Bula to everyone! Here is our story of our trips to Fijis in Yasawas and Mamanuccas archipelagos. Ideally located, 4/5 hours flight from Sydney then 4/5 hours (for the most remote islands) from Nadi with the ferry, these islands represent the perfect postal card that one has in mind when it comes to Pacific islands. The quality-price yield is also excellent with accomodation fitting all kind of budget travellers as well as an incredible kindness of the inhabitants.. We are far away from our consumer-oriented society, alone on our remote island!
Mamanuccas and Yasawas
Connexion between these islands is very easy thanks to the ferry Yasawas Flyer, only for tourists (many Australians and New-Zealanders). Very convenient, the small bus picks us up at our hotel, then all our luggage are directly taken to the ferry and labelled with the name of our accommodation on the island. At the end of the trip, the small motor boat from the island resort comes to take us from the ferry and it’s done! Islands are not that far away from the mainland and everything is done to help the tourists. What is good however is you don’t feel it is a mass touristic environment and local are truly happy to see you and happy to show their islands and you to meet their families and friends. Locals are extremely friendly and money-oriented as it can the case in some parts of Asia for instance. Islands are not far from each others in that small archipelago and some are very small (in Bounty island or Beachcomber island, you can do the tour of island 30 minutes walking!), some are bigger and hilly. But in all of them, you will meet real Fijians living very traditionally, eating what they fish, and drinking the local root-plant based kava.
The “Yasawas Flyer” ferry is excellent to hop-on, hop-off and enjoy different islands
If you choose to take a small motor boat in order to go for diving, snorkelling in specific recommended spots, you may be luck enough to see dolphins, manta rays or turtles. Open your eyes! Fijis are also a good place to pass your PADI diving certificate and benefit from the advice by many Australians professional people who live here all year long.
Seeing different islands
Resorts are more of less luxurious, and they will fit every budget, from the backpacker working holiday young traveller in Oceania to the couple who want to enjoy a memorable honeymoon stay. We stayed in Oarsmans Bay Lodge for our first stop on Nacula Island, north if Yasawas archipelago. We planned to sleep under our tent for budget reasons but finally we find a good deal with the manager to sleep in our bure (small individual bungalow with a very good comfort) for almost the same price! This also the Fijian way of tourism, they will do everything they can so you can enjoy your holidays at most! If they have a spare bure, they will give it to you. Not at all money-oriented, this state of mind is very enjoyable in our modern world. Fijian people are very generous, far away from everything, far from globalization as many have them don’t even have access to internet and we can feel this is a breath of fresh air to spend good well deserved holidays, chilling and relaxing! Furthermore, it is possible to have a really good connexion with local people as they dont consider you as a tourist with a number on your face. They speak English very well, so the language is not a barrier, and if you ask them you can be invited to share a kava drink and naturally speak of yourself, of their lives…Very enjoyable nights in remote islands, around a kava (south-pacific dring made of plants roots, relaxing), fruits and listening/playing guitar.
An idyllic environment with a very kind local population
A nice connexion with Fijians: Bula!
As said earlier, it is very easy to create an authentic contact and share Fijian’s lifes for a few days, and learn from them: What they do, what they like, they are also very curious of you and the relation you can have with them is not only a money relation and that is what is so rewarding after long hours of flight to go to Fiji. So go and drink kava, play rugby (they are fond of that sport), listen to the guitar and local songs, assit to a mass on Sunday, learn their traditions…the human relations is as important and as rewarding as the magnificent landscapes surrounding you, Thus, very relaxing holidays, paradise look like (what to do in Fijis except chilling, reading a book, snorkelling…?). Not much culture or old stones, you don’t go there for that kind of cultural trips. Also, check out the weather and the cyclonic period…
Fiji time here! Schedule are not very well respected and local are often (always?) late! But take your time and enjoy life like Fijians do!
Very comfy while having nothing
We stayed in 4 islands, away from mainland Viti Levu wth the Yasawas Flyer ferry: Bounty and Mana Island in Mamanuccas archipelago during our first trip there and Nacula Island and Waya Lailai in Yasawas archipelago during our second one (more remote, bigger and mountainous). As Fijis really close to Australia and trip is not expensive, living in Australia makes the trip easier to do. The ” blue lagoon” region near Nacula island is undoubtedly the most beautiful part. Mana and Bounty island are much more simple, less luxury (less expensive as well). All islands are quite authentic even if local people are used to receive tourists (except Beachcomber, small one and mainly for young party animals backpackers). Ferry is very convenient to reach all islands where you won’t have access to any internet, phone, ATMs or small shops. Here you will eat what you are given by the resorts, mainly local fruits and fresh fish, delicious and organic! As Fijians, you will sleep early (electricity to be saved, provided by generators, don’t go to Fijis for crazy party nights) and wake up early as well to enjoy an awesome near the beach, go for a hike in Yasawas islands or go diving in well-known spots with your PADI professors.
For every holiday-goal and every budget, Yasawas are very accessible
To conclude, a magnificent country to recommend. Best time to go there (as well as other Pacific islands such as Samoa or Tonga) is between May and October, as the other months may be rainy and wetter, as some cyclones can happen (like Winston which devastated the archipelago in 2016). Be sure you plan your trip, as these islands has to be visited with a good weather exclusively. Nothing to do otherwise!
Where did we sleep?
- Accomodations on Awesome Fijis website: If you do the big classic trip in Fijis, which may the case if it is your first time there, going around Mamanuccas or Yasawas islands is a must do, very easy thanks to the Yasawas Flyer ferry belonging to the main touristic company, Awesome Fijis. Their website is very well done ans self-explanatory and you can select the accommodation where you want to sleep during your time there. They have a lot of agents in Australia and many brochures in local travel agency all around in Australia if you go there beforehand. All resort belong to local communities at 100% and it seems they benefit directly from your stay there. They speak English, are very generous and you will be sad to leave your host at the end of your trip! We personally chose Oarsmans Bay Lodge and Wayalailai resort, very good and bula!