This luxury resort in Fiji has a series of stargazing events led by NASA experts

Nanuku Resort Fiji is taking its guests on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as part of its “Journey to the Stars” program.

The destination luxury resort is set to present an extended series of events which will coincide with the new moon cycle of October 2022.

From Oct. 22 through Oct. 31, guests of the resort can explore deep space and the Moon from the shores of the South Pacific, one of the best stargazing destinations in the world.

The stellar line-up of activities and events for all ages to enjoy and to learn about our universe are set to be led by NASA experts, including special guests from NASA SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute).

In addition to the programming at Nanuku Resort, special guests from NASA will visit three local schools and share educational experiences with those students. Resort guests are also welcomed to join the NASA and hotel team for these special visits and connect with the local community.

Dreamy experiences

While staying at Nanuku Resort Fiji in October an array of “Journey Through the Stars” events will take place, including:

  • Dark Sky Star Party – Explore the stars, planets, Moon and deep space using advanced NASA telescopes
  • Daytime Star Party – View our favorite star, the Sun, using a NASA solarscope that actually allows you to witness explosions as they occur on the surface of the sun
  • Create a Star Map – Learn how Fijians have navigated the waters for thousands of years using the stars and make your own star map; you’ll also learn how they have used the moon as guidance for agricultural purposes
  • Touch a Space Rock – Learn about meteorites and asteroids and even touch a piece of the moon and Mars
  • Travel Across the Solar System – Take a journey across the solar system with an astronomer using real-time data and video
  • A Day in the Life of an Astronaut – Have lunch with a guest astronaut to learn what it takes to be an astronaut and what space travel is really like
  • NASA is Everywhere you Look – Learn about the many technologies used in everyday life that were invented by NASA and how you can access their technology to bring your wildest ideas to life
  • Art and Space – Get creative with a NASA artist who will lead multiple hands-on art activities, from painting the stars and moon and drawing the lush tropical plants of Fiji to making a model of the solar system
  • Mission Impossible – Learn about current and upcoming space projects and missions, and how NASA is achieving the seemingly impossible every day
  • Moon Massage – Enjoy the healing properties of the Moon during a night-massage, complete with Moon Water

For more on the Journey to the Stars, click here.  

Notably, Fiji Airways recently announced it will fly direct from Nadi to Vancouver this fall. Beginning Nov. 25, Fiji Airways is launching service to and from Vancouver twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. The destination will be the 20th direct international service provided by Fiji Airways.

When commercial flights commence in November, Fiji Airways will offer a limited number of seats at an introductory return fare of $599, direct from Vancouver to Nadi.

Additionally, these same passengers, when making their bookings can choose to fly to the airline’s four major destinations in Australia and three major destinations in New Zealand, at no extra cost.

If November is too long to wait, passengers in Vancouver will also have the chance to book a one-off promotional direct flight to Nadi on Aug. 9 at a discounted price of $599 with a return flight via Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Go to www.fijiairways.com for more.

Finding the real Fiji

The founding values behind Bula Coffee — a coffee production company in Fiji — extend far beyond providing a good cup of morning joe. As Luke Fryett, whose job title cleverly reads ‘Man on the Ground,’ explains, while giving the world a great shot of coffee, Bula Coffee is “all about giving Fijians a better shot at life.”

 

What started out over a decade ago as a small enterprise working with one family in one village in Fiji has since expanded across 38 villages to buying coffee off of 5,000 people annually — a significant number of Fijians who now have additional sources of revenue.   

“It’s more than money — we exist to give people a hand up — to give people a better shot at life,” he said. “To give people access to education, to give them financial independence. Money matters, but it’s more than money. We are changing lives one cup at a time.”

More recently, Bula Coffee launched the Crop to Cup Coffee Tour, giving travellers “the chance to not only taste Fiji’s wild harvest coffee and see how we process it, but also the chance to become a part of our story, becoming invested in our work and becoming part of the change we are making in Fiji.”

Along with learning about how to get a coffee cherry ready for a morning brew, visitors will be able to learn about how every cup of coffee can make a difference in the local economy. One example of how getting involved in the coffee business has made a positive impact is in a local community where kids would get to their boarding school by floating down the river in a tire — often getting soaked in the process. 

