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Adrenaline In Paradise – A Guide To Fiji’s Water Sports Activities

Posted 29 Mar 2016 Fiji isn’t just an island destination designed for those who want to lounge poolside with a Pina Colada in hand all day. On top of scenic beaches and dreamy resorts, Fiji also offers a wide range of water sports activities, bound to please all the adrenaline junkies out there. Add the following 10 activities to your must-do list ahead of your trip to tropical paradise. 1. Banana Boating 6. Surfing 2. Game Fishing 7. Snorkeling 3. Kayaking/River Rafting 8. Wind Surfing 4. Wake Boarding or Water Skiing 9.  River Safari 5. Sky Diving 10. Flyboarding 1. Banana Boating Banana Boating, Plantation Island Adventures shouldn’t be limited to age. Banana boating is the perfect stepping stone for youngsters looking to expand their adrenaline horizons. Hop on the inflated raft and hold on tight as it gets pulled along by a boat. Enjoy the splashes of fun and laughter as you bounce along the waves trying hard not to fall off. Operator: Adrenalin Fiji Highlights: Get the whole family on one banana boat and book an Adrenalin photographer to capture the awesome moment. Location: Denarau Beach, Fiji.   2. Game Fishing Game Fishing, Adrenalin Fiji  Explore and catch the vast marine life of the Fijian waters by fishing for bream, emporer, mahi-mahi, trevally and mackerel around the Mamanuca Islands. Fishing isn’t for the fainthearted; it requires strength as well as patience. It is also another great way to enjoy the sun and admire the nearby islands. Operator: Adrenalin Fiji Highlights: Expect to catch fish as tall as your torso! Location: Charters leave from Port Denarau Marina, Nadi.   3. Kayaking/River Rafting River Rafting, Rivers Fiji  Discover another side to Fiji’s water sports by heading inland to Viti Levu’s remote highlands where the Navua River stems. This is a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation and a river with multiple waterfalls and deep canyons. Explore Fiji’s unique terrain through inflatable whitewater rafts or paddle an inflatable kayak – both options will guarantee a memorable experience. Operator: Rivers Fiji Highlights: See a different side to Fiji, one that is exotic and full of biodiversity. Location: Tours operate in the South at Pacific Harbour.   4. Wake Boarding or Water Skiing Water Skiing, Adrenalin Fiji For those who like to skate or ski, water skiing/wake boarding requires a similar skill, except it’s performed on water at high speeds. Experience is preferable to get the most out of the adventure however, lessons can also be organised for first-timers. It is relatively safe and operates on a shallow and sheltered beachfront. For beginners, opt for morning sessions when the water is likely to be calmer. Operator: Adrenalin Fiji Highlights: Breeze past all the major resorts on the Denarau Island on water. Location: Denarau Beach, Fiji.   5. Sky Diving Sky Diving, Sky Dive Fiji Witness the beauty of Fiji from above with a thrilling sky dive and experience the sun, sea and sky all at once. Your adrenaline-charged free fall time will range between 15-70 seconds at 200km/h, followed by a parachute ride of up to 8 minutes, where you can take in spectacular aerial views of Fiji’s tropical islands. Time will fly up there, so opt for a handycam or camera package that allows you to capture the moment – now that’s something to share on your Facebook timeline! Operator: Sky Dive Fiji Highlights: The chance to witness Fiji’s azure blue waters and sandy white beaches from a different perspective. Location: Nadi   6. Surfing Cloudbreak, Fiji Surf Co  Fiji is renowned as a surfing destination, especially for experienced or pro surfers. Ride the big waves at Cloudbreak, a world class left reef pass three miles south of Namotu Island. Experience waves as small as 2 feet or as large as 20 feet – either way, it’ll be a thrilling challenge. Join a local surf tour which includes road and boat shuttle services that will pick you up from your hotel and take you straight to the best break. Operator: Fiji Surf Co Highlights: Cloudbreak is often known as one of the 10 best/most challenging waves in the world – a dream challenge for pro surfers. Location: Daily SURFari trips are based in Nadi and will handle all transportation needs from your hotel.   