Fiji is a South Pacific gem and the tropical holiday we really needed. We love Auckland, but not so much its Winter. So we hopped on a plane, sun hats in place [yeah we were that family with the straw hats on in the plane] and in 3 hours found ourselves sock-less and smiling in the back of a local taxi, being given the low down on politics, economics and a family curry recipe with the unique sounds of the ingredients being chopped and stirred. Resort life has its advantages if you can manage the breakfast buffet queue, we went high season. It comes with pool life, beach restaurants, room service and instant 8 year old friends. I recommend 3 days at a resort on the main island, the Sofitel in Denarau, one day which has to be spent at the Big Bula Waterpark. Once we lounged and got our ‘resort life’ fix, we hired a car and hit the road with an old school road map, no Google maps or GPS. We ventured out at day break from Nadi to Suva, an easy 3 hour scenic drive, to visit the amazing Suva fish market. We were overwhelmed by the market! The variety of produce, the buzz of the busy local market made it the highlight of our trip. The fish market is also next to the fresh produce market. Along the way we stopped at villages and beaches and met and photographed the locals – the friendliest people with big ‘BULA’ greetings everywhere we went. We left the main island for Vunabaka, a private island paradise where we stayed at Six Senses resort. We loved our spacious beach front villa with private pool. Paddle boarding, snorkelling and outdoor movies with coconut ice cream filled our remaining sunny days. The weather in July was perfect. My recommendations? Pack little, hire a car, explore the island, meet locals, eat fried coconut, visit the markets, oh, and insect repellant.