Fiji is one of the easiest destinations for Kiwi travellers to get to - less than three hours' flight and you're in a tropical paradise where the main concern is whether you have your cocktail at the beach on your sunlounger or in the infinity pool's swim-up bar.

But for Shortland Street's Michael Galvin, a trip there is not quite so straight-forward.

Galvin, who plays Dr Chris Warner, talks to me and co-host Stephanie Holmes in the new episode of Herald Travel podcast Trip Notes, available to download now. In the episode he explains that, for him, Fiji isn't quite the relaxing holiday it is for us normal folk.

"In Fiji, the biggest thing you could possibly be - apart from maybe a rugby sevens player - is on Shortland Street. It's just absolutely massive," Galvin explains. The show has been filmed on location there twice, and he says it was an eye-opening experience for him and his co-stars.

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"The taxi driver driving us to the hotel was saying 'last week I was driving Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake around . . . but everyone's more excited about you guys'. It was nuts. It was really nuts.

"It was a little taste of what it must be like to be proper famous. Like your Angelina Jolies and your Brad Pitts and things. When you opened the door of your hotel room there were people waiting outside.

"It was very thrilling initially to have people think you were that special, but at the end of the week, I thought 'now I get why [celebrities] go mad and do strange things, because it is a strange thing to not be able to go anywhere, and have people surround you."

You can hear more from Michael Galvin in the new episode of Trip Notes, available to download now from iHeart Radio, Apple, Spotify, Stitcher ... wherever you usually get your podcasts.

Shortland Street's Michael Galvin, centre, with Trip Notes co-hosts Tim Roxborogh and Stephanie Holmes. Photo / Supplied
Shortland Street's Michael Galvin, centre, with Trip Notes co-hosts Tim Roxborogh and Stephanie Holmes. Photo / Supplied

In the meantime - for us non-celebrities - here are some tips for making the most of a trip there.

1. Pick the time of year you want to go.

Fiji has a monsoon season that coincides with our summer (and cheaper holiday packages), while winter is beautifully warm and sunny and not quite as hot as more equatorial tropical destinations.

2. Be brave and venture beyond Denarau

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Sure, the man-made cluster of resorts is a fun, easy destination – not to mention being the gateway via the marina to some stunning offshore islands – but there is so much more to Fiji's main island of Viti Levu than Denarau.

3. Such as?

Adventures upriver to traditional villages; the towering sand-dunes near Sigatoka; the beaches of the Coral Coast that first established Fiji as an international tourist hotspot so many decades ago; one of the great historic hotels of the Southern Hemisphere with Suva's 1914-built Grand Pacific Hotel; old sugarcane railways-turned Indiana Jones-esque escapades ("Ecotrax"); stunning gardens like the Garden Of The Sleeping Giant near Nadi.

4. Embrace the people and the culture

If you're the kind of tourist that likes to bark orders at hotel staff and thinks common courtesies like "thank you" are beneath you, well, shame on you, full-stop. But if you pause to think that even with that attitude, you'll still get incredible service from people as naturally kind and friendly as anywhere in the world, then hopefully it's a penny-dropping moment to treat your fellow humans a little better. All of which is a roundabout way of saying Fijian hospitality – whether in resorts or in the villages – is legendary and such an example of how we all should treat one another.

5. It's not just about the beaches, the cocktails and the snorkelling

Taveuni Island is a case in point, even with its first class coastline and diving. Known as Fiji's "Garden Island", this is a lush paradise with the richest biodiversity in all of the Fijian islands. If virgin rainforests, rare plants and birds and hidden waterfalls with natural waterslides are your thing, then make the extra effort to get to Taveuni.

Go to nzherald.co.nz/tripnotes to watch video from the podcast, and catch up on any episodes you might have missed.

Herald Travel's Trip Notes podcast is available at iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts. Photo / Supplied
Herald Travel's Trip Notes podcast is available at iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts. Photo / Supplied

For more travel inspiration, go to intrepidtravel.com

Catch Michael Galvin as Dr Chris Warner in Shortland Street, weeknights at 7pm on TVNZ2