7. Snorkeling Snorkelling and Diving, Adrenalin Fiji  Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities in Fiji and a must-do for any traveller. Explore the colourful underwater oasis whilst being surrounded by the incredible marine life. Snorkelling experiences can also involve shark dives that will surely raise the heart rate! There are plenty of divine snorkelling spots all over Fiji, which you can visit via day trips or even from the comfort of your resort beach. Operator: Adrenalin Fiji Highlights: Fijian waters are home to sea snakes, which you don’t see every day! Location: All over Fiji or tours operating from Sofitel Beach on Denarau Island.   8. Wind Surfing Wind surfing is the perfect adventure to keep your fitness game up while holidaying. Fiji has favourable weather conditions almost year-round, with the exception of the wet months from November to April. The trade winds creep up in the afternoon, which is the ideal time to surf, especially when everyone is taking their afternoon naps. Operator: Adrenalin Fiji Highlights: Free hire for guests staying at the Hilton, Sofitel, Radisson and Wyndham Resorts in Fiji. Location: Denarau Beach, Fiji.   9. River Safari Jet Boat Safari, Sigatoka River Safari  Cruise along the Sigatoka River via safari jet boats and experience a day in the life of a local Fijian. Immerse yourself in the rich culture as you stop by 15 authentic Fijian villages to understand the local history, people, customs and way of life. Operator: Sigatoka River Safari Highlights: A portion of your safari ticket price goes towards enhancing the developments undertaken in the villages which can help improve the lives of those who live there. This includes telecommunications, electrification, concrete footpaths, education and health initiatives. Location: Depart from Sigatoka Town in the South West of Fiji.   10. Flyboarding Flyboating, Hydro Sports Fiji  See the beauty of Fiji from above the oceans and fly at new heights for an adrenaline rush you will never forget. Flyboarding is a type of water hoverboard that’s attached to a personal water craft, which propels the rider to ‘free fly’ up in the air or to dive headlong through the water. For beginners, opt for the 15 minute flights to get a taste of the thrilling experience, and for pros, book into the 30 minute or 1-hour session to take your manoeuvres to new heights – literally. Operator: Hydro Sports Fiji Highlights: Your Hydro instructor can teach you new tricks such as the exhilarating ‘tornado’ twist – it’ll be the greatest flight of your life. Location: Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji.  
By Jennifer Liu Continue Reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Family, Fishing, Surf and Dive

Discover the charms of Kiritimati

Posted 3 Dec 2014 “Fishing. Fishing. Fishing?” is the rhythmic chant that escorts me through the Kiritimati’s Cassidy International Airport. Rarely do tourists visit this exclusive coral atoll for anything else. So its little wonder that immigration officials have the “Purpose of Visit – fishing” routine down pat. Recalling our descent onto the landing strip, I can see why Kiritimati, also known as ‘Christmas Island’, is a mecca for big game fishermen. The island is surrounded by stunning coral reefs and strong ocean currents that draw up small fish to the surface. In turn, these attract some of the sports main prizes: Salilfish, Tuna and Wahoo. The raised coral atoll is situated in the Line Islands as part of the Republic of Kiribati and is famous for its position at the forefront of the time zone, experiencing their sunny days before the rest of the world. Kiritimati whispers stories of British nuclear tests and promises unmet in the memories of those of old. It also holds its breath as the threat of climate change creeps up the shorelines of the low-lying island. But its people hold no grudge against the outside world as they continue to welcome onto their shores devoted anglers to test their game and bone fishing. The entire island is a wildlife sanctuary, home to many endangered seabirds, but it is the realm of reefs, sand flats and open ocean waters that draw the most praise from travellers and conservationists alike. Everything I had heard about Kiritimati paled in comparison to the real deal: That first shock of turquoise sparkles like the Garden of Eden for fishermen and divers alike. The sheer brilliance of the lagoons that surround the world’s largest coral atoll stuns me as I arrive at my base for the day, the Ikari House Lodge Kiritimati’s residents populate the four villages, intriguingly named Banana (nearest to the airport), Tabwakea, Poland and the main village, Ronton (London). On the way from the airport we had passed communities of low-lying huts surrounded by hammocks and the occasional “kava bar”, mostly deserted in the hush of the early morning. The silence here, as crisp as the sea-air, is only broken by the sound of the sea birds that seem to permanently inhabit the skies. These images are trumped, however, by what sits at the doorstep of the Ikari House Lodge. Owned and operated by Jacob and Lavinia Teem, Ikari House sits right on the edge of the lagoon with a view that makes the “crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches” cliché, all of a sudden, nouveau.  