“Bula” and “Vinaka” to ISV’s First Fijian Excursion Group for 2012

by on Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bula!  If you learn one word in Fiji, that’s probably it! And you’ll certainly learn Vinaka; it means “thank you” in Fijian.

ISV participants love the Island Trip included activity © used with permission by Kirsty Prior, New Zealand and Fiji Tour Operations Manager, ISV

ISV has been sending groups to Fiji for an optional 6 day excursion at the end of their Australia or New Zealand Program experience for many years. Fiji provides participants with a chance to relax and unwind.  Some participants just want to chill, soak up some sun, read a book or swim in the pool or ocean.  Others can’t get enough of the many free activities on offer. Through the village experience, a little culture is shared as our participants try some kava, meet and play with local school children and learn a little about the Fijian lifestyle.We’ve just finished our first Fiji excursion for the year, and it wasn’t without some challenges.  Firstly, lots of rain. However, participants entertained themselves with jewelry making, massage, volleyball games and some chill-time.  Still, we were fortunate on the day of the island and snorkeling excursion the sun came out and so did Nemo!  The activity was rated straight 5/5 from all participants, and some participants told our leaders (Kirsty Prior, NZ & Fiji Tour and Operations Manager and Shannon Donnelly, Fiji Excursion Leader) that this was their favorite day of their entire ISV trip!

Meeting the local school children © used with permission by Kirsty Prior, New Zealand and Fiji Tour Operations Manager, ISV

This is our first year working with Mango Bay Resort which is located on the Coral Coast of the main island of Viti Levu. It’s not uncommon for the first time in working with a new operator to discover a few ‘kinks’  that need working out, but thankfully Kirsty and Shannon were there to work cooperatively with Mango Bay to make sure the excursion ran as smoothly as possible.

We decided to stay on the mainland this year in that we could still offer our participants some great included activities such as the island trip and waterfall hike PLUS they can hit up Sigatoka, Suva or Nadi for shopping, or do one of the many other water-based activities on offer (including surfing and scuba safaris) or, go inland to the jungle.  In past years ISV stayed on one of the nearby islands which was really wonderful, yet in some ways a bit limiting and always dependent on good weather for the boat trip back to the airport.

Below are a few great testimonies we wanted to share about the Fijian experience for our first group for the season.  Also, a note to those participants who went to Fiji and stuck out all the rain at Mango Bay – well done and so glad you enjoyed it overall (average rating for overall experience was 4.7/5 from 16 participants). Thanks for all your valued feedback.

5/5: Mango Bay was beautiful.  The cultural feel was amazing.  I’d visit again on my own for sure! Candace Janzen

5/5: Very rewarding experience going into the village and meeting the children at school along with relaxing on the beautiful beaches. Sarah Spyker

4/5: Fiji was absolutely beautiful & I learned so much about the local culture.  It was a good concluding week for the entire trip. Megan McGuire

5/5: Fiji was amazing! I can’t wait to come back! Sarah Nocita

4/5: Felt safe especially for being in a foreign country. Nicole Snow

5/5: I felt like we were able to experience the Fijian culture and I had a great time.  Thanks! Aaron Bondy


Narelle Webber, ISV’s International Program Director

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