks and sounds like Paradise. I’m glad you had so much fun on your “mini” vacation.

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