I walk into the maneaba that serves as a dining area and am simultaneously walking onto the beach. Reviews of the lodge weren’t kidding when they said that the boat would pick you up right where you had breakfast. A group of seasoned fishermen chat at the dining table (picnic tables in the sand) and are served a champion breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausages by the smiling Tetima. Kiritimati island water activities The guests are happy to testify to Ikari House’s exceptional role in their fishing adventures. Mark, a particularly excited Australian angler, is a returnee to Kiritimati Island and rates the fishing lodge as the best option on the island. We soon set off to experience what Ikari House is most famous for – bonefishing. For those not as crafty with the rod as I, bonefishing is the term used when fly-fishing in shallow inshore water. The hotel’s name, “Ikari”, directly translates as “bonefish” in Gilbertese, Kiribati’s local language, and the Kiritimati sand flats have a legendary reputation amongst the bonefishing community. There’s a light shower sprinkling overhead when we jump off the slippery jetty onto the Wai Knot, our noble vessel, and I chuckle to myself over the clever pun. The early rain doesn’t obscure visibility too much as we still manage to spot a manta ray, breaking the surface to see us off on our way to the famous Paris Flat in search of some bonefishing action. After fifteen minutes of windswept hair/raincoat and another 15 of pleasant conversation while we wait for a bite, I feel my first bit of action at the end of the line. For those not too keen on spending the entire day on the water, but rather in it, I am told the diving off Kiritimati Island is just as exquisite. Cursing myself quietly for not booking a longer trip to allow for some exploration of the allures of Kiritimati’s deep, I listen to a fellow traveller’s stories of underwater caves and a blossoming marine eco-system that has divers falling prey to its charms. Kiritimati island land activities For those feeling slightly waterlogged and looking for a day to spend on solid ground, Kiritimati is the breeding ground for over 18 seabirds and home to some 35 bird species and teeming with opportunities to witness an exclusive feathered fiesta. The next stop is Motu Tapu Island, where Uriam Anterea, guide from the Kiritimati Island Wildlife and Conservation Unit, will take our wonder with Kiritimati from the seas to the skies.  The Kiribati Islands are host to number of bird species, with sensitive ones restricted to predator-free islands or motu. Motu Tapu is crawling with birds, literally.  Walking through the dry vegetation, I grow more hesitant with each step as burrows, nests, eggs, baby and juvenile seabirds, and protective mothers are scattered amongst the dry weeds and creepers that crackle beneath our potentially fatal feet. Kiritimati’s sea food safari After six hours in beautiful Micronesia, the pangs of hunger are more than satisfied by a selection of seafood, my feast being crumbed fish (which I’m told by Tetima, is sweetlips) and chips served at the lodge. For those that don’t have time to sit and dine, eagerly rushing from one fishing spot to the next, Kiritimati’s famous “Tuna Jerky” is a salty snack that must be sampled. Sundried strips of yellow-fin tuna, this island delicacy is a bit of an acquired taste, but embodies the taste of the sea and can be seen in the backpacks of every angler, boatman and barefoot child. Sitting on the beachfront of Ikari House as the boys load my minimal luggage onto the truck, I look back at the past couple of hours I have spent on this untouched atoll and wish I had more time to explore. Cramming a fishing trip, sightseeing and bird-watching into seven hours is no easy feat, but the serenity of this modest island, eagerness of the locals and the promise of an amazing day on the water made it a walk in the park...or in the sand rather. If you’re looking for an escape from the hordes of tourists that make five-star vacations sometimes stifling, pack a bag and catch the next Fiji Airways flight to Kiritimati Island. It will surprise you as much as it did me.   Getting there and away -    Fly to Kiritimati with Fiji Airways  Organise your Kiritimati Fishing Adventure Holiday -    Flights to Kiritimati - Fiji Airways operates flights to Kiritimati once a week.
