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Travel to Tropical Fiji and Australia's Greatest Cities

Jun 25, 2008
We just returned from a dual country adventure that blended a perfect vacation experience. It began in Fiji when we checked into the deluxe new Radisson Resort, a pampering paradise perched on ocean's edge. Fiji's archipelago includes 330 islands lying in splendid isolation in the South Pacific.

Tourists flock here for the tranquility as well as world class diving. With a population of 800,000 in this country, 51% are native. The rest are a fruit salad of Indians and Asians. Most live below the poverty line.

On our city tour we had a great guide named Sai. He had also led Tom Hanks and crew when "Castaway" was filmed here. We visited Raymond Burr's Orchid Farm and a local village where the Indo-Fijians greeted us warmly. Unlike other people, they love o have their photo taken. Another day we set sail by tall ship schooner to tropical Tivua Island where we snorkeled the coral reefs.

Aside from men wearing skirts, the most distinctive feature of Fiji for me was the singing. Everyone here sings whether they can carry a tune or not. Wherever we went, melodic harmonies surrounded us. They sang on our cruises without a breath between songs. At our resort, they sang as we dined. One night I was awakened by sound and stepped out on to my balcony. Below were 3 men singing acapella at midnight.

On Sunday I inquired about attending church service in Nadi town. The concierge said, "It's wonderful Suzy. They will sing for 2 hours before the sermon begins."

I will miss the natural beauty here, the Fijian smiles and music. After 4 days, we headed to the land of Oz down under to tour two of Australia's most vibrant cities, Melbourne and Sydney.

It was wintertime when we arrived in Melbourne, yet the weather was perfect for exploration in this easy to navigate city. People don't hibernate in this capital of Victoria. This is Australia's sports capital and shopping mecca. It's also called the Great Wine Capital with 400 wineries, more than any other state.

We had a guided city your of cultured Melbourne with its exquisite Victorian architecture and street cars. The new developments of the Docklands and Crown Casino along the Yarra River are spectacular. In competition to Sydney, the skyline has transformed itself with ultra-modern design.

We also visited Phillip Island, Victoria's wildlife refuge with a stop enroute at Wildlife Wonderland to pet the baby wombats and feed kangaroos. The highlight was the Penguin Parade where we watched the daily march of fairy penguins coming in from the ocean. With precision timing at 6:40pm, they waddle up to burrows in the sand dunes. From the eco-boardwalks we were surrounded by an orchestra of baying tones as they mated and nested.

he most distinctive feature for me in Melbourne was the ultra-friendly people in a laid back city center.
Our final days were spent in hedonistic Sydney with its glorious harbor. Here's Australia's largest and oldest city founded in 1788 when England dropped off their convicts.

After many previous visits here, we had the best city guide ever named Greg, who flamed with enthusiasm. His humor provided us an intimate view of this city of 4 million. After a Captain Hook harbor cruise and viewing the famous sites, we independently scattered to mix with the locals.

On departure, our suitcases swelled with boomerangs, licorice, outback hats, opals, Fijian pearls and coconut soaps. It was a long haul home on Air Pacific, but well worth it on a journey well done.
About the Author
Suzy Davis is President,
founder and tour leader of
Adventures For Singles Inc.has traveled
the world for nearly 20 years initially as a flight attendant and now with
her company Adventures For Singles. View the website here: http://www.adventuresforsingles.com
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