Saturday, May 16, 2015

1MB Travels: Fiji: Adventure Flashpacking Day 5: Rainforest Ziplining, Slipper Lobsters, and Young Coconut Plucked to Order

Sunday was my last day in Fiji, and we were originally just planning to 'chill' and enjoy the beach. 

But with the impending end to a bucketlist, adventure packed trip - we decided to make the most of every minute.

With the lack of info online about activities schedules in Fiji in general (most resorts say just stop by the activities desk, and vendor websites mostly do not post times) - we'd approached the front desk the day before, asking if any zipline companies would be operating Sunday.  We were told pretty much everything is closed Sundays, and a waterfall hike run by Uprising that would require a long boat ride was our only option.  The receptionist, at our insistence, supposedly confirmed this by phone to Zip Fiji.

A former boss used to always say: "Always ask twice", and it's been a part of my don't-give-up-easy approach that's carried through to my personal life.  So, I emailed the company before bed, and sure enough, we woke to an email clearing up the confusion - they are OPEN, and would we like a car to come pick us up in the morning?

So, with a pit stop to Uprising Resort's restaurant for international style buffet breakfast...
...with fresh scrambled eggs, fluffy pancakes and the ubiquitous 'tropical juice', we were off to the rainforests of southern Viti Levu.

25 minutes, and we had arrived at Zip Fiji's private eco reserve. 
We were outfitted with gear, then a scenic (and informative, thanks to our enthusiastic guides, who pointed out and told stories about local plants along the way) hike up the mountain to get to the first platform.

The course consisted of 8 ziplines, through lush tropical greenery and over the Wainadoi river valley under the sun-soaked, cotton-puff-cloud-filled blue skies of Fiji.   

Shark diving was hard to beat, but rainforest ziplining gave us on land, an experience to also cleanse all the stresses of every day life from our systems. Both provided that pure rush, that connected with nature and made you so, so (appreciative of being) alive.

Our tour guide was awesome and turned my iPhone into a makeshift GoPro - check out his video below! (Yes my phone made it back in one piece - seems that he's done this before ;))


Zip Fiji apparently also offers several zipline adventures including one in Nadi (around the airport area!) where outdoor ziplines yield to limestone cave systems 100 meters deep that you can rappel intoWe definitely need to check that one out if we make it back to Fiji some day.

Back at Pacific Harbour, our driver was kind enough to help us pick up our luggage from Uprising Resort, and take  us over to our next hotel:  The Pearl South Pacific. 

Where all of our previous 'resorts' did have a bit of the vibe of upgraded backpacker venues, The Pearl was a true resort in the traditional sense of the word - we definitely felt a huge difference in the beautiful, very modern architecture and grounds, the level of service from the moment we set foot on property, and the fact that their restaurant had a live band at lunch, performing covers of the latest Top 40 hits poolside.

Plus, thoughtful cocktails that meld Western with local flavors!  (We had the Paw Paw Smash ($20 Fiji / ~$10 USD) with Bounty rum, coconut rum, fresh paw paw, mint and lime.  Paw paw is a local / Aussie term for papaya!)

And no mosquitos in sight - not sure how they managed this, but it resulted in our undying love for The Pearl at first (non) sight.

 We had just 40 minutes before our spa appointment - just enough time to grab a bit of lunch.

Already excited to find that we had arrived on BBQ Day, with AYCE LOBSTERS at the lunch buffet - we got a bonus in the types of lobsters that were offered, one of which we had never seen before: a Slipper Lobster, common to the Australia / New Zealand / Fiji area.  I thought they tasted a bit sweeter and more tender than the lobster we get in the States.

Here's a shot of the other super photogenic whole lobster split.

Stuffed, we headed to the spa. A beautiful, modern 4-star space that we didn't want to leave.

And yes, we reaffirmed that there is nothing in the world like a free massage in tropical paradise.
Post treatment, we got to enjoy soothing ginger tea in the lounge.  The attentive hostess, noticing that pretty much every one of our limbs were polka dotted with mosquito bites - showed us this amazing "dilo" lotion (yes, we almost spat our tea out when we first read the name, with an extra consonant inserted by our subliminal selves).  

Apparently dilo is a fruit native to the south pacific, whose 'somewhat poisonous' kernel produces an oil that became popular for healing skin ailments: the extract is supposed to enhance the skin's natural regenerative functions, and speed up healing, with antiseptic properties to boot.  It's most commonly used for burns, inflammation and rashes.
The Pure Fiji bath/body/skincare products line uses a lot of this nut oil, and the Dilo Rescue body gel in particular worked wonders to ease our evil itchy mosquito bites.

After the spa, I had only about an hour before my hired car was due to come take me to the airport, and we chose to spend it by the pool (the beach at Pacific Harbour definitely doesn't compare to Blue Lagoon's warm, crystal clear blue water and soft pristine white sand.  But The Pearl had a swim up bar!).

That's when @gourmetpigs reminded me that we still hadn't gotten a fresh young coconut.  Throughout the trip, knowing it was cliche, we still expected that coconut would be served everywhere we went - but even til the last day, it was MIA - until The Pearl.  No, they did not have it on the menu either - but when we asked the bartender, he offered to climb up a tree to fetch a fresh one for us!!!  

Now that's 5-star service!!  

We took our freshly fetched and cut coconuts to the swim up bar and toasted to one unforgettable trip.

It was hard to leave utopia - the only thing I'd missed was the chance to make a visit to the local village, but @gourmetpigs stayed an extra day and you can read all about it soon on her blog!

Can't wait til the next time we can say Bula to Fiji again!

(Read all about the other days on our bucket list Fiji trip here: Day 1 , Day 2Day 3, and Day 4)



Ph: +679-672-6045

The Pearl South Pacific Resort
Pacific Harbour, Fiji
Ph:+679 773 0022

Koro Makawa Rentals & Tours (car service)
Ph: 3450567

Day 5 costs breakdown:
  • Breakfast at Uprising Resort: included in price of hotel
  • Car service from hotel to zipline and back: $0 (FREE, courtesy of Zip Fiji), $5 Fiji tip
  • Zip Fiji:  $225 Fiji per person (~$187 USD pp)
  • The Pearl South Pacific
    • Lunch at The Pearl: $29 USD pp
    • Massage: $0 included with hotel stay, $10 Fiji tip
    • Dilo lotion: $10 Fiji
    • 1 night stay (@gourmetpigs only)
  • Car service (Koromea): $160 Fiji (~$80 USD)
  • Total: ~$307 USD

(Also see my recaps for Day 1 , Day 2Day 3, and Day 4)

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