By DRUE SLATTER continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Culture, Family, Fishing, Leisure, Relaxation, Romance

Get Hooked: Big Game Fishing In Fiji

Posted 3 Nov 2014 Where can I go big game fishing in Fiji? There are many reasons to visit the beautiful and welcoming Fiji Islands. Its idyllic sandy beaches and palm fronds waving gently in the ocean breeze beckon travellers from all over the world. From exotic honeymoons, family beach holidays to some of the best diving available anywhere in the world, the Fiji Islands offer something for everyone. One increasingly popular adventure activity is the sport of big game fishing. A growing number of anglers from around the world now travel regularly to Fiji and consider the islands one of the best game fishing holiday destinations available. Surrounded by thousands of miles of deep ocean, Fiji's main islands are the visible tips of extinct volcanoes that rise over 5,000m from the sea floor below. These peaks provided a foothold for a plethora of hard and soft corals and the extraordinary amount of marine life that lives on the reefs. As with any ecosystem there are prey and predators and the predators here are very well fed indeed. Fiji’s World Record Breaking Game Fishing Haul The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has recorded numerous World Records caught in the Fiji Islands, in fact there have been two new World Records taken in the past few years. In 2009, Tim Simpson landed a 31.6kg Wahoo on a 4kg fishing line; while in 2010, Fiona Stallard landed a 21kg Wahoo on a 3kg fishing line. Tim is a professional game fisherman but Fiona was a complete beginner. It just goes to show that with the right boat and professional crew and right location, anybody can succeed at big game fishing, indeed even catch a World Record! Both World Records were taken aboard the charter boat Bite Me operated by Bite Me Game Fishing Charters. Based out of Matava Eco-Adventure Resort on Kadavu Island, the resort and game fishing operation enable anglers access to the Wahoo, Trevally and Marlin that dwell in the clean waters of the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef.  Known as the world's fourth largest barrier reef, it is a magnet for adventurous divers, snorkellers and game fishermen. Hooking The Big Game Fish The species list of tropical game fish available to anglers is an enviable one. All species of billfish found in the Pacific Ocean are regularly caught in Fiji Island waters. Top of the list and caught frequently is the Blue Marlin. Reaching sizes in excess of 1,500lbs, this apex predator is renowned for its sheer power and spectacular leaps across the ocean. At certain times of year Black marlin migrate along outer reef slopes and during the winter, large numbers of Pacific Sailfish form up into packs enabling many anglers to first experience the thrill of tagging and releasing their first billfish. Indeed, during the winter months it is quite possible to achieve a “Grand Slam” of big game fishing – namely the tagging and releasing of three different species of billfish in a single day. What Fiji is best known for in game fishing circles however is the annual winter gathering of huge numbers of Wahoo. This species is considered one of the fastest fish in the ocean having been recorded at speeds in excess of 50kmph. With razor sharp teeth and resembling a streamlined torpedo, Wahoo dart into the spread of lures behind a boat, smash the tastiest looking lure and take off for the horizon at break-neck speed. These fish really are the origins of the term 'screaming reel'. Called 'Ono' by the Hawaiians meaning 'good to eat', Wahoo visit Fiji in such numbers that their schools can sport numbers of up to 50 fish. When a game fishing boat encounters a wahoo school the resulting pandemonium of screaming reels and excited anglers is a sight to behold. Also high on the list for visiting fishermen is the Yellowfin Tuna. Considered one of the hardest fighting fish in the ocean, they are caught almost year round. Growing in excess of 100kg they can be an enormous challenge to land. Yellowfin form huge schools feeding on bait balls that they corral on the surface. It is common to see hundreds of sea birds such as Boobies, Noddies and Terns wheeling and diving over a frothing mass of ocean as yellowfin charge into the ball of baitfish with such speed that they leap clean out of the water. A sight to get any fisherman's heart racing. Popper Casting In Fiji Over the past few years, a new type of fishing called “Popper Casting” has come to the fore. Once the preserve of a handful of secretive specialists, it is now gaining widespread popularity. Popper Casting involves casting enormous floating cup face plugs at reef edges and working the lure back to the boat in a furious series of noisy bloops and chugs. The primary target species is the Giant Trevally, colloquially known as “GT”. Looking somewhat like a throw-back from the dinosaurs, this reef bruiser grows to sizes in excess of 70kg though any fish over 40kg is considered a trophy fish. There are some regions off Kadavu island that have become so specialised that most rods used for popper casting are custom-built and handmade. Often an individual rod and can cost upwards of $1,000.  