Bounty Island, Fiji

The first thing I was aware of when we arrived in Fiji was the heat.  This is a hot country and they play a lot of rugby and I don’t know how they manage it.  

The tour desk at the wharf

The tour desk at the wharf

The ship docked in the city of Lautoka, Fiji, which is Fiji’s second-largest city and about a 40-minute drive from Nadi.  

The Fijian’s gave us a lovely greeting as we walked off the ship with a giant of a man in traditional dress (pretty much just a skirt) and gathered us together for a photo.  There was a lot of sweat, grinning teeth and ‘bulas’ exchanged.

Alfie even had his photo taken with a policeman.  I do wonder how he could go on a chase with what he was wearing.

Alfie standing beside the very friendly policeman and the ship in the background

Alfie standing beside the very friendly policeman and the ship in the background

The locals had set up stalls for hair-braiding, souvenirs, local art, clothing and tourism.  We hadn’t booked a tour through the ship so we had to try our luck at organizing our own day’s outing.  It really isn’t a problem as there is a tour desk you can visit and with that, work out where you want to go.

Walking towards the Excitor and more singing

Walking towards the Excitor and more singing

We chose to go to Bounty Island, named after the ship that the infamous Captain Bligh captained until he was cast into a row boat with a couple of provisions including a sextant and left in the middle of the Pacific.

Onboard the Excitor

Onboard the Excitor

The tour to Bounty Island costs FJ$149.00/adult and FJ$85.00/child.  It includes transfers, a buffet lunch and snorkelling gear.  We were to travel to Bounty Island on the Exitor, a brightly-coloured speed boat that seats around 50 passengers.  As we walked towards the Excitor, the staff greeted us with traditional Fijian singing.  I’m convinced there isn’t a South-Pacific Islander born tone-deaf.

Travelling at high speeds

Travelling at high speeds and Mike, our camera-shy host

We were handed bottles of very chilled water that we were very grateful for (did I mention it’s hot?) and at 45 knots we certainly had to hang on to our hats as we almost flew across the water.  It only took around 20-minutes to travel to Bounty Island.  When we arrived the staff on Bounty Island were there to greet us with another singing welcome.  As well as not being tone-deaf, I think every Fijian owns a guitar.

Arriving on Bounty Island

Arriving on Bounty Island

Bounty Island is an island providing budget accommodation.  It’s very rustic and basic with some bures but also dormitory rooms.  There’s a small freshwater fiberglass swimming pool that seems to have dipped on one side causing it to be on a slight lean but don’t let that bother you.

The staff come to the shore to welcome their visitors

The staff come to the shore to welcome their visitors

But we weren’t there to swim in the fibreglass pool, we were there to snorkel so our guide, Mike, handed us our gear and we headed down to the water’s edge.  You definitely need tough feet as the crushed coral underfoot can be quite painful.

The pool with party lights overhead

The pool with party lights overhead

The water was very clear and extremely warm.  It was lukewarm rather than cold and blue rather than green which is how it is in Sydney.  We had to follow our guide in a big group which was rather frustrating at times, as there were frequent stops to wait for others to catch up, however, being with a guide allows them to take you to the best places and they will point out things you might on your own, not see.  Mike showed us clams and Nemo fish and blue starfish and sea anenomes but a highlight for us was seeing a Maori Wrasse.  Such beautiful and majestic fish.

Bounty Island

Bounty Island

I was also impressed by Mike’s ability to hold his breath.  He would disappear under the water and very calmly, like he was in no rush at all, make his way to the seabed where he would often disappear under a rock of coral only to emerge on the other side of it, saying there was a tunnel.  He would be under the water for around a minute then surface not even gasping for air.

Volleyball net

Volleyball net and a few bures for shelter

While the coral had beautiful formations it wasn’t the prettiest coral I’ve seen, especially as large sections of it were quite brown.  However, the range and colour and shape and size of the fish were incredible and with the glorious weather and warm water, a delightful snorkelling experience.

A little touch of paradise

A little touch of paradise

Back on land we ordered drinks from the bar and lay on the sun lounges soaking up the blue, blue, blue view.  A wooden drum was pounded on to let us know that lunch was ready.  The buffet lunch was set up in a hut with tables and chairs set on the sand.  Treasure Island is nearby and some of the kitchen staff had come across to prepare the meal.  There were bread rolls, coleslaw, a chickpea salad, a couscous salad, a noodle salad, roasted chicken and bar-be-cued steak.  They’re not going to win any awards for cuisine but it was perfectly adequate and no one went hungry and yes, there was more singing.

