My dream tropical getaway came true, writes Shelley Maxwell.

For the very first time, Jetstar flew out of Coolangatta, Gold Coast, direct to Nadi, Fiji, and I was one of the lucky ones who was on board for the inaugural flight.

As we head into the colder months, everyone dreams of a little tropical getaway, and this dream came true for me. I was invited to Fiji, and was flown over to experience everything the country had to offer (or rather, everything I could cram in over three days).
The gentle crash of the ocean waves, the smell of the salty air and the idea of lounging by the pool in a gently swaying hammock sounded blissful. And then I found out I was also invited to experience a deluxe spa treatment, go on a Jet Ski Safari, and indulge in delicious food and drinks at the many restaurants and bars in the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa. To say I was excited would be a massive understatement.

Since I have lived in Brisbane my whole life, I had never flown from the Gold Coast, as it always seemed like a hassle and too much effort, regardless of the price difference in flights. But it was actually much easier than I expected. The road was clear, the traffic minimal, and once I arrived at the airport itself, it was so easy to navigate around. I was impressed with how simple it was, especially considering the airport’s size.

Once on board, Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall gave a rousing speech. The flight was smooth and comfortable, and it felt so short – blink and it’s over.

When we arrived, it was spectacular. There were TV cameras, Fijian dancers, dignitaries, paparazzi – it was quite the experience. I actually felt a little like a celebrity. There was a welcome committee, we were all given delightful goodie bags and I was instantly in relaxation mode.

I stayed at the Sofitel Resort and it was absolutely divine. What can you say about a resort that is that beautiful? It was located right on the edge of the beach, overlooking the pool, which then overlooked the ocean. There were hammocks and day beds and palm trees. As far as the eye could see, it was pristine and perfect. One restaurant at the resort, Salt, has been voted the best restaurant in Fiji, and after eating there, it was easy to see why.

The service overall was impeccable and among the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere in the world. The people were unbelievably friendly, helpful and accommodating and it felt like they couldn’t do enough for you.

For me, going on holidays is all about embracing both serenity and adventure, being able to relax and let my hair down but also recharge and restore. This is why this was the perfect mini getaway – it was a beautiful balance of indulgence and health, indoor and outdoor. Even though I ran out of time, I considered snorkelling, surfing and trekking and wished I could’ve found an afternoon to enjoy a yoga or meditation class.

One of the highlights (and there were many) was the Jet Ski Safari by Adrenalin Fiji. This was an unforgettable experience. Basically it was like a mini snorkelling tour, done on the back of a jet ski, exploring the Mamanuca Islands. At the conclusion of the safari, we ended up at Cloud 9 Fiji, a bar that is truly a floating paradise and has to be seen to be believed.

The following day I was taken to the So Spa at the Sofitel for a deluxe treatment that was so good it left me in a dreamy daze afterwards. I booked myself in for another massage the following day. It seemed like the thing to do.

The entire trip was a whirlwind of fun activities, beautiful scenery and luxury. This was a big moment for Fiji, for the airport, and for Jetstar, and from my perspective, it went off without a hitch.

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Have you visited Fiji? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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