Many destinations seem to roar ahead and move with the times. Fiji, on the other hand, is a place that ignores reinvention. To visit the islands is to truly embrace a lost paradise laced with secluded coves, cascading waterfalls and white-coated beaches – incredible places where sand-loving romantics can find their private patch of paradise or say their ‘I dos’.
As a couples’ destination, Fiji brings together the quiet rhythms of island life and 50 shades of blue from any view. An archipelago comprising 333 islands of which less than a third are inhabited, most of the dreamlike discoveries centre on Fiji’s tropical waters. Beautiful seascapes that lead you to magnificent marine parks – sanctuaries that boast nearly 3900 sq. km of coral reefs and nesting grounds for seabirds – floating pontoons, pristine beaches and an exotic water world that calls for deep-sea diving and snorkelling amid sea turtles, manta rays, spinner dolphins and more than 1200 varieties of colourful, tropical fish.
Fifty shades of blue
It would be easy to spend an entire romantic interlude or honeymoon as castaways. Take a seaplane or helicopter from Viti Levu; the main island, and touchdown onto the soft sand at one of the outer islands, where intimate honeymoon bungalows straddle blue lagoons and swaying hammocks for two are strung up beneath towering palm groves. Adults-only resorts conjure up countless sunsets, private plunge pools, caressing waves and dreamy candlelit dinners by the beach – far from prying eyes.
Start with a private island such as Nukubati, an all-inclusive eco-retreat off the north coast of Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island. Framed by coconut groves and a shoreline that nurtures the Great Sea Reef, there are only four beachside and three honeymoon bures.
An idyllic hideaway designed with the sole aim of leaving a green footprint and for couples to take it real slow, its beach-facing verandas and interiors of hardwood floors, white-louvre shutters and use of large wicker furniture, ensures you remain in harmony with another time in Fiji’s colonial history and its natural environment.
The trump card, however, is Nukubati’s location, where the romance starts at sunrise and a world of indulgence awaits. A morning of watersports or catamaran excursions followed by a private sandbank picnic when the tide recedes and an afternoon massage. Long-tall drinks and cocktails at the Nukubati Bar or in the open-air pavilion that create a cheerful place to relax. Lantern-lit dinners that start at sundown; freshly caught seafood sprinkled with zesty lime and papaya and served with Nukubati’s garden produce. It’s little wonder the resort is cast as the epitome of barefoot luxury.
Vow to go green
The allure of the Fijian waters can also take you closer to the edge – where contact with the outside world is left strictly to the birds. Just 20 km west of Viti Levu lies Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji, a luxurious island retreat that nestles on a white-fringed lagoon on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Archipelago. Developed with an environmental culture that is strictly green, the resort features a cluster of traditional water bures that fan out across the ocean lagoon and beach like plump caterpillars; each accessed by a thread of wooden gangplank.
Featuring outdoor showers, private plunge pools and luxurious bedrooms with a modern mix of natural Fijian elements, an holistic spa menu and private dining samplings of Indian and Asian-inspired specialties sprinkled with tamarind and lime also lay claim to a broader, five-star culture.
A private patch of paradise
But it is the honeymoon experience that goes beyond the Lychee Passion cocktails at Masima – beyond to the shores of Mondriki Island, an uninhabited island where the 2001 movie, Castaway starring Tom Hanks was filmed. Couples can charter a schooner or arrive by jetskis before they snorkel in the picturesque lagoon.
Those who want to experience something exclusive and stay ahead of the honeymoon game can enjoy a guided snorkelling excursion amid the colourful reefs at Likiliku’s privately leased island, Mociu. Aptly called Honeymoon Island and a forerunner in marine transplanting and preservation, access is by invitation only.
The sensory pleasures are also boundless at sunset from the privacy of the bure’s bathing pavilion or deck as you sip a glass of Champagne while overlooking Fiji’s aquatic Eden.
Want to elope?
