In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn
Snorkelling in Fiji — Scuba Diving — Motorised Watersports — Windsurfing & Kite Surfing — Surfing — Sea Kayaking — Sailing and Marinas in Fiji — Island Hopping Tours
Fiji is an exceptional destination for watersports with most resorts having great snorkelling lagoons right form the beach, and if not, a short boat ride away. Scuba Diving is world class with an abundance of beautiful soft and hard corals as well as colourful reef fish, turtles and dolphins in the lagoons and larger pelagics in the deeper ocean including bull and tiger sharks. Surfing the shallow reef breaks is world famous and there are some good sailing opportunities although the treacherous nature of the coral reefs make this a dangerous place for bareback sailing with yachts companies reluctant to offer overnight sailing adventures without an experienced local skipper. Most resorts offer complimentary snorkel equipment and kayaks for exploring the lagoon and coastline.
During winter (May to Oct) the tradewinds are at their most constant with more windy conditions in the afternoons, good for kite-surfing and windsurfing but not so favourable for scuba diving or snorkelling. The best time for the later two watersports is in the summer months between November and April when the seas are generally very calm and visibility at its best, although this coincides with cyclone season when storms brew with the intense heat and humidity.
Snorkelling in Fiji
Fiji has some of the worlds' most accessible coral reefs, often with brilliant corals a short swim away from the beach front in the lagoon and along the fringing reef's edge where spectacular drop-offs occur. Sea turtles nest along many beaches in the Fiji Islands and are often spotted swimming around the lagoons whilst the coral reefs also provide excellent homes to dolphins, reef sharks, ray's and an abundance of other colourful fish. Whilst snorkelling is great almost everywhere, the following are our favourite spots.
Like snorkelling, Fiji scuba diving holidays are amongst the best in the world with thousands of dive sites, dive operators at most resorts, dedicated dive resorts with all the latest equipment and instruction. Highlights include a fantastic variety of colourful soft corals, over 1200 species of fish, 12 species of whales and dolphins as well as excellent snorkelling off the beach for non-diving partners.
Fiji's world class surfing breaks are located along the Malolo Barrier Reef and these are accessible from either the islands around Malolo in the Mamanucas, or from the mainland, south of Nadi. Other good surfing areas include the north-west side of Beqa Lagoon (accessible from both Beqa and Pacific Harbour); and along the passages of the Astrolabe Reef in Kadavu. The winter months of May to October offer the most consistent surfing conditions and when Australia and New Zealand surfers have winter back home, yet Fiji's weather and sea temperature remains blissfully warm.
View our Fiji Surfing Holiday Guide
Wind Surfing / Kite-surfing
The best place for both windsurfing and kite surfing is off Nananu-i-Ra Island off the north coast of Viti Levu and around Vomo Island in the same passage where winds blow in consistently between March and December. Windsurfing is also available at many of the holiday resorts in the Mamanuca Group and the larger resorts along the Coral Coast - there's also good windsurfing conditions around the Sigatoka area.
Sea kayaks are available from almost all resorts, mostly free of charge for guest use. Kayaking along any coastline is pretty much fun wherever you stay in Fiji and generally you're always inside a protected lagoon. Kayaking amongst mangrove forests is a real adventure with a myriad of channels to explore and there's always marine and fish life in abundance as well as the occasional encounter with a local fishermen hunting amongst the mangroves.
Sailing Holidays & Marinas
Fiji sailing holidays are limited unless you are visiting with your own yacht. The reefs all around the country are pretty treacherous and no yacht charter company is willing to take the risk in offering bareback sailing. You can enjoy day sailing cruises from Port Denarau (Nadi), Vuda Marina (just north of Nadi), Musket Cove Marina (on Malolo Lailai Island in the Mamanucas) and at the Suva Yacht Club. If visiting in the winter months from May to October you might be able to join a visiting yacht for a bit of day or overnight sailing - the only way though is to check the notice boards at the above marinas or ask around.
Fiji has growing number of motorised watersports available. Jet skis adventures exploring the lagoons are popular in both the Mamanuca Islands and off Pacific Harbour with both having guided day tours to visit uninhabited islands and secluded beaches. Water-skiing is less popular but can be found at a few resorts, with the large resorts in the Mamanuca Islands having fun banana boat rides and tube rides .
The best region for island hopping excursions is the beautiful Mamanuca Islands which is littered with uninhabited coral islands, beautiful bays, secluded beaches and lovely beach resorts. Island hopping day excursions are available on a private charter from all resorts. Some offer more affordable day cruises open to all guests on certain days of the week. Day cruises can also be taken from Port Denarau or Vuda Marina, and if you prefer to do your own thing, charters are also available.