Time slows down and stress fades into the abyss at this heavenly retreat with silky beaches, swaying palms and inviting hammocks.
Maybe it happened in the ocean, while swimming with reef sharks beside a private island paradise, or jetskiing in the open water, land barely visible in the distance. Or perhaps it occurred in one of the many hammocks that lined the coast of my resort. Wherever it was, Fiji achieved what many would have thought impossible. Somewhere along the line, it flicked a forgotten switch in the man who can't relax, activating a rare kind of tranquility.
I'm a chronic workaholic, notorious for filing stories at all hours and never really being on leave. So as I walk towards the international SIM card retailers upon arrival at Nadi International Airport, my first instinct is to get one and ensure I stay just a phone call or text away if reality decides to derail my roughly 72 hours of fun in Fiji.
But as I draw closer, the sound of local villagers dancing in the arrivals area pulls me away from virtual connectivity and into the holiday experience. And before I have a chance to head back towards the phone shops, I'm whisked away towards a car bound for my accommodation, the five-star Marriott resort at Momi Bay.
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It's dark when I arrive and I'm up again the next morning before sunrise, so it's a while before I'm treated to the resort's picturesque lagoon and ocean views. But it doesn't take at all long to learn the famous Fijian friendliness is on offer 24/7, with the man controlling the resort's boom gate throwing both arms into the air and bellowing "bula!" as I enter. The word is used as a greeting but it literally means "life", which makes sense when it is said with such vigour and often sung to welcome visitors to tourist attractions.
I first hear the traditional welcome song, Bula Maleya, at the end of a 45-minute trip with Captain Cook Cruises from the bustling Port Denarau marina to Tivua, a private island that looks like something out of a dream.
Without doubt, it's the most peaceful place I've ever been - you can walk around the whole island in a matter of minutes. It offers plenty despite its size, with a wander through the vegetation in the centre of the island somehow feeling entirely different to a stroll along the sandy beaches at each nearby edge.
I spend a bit of time relaxing in a cabana overlooking the ocean before being tempted in by the tropical water and its colourful coral reef. As if it felt compelled to reinforce the fact I'm on a tropical holiday, a coconut even floats past.
The feeling of almost being in another world is replicated on my other day trip, to Six Senses resort on Malolo Island. A similar distance from Port Denarau, the resort is big on sustainability and wellness, neither of which I profess to know much about.
In fact, I'm such a novice, I arrive at the "alchemy bar" under the impression I was about to have a drink. Instead, I find myself in the unlikely position of making a hydrating facial scrub, adding coconut, orange peel, aloe vera and lavender to a brown sugar base. Applying it later on doesn't prompt Calvin Klein to invite me onto the catwalk in Milan, but it does make me think about using more sustainable products when I get home.
There's still plenty more to be done before then, however, and I spend the rest of my visit to Six Senses undergoing a wellness screening, which produces surprisingly positive results, and moving quickly from a leisurely swim to an energetic "aqua dance" class. Instructor Mike, a Romanian, has only been in Fiji for a few weeks and sums up the people perfectly. "Here, everyone knows my name," he tells me. "My mum forgets my name."
There's nothing fake about the Fijians, some of whom even shed tears as they sing Isa Lei, a traditional farewell song, as my tour group prepares to make the boat ride back to the mainland.
The genuine friendliness of the locals is also on show there, where I learn plenty about Fijian culture from the locals ferrying me around. Not even being pulled over and issued with a speeding fine dampens the enthusiasm of one driver, who seems upset for a matter of seconds before he resumes laughing as we discuss sport and the communal style of living in his village. "Too many cousins," he chuckles. "Every time I'm seeing a cousin, I'm getting a headache."
I get another taste of what this sort of lifestyle is like back at the Marriott, where a group of local villagers performs a "meke" show, designed to tell stories through singing and dancing, as I tuck into a delicious "Fijian flavour" buffet at the Voi Voi restaurant.
That's just one of the many dining options at Marriott, where I also have a beautiful black Angus tenderloin steak at the Fish Bar and a few buffet breakfasts at Goji Kitchen. I also have a great meal one night on a quick visit to the Sofitel at Port Denarau, where I discover Kokoda, a refreshing raw fish salad that's considered by some to be the national dish of Fiji.
But the pick of the bunch, in my opinion, is Lagoon House back at Momi Bay, where I wash down a pizza, some onion rings and a salad with a few Fiji Bitters for lunch one afternoon. Almost right outside my pool view room, it also features a swim-up bar that allows you to get a tropical cocktail without even getting out of the water.
In between all the eating an overseas trip inevitably includes, there's plenty to do around this vast resort. It's right over the other side from my room that I discover my favourite spot, where a series of hammocks are tied between tall trees at the water's edge. I manage to test out four of them before the end of my stay, but choosing a favourite is, I imagine, a bit like a parent being asked to pick the child they love most. Nothing says "holiday" more than a hammock and I doze off more than once while lying in these, located in such a peaceful spot. The only thing that interrupts the silence is the occasional faint roar of guests on jetski safaris out in the ocean.
While slightly apprehensive about whether I should trust myself with such a powerful piece of machinery, I take the metaphorical plunge and, after some initially nervous moments, manage not to make it a real one. Whizzing along on the open water, with only the guide in front and endless blue in sight, it's hard to imagine feeling more free.
Back at home, thousands of kilometres away in Canberra, the work day rolls on without me. The Fijians don't seem the slightest bit worried about that and, remarkably, neither do I.
Getting there: Fiji Airways has direct flights to Nadi from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra. Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is about 45 minutes by car from Nadi Airport.
Staying there: Fiji Marriott Momi Bay has rooms available from about $F699 ($485) per night.
Explore more: marriott.com
The writer was a guest of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay and Fiji Airways.