“They used their coffee money to buy every kid in the village a waterproof bag, and a small cooker, so now the older kids can cook for the younger kids, during the week,” he said. “They also built a much better raft with tires all around it secured properly so the kids can keep dry… This is why money matters, but it’s more than money. It’s about empowering communities to keep their kids safe, to keep them dry, to let them have food during the week. Allowing the kids to focus better at school because they aren’t hungry, aren’t worried about their wet clothes. This is why every cup counts.”

With Bula Coffee being one example, Tourism Fiji’s CEO Brent Hill notes that sustainability and supporting the development of meaningful experiences in the destination are two key corporate priorities going forward. 

“We’re very conscious of how tourism actually contributes to local life,” he shared. “I really want people to leave the resorts — you start to really experience what Fiji is all about.” 

Even the national carrier is making efforts when it comes to sustainability. Along with operational efficiency and having meals served in biodegradable containers, Fiji Airways is also offsetting its carbon footprint with the ‘A Tree For Every Take Off’ initiative. The airline has planted 55,000 mangroves to date and is targeting another 50,000 over the course of this year. 

“We’ve been here for 70 years… We want to be able to say we’ve left a legacy as an airline,” said Akuila Batiweti, executive manager, digital and marketing for Fiji Airways. “Fiji is our home.”

For travellers who want to take it one step further, Fiji Airways is set to launch a new day trip in June where customers will be able to go out and help plant mangroves to offset their carbon footprint.

Checking into Nanuku Resort

“Bula Ann” reads the personalized welcome message formed from rocks at the bottom of my private plunge pool after checking in at Nanuku Resort. But Bula, a Fijian greeting meaning hello/welcome, extends beyond the monogrammed pool to the sense of welcome from staff that kicks off upon arrival with a warrior welcome. 

Located on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, Nanuku Resort hones in on the cultural elements that make Fiji a unique destination from Kava ceremonies (a popular drink in the South Pacific not to be confused with cava) to traditional cooking classes and fire walking ceremonies. 

There are a range of memorable accommodation options to choose from, including the modern villas, newly opened in 2019, and the more traditional residences, which are expansive and are undergoing upgrades with new thatched roofing and refreshed interiors. 

The resort runs a daily schedule of activities for guests like yoga sessions with Sisi Nasiga, a former Olympian wellness coach (if you’re lucky you’ll be the only one who registers to get a one-on-one training session on the beach) or hiking excursions to waterfalls. For a day trip to remember, travellers can’t go wrong spending time on Nanuku Island, the lush uninhabited island from where the property gets its name. Those who are so inclined can even opt to camp out for an evening under the stars.

For families: kids are assigned a Bula buddy to help keep them entertained and busy so that parents can truly enjoy some moments of calm during their stay.

While the resort is outstanding on all counts, what really sets it apart is the staff. From touches like having morning cappuccinos served with guest’s names to the team gathering to sing for those who are departing, Nanuku Resort is bound to leave a lasting impression on travellers and will have them wanting to come back.

Photos courtesy of Fiji Tourism, Nanuku Resort and Ann Ruppenstein.

A stunning luxury hotel on a private island just opened in the Maldives

 Hyatt Hotels just unveiled the opening of Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, a private island retreat located in the picturesque Raa Atoll at the northern edge of the Maldives. The all-pool-villa resort offers a refreshing blend of serenity and discovery in a relatively untouched corner of the archipelago renowned for its abundant marine life.

Housed on a 27.6 acre  (11.2 hectare) island, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives can be reached via a 45-minute seaplane journey from Malé. As one of the deeper atolls in the archipelago, the Raa Atoll offers abundant snorkeling and diving options to discover its rich marine life, from colorful corals to manta rays and sharks. The resort offers easy access to the famous Hanifaru Bay UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and is close to Vaadhoo Island, one of the best spots to witness the spectacular ‘Sea of Stars’ phenomenon. Alila Kothaifaru Maldives features white-sand beaches overlooking the infinite expanse of ocean blue, a stunning house reef and lush greenery.

