I've been given my assignment: Fiji and...?

Old Nov 20th, 2015, 06:19 PM
  #1  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been given my assignment: Fiji and...?

This year (as I do in alternate years in one form or another) I had my geography class choose my 2016 trip location. Today they voted, and Fiji came out the winner. (There were seven choices all told, including the likes of Estonia.) I haven't done much research, of course, but have just ordered some guidebooks and been looking at possibilities. I am thinking that I might want to combine Fiji with another location, such as New Zealand (perhaps just one Island?) so I'm looking for some real-world advice.

I will have about 17 days in late June/early July for the trip. I do not drive, and will probably be making this trip solo, but my (adult) niece or nieces may choose to accompany me. However, I do not want to count on having a driver. I will be coming from the East Coast of the US. I am accustomed to traveling alone (i.e. solo in China, India, South America...) and like a combination of culture/history/nature but not "relaxing on the beach" or nightlife, necessarily. My questions,then, are these:

1. Would the Fiji/NZ combo make sense considering the small amount of time that I have and the season? It's not likely I'll be in this part of the world again too soon, and would like to see (I'm anticipating some shudders, my apologies) particularly some LOTR sites.

2. Should I consider instead just various islands of Fiji (or perhaps other islands, like the Solomons or Vanuatu?)

3. How easy/difficult is it to get around without driving?

4. Any lovely quirky places that are on the low budget side? Airfare will be a bit of a joy-killer, of course, and I've been perfectly happy in guesthouses and the like, no need for swanky. Although that's got its place,too.

Thanks for any help/random info/even rants! This board has been my go-to for a long time now, and my trip to Australia a few years ago was terrific in large part due to contributions from Fodorites.
Amy is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2015, 07:17 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,116
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Well, June and July are winter in NZ, so that might be a consideration for you. I personally love to visit NZ in the winter, but it can certainly present some issues with potential poor weather resulting in the odd road closure, etc. It pays to be flexible. Winter also means very high prices in places like Wanaka and Queenstown, as they're ski areas.

I've been to the SI of NZ some dozen times and I cannot imagine doing so without a car, but that's just me. There is certainly an assortment of public transport and guided tours, but I can't recommend a specific company, perhaps others with more experience in this area will chime in.

I don't know a thing about Fiji, but am curious as to the weather there that time of year? If its warm, it might present some packing challenges visiting a warmish area and a cold area in the same trip.

If you do go to NZ, I'd highly recommend the South Island. It takes a good three weeks to hit the highlights on the SI, but if you have at least two weeks to work with you could see quite a lot.

The SI would definitely fit the bill regarding nature, but not such much regarding culture and history. Christchurch is still recovering from their earthquakes of a few years ago; I personally find the city more interesting post-earthquake than I did prior to the earthquakes.

If museums are your thing you won't want to miss Te Papa, the museum of NZ, which is located in Wellington on the NI.

And what a brave soul you are for letting your class pick your destination!
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2015, 01:31 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,522
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We focused much of our 2004 trip around LotR sites on the North Island, so you won't get any shudders from me! Get a copy of Ian Brodie's The Lord of the Rings Location Guide to help narrow down the sites you'd like to see. Most of the spectacular movie scenery is on the South Island, but Hobbiton, Rivendell, and most of Mordor are on the North Island.

I'll second Melnq8's recommendation of Te Papa, a really wonderful museum.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2015, 02:22 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,665
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
It's a good time to visit Fiji. Dry season, with average temps 18 - 29c.

Plenty to see & do for a week without lazing on the beach & there is a good array of day tours you can do

I drive myself, so don't have any first hand experience with tours. I think it would be fairly cheap to hire a taxi for a day if you wanted to work an itinerary around your own timeframe & interests.

Where you stay will determine what's logical & easy - and there are lots of small islands as well as the two large islands, as you undoubtedly know.

www.fiji.travel

NZ is a good pairing for contrast & proximity. You'll only need light, very casual clothes for Fiji, so you'll be able to pack the warm weather gear for NZ!
Bokhara2 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2015, 04:29 PM
  #5  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, everyone! I have done that dual packing for winter in the Andes/going to the Amazon thing: layers, generally, with cashmere working really well. Of course, you don't really usually have all you need...

Even our Oz trip had a pretty good variety of temps, as we were up in Daintree for part of the time and camping out under the winter stars in the Outback in the same trip.

