Recently, Marcus left for four weeks, on a tour around the world. His first stop was London then on to Washington DC and finally to Hawaii where the girls and I were to meet him. Meanwhile, in Singapore, I did my best to maintain my sanity with two little girls on summer break by going to yoga and taking them on a few local adventures.
Finally, the time came for us to meet Marcus in Hawaii. Am I the only one who is OCD and must clean the house before leaving for an extended vacation? The very thought of coming home to a messy house is enough to drive me crazy. So, I dragged the girls into my crazy and
we I cleaned the house while simultaneously packing.
In my defense I had ever right to be crazy because this was a big day for me. It was the first time I was traveling via air with the girls by myself and this was a doozy of an itinerary. To get to Hawaii we had to fly from Singapore to Nadi, Fiji for 10 hours. We then had a 10-hour layover in Fiji (more on that later). The final leg of our journey was a 7-hour flight from Nadi to Hawaii. In total, we traveled for 27 hours, and the girls did amazingly up until the very last second as we were getting our luggage and then one daughter upset the other daughter (not hard to do) and not even daddy waiting to greet us with leis was enough to cheer anyone up.
Anyway, back to Fiji. Because we had a ten-hour layover, we had to clear immigration and leave the airport giving us a chance to see a country I had never dreamed of being able to visit. I booked a tour guide with Mick’s Fiji Tours & Transfers, ultimately going with them because A. They had a high rating on Trip Advisor and B. They responded almost immediately to my query. That said, it was clear that it wouldn’t have been hard find a tour upon landing in Fiji but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, hence I booked beforehand. Also, a quick note about their current COVID restrictions: If you are actually planning to travel to Fiji and stay you do have to take a test at some point during your stay and have proof of booking the test before you fly. Because we were there for only ten hours, we did not have to test at all or have pre-booked a test.
When I booked with Mick’s, I explained our time limitations and they quoted me a price for a tour guide along with entry to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and the Sabeto Mud Pools. As it turned out, we were there on a Sunday which limited what we could do because many things were closed. Honestly, with two little girls, anything more would have been over doing it.
The first thing I noticed was how warm and welcoming the people of Fiji seem to be. We were greeted with a smiling “Bula!” (“hello!”) at every turn. The girls and I quickly picked up the greeting along with a second, very important Fijian word, “vinaka” (“thank you”). Another thing I found interesting was that almost all of the men and boys were wearing a sarong called a “sulu.” Our tour guide explained that these are worn for important events and official business. I enjoyed our tour guide and hope he didn’t think I was too annoying with my questions.
Our first stop was the Garden of the Sleeping Giant which (this probably goes without saying) is 49 acres of garden located at the base of a mountain. It was serene, green, and breathtakingly beautiful. Originally owned by the late American actor, Raymond Burr who cultivated orchids and other plants, it now boasts Fiji’s largest orchid collection.
We wandered through the gardens, following the rambling paths every which way and attempting to do that Instagram influencer thing where two people hold hands, one in front of the other, and the person in the back videos the person in the front and…it turned out about as well as you might expect. Eventually, we found signs pointing us to the “the view” and as we began our ascent the first few drops of rain began. By the time we reached the top the few drops of rain turned into a downpour. It was a treacherous descent in our completely inappropriate-for-an-impromptu-hike-sandals and the rain-soaked mud and grass.
We finally made it to where we started and were greeted with “You didn’t take an umbrella?!” Honestly, it was raining so hard I’m not sure an umbrella would have helped much. We were drenched but the girls were laughing and (luckily) found the whole experience to be fun. I also knew our next stop was the mud spa, so I wasn’t too worried. I would have loved to see more of the garden, but it just wasn’t in the cards (naturally, on our flight back through Fiji two weeks later it was a beautiful, sunny day).
After sipping on a complimentary fruit juice it was time to head to the mud spa just down the road. It was raining when we arrived but, by the time we changed into bathing suits, the rain had all but stopped. Our guide was one of the family members who owned the spa and she showed us each pool and explained them to us. In total there were five different pools including the geothermal source of heat (which you cannot enter).
The first thing we did was mud-up. The mud is apparently from volcanic ash and was silky smooth and grey in color (very unlike the chunky brown mud with which we bathed the elephants in Thailand). Also, at this point, we were joined by one of the local children who clearly had done this before as they also got muddy and beat us to each successive pool with a mischievous grin. Anyway, after letting the mud dry, we entered the mud pool to wash off most of the mud. From there, we entered each of the other three pools which were progressively hotter, the third (and final) pool being 140 degrees Fahrenheit (pregnant women and I’m assuming anyone with cardiovascular issues are not allowed in this pool).
I’m not going to lie; I could have stayed in that last pool forever, especially after our ten-hour flight but alas, we had to end our day in Fiji and head back to the airport. The rain started up again as we made our way back and our driver wished us farewell and hoped we might come back again only for longer than 10 hours (which I agreed with wholeheartedly). By this point in our adventure we were tired, hungry, and feeling confrontational (I had to call-out the woman trying to muscle her way in front of us) but eventually we boarded and started the final leg of our journey, a 10-hour flight to Oahu, Hawaii.
2 thoughts on “What To Do with a Ten-Hour Layover in Fiji”
Enjoy reading about your travel experiences. And too, you are expressing your experiences very clearly. Thanks for sharing.
You did all that in 10 hours!!! Wow!! I’m surprised the girls agreed to a mud bath. Obviously they enjoyed it. What an amazing summer vacation for them. 🙂