Alila Kothaifaru Maldives offers 80 pool villas, of which 44 are along the beach and 36 are perched overwater with direct access to the sea. Guests can unwind in these understated, sophisticated spaces that balance privacy with openness to the outdoors. Each villa comes with a private pool and sun deck where guests can bask in picture-perfect views and enjoy personalized service whether they are staying steps from the beach or above the turquoise lagoon. The Sunrise Beach Villas offer early birds captivating views to start their day alongside quick access to the resort’s main facilities such as the infinity pool, Play Alila kids’ club, Seasalt restaurant and Mirus Bar.

The resort’s elegant minimalist architecture by Singapore-based Studiogoto encompasses terraced pavilions, villas and a treetop spa that are carefully integrated into the existing landscape to immerse guests in the picturesque natural surroundings. The low-rise structures and contemporary interiors feature open-air spaces and a calming palette of island-inspired colors and textures, creating an idyllic setting for complete relaxation and connection with nature.

Nestled just above the treetops, Spa Alila features four double treatment suites, all with a private bathroom, shower and a floor-to-ceiling window with verdant views. Guests can indulge in rejuvenating treatments and beauty rituals that put a contemporary spin on ancient healing techniques and draw on the benefits of natural ingredients. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary daily yoga session in a tranquil outdoor space within the spa. The resort also offers a 24-hour fitness center and a beachfront infinity pool.

A wide range of water activities and excursions organized through the expert marine guides at the resort’s Water Sports and Dive Centreare also available while Play Alila, a dedicated play and learning space for young guests will keep them entertained with toys, games and fun, supervised indoor and outdoor activities.

For more information about Alila Kothaifaru Maldives, please visit: alilahotels.com/kothaifaru-maldives.

You no longer need a pre-arrival COVID test to go to Fiji

As of May 1, fully vaccinated visitors flying into Fiji will no longer be required to produce a COVID-19 pre-departure PCR or Rapid Antigen Test.

The Fijian government said that the change applies to all international visitors entering Fiji by air or sea and is a move that is in line with best practice entry requirements among highly vaccinated communities. It will save costs for travellers and make traveling to the Pacific Island destination that much easier.

From Sun., May 1, all visitors aged 16 years and above must be fully vaccinated. This change comes as more children globally have access to vaccinations and are to support not only international travellers but Fiji’s local communities.

In addition, as of May 1, all international travellers entering Fiji will now only need to observe the following entry requirements:

  • Be fully vaccinated if you are 16 years old and above with a Fiji recognized dose
  • Book an in-country COVID-19 RAT prior to departure to Fiji. The test must be completed within 48 – 72 hours of arrival in Fiji. These can be booked at www.entrytestfiji.com
  • Have trusted travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage

Brent Hill, Tourism Fiji CEO said: “This is yet another significant step for Fiji, making it easier than ever to travel to our idyllic shores from around the globe. The Fijian Government has continued to respond to data and science, and moved quickly to make these changes, as more countries around the world also relaxed their protocols. There has never been a better, simpler time to come to Fiji than now.”

Fiji has welcomed more than 100,000 international visitors since its borders opened up back in December 2021. As Fiji continues to update and simplify entry requirements, travelers from around the globe will be able to enjoy a famous Fiji holiday and experience everything the country is known for.

Go to www.fiji.travel for more.

After two long years, Australia is finally opening its borders for tourism again

Australia will begin welcoming the return of tourists, business travellers and other visitors who are fully vaccinated visa holders as of Feb. 21, 2022.

In a joint statement, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP and the Hon. Dan Tehan MP indicated that “these changes will ensure we protect the health of Australians, while we continue to secure our economic recovery.”

They pointed out that Australia’s health system has demonstrated its resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including though the recent Omicron wave. With improving health conditions, including a recent 23% decline in hospitalizations due to COVID, the National Security Committee of Cabinet today agreed Australia is ready to further progress the staged reopening of our international border.

Visa holders who are not fully vaccinated will still require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia, and will be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.

They also noted that the Feb. 7, 2022 announcement “will give certainty to our vital tourism industry, and allow them to start planning, hiring and preparing for our reopening. In 2018-19, tourism generated more than $60 billion for the Australian economy, with more than 660,000 jobs dependent on the industry.

Since the Morrison Government commenced Australia’s staged international border reopening on 1 November 2021 we have seen almost 580,000 arrivals come to Australia including to reunite with loved ones, work or study.”

Earlier this month, New Zealand announced that it will be reopening its borders using a five-step plan that will see it fully open by October of 2022.