Enjoying lunch with more singing

Enjoying lunch with more singing

Lunchtime singing

Lunchtime singing

After lunch we snorkelled some more, then had a cocktail from the bar and then it was back onto the Exitor for some farewell singing and the speedy journey back to Lautoka.  Bounty Island is well worth a visit for a day trip, or if you’re looking for budget accommodation in a tropical paradise, this could well be your answer.

Relaxing with a cocktail

Relaxing with a cocktail

Relaxing on the sun lounges

Relaxing on the sun lounges

Being farewelled with singing

Being farewelled with singing

Heading back to the ship.

Heading back to the ship.

When we were back on the wharf we saw a business called V8 Trike Tours that’s Kiwi owned using Kiwi designed and engineered V8 trikes.  They say it’s the ultimate in 3-wheel luxury.  We didn’t have time to go on any of their listed tours but they did say they could take us into town for FJ$10.00/person.

Looking forward to a high-speed trip in town

Looking forward to a high-speed trip in town

No, she did not drive the V8 trike

No, she did not drive the V8 trike

Carl wasn’t going to say ‘no’ to that and now has engine-envy as his Mustang has a 289ci Ford engine and this motorbike has a 350ci Chevy engine.  We put on our helmets and off we went and we certainly did as we seemed to be travelling at rocket-launch speeds and so I was hanging on for dear life especially when I saw the odometer reach 110kms/hr (70 miles/hr).

He has a bit of growing to do

He has a bit of growing to do

It was thrilling.

The driver dropped us outside the one and one shop that was open, a department store owned by Indians with Fijians wearing traditional costume greeting you at the entrance.

Arabella would have loved an all-day tour on this trike

Arabella would have loved an all-day tour on this trike

We needed clothes as the ship was having a ‘tropical’ night.  I bought Alfie a Hawaiian shirt (Fijian), Miss Arabella and I bought frangipanis for our hair but Carl went all out and bought not only a loud Hawaiian shirt but a zulu.

A zulu is the traditional dress of the Fijian men.  It looks like a skirt but don’t ever call it that!  It’s a zulu and it has lots of pockets and Carl said that in this oppressive heat it was very cooling to wear.

Off we went to the ship’s ‘tropical dinner’ and yes, Carl was the only one in a zulu.

Heading off to 'Tropical Night'.  Carl bought a 'zulu'.  Skirt - but don't ever call it that.  I don't know why Alfie is wearing his shoes on his ears.  Arabella and I have frangipani flowers in our hair but you can't see them.

Heading off to ‘Tropical Night’.

Love, love, love Fiji.

The pool with party lights overhead

Budget accommodation in paradise

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Comments

  1. You are such adventurous tourists, and it sounds like a fun day all round, despite the heat.

  2. Another fun day. Those trikes look huge. Luckily someone else was driving. I’d be terrified. 🙂

  3. Now I’d imagine our police officers would like outfits similar to those, especially in the dead of summer!

  4. There is just so much water! I’m not sure I’d choose to visit somewhere for the heat (well, I definitely wouldn’t) but with this many opportunities to cool off it sounds very enjoyable.

  5. You do have the most wonderful Fiji holidays, Charlie! I bet Alfie was as reluctant to leave this time as he was last time! 🙂

  6. Looks fabulous!

  7. I would have been squealing at the back of the trike if it was going that fast I’m such a wuss. Wow that water looks amazing and so exotic. You packed a lot into your magical trip.

  8. Wow, now that’s a family holiday to remember! xo

  9. i love hearing about your tropical adventures! I would have likely been super scared on those crazy cars…but other than that it sounds like your time in Fiji was fabulous and well-spent!

  10. Oh, the water, the music, the very thought of being in this paradise.

    Again, thank you for the journey here, far away from the cold and snow. I would gladly accept some of that heat.

  11. Fiji sounds ideal for is time of year. ..sunshine, friendly people, great Food, etc. I wished I was there with you.

  12. I can’t believe poor Archie had to miss this incredible adventure. Though I have traveled a lot in SE Asia, I never made to Fiji or Tahiti. You have ignited the wanderlust yet again.

