The friendliness of the Fijian people starts the moment you step off the jet at Nadi Airport. ‘Bula’, you can expect to hear – it literally means ‘life’ – is something the Fijians are full of and the key ingredient for a relaxing break on the buzzing Denarau Island, 10km west of the landing strip.
Book a room at the Radisson Blu Fiji Resort Denarau Island (Resort Dr), where you can expect contemporary Fijian-influenced rooms along with a day spa and several dining and drinking outlets, including a swim-up pool bar.
Next door at the Wyndham Resort Denarau Island Fiji, a relatively new US$30 million extension features luxurious suites and a beach club that are set to give the island a new beat.
Wyndham has just partnered with Karma (the team behind the uber-cool beach club in Ungasan, Bali) to open up Karma Fiji (Resort Dr), a beach club on the shores of Denarau. It has quickly become the spot to hit for original takes on martinis, daiquiris and other creations courtesy of the Karma’s global mixologist, Ioannis Gianopolous. The local bure-styled hut (traditionally made of wood and straw) also serves up a classic local dish called kokonda, a Fijian version of a ceviche featuring coconut, taro root and sweet potato.
For food, chef and restaurateur Peter Kuruvita of Flying Fish Sydney fame, has two eateries on the island – Flying Fish Fiji and Steakhouse by Peter Kuruvita – that serve up as good-quality fare as you’ll find at his original den in Sydney’s Pyrmont. Order the local fish Fijian style with a side of chilli-salted chips at Flying Fish, and Sri Lankan lamb shank curry at Steakhouse.
Food and drinks aside, Denarau Island is a haven for aquatic activities, and the team at Adrenalin Water Sports (Shop 8, Port Denarau Marina) has it covered, from game fishing to jetski safaris, jet boat rides, waterskiing, kayaking and snorkelling.