Fijis First Settlers
Legend tells it that Fiji’s very first settlers journeyed across the Pacific Ocean, led by the Chief Lutunasobasoba, landed at Vuda Point, North of Nadi, after traveling for months across the Pacific on large canoes called Kaunitoni before anchoring off the reef in Vuda, around 1500 BC . They came ashore on the stretch of beach that is now home to Anchorage Beach Resort and nearby Visesei Village, home of the first settlers. Historians do agree that Fiji was first settled about 3,500 years ago by voyagers sailing from Melanesia. The Fijian ancestors, who came ashore at Vuda, are believed to have set up a village at Viseisei, from which they dispersed to other parts of Fiji. Today, Vuda, which means “source” in Fijian, is home to Viseisei Village, two resorts including Anchorage Beach Resort, as well as a bustling marina.
World War II
Shortly after the war broke out in Europe in 1939, responsibility for the defense of the Fiji Islands, a British Crown Colony, was accepted by New Zealand. As long as the scene of the war was confined principally to European battlefronts the protection of the islands was a relatively light burden, but when the world conflict was extended to the Pacific, Fiji suddenly became of great strategic importance as a support point on the long south Pacific shipping route. On May 13, 1942, the United States issued a “Joint Army and Navy Plan for the Relief of New Zealand in the Fiji Islands,” calling for the replacement of 10,000 New Zealand troops then in the islands with a U.S. Army division. The joint plan viewed Fiji as an area to be used as an advance air and naval base and as an air-staging area, and called for an expansion of the existing base facilities on Viti Levu. Of the Navy portion of the plan, the principal new construction item called for was an 80,500-barrel tank farm to be erected near Nadi, on the island’s West coast.
In June 1942, the tank farms were built in the West and Fuel reserves in Vuda which is directly opposite to the Nadi International Airport, as a fuel reserve for the American Army. These deep fuel reserves are next to Anchorage. Spent bullet casings are still washed onto our shores during storms and unrest seas.
Borrowing its name from the historical voyage of Fiji’s ancestors, Anchorage Beach Resort actually started out as the Bay View Country Club in the 1950’s. Purchased in the 1990’s by the Tanoa Group, this lovely “diamond in the rough” was quickly polished to a sparkling luster and has quickly progressed through a most remarkable transformation. Its current owners, an Australian couple, bought the resort from the Tanoa Group in June 2004.
The new owners sought to emphasize the resort’s natural strengths of a pristine location and vista coupled with its truly serene surroundings by enhancing many of the existing amenities and comforts of the resort confines. Since taking over, extensive upgrades of the resort has included the construction of 12 Beachside spa villas, 20 new Oceanfront spa rooms, a new and large beachfront pool with infinity horizon edge and swim-up bar, Infinity edge pool, as well as an open-plan restaurant with large decking. A new multi-purpose venue, Cupid’s Point, has also been built for weddings, open conferences, parties, cocktails and other gatherings. Delana house another event center for seating up to 200 guests. Sixteen long term 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. A Chanel has been constructed for easy access to the nearby islands. The last addition 20 self-contained apartments will be opened on 1st August 2016.
To truly understand Fijian culture, one simply must visit a traditional Fijian village. Even today, the majority of indigenous Fijians still live in villages. Village life is communal and based on living and working together for the common good of all members. It’s a gentler, laid back way of life – one that’s lived closely with nature – and most villagers make their living off the land and sea.
Traditional Fijian architecture, which gives Fijian villages its distinctive look, comprises mainly of bure – open, airy wooden buildings with exposed beams, high ceilings and thatched roofs. This style of building has inspired many resorts around Fiji, including Anchorage Beach Resort.
All villages have chiefs, who are the heads of their communities. When visiting a Fijian village for the first time, you will participate in a sevusevu – a traditional ceremony of welcome with the village chief or host. Strangers are required to present a gift of kava and explain why they are there. The host then invites them to join him for kava and by doing so, invites them as guests into his village.
While at the Anchorage Beach Resort, it is possible to visit neighboring Viseisei Village, a historical site that is the home of Fiji’s first settlers. A coastal village with a population of 1000 plus people, Viseisei currently makes its livelihood from farming and fishing…Viseisei has its own kindergarten and school as well as a church. The Sunday morning church service is a great chance to catch harmonious Fijian singing at its best. Viseisei Village is a five-minute walk along the beach from Anchorage Beach Resort, or three minutes by car. Please check with hotel staff for village protocol before visiting the village.
The Sugar Train
Long before tourism became a thriving industry in Fiji, the country relied heavily on the sugar cane industry as its main income earner. Vuda, where Anchorage Beach Resort is located, sits on the sugar cane belt and as such, a train track runs through the resort.
During cane crushing season, which lasts from June to November, the quaint trains transporting raw sugar cane from farms in the surrounding areas to the sugar mill in Lautoka can be seen passing through the resort.
Anchorage Beach Resort offers a “two for one” special on drinks at the bar each time a sugar cane train passes through the resort. So make the most of it and grab yourself a drink when you see a train steaming along.