1. Updated: Feb 26 2020

Denarau Island

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Pros/Cons | Bula Bus | Golf Course | Water Park

Denarau Island – who would have thought developers could do so much with a reclaimed mangrove swamp? Only 10km away from Nadi airport, the first resort on the island opened in 1975. That was The Regent (since rebranded as the Westin), and the area has gone from strength to strength ever since.

A few square kilometeres of 4-5 star resorts, million dollar houses, top class golf course, a massive waterpark for the kids, and a busy bustling port.

Sound like an ideal holiday destination to you?

The SCC catamaran at Port Denarau
Denarau Marina is the main departure point for boats such as SSC, Yasawa Flyer, Malolo Cat etc.

The Pros & Cons Of Staying at Denarau Island

For some people, Denarau is like a slice of heaven. For others, it's too commercial, and not the "real Fiji" experience. It comes down to what you want and expect from your holiday. So let's look at a few of the pros and cons, and you can decide for yourself... is it the right destination for you and your family?



The Bula Bus

A Cool Way To Get Around Denarau

The Bula bus

Buy a day ticket, and you can just hop on/hop off at any of the stops on the route around Denarau. They run every 10 minutes or so and a day pass will cost fj$8, with cheaper rates for multi day passes. The buses do a lap of Denarau, stopping at all the resorts and the golf course

There is also a free bula bus (brown, not blue) although I have never travelled on that one myself. That is run by the Sheraton, and only travels between there and the Westin.

This is a great idea to get into the port area for evening meals. Much cheaper than the resort restaurants so what you spend on the bus, you will more than save on meal costs. You can buy tickets at the office in the port area, or your resort front desk.

Buses run from 7.30am to 11.30pm.

Website: http://www.bulabuses.com.fj/

Denarau Island Golf Course

Very Nice - And Very Expensive

Tee time at Denarau

I'm a keen golfer and enjoy a round on a well kept course. Denarau fits the bill, except for those of us on a limited budget, the prices are just too steep. If we look at what it might cost somebody that pays the normal rate, then you can expect to pay well over fj$250 for your day on the course.

Then again, you are on holiday, you don't expect prices to be similar to a municipal course back home, and you’re here to enjoy yourself. Right?

Greenfees: $160 (guests of the Sheraton or Westin get a $30 discount)
Club Hire: $65
Shoes: $20
Cart hire: included

Then add in the cost of some balls, tees, cold drinks, and some refreshments after the round. You can do the math. They market this as a "championship course". Perhaps that is just a marketing ploy, as I think it would be more accurately described as a resort course. Be that as it may, it is well deserving of it's title "Denarau's Jewel in the Crown", and if you don't mind parting with the money, I highly recommend it.

There is a bar and grill here... not cheap but not outlandishly expensive either. Service at the bar was pretty poor when I last visited, I had to stand there for 5 minutes while two staff just stood around chatting. I got my drink in the end but the two on duty could do with learning the meaning of customer service.

If you haven't yet booked your accommodation at Denarau and have more than one keen golfer in the family, it is definitely worth considering one of the Sheraton properties. They sometimes do good discount rates on golfing packages.

The Denarau Golf Course

Big Bula Water Park

Also Very Expensive

Tee time at Denarau
Click/tap to view larger

Your kids will love you if you take them here. Your wallet will hate you. If someone were to ask me to guess what the entry fees are, if I didn’t actually know I would say probably in the region of perhaps FJ$50 for adults, FJ$30 for kids and little ones free. And either free or nominal entry for adults that are just there to look after the kids.

So it's a bit shocking to see how far out I would have been. Especially when you compare the prices to somewhere like Wet 'n Wild on the Gold Coast of Australia.

And with an entry fee of over FJ$100 per adult - even for those just supervising the kids, it’s just a shame that many of the slides here are inflatable ones. With weight restrictions on these (85kg), it means that you are paying big money but may be unable to use much of the park.

Most Common Customer Complaints

If you have decided to take the kids to the Water Park (and they will probably nag you until you give in anyway) then these are the things to be aware of... the most common customer complaints.

  • Price: Obviously this is #1. A day out here with a couple of kids will really put a serious dent in your holiday budget.
  • Hot Slides: On hot days, especially over the summer period, take care not to get burned. Particularly on the very first slide of the day, you need to watch out for the heat of the rubber as well as the lack of friction due to dry skin.
  • Slide Patches: This seems a regular complaint. As the runner slides get patched, from time to time, it’s inevitable that if these are not maintained then you will get rough edges, or bits of the patch lifting. This can cause injury when sliding over them.
  • Dirty Water: When I visited, it looked okay to me, but others have found it to be a bit suspect.

I found an old photo I took back in 2013, that shows the Bula Water park under construction. Interesting to see how it looked back then.

The Big Bula Park in 2016

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This article was printed from FantasticFiji.com

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