With sand and lush vegetation just about everywhere, Fiji’s vast expanse of islands is also ideal for creating the perfect wedding spot. Take the Garden of the Sleeping Giant with its wild orchids, lily ponds and orchestral calls of tropical birds, or the profuse tracts of island rainforest at Colo-i-Suva Forest Park and Savuione Falls at Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, for instance. Then there are the hideaway villages tucked away in mountain passes. For every one of Fiji’s striking locales, there’s a beautiful resort with open-air chapels and endless pampering to match.
To make it easy for couples, Paradise Bride is an independent Fiji-based company that takes care of everything to create a dream wedding – planning, styling and coordinating – taking the stress away so lovebirds can enjoy their big day with loved ones. They can organise the perfect location, take care of accommodation for wedding guests, organise excursions, transfers, and so on. Or, if an elopement is more appealing, they can organise that, too.
Go with the flow
Possibly the fairest wedding location of them all is the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa. Wedged between the blue Pacific and the lush hills of Natadola Bay on the main island, couples can vanish behind doors or dive beneath the cobalt waters to swim amid the soft coral and schools of exotic fish – or bodysurf along the shifting currents.
The sophisticated take on no-expense-spared indulgence is revealed in the high-end category rooms; chic beachside accommodation through to one-bedroom suites with private plunge pools, plump daybeds and signature, Cleopatra baths. And, if you’re hosting a wedding party, there’s plenty of space for everyone.
Lagoon life is swell
Arguably, the ‘Loloma’ wedding pavilion, with its live streaming capabilities, may be the best address for an outdoor wedding venue. In contrast to the classic hotel ballrooms, couples say their vows as the mild swell of the lagoon’s turquoise waters gently rises and recedes.
Resort has the Midas touch
With the emphasis on nature, the incredible marine life and endless watersports, the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa eschews everything a wedding party could think of that’s on-trend. Located on Yanuca Island, a private 44-hectare island on the Coral Coast, just a scenic 45-minute drive from Nadi International Airport, couples can fall into two tribes – those that explore the reefs by kayak or paddleboards, or others who prefer the soft touches of a massage at CHI, The Spa and sleeping the afternoon away. By evening, scene-stealing Fijian Beqa firewalkers and dancers dominate the resort’s entertainment along with the soft-sandy beach, where the tropical breezes and blazing sunsets give Yanuca a sense of place and meaning.
Sitting snugly amid a grove of palm trees and the ocean’s glittering edge is Shangri-La’s private Seaside Chapel. Accommodating up to 40 guests with a glass-front altar that brings in the colours of the Pacific, the panoramic view is a match made in heaven.
Island a dream location
If couples are looking to accommodate a large wedding party, the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa on offers just the right spot. But boating excursions and a maze of exotic marine life that lies further afield aren’t the only activities on offer; couples can enjoy more than two kilometres of beach, an array of concept spa treatments and indulgent massages by-the-sea, and guest rooms with private terraces and unrelenting ocean views. And, when you’re ready to say your vows, you can whisper them quietly to each other at a romantic, lantern-lit ceremony by the ocean.
Mana magical for weddings
Mana Island Resort & Spa is another dream location with an elegant seaside chapel in an immaculately landscaped tropical garden, making it the perfect place to say ‘I do’. Or choose a beach wedding with sand between your toes and the taking of vows under an exquisite floral arch. With its aquamarine water, gorgeous beaches and the scent of tropical flowers in the air, Mana is simply magical for weddings, renewal of vows or honeymoons.
No matter where couples stay on the edge of the Pacific, they can handpick any island or wedding experience that evokes many sensory pleasures and live happily ever after.
Fiji Airways flies non-stop services to Nadi International Airport from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide as well as flights from Hobart, Darwin, Perth, Townsville, Rockhampton and Cairns. fijiairways.com
For island hopping, there are a host of private sea-plane and helicopter charters. turtleairways.com
For wedding packages that include locations, unique wedding venues, photographers, traditional costumes, flowers, transport and help with wedding licences, Fiji Tourism can assist. fiji.travel
Paradise Bride can organise everything for the perfect wedding
Best time to go
May to October when there is less rain and humidity.