With a top of the range casting reel to match, this type of fishing is not for every holiday angler but anyone can get a taste for this sport by targeting smaller GTs on lighter tackle. Some anglers even fly fish for GTs over shallow lagoon sand flats. Big Game Fishing Conservation In Fiji There is no doubt that commercial fishing around the world has had a significant impact on the abundance of game fish species. Fortunately the Fiji Islands recognise the importance of a healthy fishery, not just for the small local fishing industry and the seafood it provides for Fijians but also the increasing income generated by visiting anglers. Charterboats like Bite Me play their part by tagging and releasing all billfish. Like billfish fishermen, GT anglers have very strong preservation ethics and all GTs caught aboard charterboats like Bite Me are released unharmed. Anglers use monstrously heavy tackle to ensure a short fight. GTs are gently lifted from the water, a salt water deck wash hose placed in their mouth, a quick photo and then released immediately. The amazing abundance of marine life in Fiji is a national treasure and one that every visitor to this beautiful paradise should experience, whether it is a day’s fun fishing aboard a game fishing charter boat or simply snorkelling along any one of a thousand stunning coral reefs. The Fiji Islands, particularly Kadavu Island and Taveuni Island are considered some of the world's hot spots for big game fishing and as sport continues to develop, Fiji is careful to ensure the eco-system and reefs remain unharmed by human activity. Getting there and away Fly to Nadi or Suva with Fiji Airways. From Nadi or Suva Airport then fly to Kadavu with Fiji Airways. From Kadavu airport take a 45 boat ride to the resort Organise your Fiji Diving Holiday Flights to Nadi -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Nadi daily from many international ports including flights from Sydney to Nadi,flights from Auckland to Nadi, flights from Los Angeles to Nadi and flights from Hong Kong to Nadi. Flights to Suva - Fiji Airways operates flights to Suva regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Suva, flights from Sydney to Suva and flights from Auckland to Suva.   Flights to Kadavu -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Kadavu daily from its domestic ports including flights from Nadi to Kadavu and flights from Suva to Kadavu. 
By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Fishing, Resorts

Tarawa: Kiritbati's destination for travelers

Posted 27 Oct 2014 Author and Fijian Regional Officer for Climate and Oceans Support Program, Molly Powers-Tora explores the hidden joys and warm hospitality of Kiribati’s Tarawa Atoll. I’ll admit, had it not been for work, I probably would never have found myself on Tarawa. This volcanic atoll just north of the equator is the administrative centre for the Independent and Sovereign Republic of Kiribati - also known as the Gilbert Islands. But thanks to a five-day workshop with weekends on both ends and a delayed flight or two, I had the opportunity to explore the subtle charms of this congested, sun-scorched, and cheerful island capital. And I was enchanted. Warm people in a fragile paradise I was surprised by the number of misconceptions I had held about Tarawa prior to my arrival. Originally, I had imagined a fragile and tiny island, walkable from one end to the other and partially submerged at high tide because of sea level rise. Indeed, one cannot help but appreciate the vastness of the Pacific Ocean when living on a tightrope of sand spotted by coconut palm and breadfruit trees. But Tarawa Atoll is no sinking ship. The vulnerability of the Pacific Islands to changes in climate and sea level cannot be overstated, but for all their challenges, what struck me most were the resilience and joyfulness of the iKiribati people. With the growing population on South Tarawa, access to sufficient land and fresh water is a huge issue but the predominant vibe on the island is not one of fear or panic. Laughter and teasing, fishermen relaxing in a hammock