I went to Fiji in 2008 for 3 weeks and Australia for 3 weeks. I did an "Eco Trip" Basically I paid to go to an island called Vorovoro and help some islander's improve their village and in exchange they allowed us to stay for free and they fed us and took care of us. All we had to do was a little labour to help them out.
I landed in Nadi (the capital of Fiji) then flew on a unpressurized scary plane ride to an island called Labasa. Once I landed safely there I got picked up and we took a boat ride for about an hour to Vorovoro so we were really in the middle of nowhere. It took an hour to get to the mainland if we needed anything.
So we get to Vorovoro and the chief of the island (he was a big deal!) welcomed us there but we weren't allowed to talk to him directly, we had to address a little man standing next to him and he relied our message to the chief. All of the men were required to wear sulu's (basically skirts for guys) and we took a Fijian Language Class and did some tribal dancing.
The Villagers were the kindest most giving people I have ever met. We built them a functional shower for all the village to use (At the time I was there they didn't have any electricity or running water). After a hard days work we got to drink this drink made from a root called Kava. I am still uncertain what was in Kava but it did make your lips all tingly and just gave you a relaxed feeling. It didn't kill me so no harm done :) There was a traditional way you had to drink it. All of us sat in a semi circle and the Chief took a drink. We all had our legs crossed and we weren't able to uncross them until the chief said so. Once you were offered a drink of Kava if you accepted it you were required to drink it all in one gulp.
It was a great experience to see how really tribes still lived. I also slept on the beach in a hammock every single night we were so far in the middle of nowhere once the sun went down it was just like ink outside. no light except from our fires and you woke up with the sun like an alarm clock. the waves put me to sleep and woke me up it was amazing! We also got to do some snorkeling on the most beautiful reefs I have ever seen. We were so far out in the middle of nowhere they were just pristine. I did cut myself on a reef and was bleeding in the water and I really scared I was gonna get eaten by a shark haha but here I am :) We also got to go to a school and give gifts to the school kids (they had 1 school for 5 islands and it was just one room) they sang for us and played rugby with us (they kicked our butts) it was so cool seeing how happy they were to have us there. On the last night on the island we had a feast with a freshly killed pig and chickens and all the veggies we could eat. I loved it all! I really had a great time in Fiji.
Before I went home I had a 3 week tour up the east coast in Australia and that is where I fell in love with it and decided I wanted to come back again this year. I did the Sydney to Cairns route. Unfortunately all I have seen is the east coast so far. But I do enjoy it here and last time I was in Australia in 2008 I got to do my first sky dive in Cairns and see Sydney for the first time (It isn't so mind blowing for me anymore haha) I also got to go to Cape Tribulation in the North East corner of Australia and it is the rain forest!
It rained so much in Cape Trib we almost got stuck there! It just rained and rained! But, I did get to go on a crocodile tour and do a really cool zip line tour of the rain forest over a raging river since it had rained so much. I even ate ants right off a tree in the rain forest that tasted like lime! I went out to the Great Barrier Reef there as well. I had my first experience with how amazing skydiving is and I fell in love with the rush. I love every second of falling through the air hurtling towards the ground and just seeing all the amazing scenery rush by. I love the heart pounding rush you get right as your parachute opens and you float down to the ground. I cant even discriminate how amazing it is you just have to try it!
I really enjoy the east coast of Australia, in fact that is where I am now but I would love to see more of Australia and I hope I get a chance too. I am a backpacker after all, free as the wind :)
Hopefully I didn't forget anything important. -Tyler