I'll have to swot up on Fiji, as I just basically know it's an archipelago in the South Pacific that's kinda cross-cultural and a honeymoon haven. I'm excited about learning more, but I have to admit it wouldn't have been on my top 20 list--although NZ would!
Amy is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fiji will be lovely in late June/July but it is a popular choice for school holidays by families from both Australia and NZ.
If you want the Solomons and Vanuatu just do a Pacific Island tour. Vanuatu had tropical cyclone Pam in March 2015 and was very badly damaged so the tourist infrastructure may not be rebuilt yet.
Fiji has the beaches of 'Castaway' with palm trees but there is a stark contrast between tourists and local people. As you are a teacher you might like to visit a school if you can and take something small like pencils or pens as gifts.
It will be winter in New Zealand and definitely colder than Fiji. 17 days is not long for both so I would check out direct flights. If you have to come to Auckland and then fly to Fiji it may use up too much time. It is only a 3 hour flight however.
With careful planning you can get around with public transport and use a city as a base taking day trips. Rotorua is ideal for this if you want the thermal volcanic experience and it is relatively close to Hobbiton. The South Island is spectacular for scenery.
Post an itinerary and we can help you plan the perfect trip.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 02:03 AM
  #7  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, everyone!

It's looking to me at the moment (and of course subject to change) that the most practical thing would be for me to concentrate on NI this time as SI might be difficult due to winter/winter sports prices/getting around via public transport, plus there isn't nearly enough time to do both properly.

Right now I'm looking at possibly flying Philadelphia to Los Angeles and then to Auckland and (again, possibly!) taking a train excursion from there (this one: http://www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz/scen...-te-puia-tour/ ) I'm hoping that the price is in NZD! At that point, we'd stay in Wellington and do day trips out from there, plus of course exploring Wellington itself. We could fly from Wellington direct to Fiji, and spend a week there between a village homestay like Navotua in the Yasawa islands and the rest, well, haven't been able to narrow down too much... I'm guessing that it might be best to have the remaining time on the main island/s? Contrast to the Yasawas, anyway!
Amy is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2015, 09:57 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Amy
The train tour looks great and it is in $NZ. Wellington Ibis is a nice hotel and very central.
I have not been to the Yasawas but would love to go there. There is a 'volunteer holiday' scheme with Vinaka Fiji that I would like to go on one day.
Denarau Island is the main resort area on Viti Levu and very much for the tourist. It's very handy for Nadi International Airport.
Queenstown could be an option as they have the Winter Festival last week of June if you like organised activities. Or you could ski at Coronet Peak or take a day trip to Milford Sound.
tasmangirl is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2015, 02:04 AM
  #9  
Amy
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, tasmangirl! I've definitely been looking with longing at the Queenstown area...and Milford Sound--oh, yes! Looks incredibly beautiful. I don't ski, though, so that probably wouldn't be the best time for me to start. (*Pictures getting two broken legs into airplane.*)

I actually have my limits a bit on organised activities, although sometimes they're helpful when your time is short. I'll have to weigh the "expense for time" factor on this one, for sure! Just as one instance, flights to Nadi from Queenstown look to be about $600NZD more? Of course, I could look into doing it reverse way round, and see about flying into Queenstown from the US--no direct flights on that one,though, I believe.

Hmmm, three months vacation and unlimited funds would be nice. Sigh. I'm one of those teachers who works through the summer, so the 17 or so days is stretching it a bit; don't think I'll get three months (or unlimited funds!) any time soon.
Amy is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2015, 07:09 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,116
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
No direct flights from the US to QT that I'm aware of, but several options from the west coast of the US to Auckland, then a short hop to QT.

If you can swing it, I highly recommend Premium Economy on Air NZ, expensive, but oh so worth it on that long flight.

Or, do as we do, sign up for Air NZ e-mail sale alerts, purchase an economy fare, and then make a bid via their One Up program to upgrade to the next level of service. You might get lucky, you might not.
Melnq8 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Jean_and_sam
Australia & the Pacific
5
Sep 29th, 2015 11:15 PM
bsl5
Australia & the Pacific
17
Jun 30th, 2014 06:29 AM
kbob88
Australia & the Pacific
28
Mar 24th, 2013 02:52 PM
spassvogel
Australia & the Pacific
12
Jul 5th, 2009 09:24 AM
CindyW
United States
4
Aug 23rd, 2005 08:00 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information