on a hot afternoon, gleeful children playing, fresh fish and coconut toddy dominated the landscape. A Living Memorial I was fortunate that my trip coincided with the 70th anniversary of the infamous Battle of Tarawa. Fought from November 20-23, 1943, the battle was the first American offensive in the central Pacific and was one of the bloodiest of World War II with more than 1,000 American and nearly 5,000 Japanese casualties over only 76 hours. Remnants of this period litter the islet of Betio at the end of South Tarawa, including coastal defence guns, concrete bunkers and pillboxes. These bastions of a by-gone era have since become part of the landscape, covered with graffiti and playful children. Memorials to the British, American, and Japanese casualties are worth a visit, as is the Red Beach Park, which is a new and well-maintained multipurpose park with a basketball court overlooking one of the main invasion sites. At 6am on November 20th, I joined numerous American military representatives and families of Veterans who had travelled all the way to Kiribati as they attended the sunrise memorial service for the fallen US Marines. His Excellency, President Anote Tong spoke eloquently of the sacrifice those soldiers made in the name of freedom and an iKiribati elder gave a firsthand account of his childhood memories of Betio before and after the War. The ceremony was solemn and moving. When the dignified and elderly representative from the American Foreign Legion slowly spread his wreath and then stopped to give a sharp salute to the memorial, I felt a lump grow in my throat. To think about the different world our grandparents lived in and to contemplate the sacrifices of that time was very humbling. Nothing takes you back to that era more than a walk through a living memorial like Betio. A Blissful Escape After a full week of workshops, I felt the need to escape the dusty and densely populated hubbub of South Tarawa. To remedy this, my colleague and I drove as far as we could along The Road, past the airstrip toward North Tarawa. We were looking for a nice swimming spot and since swimming in the Lagoon is not advisable – as it serves as a communal toilet for many villages- we drove at the end of The Road. It was low tide and much too shallow for a proper swim. Feeling hot and deflated, we were approached by a gregarious local fellow covered in tattoos who introduced himself and told us about a little guesthouse just across the inlet. Wasting no time, we started wading across the shallows and to our delight, found ourselves at Tabon Te Keekee Eco-Lodge After one day at Tabon Te Keekee, I was almost ready to scrap all of my belated honeymoon plans and reroute to Tarawa. The family-run spot is blissfully secluded. It is a tidy and sandy property featuring a handful of thatched open-air huts (buias) wired for electricity and with nothing but a mattress and a beautiful view. The food was delicious- fresh fish served anyway you can imagine with pumpkin, rice, vegetables, and fried breadfruit- and the green coconut juice was the sweetest I’ve ever tasted. The lodge’s two overwater buias appealed to the romantic in me. Jutting out over the inlet, the breeze flows freely through these spacious bures, which boast killer views of the gorgeous sunset. I could just imagine being lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves passing beneath. Walking the sandy footpaths of North Tarawa was a totally different experience to the congested traffic of South Tarawa. We passed by smiling children and friendly families calling ‘Mauri!’, and were overtaken only by the occasional bicyclist. We eventually found our perfect swimming spot- where the water was clear and even a little cool as it rushed into the lagoon from the sea on the incoming tide. All in all, it was a perfect day of unexpected adventures. There’s a saying that Kiribati is for travellers not tourists, and for someone who shuns the well-worn path, this made the country all the more attractive to me. There are also just enough activities available, sights to see, and restaurants to keep a visitor busy for a week or more. The Kiribati Tourism Office has recently launched a series of Visitor Guides which are comprehensive and very useful for planning a trip or just learning more about the country and culture. This information can also be found online at www.kiribatitourism.gov.ki. Getting there and away Fiji Airways flies twice weekly to Tarawa Atoll. Check out our special offers for flights from Nadi to Tarawa.
By Naziah Ali continue reading
Tagged: Activities, Adventure, Culture, Family, Fishing, , Leisure, Relaxation
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