In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn
Nadi Holidays — Nadi Town — Sightseeing around Nadi
Nadi is the tourist hub of Fiji located on the sunny west coast of Viti Levu, the big island of Fiji. Known as the Jet Set Town, Nadi is dominated by the International Airport and the tourists it brings in and there are plenty of hotels in Nadi to stay at, either in transit or for a full blown holiday.
Reasons to Visit Nadi
- Transit for Nadi Airport
- Day Cruises to Islands
- Shopping in Nadi Town
- Good Restaurants & Bars
- Day Tours to Highland Villages
- Luxury - Intercontinental Fiji Resort
- Luxury - First Landing Resort
- Affordable - Nadi Beach Apartment
- Affordable - Raffles Gateway Hotel
- Budget - Smugglers Cove
Best Nadi Hotels
Nadi Holidays Overview
There is no real centre to Nadi, instead it sprawls along a 10-km inland road between the airport and town with two popular beach suburbs: Wailoaloa, a quiet residential area where you'll find a handful of affordable beach accommodation; and Denarau Island, an upmarket lifestyle complex with large internationally branded hotels. Nadi has a population of around 30,000 and is surrounded by sugar cane fields with beautiful mountain scenery and villages in its highlands and the stunning offshore islands of the Mamanucas which can be visited on day cruises.
Nadi serves two purposes. For most tourists it is a place of transit before heading off to other islands in Fiji or for spending the last few hours of their holidays browsing the shops of Nadi Town before flying home. For others, it offers a convenient and very affordable holiday base for sightseeing both in the interior and on day cruises to visit the beautiful small coral islands which lie right off its coast.
If you're here for a beach holiday, there are three options upmarket Denarau Island is a lifestyle resort within a gated community offering shopping, restaurants, bars, marina and luxury residential homes. It's good if you have no intention of discovering Fiji, but rather here to relax and unwind. If you want something more Fijian, there are a couple of nice beach resorts at Vuda Point worth considering and from where you can explore the rural countryside and local villages, or head further south to beautiful Natadola Beach where there are two beach resorts.
Nadi Airport is where the holiday begins or ends. For those in transit not able to get to their island, there are a couple of hotels directly opposite the airport entrance with courtesy shuttle buses provided for pick-up and drop-off. The hotels around Martintar take 10 minutes to reach by taxi, or otherwise heads to Wailoaloa Beach just 15-minutes by road and offering a holiday ambience with beautiful ocean and sunset views.
Nadi Holiday Guide
There is no single concentration of hotels in Nadi and deciding where to stay will be dictated mostly by your budget. For Transit, we recommend staying at a hotel in or around Nadi Airport which includes the roadside motels close to Nadi's restaurants and bars, or at Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi Bay which has some excellent value beach resorts and also popular with backpackers. For thoise looking to make Nadi their holiday destination, then the large resorts on Denerau Island are a good choice for familes; or couples on budget and wanting to sightsee should conside the small resorts at Wailoaloa Beach or Vuda
Nadi Bay & Wailoaloa Beach
Although Wailoaloa Beach doesn't have the picture postcard white sands and turquoise lagoons of the offshore islands, it does have stunning views and pleasant beach walks, cool ocean breezes and sunsets over the islands making it an attractive place to start or end your holiday, or as an affordable base for day cruises to the Mamanuca Islands and into the interior. It's also the most popular base in Nadi for backpackers and has a lively but relaxed beach ambience.
For convenience, staying overnight at a Nadi Airport hotels offer excellent value for money and the chance to recuperate from your travels before heading off to an outer island or to relax before heading back home - most hotels at Nadi Airport offer day rooms to make use of if you have an afternoon or evening flight.
There are several hotels opposite the airport entrance which make a convenient base for stopovers or for day rooms. The downside is that that's not much going on around the airport with the closest shops and restaurants being in Namaka, a five minute drive towards the town. If staying here you're a bit cut-off from the action.
Half way between Nadi Airport and Nadi Town is the lively suburb of Martintar. Here you'll find lots of good restaurants and bars, a large supermarket and several mid size hotels along the main road. There are plenty of public buses running between the airport and town making it easy to get around this area. Stay in Martintar if you're not fussed about the beach and would rather explore the surrounding countryside or enjoy Nadi's local nightlife.
Nadi Town is the commercial centre and has lots of boutique shops selling flowery shirts and tacky handicrafts, several good restaurants and a bustling local produce market. It's a functional town although here the tourism touts are on the streets trying to befriend you to look inside their shop, sell their tours or tempt you with some wacky backy. There is a fine Indian temple at the southern end of town that is worth browsing around for a little peace and quiet. Getting around by taxi is easy and cheap. There is no accommodation in Nadi Town apart from two very basic and ageing backpacker hotels.
Other Accommodation around Nadi
Sightseeing around Nadi
If you want to get out and see the countryside, head north of Nadi to Koroyanitu National Park with its hiking trails and waterfalls. The main loop trail starts from the local village of Abaca and heads either into the tropical rainforest to waterfalls, or along the grassy mountain ridges following the ancient paths that connect the villages of the interior. You can hire a guide from Abaca Village and walk cross-country for days. For those with less time, the three hour loop trail offers a great variety of scenery and four waterfalls.
The Nausori Highlands inland from Nadi makes an excellent day trip by hire car, climbing high into the interior. There are some stunning vistas along the dirt road, several walks and the ancient village of Bukuya which has some unique legends, sacred waterfalls and a village walking tour.
If you have just a few hours to spend, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a good place to take in landscaped and wild gardens with plenty of local orchids to spot along the way. Also in the region are the Sabeto Mud Pools where you can bath in bubbling mud pools warmed by volcanic streams and absorb its supposed health benefits.
Accommodation in Nadi Hills
If you enjoy shopping consider heading to Lautoka just 20-minutes drive north of Nadi Airport along a quite scenic drive past the foot of the Sabeto Mountains. Lautoka has a good variety of clothes shops, a great market and it's not a tourist town like Nadi so you wont get hassled.