Mark Dye and Matilda Rice give their guide to making the most of a Fiji holiday.
Make sure you get off the mainland for a bit, and out to the islands. Fiji has so many incredible islands to choose from, and they are truly beautiful. Malamala is one of my favourites for a day trip. You can't stay the night, so you catch a ferry out there and can spend the day lounging by the pool (cocktail in hand, obviously), jumping off the jetty, or ordering some of their amazing food. malamalabeachclub.com
Mark: Make sure you head out to Cloud 9, a floating bar in the middle of the ocean. It's on Ro Ro Reef, and is just a 45-minute boat ride from Port Denarau — even closer from some of the resorts like Musket Cove. It's basically a huge pontoon with a fully stocked bar that serves the most amazing cocktails and pizzas. Think sunshine, deck chairs and turquoise water all around. And the water is crystal-clear too. It really is the stuff of dreams and movies.
Go for a drive and check out the villages. The locals are all so welcoming and are often selling fruit on the side of the road. Some of the resorts are stunning and a lot of fun, so going resort hopping is also a great way to kill time. The Intercontinental is a bit out of the way if you're not staying there, but a great resort to spend the day swimming and eating.
Mark: Make sure you go on some sort of snorkelling/diving excursion. You can swim with sharks. They are tiny reef sharks and completely harmless but you can totally still earn bragging rights.
Fiji has delicious local food. There is a large Indian population, so there are some great off-the-beaten-track authentic Indian restaurants. We ate at Nila resort a lot as the head chef was from a Michelin-star restaurant back in India and the food was divine. We also ate a lot of local cuisine like kokoda (a traditional ceviche type dish) and island fries (kumara, taro and cassava).
Mark: We also visited the local markets. Eating at restaurants is great, but after a while it all gets a bit same, samey and some places are actually quite expensive. I love a local market when travelling and love to cook, so before long we were trotting down to the local markets to buy our fruit and veges and cooking up a storm in our rooms.
Ridiculously cheap and I find there is nothing like shopping at the local market to make you feel a part of the local community, wherever it is that you are travelling.
● Mark Dye and Matilda Rice host Heartbreak Island, Mondays to Wednesdays at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2.