A few years ago, around this time of the year, my now-husband and I decided to book a last minute trip to Fiji (We booked in July, we flew out August 3rd). Let’s just say it was the best decision we ever made!

When we arrived to the airport, it was a quick goodbye to the in-laws as we checked in and then made our way to Customs. My husband flew ahead of me and didn’t bother to wait as I got all of my devices out of my carry-on bags (laptop, iPad, phone…) so I was getting frustrated already and the trip hadn’t even begun – more to this later – and once Customs was done, stocked up on our water, called our loved ones one last time and went to wait for our flight without dozing off.

After boarding our midnight flight out of Melbourne – flying with Fiji Air – it was only a short flight (just under 5 hours) and we were far from the freezing cold Melbourne Winter and hopped off the plane into a muggy, warm Fijian morning. Once our luggage was collected, we found our private transfer out of Nadi to head towards our destination; Denarau Island. Denarau Island is a short 25 minute drive from Nadi Airport and is a large man-made island connected to the mainland by a causeway which has nine resorts based on it. As we arrived at 6am, we were still about 8 hours too early to check in to our room at the amazing Sheraton Resort, so we left our luggage with the reception staff, quickly changed into our bathers and dove straight in to the ocean to freshen up after our flight. Next, we hopped into one of the hotels many pools and relaxed for a while until we got a bit hungry. Then we grabbed our luggage, a change of clothes, had a shower in the main lobby toilets, left our luggage again with reception and caught the Bula Bus to Port Denarau to find something to eat. 

We arrived at a place called Lulu Bar, Cafe and Restaurant where a waiter was there and greeted us in what we soon learnt was their everyday greeting hello, “Bula!” in their beautiful, happy way. 
We settled down and had a private two seater table overlooking the marina and ordered their breakfast special which was pretty cheap so didn’t expect a lot…. Until the plate arrived! There were sausages, hash browns, tomatoes, eggs, toast, bacon, mushrooms… After a bit more roaming, we headed back to the resort to see if there was a room available for us to check-in early. 

After we got off the Bula Bus, we headed to reception and they had our bags there waiting with a kind man who escorted us to one of their ‘Ocean Breeze Rooms’. This room was amazing, there were slight views of the ocean and it was very spacious and clean; I could not fault this resort in the tiniest. The shower was the best thing I had ever seen, a super comfy bed and a cute balcony to sit and watch the world pass by. 

After another shower, now-hubby and I heard there was a local convenience store, so we decided to go for a walk and stock up on some water and snacks. On the way, we passed the golf course (hubby is a big golfer) and the tennis courts, which we would check out later. After stocking up on water, some cookies and other goodies, we walked back to the resort to get ready for a walk along the beach before heading out to dinner. 

We headed out to the back of the resort, checking out the Chapel, before nestling down on the rocks to relax and watch as the sun set, with the sky changing colours and it was the most amazing sunset I had seen. Before long, the sun was almost down, so we walked along the water to the main resort and after my partner gave me the biggest hug and kiss, I opened my eyes and he was down on one knee… HE WAS PROPOSING! I was completely speechless, and all I could say was “Are you kidding?!” and when he said “no”, the waterworks started! I was a sobbing mess for a few minutes before he pulled me away from him and asked tentatively, “So, is that a yes?” I bloody love him! Turns out this is why he was running ahead of me at the airport – when they scanned the items, he had the ring hidden in the camera bag, and was trying to get through before me so I couldn’t see the surprise!

After what had happened sunk in, we walked back to the resort to try and get a table at one of their top-rated restaurants… Only to get there and find out it is closed for renovations! (He didn’t plan that very well haha). We hopped once again on the Bula Bus to head back to the Marina and see what other options we had for the evening (with me staring non-stop at the beautiful ring). When we arrived, it was pretty busy at all the restaurants, so we headed to Mama’s Pizza and ordered an 18” pizza and some Cokes to celebrate in our own way. 

The next day, we went back down to the Marina to book in a couples massage after another breakfast at Lulu’s and while we were there, saw a small area which had a range of trips, activities and tours which you could sign up for. Luke straight away gravitated towards a private island tour and I was hesitant due to how sea-sick I get. After much convincing from the staff at Oolala Cruises that it’s fine and the next day they were expecting calm seas, we signed up and to celebrate our new engagement, promised a bottle of champagne for the cruise the next day. Like I’ve said before, Fijians are the most  beautiful people I have ever met! 

The next day we woke up nice and early and headed to the Marina (once again via the Bula Bus) and boarded the boat to our private island. This cruise is the only cruise I have been on which I enjoyed! I am extremely prone to seasickness and that was my main worry with going on this cruise but I was perfectly fine the entire day.

Superman was a laugh and kept everyone entertained as did the rest of the crew. Had a fun day celebrating my engagement with my new fiancé out on the cruise in the morning, which took just over an hour to arrive to the island (As had to stop and pick people at another resort from further up the coast) and then made our way to the island.

When on the cruise heading to the island, they provide morning tea which was a delicious Pineapple and Coconut cake – I couldn’t get enough of it!!! Before venturing to the island itself you had a choice of snorkelling beforehand, where we snorkelled amongst a lot of fish and swam down to coral.

After our snorkel we boarded the boat to be taken to the private Island. On the island there are a few shaded areas such as umbrellas and a massive shed/shelter. We found a little umbrella overlooking the ocean which was perfect to crash and sleep.

Shortly after there was a buffet BBQ/Salad lunch which was great and all the beer, wine, soft drink and water you could drink with the fellas from the boat singing whilst you ate. A Reef Shark feeding took place after throwing all leftovers to the sharks and the fish which was exciting.

After another snooze on the beach we got massages overlooking the ocean which were beyond relaxing. To end the day before going back we went kayaking, paddle boarding and one last snorkel before the journey back to Port Denarau where they provided afternoon tea – banana cake – with tea and coffee. Very relaxing and adventurous day!

Food wise on Denarau Island, there is a ridiculous amount of options available to you, whether it be at the Sheraton or take a Bula Bus down to the port and enjoy one of many places to eat;
Café Lulu’s: amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner, we ate here frequently (daily).
Hard Rock Café: Perfect for a drink with dinner; the Twisted Mac and Cheese is perfection (I have also re-created a mock-up of this here!)
Mamas Pizza: 18” pizza here is big, but great!
Hot Bread Kitchen: Super cheap food, but is delicious!
Amalfi Italian Restaurant: Pretty cheap and pretty good.

The rest of our trip went in a blur, endless days filled with relaxing by the many pools across the multiple Sheraton Resorts, riding jet skis, parasailing over the water, a Kava ceremony, eating too much delicious food (thanks in large part to Lulu’s, who always reserved us our own special table each morning)… We left Fiji more than satisfied with our 5 night stay, filled with a lifetime of memories and we are aching to get back to the beautiful country. 

Accommodation:

Sheraton, Denarau Island

Places to eat:

Café Lulu’s
Hard Rock Café, Port Denarau
Mamas Pizza, Port Denarau
Hot Bread Kitchen, Port Denarau
Amalfi Italian Restaurant, Port Denarau
Port Denarau Marina, Fiji

Things to do:

Savala Island Cruise, Fiji
Parasailing
Jet Skiing
Massage
Kava Ceremony