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Finding Fiji

January 13, 2015

Images and words by Danielle Lancaster

Fiji has never been high on my bucket list – scraping through to the top 50. Pictures of romantic getaways and couples smooching silhouetted as the sun sets on a deserted beach; families frolicking nosily on vacation have all been off my immediate radar. That has since changed.

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Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Australian Society of Travel Writers, Photographers and Public Relations Professionals (ASTW) Convention and Awards held at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa. It’s located on Natadola Bay, Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, and relatively new on the accommodation scene in Fiji.

This made me consider Fiji again. At least I’d be surrounded by other travel media – many of whom have become dear friends. Surely as a single traveller I wouldn’t feel like the duck out of water?

And that’s when I discovered Fiji is a superb location as a conference venue. This resort, and as I learn many others are, dotted around Fiji’s 333 tropical islands, is slightly an isolated location. There are no nearby bars that slosh alcohol till the wee hours of the morning and blurt thumping music or streets lined with glitzy shops enticing retail therapy and credit card explosion.

The brilliance of this is it allows attendees ample time to network and catch up. Groups don’t disperse to one restaurant, bar or another location. Friendships are formed, information exchanged and connections made. Isn’t that what attending these conferences is all about?

Adding to the flavour was interaction with villagers. The resort employs many of the locals from the neighbouring Sanasana Village. Just outside the resort grounds other villagers set up massage tents on the beach, provide horse rides or just happily pull up and have a chat with you.

_DSC2952 _1Meet Jessie, a girl from the local village I meet during breakfast while staying at the Intercontinental

_DSC2820_1_cropped_1400Conference delegates interact with the local village school children – it’s a two way sharing experience

_DSC2959_1400‘Want a horse ride? I can get for you.’
A friendly local villager on the beach in front of the resort

I can guarantee you within the first 24 hours of landing in Fiji you will know the word “Bula” (pronounced boo-lah!). Most think it means hello but it has various meaning and can even be used when someone sneezes. What is does convey is the Fijian peoples warmth, friendship and love of life. Something I’m sure everyone who visits takes away with them.

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So don’t think Fiji is all about couples and families because for single travellers like me it has much to offer from it’s fabulous foods to relaxing or adrenaline filled activities (above and below the water) and most of all its open-hearted and peaceful people.

And you never know, maybe one day that will be me on the beach watching the setting sun in the arms of a lover – hey I can only dream of finding things in Fiji!

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About the ASTW
The Australian Society of Travel Writers is a not-for-profit organisation of Australia’s leading travel media and public relations professionals.
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About Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa

About Fiji

 

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