South Sea Island Magic: the beach, orchids, and dancing in Fiji

Tags

, , , , , ,

P2720537


It is a quiet Saturday in February. I am sitting in the sweet garden of a thoroughly charming backpacker hostel in Christchurch, New Zealand, feeling fine: soft and relaxed. Happy. Don is napping. We arrived in New Zealand late last night and have spent most of the day ‘housekeeping’, getting here.

But this post is to be about Fiji! December 12 to 15. We stayed at the Aquarius Hotel right on the beach. Some part of each of our two days there was spent on the beach, swimming, walking, lazing. For the longest time Fiji was Australia’s winter tourist playground in the tropical sun, in much the same way Hawaii is for North Americans. I don’t know whether or not it still is. I do know sometime over the past twenty years or so Australians discovered Bali and turned Kuta Beach into their backyard playground.

Fiji is worth visiting. For the beaches, and so much more. Beaches have so many moods, and this one, Wailoaloa Beach, is no exception.

In the serene, still, early morning.

BP2720566

P2720577


At first light a surfer gets ready to go out for the day.

BP2710798


During the day the wind picks up and the clouds begin to gather.

BP2710966


When I lifted my camera to photograph these two this is the reaction I got!

BP2710948


And in the evening a sunset to melt the heart.

P2710998-Edit


Driving away from the coast towards the mountains, we pass by the foothills of the Nausori Highlands north of Nadi. 

LP2720225

P2710832

P2710941


We come to the rich, tropical Garden of the Sleeping Giant. The garden specializes in Fiji’s native plants,

P2710842

P2710846


and an extraordinary collection of orchids. It was begun, in 1977, by Raymond Burr, star of Perry Mason and Ironside. Burr, a TV star playing tough guys, was into orchids (among many other things). Who knew? His legacy lives on in this beautiful garden, which includes more than two thousand varieties of Asian and hybrid orchids.

P2710849

P2710861

P2710850

P2710873

P2710894


Banana palm flower.

P2710855-Edit


The ubiquitous tropical Heliconia, still new,

P2710912

and fully opened.

P2710902


We were lucky enough to be at the hotel at the time of their weekly evening of Polynesian dancing, and fire dancing. Fijian dance, similar to Polynesian dances throughout the South Pacific, tells stories through dance and song. We watched performances by a small but enthusiastic and athletic group of men, and two very graceful women. The fire dance originated in Samoa but has spread throughout all Polynesian cultures, and beyond, and was definitely the highlight of the evening.

P2720023-Edit

P2720125-Edit

P2720176


After two days at the beach in Fiji as part of island-hopping across the Pacific to avoid those brutal long flights and jet-lag, we flew to Sydney, and then caught a bus to Canberra, my Aussie hometown. Next two posts: my family and other wildlife.






© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – not just a travel blog, 2010-2015.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,473 other followers