Tag: Nadi

Fijian Highlands

What does a Pineapple Tart have to do with Fiji?

Fiji and a pineapple tartIn a word lots! We all have our triggers, they can be a smell, a taste or perhaps a scene that takes you back years to an event.
In my case it’s a ‘pineapple tart’.

A sweet Pineapple Tart takes me back to the Fijian Highlands

During a business visit a few years back, I arrived in Nadi a day early and decided to take a four wheel drive tour into the mountains overlooking Nadi Bay

The weather had been wet for a few days and there had been some local flooding, however the tour operator decided to risk one more trip.

While on route he informed all of us of his morning adventure with his brand new vehicle having tangled with a tree!

Well I was up for an adventure and being the last to be picked up, was put in what felt like the kids seat at the back of the vehicle, because I was the smallest and most agile of the group – that was my fate.

Fijian Highlands

I was unfamiliar with Fiji so I’ll not sure where we turned off, however I believe it was the road leading to Mt Batilamu or ‘Sleeping Giant’ and through the fertile Sabeto Valley.

The dirt track quickly turned to mud and we started climbing, or should I say slipping and sliding.

I was sure I was in the worst seat in the vehicle and my occasional glance out of the back window confirmed it.

The cloudbank was heavy and obscured the view, which was such a shame, nonetheless it was beautiful; the tour operator stopped and we all climbed out of the vehicle for a break.

We stopped to take in the view

We eventually arrived at a local village for a quick tour. The ground was a quagmire and I wondered how the local villagers coped with these wet conditions.

One couple refused to leave the vehicle, the wet muddy ground was just too much for them.

Mud from recent rains

We arrived at the end of the track to a waterfall which was the villager’s clean water source and the location where the driver had slid into a tree.

Back to the point of the story and the Pineapple Tart

While pointing it out and communicating the details of the morning’s event he starts to move off slowly. However the vehicle combined with the muddy ground had a mind of its own and started sliding towards this same tree he was pointing out and hits it again!

Well I’m having a ball, but some of the passengers weren’t happy, it is Fiji after all one of the last frontiers.

On the way down the rain soaked track we reached a small plateau to stop for afternoon tea, the air was damp and cool, the cloud bank had lifted revealing a breathtaking view and the Pineapple Tart was exquisite.

The view eating a Pineapple Tart.

Whenever I eat a Pineapple Tart I’m back in Fiji having a hot cup of tea, a Pineapple Tart on a high plateau overlooking Nadi Bay, it may not sound like much but that scene is etched in my brain.
Leave a comment and tell me about your Fiji moments?

Kings Hwy Fiji – a Road Less Travelled

For sometime I have wanted to travel to Suva from Nadi via the Kings Highway. Unfortunately the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. However circumstances can change and before you know it you are travelling along the Kings Hwy to Suva.

Decision was made to take the road less travelledNadi Service Station the decision was made

Gary was getting petrol and checking the tyres for our journey to Suva via the Coral Coast (Queens’s Hwy) and just as we were ready to turn right along the Queens Hwy, he asked me if I would you like to take the Kings Hwy instead?

(Silly question) “Well this is the deal”, he said “If all goes well and we have a great trip it’s my idea but if things turn pear-shaped it’s your fault”! ….I can live with that.So we turned left on the road less travelled. We were driving on familiar road till we reached Ba we had been there the week before looking at the beautiful gold jewellery.

Rakiraki here we come

The rain started in earnest now pelting on the windscreen, nothing was said but perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea. Then the rain dissipated and a silent sigh of relief was felt. The road was honey-combed in some sections with potholes which is part of living in Fiji.

After you get over the initial shock of the state of the roads in Fiji you just get on with it. It was Sunday and there was very little traffic on the Kings Highway, most Fijians were at church listening to their Sunday sermon.

We virtually had the road to ourselves.Bad weather on the Kings Road Fiji
The coastline was spectacular despite the dreary conditions; imagine what it would be like with sunshine and clear skies.

The vegetation was lush and a vibrate green, sugarcane came right up to the roadside and gently swayed on the hillside it is stunning country.

Missed the turn for the coast route

Our intention was to stay on the coast road and turn off around Matawailevu Village, it would have been advantageous if we had a “proper road map” instead of a tourist map with limited detail.

Before we knew it we were heading inland and passing through Rokovuaka Village it was too late to turn back. It had taken us 3 hours to get this far with the inclement weather conditions, so we kept going.
Beautiful coastline, now we started moving inlandThe country was now becoming mountainous and to our right was a fast flowing muddy swollen river that appeared through the vegetation.

Looking at our limited map reference it indicated that there were sections where the road and river met.

Up to this point the road had been a hard tarred surface with just a couple of areas of gravel. All this was about to change.

Dirt track – road deteriorates

The nice hard surface quickly evaporates and we are down to dirt track! With still a considerable distance to go suddenly everything turns pear-shaped. The road abruptly narrows now it’s only one lane, with a deep ravine to the right and muddy brown water flowing rapidly below.

The dirt track which is the King Hwy takes a sharp right and stretched before us is a long narrow one lane timber bridge; resembling something you might see on the Discovery Channel in the Amazon crossing some raging river with impenetrable jungle straggling the sides.

  1. No guard rails
  2. Perched high above a fast moving body of water
  3. Crosses nailed to the side where someone had come to a sticky end!

Gary negotiated the bridge… we had no choice it was too late to turn back. Two long continuous raised timber tracks the width of a car’s wheel base ran parallel to guide your wheels across.

The only problem was the timber bridge was muddy and slippery. The van couldn’t getThis crossing had a damage rail enough traction on the timber track and kept slipping off.

So we ended driving over on a slight angle the passenger side seeing more of the water then I would have liked.

I forgot to push record on the video camera, but I did get the next bridge. The next couple of bridges didn’t seem so frightening, it’s amazing how quickly you can adjust, but then I wasn’t driving thank goodness!

The rest of the journey to Suva was uneventful

After our tangle with the timber bridges the rest of the journey was uneventful. There is upgrading taking place with overseas loans.

Further along the road large sections of rainforest and hillside had been removed to make way for a significant upgrade of the Kings Hwy with a couple of large bridges already constructed.

If you intend to travel the Kings Highway to Suva I would check before hand to verify the road status.
We travelled on a Sunday and all roadwork were halted, however if this had been a Saturday or weekday there would have been extensive delays.

It took us over 5 hours to reach Suva; speed was down to 60km and below in some sections of the Kings Hwy.

If you intend to drive to Suva via the Kings Hwy check before hand with the local authorities. (This road is now upgraded)

Talking to some residents who had negotiated the coast road to Suva, they said the views were breathtaking but the road was atrocious it was 4×4 drive the dirt track was narrow and muddy, but what an adventure was the comment!

Check out the video below to see for yourself…

Catch you later…