Last week I went on this great full day trip into the heart of Viti Levu (the big Fiji island, the one we also live on) but only now do I find the time to sift through all the pictures taken and write down what I think about it.
In short: fantastic trip, very recommended! Actually a ‘must’ when you are in Fiji.
In more detail: The day starts very early, 5 AM, when our driver Bobby picked us up. I could have driven, but the road to Pacific Harbor is pretty scary when it is dark (stray cows among other things) and I figured I will be too tired after a 12h+ active day to drive us back safely.
Somehow I always thought I read on the website that the trip from the office to the put-in site would be by bus … i think now maybe some external website called it a bus (Actually, after double checking I find “You can leave your dry change of clothes and valuables with the bus” … clearly sells you the idea you are on some cozy bus). Beware .. it is no busride … it is not a chance to take a little nap … you are sitting on the back of a 4 WD truck with 2 benches on the sides, first you whizz unprotected through the fairly cold morning air and then you are being shaken through rugged terrain, up up up we go. Full adventure trip!
Get changed and ready for a 20 minute hike. Though teva sandals might be applealing, for the hike I was very happy to have sacrificed some a pair of sneakers. The hike is fun, due to some bridge having been swept away by the last heavy flood, you get to use some interesting stairs and ladders and get your feet wet right away.
Once arriving at the put-in site the security briefing starts. Our guide Steven might struggle a bit with the english language, but he says so right away and all his paddle talk is right on the mark, before long we are in our rafts and move towards the first rapid.
A for rapids, do not expect too much. Some Level 2 and maybe a 3 … most are 1 or below (if that exsists) … but the focus is on the great scenery and the combination of paddles for the guests and oars for the guide results in plenty of time to look around and take pictures.
The whole ride can appear a bit lengthy in time and with the sun hiding behind the clouds, we got pretty cold. Lunch was at some sandy river bend: make your own sandwiches, which was a pretty neat solution, wholesome and yummy. After lunch we continued and the ride got a bit more mellow (or ‘boring’). People were obviously getting tired .. but the river went on and on .. another stop was at a picturesque water fall where everyone took pictures of each other … I had hoped that this is like the ending spot of the trip, but no, they said that we have another hour.
Don’t get me wrong, the trip is great. And for 150 USD they sure want to make this a long, big experience. But it is getting long toward the end. Plus the busride to and from the river. As with other rafting trips I had, it comes down to spending a whole day to get maybe one full hour of condensed rafting fun. We heard that Bill Gates had been with our rafting guide before, he kinda cheated, choppered in to where the most scenic part begins, paddled for 40 minutes, then choppered back … well, if you are a billionaire you can do that …
Once we arrived at take-out the rafts were quickly put together, everything was packed, people tried to get into dry clothing (one little shed in a village was the changing room for all, taking shifts, boys/girls) and finally there were bathrooms (before that, the whole river was your only bathroom).
The ‘bus’ ride back was another hour and everyone looked kinda beat. But what a great day!
I hope to hear from some of our co-rafters. There should be plenty more pictures!