Oh man, I am way too excited to share this Real Honeymoon. Let me break it down for you: 1) a super awesome couple (Stephanie and Matt), 2) one of my favorite countries ever (Australia), and 3) as if Australia wasn’t exotic enough enough, they added Fiji, too. Seriously, how cool is that? Read all about their amazing honeymoon in Fiji and Australia below:
When and where did you honeymoon?
Fiji and Australia (Sydney and the Hunter Valley wine region) [November 2013].
How long was your trip?
We left Tuesday November 5th and returned Sunday November 12th. With the international date line and travel days, we had roughly a total of 10 days at our destinations. We spent 4 days/3 nights in Fiji, 5 days/4 nights in Sydney, and 3 days/2 nights in Hunter Valley.
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?
Matt only gets 10 days of PTO a year, and he convinced his company to let him use all of it at once. Both of us have always wanted to go to Australia and since we had the time off, we went for it. If Matt had his choice, he’d be on the beach for all 10 days. I go crazy sitting still for that long, so our honeymoon was our compromise (aahh marriage!) on trips: beach, city exploring, and wine.
The best part about our honeymoon was…
Too many things to list, but…
1) In Fiji, the Tokoriki resort was beyond amazing. We actually had to take a charter boat to a motor boat that then brought us to the beach of our hotel where the hotel staff was playing the local welcome song. The staff was incredible, and I don’t think I’ve met happier/nicer people.
I’ve never been keen on all-inclusive resorts as I like to explore local places, but Tokoriki had a rotating lunch and dinner menu, many of which would include local dishes. The meal plan consisted of breakfast, a two-course lunch, and a three-course dinner. Every night at dinner and happy hour, the local musicians (all self-taught) played music for each table and the food was amazing every night. I also thought I’ve seen blue water before and I was clearly wrong until I went to Fiji.
2) I love to get my bearings in a city that I’m visiting, so our very first day in Sydney we went on a four hour bike tour (through Bonza Bike Tours). Unfortunately it was pouring, but we actually had a blast with it. It made our group even smaller and we got an extended tour because of it. The tour took us by all the major sites (we even rode across the harbor bridge) and got the full history behind each site.
3) One of my ultimate goals in going to Australia was to be near a koala and I totally got my wish with our behind the scenes tour of Taronga Zoo. The zoo is a ten minute ferry ride from Circular Quay and right on the water. This got in our ferry ride around the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. The zoo tour itself included going into the koala cages, feeding wallabies, going into a wombat cage, and seeing how the food is prepared for the animals, just to name a few of the amazing experiences.
4) The group tour I booked for the Hunter Valley was a fabulous decision. Gary, our driver through the Vineyard Shuttle Service, was amazing and brought us to whatever wineries we would like and had recommendations if we didn’t know. We even fit in a brewery tasting and a vodka distillery.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
The weather, which is clearly not possible. The only downside of the trip was when we got trapped in the Nadi, Fiji airport for 7 hours due to mechanical problems with our plane. The Nadi airport has only one food option and four gates, but again this was out of our hands. Fun fact: planes can’t land in Sydney after 11 pm due to a city ordinance, so when we landed at 10:50 pm, immigration was more than happy to whip us through customs as quickly as possible.
How much planning did you do in advance?
It was my first time ever using a travel agent and I could not have been happier about it. With the wedding planning, I truly did not have time to plan (which is something I am normally crazy about when it comes to traveling). She booked all of our flights, our hotels, our transportation (including airport transfers, charter boats, etc), and several of our activities based on her own recommendations of either having gone there herself or having clients that have.
Everything was perfectly located as well: The Menzies in Sydney was a five minute walk to Circular Quay/The Rocks and a five minute walk to Darling Harbour. Peppers Guest House (in Hunter Valley) was an updated beautiful property right next to several wineries with delicious restaurants on site.
The planning I did do involved adding the bike tour around Sydney and booking the wine tour in the Hunter Valley.
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
Matt turned 30 while we were in Fiji, so for his birthday we went to our own private island for 4 hours. It was a 20-30 minute boat ride where we were dropped off with a cooler of lunch, a bottle of wine, snacks, and snorkeling gear. Literally no one else was on the island and we had our own wide beach with our own little hut.
Otherwise, I’d say the Tokoriki resort was the biggest splurge. We got one of the few ‘Sunset villa bures’ that has our own pool, beach, and outside patio.
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
We’re discussing several: Belgium/Germany/Austria, Italy, or if we need some beaches Greece.