  13. You have a beautiful family who visit beautiful warm, sunny places and make people like us sitting in this freezing cold so very envious!

  14. Looks awesome!!!!

  15. Hello my friend Charlie!
    I’ve been watching your travel series for some time now, I;m so glad you are having so much fun with your kids.
    Amazing police officer uniform and that v8 trike, humongous!
    Hugs
    E.

  16. It does not surprise me one bit that Carl wore the zulu. He’s such a lot of fun, that man you chose. You had the most fantastic holiday ever. What glorious memories you made.

  17. What a fabulous day out. What seems perfect about this cruise is that you are not stuck on the ship for days on end and get to do something fun as a family every day. Carl suits his zulu and I love how coordinated you all are for the tropical night with red and white and a hint of blue!

  18. What a beautiful place!

  19. What a great time you’re having. I have a bunch of those Hawaiian shirts that I haven’t worn in ages (they made a lot more sense when we lived in Florida). This sounds like a fun place. Love that V8 trike!

  20. G’day and what another family fun day! The smiles say it all Charlie!
    Cheers! Joanne

  21. For about three decades of my life Fiji was home #2 because of a number of relatives/friends on the Islands. Am glad to have been there in more ‘primitive’ but REAL times!! So many Australians go for their holidays ~ the first thing any should pack would be a pair of old sneakers with rubber soles to be able to walk amongst the coral: absolutely priceless if one can get away from the madding throng! And in that climate I can assure you all our men wore sulus and were most comfortable 😉 !

    • Is it a ‘sulu’, Eha? I thought it was a zulu. Good to have that information, thank you. And I agree you definitely need a pair of reef shoes or old sneakers because that coral along the foreshores is definitely sharp!

      • I am not all that diplomatic at times, am I, Charlie? So sorry, but the word had nought to do with African warriors and is ‘sulu’ for sure!! Truly my apologies!! Oh, not that I would want you to be older by one single solitary year but I DO remember the weekend ‘mekes’ at Korolevu and elsewhere where one sat on the ground after watching the firepit all afternoon and ate with one’s hands!! [And had far too much rum punch and kava!!] And the dancers could get wild [especially when one was young and reasonably ‘pretty’!] and one at times thought one would be speared then and there!! That was so different from Sydney, Australia 🙂 ! Of course that was considered ‘unhygienic’ and stopped and the fun stopped with it!! Have never been sick in the Islands by the way!!

  22. What a fun holiday this was for your family!!! Your heat sounds darned good right now 🙂 I think you all had a blast, didn’t you?

  23. Charlie, your sense of adventure (and humor) never ceases to amaze me! Thanks for the peek at Fiji — it looks like a wonderful place to experience. Smiling at your 4th picture — Alfie looks like he’s instigating a mutiny on the way to Bounty. 😉

  24. Fiji is a lovely place to visit, I agree. I lived there for a year teaching on Volunteer Service Abroad when I was 18 – a wee while ago. I knew Bounty Island way back then but it was called Beachcomber Island. I wonder why they changed its name. The coral was fabulous back then but much of it has been killed by the pollution from the tourist boats and some other parasite. It’s such a shame.

  25. You guys really have had an incredible holiday!
    I know Zulu as being a black South African ethnic group who live mostly in Kwazulu-Natal.
    Have a super day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  26. What a fantastic day and good on Carl for wearing a ‘skirt’. When in Rome it’s best to do as they do.
    Carolyn
    Ps just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Kidspot Village Voices 2014 campaign. You deserve it for all the effort you put into this lovely blog………Good Luck.

  27. I wouldn’t be able to keep my family off those trikes either Charlie! Carl looks very fetching in his sulu, I hope they’re not like a Scotsman’s kilt though….. Actually, don’t tell me, TMI….. 🙂 xox

  28. That’s so cool the V8 Trike Tours vehicle!!! Tell Arabella she should get that as her next car becuase I think she looks great in it 🙂 xx

  29. Holy cow, a V8 trike? Damn, I bet that can shovel it a bit! I had no idea you were going to Fiji actually… well, I didn’t really know where you were going, but didn’t really realise you were going there! Looks lovely.

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