There’s no doubt that Fiji is one of the most beautiful places in the world. A tropical haven that’s filled with coconut palm trees, sugar white beaches and turquoise blue lagoons.
If this South Pacific archipelago is high on your travel bucket list and you plan on enjoying paradise like the locals do, you’re in luck. Today we speak to International Model and Fiji Airways Ambassador Phillipa Steele (born and raised in Fiji’s Coral Coast) to find out her favourite local spots, including where to stay, play, relax, shop and eat.
Fijian Model Phillipa Steele Reveals her Favorite Spots in Fiji
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Where to Stay
Protected by a spanning coral reef, the InterContinental on Viti Levu is worth splashing out for. This five-star resort has everything you could want in a resort. I’m not a golfer but the 18-hole championship golf course offers great views as well as perfectly primed grounds.
There are a small handful of excellent dining options and of course, a gorgeous spa. I always chose rooms on the beachfront because there’s nothing like waking up to the sound and sight of the ocean.
Many of Fiji’s hotels sit side by side, but the Shangri La sits on its own private island. This is a very special resort because you can swim straight off the beach.
If you enjoy snorkelling, the hotel runs daily boat shuttles to the reef surrounding the resort, which has an abundant sea life! For a little peace and quiet, I suggest requesting the adults-only rooms which includes access to the adults only pool.
Where to Play
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool
I love the traditional mud pools in Sabato. The mud baths contain sulphur which has a therapeutic effect on the muscles, making it a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The mud is also great for your skin, so I treat it like a more affordable day at the spa!
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
One of my favourite things to do with my friends and family is to go to the Sigatoka sand dunes at sunset, build a bonfire and play guitar. The dunes are also fun to explore during the day time and even more enjoyable if you have a boogie board to slide down.
My hometown in Sigatoka is located in the heart of the famed Coral Coast – we are known as the ‘Salad Bowl’ of Fiji. Visit our food markets for the freshest pineapples, mangoes, coconuts and little sweet bananas.
If you wander around some of the surrounding local shops you will find lots of tropical print fabrics and tailors who will whip up a Sulu (sarong) or Kaftan. These make great gifts for friends and family and even yourself!
Where to Relax & Pamper
The Pearl South Pacific
I love a spa where you can feel all the elements, including the surroundings. The spa at The Pearl South Pacific have waterside rooms secluded by tropical foliage. Rooms can also be fitted for couple’s massages which is a beautiful experience to share.
As I mentioned earlier, this resort really does have it all. There are many spa packages to choose from which highlight various areas of your mind and body that may need healing.
They also have beachside cabanas so you can hear the waves and feel the warm sea breeze during your treatment.
Where to Shop
For local designer shops, head to Tappoo – they have a number of retail outlets throughout Fiji.
This boutique has great patterned garments as well as contemporary fashion trends. Located in Suva, this is a fun place to visit if you are exploring the whole island of Viti Levu.
Both Suva and Nadi have local markets which feature Fijian handicrafts and traditional products. These make great gifts or souvenirs to take home.
Where to Eat
There’s nothing fancy about this café but they do serve my favourite local dish, Kokoda. This is where freshly caught fish has been marinated in lemon and sometimes coconut cream. It’s delicious and its always the perfect weather for it.
This is a café/bar near the airport which is often a convenient stop for me to grab a tasty bite before or after I fly.
This café takes classic Fijian dishes and gives them a modern twist. Their pastries and sweets are delicious and are made using local ingredients so I know it’s fresh – a great treat for those with a sweet tooth.
The Beach House
This is one of my favourite spots and is popular among the younger crowds. All the meals are served in little villas making it an intimate dining experience.
Information provided by Phillipa Steele, International Model and Fiji Airways Ambassador. Phillipa Steele is based in Fiji but for 6 months of the year, Phillipa is travelling to New York, Paris, Australia and Switzerland.
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Photo credits: Featured photo (snorkeling in Fiji) by Markolf Zimmer. Pinterest image fire show by Romain Pontida. Pinterest image Octopus Island by Sinead Friel. Intercontinenal Fiji by Roderick Eime. Massages by InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park by Joseph Illingworth. Tul Bahadur BK furniture making business by Jim Holmes for AusAID.