Fiji

SPB Snorkeling Trip

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

We decided we wanted to go snorkeling and we were able to book a trip through the hotel. Since this was recorded as a hotel charge, I was able to redeem Barclay’s Arrival Plus points for the cost of the trip!

We ended up with the crew from Whale’s Tale and these guys knew how to have fun. We boarded their sailboat in Port Denarau and began our sail toward what I assume is their own island. They call it Snorkel Island. We were served breakfast drinks on the way and it was so nice just to sit up on the deck in the shade of the sail and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

I don’t actually have any photos of the island itself because we were too busy having fun. There’s a small coral reef around parts of the island and we had fun just paddling around looking at the fish. They had other water toys like small kayaks available as well.

They cooked our lunch in the small pavilion that looks to be a mostly permanent structure there. Fresh fish and vegetables with a fruit drink (or adult beverage) to wash it down. Tasty!

After lunch we played beach volleyball. This is where my body reminded me I’m not as young as I used to be – which was one of the purposes of this trip!

One of the guide took us down to the shoreline where some small black-tipped sharks would come as he fed them the leftover fish pieces. There weren’t a lot of them but I wouldn’t want to get in their way! But it was fascinating to watch them up close.

When it was time to return we hopped back on the sailboat for the ride in. It was interesting that on the ride out we passengers were all in our own little clusters but at the end of the day there was much more conversation between the groups. That’s one of the great things about travel – now we’ve met some Kiwis that we can meet up with should we ever make it to New Zealand!

On our last day we spent time just lounging around the hotel pool. My friends visited the spa for a massage (I already had one scheduled when I returned) and we just enjoyed the lovely weather in Fiji. As our flight did not leave until late evening, even on the last in Fiji we were able to swim and relax. We hated to leave this island paradise but after two weeks it was finally time to go home.

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SPB Hilton Fiji

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

After our early morning arrival in Nadi we were whisked away to our home for the next few nights, the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa. Check in took a little while as there were several folks on our flight checking in at the same time. The large open-air lobby has lots of comfortable seating and is a great place just to sit and relax.

Hilton Fiji Lobby Waiting Area

Hilton Fiji Lobby Waiting Area

Hilton Fiji Reception

Hilton Fiji Reception

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Categories: Fiji, Hilton, Hotel, Lodging Review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A South Pacific Birthday Trip

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

 

I have a couple of friends I like to travel with and over the years we’ve all had a birthday that ends in a zero (with different leading digits!). Our tradition has become whoever has the “zero birthday” gets to pick the vacation spot and we try to do it up right. About two years ago I first got into the miles and points game and it wasn’t long before I set a goal of celebrating my next “zero birthday” in Australia and using miles and points to pay for as much of it as possible.

My dad, who’s a 2 million miler on American, offered to give me whatever AA points I needed to make my trip happen. That left me a goal of helping my friends accumulate the miles they’d need to fly Down Under too. Then, of course, there would be points needed for hotel rooms. Lofty goals but with two years to get things planned, we were able to accomplish it relatively cheaply – well, cheaply as compared to what it COULD have cost!

The itinerary

I had visited Australia before, in 2006, and was eager to go back. One of my friends had been there as well but the other had not. So I knew that meant I’d need to re-visit some of the iconic places but I also wanted to be sure to visit some places I’d never been. My prior trip had involved stops in Sydney and Cairns, which is up near the Great Barrier Reef. While I would have loved to have gone back to the GBR, there were other places I wanted to visit as well, and with a total trip length of two weeks, we just couldn’t squeeze everything in this time around. In the end we flew from the US to Sydney and stayed there four days. Next we flew to the Red Centre of the country and visited Uluru (Ayers Rock) for a couple of days. Then it was down south to Melbourne for a bit more than two days.

During our trip planning we had talked about stopping off somewhere a little more exotic on the way back, somewhere we could just enjoy the beach, the sun and the surf. Since we’d be using primarily American Airlines miles, I quickly realized that due to their routing rules we’d need to stay in Oceania for our beach time. That led us to look at Fiji as our final stop before heading back to the US.

My friends and I each make our homes in different cities in the US so here is how our trip worked out:

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

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Categories: American Airlines, Australia, Award Travel, Chase, Fiji, Fiji Air, Hilton, Hotel, Hyatt, Oceania, OneWorld, Qantas, Sapphire Preferred | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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