from today's Fiji Times:
Sailors invest in eco-resort
Saturday, October 07, 2006
A COUPLE who has sailed to more than 150 countries has decided to make Vanua Levu home and is investing its life savings in a eco-friendly farm stay with six bure. The Palmlea Farms Bamboo Bures and Bistro Resort at Tabia/Naduri Road in Macuata will be ready to receive visitors before Christmas.
Joe and Julie Smelser first came to Fiji 13 years ago and after spending seven months in the country trying to repair their boat they made up their mind to make the country home. They bought 30 acres land on which they are building the resort and preparing farms to plant fruits and vegetables not available locally.
The Smelsers said they were not in the country to make a retirement home or make money but were here to stay permanently. They said Vanua Levu had a lot of potential to expand with its serene nature and friendly people.
Joe, an architect and builder, is overlooking the construction of the six bure while Julie is looking after the financial side with her business management background.They said after travelling around the world they were sure they wanted to settle in Fiji. The choice to settle in Vanua Levu was made while they were in Lautoka and a lot of friends suggested they visit the friendly north.
Julie said they were currently working on four bure, which are expected to be completed by early December and two more bure to be constructed early next year.
She said Naduri was an ideal place because it was bright and sunny, not hot and humid and neither did it rain much.
Their couple's property overlooks the open Macuata coastline and is surrounded by Indian settlements and Fijian villages. They said they would give their visitors a touch of local tradition and culture and local delicacies.
The couple said their accommodation would offer an escape from the busy world to serenity and tranquility with scenic beauty in every direction.
Nice to see that some vavalagis are keen to invest and live in babasiga land where it doesn't rain like Suva!