When most people travel to family-friendly Fiji they lounge by the pool shaded by palm trees, but during my trip I climbed into a cannibal oven after tearing over a mountain in an open air vehicle with mud splattering across my face

The fact that both these experiences can be found on a luscious island called Fiji that lies a mere three hour plane ride away from Brisbane makes it the ideal travel destination.

Dotted along the islands coast are a number of sprawling resorts with enough amenities to make you never want to leave these pretty worlds filled with spas, breakfast buffets, fire dancers and private butlers. Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji
is the resort I called home for the duration of my stay. It had all the grandeur you would expect from a 5-star dwelling and it also had the warmth and charm for which the Fijian people are renowned.

Its location on Fiji’s Coral Coast gives a breathtaking view from every room and you can’t take more than a few steps across the grounds without receiving a cheery greeting of ‘BULA!’ from the resort staff.

While you could spend your whole trip happily ensconced in the resort, there’s too much natural beauty in Fiji to not don your explorer hat.

On the Sigatoka Cave Safari we travelled through Fiji’s mountainous terrain in an offroad vehicle. An exhilaratingly fun experience, we navigated past sheer drops and over rocks, often sharing the dirt roads with locals on foot or horseback. When we arrive at our destination we are treated to a traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony, where we taste yaqona (kava), the national drink of Fiji. After the ceremony we are granted entry to the Naihehe Cave.

With lights strapped to our heads we crawl into an opening known as ‘the pregnancy gap’ on our hands and knees and find ourselves deep in Fiji’s largest cave system, which the guide informs me used to be home to a group of cannibals. She points out the cannibal oven nestled in one of the walls and asks if I’d like to get in. In a moment of possible poor judgment I climbed in and following instructions grasped the bone inside for a photo, thinking it was an
animal bone. It was quickly dropped when I was informed it was in fact a human thigh bone.
After that experience it was time to head to Bebe Spa Sanctuary for a relaxing Warm Seashell Massage and a Fruit Fusion Facial. I’m transported to the spa’s steep hilltop location via golf cart and greeted with sprawling ocean views from the deck before heading into the massage room and discovering that you’ve never known comfort until you’ve been massaged with a seashell. The spa uses Fijian botanical produce such as coconut leaves. The opportunity for adventure and relaxation blended seamlessly together is the reason Fiji should be at the top of your travel wish list.

Laura Brodnik was a guest of the Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji.