Last week I touched briefly on some of the activities we embarked on while we were in Fiji. This week I will expand on our River Rafting adventure, because it turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Before the trip started, this was one of the things we had already set our minds on doing. It was an all day trip that would take us to parts of Fiji we wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to see. The trip started early in the morning when we met up at the River Rafting offices just outside our hotel. While enjoying a hot cup of coffee we signed the waiver, were then given our wet bags and off we went!
It took us about two hours to get to the starting point of the river, but the drive, as bumpy as it was, was gorgeous. As soon as we turned off the main road, we ventured into the rainforest for another hour, driving up some pretty steep switchbacks that I’m not sure any other bus could handle. We stopped at one of the high points on the road for a quick break and some banana cake, which is where we were divided into our rafting groups and assigned a guide. We were lucky enough to be in a group with some new friends of ours who we had just met that morning at our hotel, so it was just the four of us and our guide – which made the day just so much better! Here are some of the pictures from the trip to the river:
This is where we stopped for our break and banana cake.
Once we got to the starting point, we geared up and set off on the twenty minute, extremely steep and muddy, hike to the mouth of the river where our guides and boats were waiting. After a quick lesson on what to do when you fall in, because apparently it was guaranteed, we were on our way. At this point I didn’t even care about the rapids, I was so excited to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen:
The time we spent on the river was about 5 and a half hours with a lunch stop in between. We didn’t really know what to expect in the way of ‘white water’, but we knew nothing could be as bad as the class 4 rapids we battled in Ottawa a few years ago. As we got going down the river through steep cliffs and rainforest we hit a few sets of rapids here and there, but nothing too challenging, which made for one of the calmer adventures of our trip!
After lunch we continued down the river, and as we were getting closer to the main town, we started rafting through some of the local villages. At this point there weren’t really any more rapids, so we spent the final few hours on the river just taking in the real life that surrounded us. There were kids playing and waving, people relaxing, cows grazing and it was just inspiring. Every person you passed would wave and smile, and you really got a sense that we were surrounded by genuinely happy people. Unfortunately some of the pictures came out a bit blurry, but I’ve posted them anyways in hopes that you can get a sense of what it was like:
If you look closely you can see the cameraman in the kayak – this goes to show how full and lush the forest was surrounding us.
She wanted to go swimming too like her brother (above).
If you meet someone from Fiji and they say they’re no good at volleyball – don’t be fooled. We made that mistake and lost miserably almost every day we played.
Local transport to and from the main town.
All the local kids were showing off by seeing how far they could jump into the river. They were having so much fun that we were tempted to jump out too!
In the end, our entire trip to Fiji turned out to be a really cultural experience. When we planned the trip last October, we were hoping for a hot, sunny, tropical getaway. Well, we didn’t have too much of that, until the day we left of course! But we left with friends we didn’t have before and people to visit when we return to Fiji. Because of that and the experiences we shared, the trip turned out better than we could have ever expected.