The horrible part of our jobs here at Fishing Getaways is that we must spend part of our time ensuring that the products we offer to our clients are up to our standards... In short, this means we have to fish! And sometimes we have to visit the beautiful destinations we offer our clients to make sure that they are still as beautiful as we say they are - which was why the Fishing Getaways team has just returned from a 'Research Trip' to Fiji.
The islands of Fiji (all 330 of them) are absolutely stunning and if this is not somewhere you have visited in past, it is definitely somewhere we recommend you visit in future. As a Fiji Product Specialist I have always told my clients that a visit to Fiji is not complete without a stay in the Mamanuca (pronounced Mamanutha) or Yasawa Islands, as they give you the true feeling of being somewhere different. This may have developed through my own personal preferences in travel over the years but I have not yet had a client complain about this advice. My recommendation has always been that you split your travels between the main island of Viti Levu and the Fijian Islands to experience Fiji's full compliment; however this can be costly and the idea of picking up and moving in the middle of a holiday is not for everyone. Our most recent trip to Fiji has just opened up an entire new kettle of fish (so to speak)!
The common misconception about Fiji is that the main island of Viti Levu is a tropical island with palm trees, friendly Fijian locals and white sandy beaches - whilst most of this is true, most beaches on the main island either have black (volcanic) sand or are full of coral (hence the famous resort area named The Coral Coast). Some of the larger resorts offer the famed white sandy beaches but what most don't know is that they actually import their sand from Australia! Well our problem has been solved with the discovery of a hidden gem... First Landing Resort & Villas.
On the journey from Nadi Airport to First Landing you are surrounded by views of lush tropical mountains and sugar cane fields, you breath it all in through the thick tropical heat and know that you have landed in paradise! Then you tour past the Mobil Oil Refinery and think to yourself "what have I gotten myself into???" but moments later you enter a lush tropical driveway and realise that your minute of panic was completely unfounded. When you step our of the car you are greeted by staff who say "welcome to First Landing, welcome home" and you are hooked. Its at this moment that you know that you are never going to want to leave this place.
First landing is positioned in the perfect location, it is conveniently on the mainland and only 15km north of the international airport but it is also at the gateway to the islands so you have the best of both worlds in one beautiful place. White sandy beaches, palm trees, smiling and happy Fijian staff and possibly the best cuisine in Fiji are only a few of the drawcards of this place. The resort itself is only 3.5 stars consisting of garden and beachfront bures as well as private and self contained villas - but it will inevitably give you the strongest sense of being in Fiji that any accommodation can. There is a jetty attached to the property which is the starting point for game and reef fishing, island hopping day trips, scuba diving and snorkeling. Everything you could want out of a Fijian holiday is literally at your fingertips, and after you have spent your days catching tropical fish or underwater marveling at them you can take some time out to visit the Daydream Fijian Spa to unwind.
With this beautiful property comes a local skipper 'Johnny' who has been fishing these waters for generations. You vessel will pick you up from the resort jetty and whisk you away to chase Marin, Sailfish, Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi) and many many more. What is fantastic about this operator is that he is more interested in fishing the best tides and providing the experience every keen angler is after, than scheduling 3 fishing charters in a day - which is common place in many tourist areas. Depending on tides, some days you may not head out until after lunch but the time you spend on the water will be chasing targeted species with a skipper who has all the knowledge and gear required to give you the best opportunity to catch them. And when you do catch them, he is more than happy to deliver your catch to the First Landing kitchen to be transformed into an awe inspiring meal for your group.
In short, of all the places I have stayed and inspected in Fiji over the years this is the one place that will inspire me to visit again and again.