Why Fiji is the ideal place to take your first post-lockdown overseas holiday in 2022

A reluctance to travel may be a somewhat unexpected side effect of the lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For so long many people have seen being at home as the safest place to be, and the idea of getting on a plane is possibly the least likely thing they're keen on this year.

But times are changing and interest in overseas holidays is steadily rising.

For those who are still a bit unsure about getting on a plane and having a well earned holiday, well, I found a remedy for this feeling.

It's called Fiji.

I was one of the first Kiwis to visit the islands once borders and self-isolation rules were relaxed, and it was the best decision I've made this year.

Here's why.

The People

If you wanted your first holiday of 2022 to be somewhere where you feel safe and looked after, it'd be hard to beat Fiji. The nation is known just as much for its hospitality as it is for its scenery. And if you thought Fijians were welcoming pre-pandemic, they have gone above and beyond now.

Destination Fiji.
Excited locals welcome Kiwis back to Fiji Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub.

They are genuinely so happy to see people back in their country. For many of the people I met, from drivers to guides or even hotel staff, I was the first New Zealander they'd seen in over two years. 

The emotion and importance of the moment was plain to see. With smiles from ear to ear, every single one of them wanted to make sure I had the best time possible while I was there.

Be prepared to say Bula to every single person you see.

I had one particularly heartwarming moment as I was leaving my hotel room and an employee was just arriving to service my room. She told me hearing a Kiwi accent meant so much to her. Knowing that travel between the two countries is now possible, she knew she wouldn't have to wait much longer before she could see her grandchildren who live in Auckland.

The hospitality extends as far as a sand bar in the middle of the ocean.
The hospitality extends as far as a sand bar in the middle of the ocean. Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub.

It's hard not to get emotional when you hear just how tough the past few years have been for everyone. And it reminded me how lucky I was to be in a position to visit Fiji in the first place.

The places

There's enough to do in Fiji to easily pack out a week-long stay, especially if you are there with children.

Shangri-La Yanuca Island, Fiji.
Bilo Bar at sunset. Photo credit: supplied

Make sure you bring your togs.

Many of the resorts took the opportunity during lockdown to renovate their premises, despite the lack of money coming in from travellers. 

Fiji holiday.
A refreshing snack and swim after experiencing EcoTrax. Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub.

Sofitel Fiji Resort is one of those and is almost unrecognisable compared to a few years ago. It added more family friendly pool facilities to the main part of the resort, at the same time opening Waitui Beach Club, an adults only resort within a resort for people travelling without children.

The location

It's easy to forget just how close Fiji is. In terms of flying, it's actually 4km closer to Auckland than Sydney. Given the cost of Trans-Tasman flights at the moment, it may be a lot cheaper to fly to as well.

It's warm all year round and the sun can get pretty brutal. I learned that the hard way, so be warned. Take sunscreen and a hat.

Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.
The adults-only Waitui Beach Club at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa. Photo credit: supplied

But the best thing about Fiji's location is that it's slap bang in the middle of some of the most beautiful waters in the world.

So there we have it. If you are travel-reluctant, Fiji could really be the answer. It's close, it's friendly and the flying process is hassle free.

Fiji Airways Business Class.
Fiji Airways Business Class. Photo credit: Dan Lake/Newshub

Fiji Airways operates its new Airbus A350s on the route, as well as its A330s. Air New Zealand operates Airbus A320s and Boeing 787-9s on the route.

Dan Lake travelled to Fiji courtesy of Fiji Airways for this article