Exploring the Fiji Islands

Of all the South Pacific destinations, Fiji travel experiences are the most varied. The stunning picture postcard beaches promoted in the holiday brochures are plentiful, many on small otherwise uninhabited islands or often overlooked by a hilltop lookout with spectacular views of the surrounding lagoons. The mountainous tropical rainforests are lush and filled with fast flowing rivers, gushing waterfalls and exotic birds. The towns are vibrant too, from gritty capital of Suva to the colonially inspired Levuka Town and trendy Savusavu with its café’s and waterfront restaurants. Travelling around the islands is fun, safe and mostly cheap. All in all Fiji is a top travel destination to explore away the tourist resorts.

First Stop
Nadi Airport

kayaking off nadi airport

Nadi has plenty of hotels and makes a very affordable base for sightseeing. There are lots of day tours and island cruises to enjoy plus some lovely beaches to the south and villages to explore in the highlands.

Nadi Hotels

Travel Around
Viti Levu

fijian warrior performs at a fiji hotel

Just an hour south of Nadi Airport, Coral Coast resorts are popular with families looking to explore with plenty of great sightseeing excursions from sand dunes to river trips to culture centres.

Coral Coast Hotels

Cruise to the
Mamanucas

lagoon in the mamanuca islands of fiji

This is Fiji's tourism hot spot with beautiful beach resorts and fantastic snorkelling. Some resorts are aimed at families, others at couples and there's a few budget resorts for backpackers.

Island Resorts

Island Hop
Yasawa Islands

beach in yasawa islands

These beautiful islands boast the best beaches in Fiji with great snorkelling lagoons and fishing villages. There's a decent mix of upmarket beach resorts for couples and budget beach huts for backpackers.

Yasawa Resorts

Adventure
Kadavu Island

beach on kadavu

This traditional island in the south has fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling reefs and are a good option for visiting authentic Fijian villages or to go on kayak expeditions along the remote coast.

Kadavu Accommodation

Explore
Fiji's North

waterfall on taveuni

The Garden Island of Fiji boasts stunning tropical rainforest and some of the worlds best scuba diving reefs. Explore rainforest & waterfalls to spot rare birds or relax in the laid back town of Savusavu.

Taveuni Accommodation
fiji travel scene of a tropical beach in the islands

Fiji Travel Guide

Fiji is a compact collection of 330 small islands roughly a three hour flight north of New Zealand and east of Australia.

map of fiji island vanua levu travel guide yasawa travel guide mamanuca travel guide viti levu travel guide taveuni travel guide kadavu travel guide lomaiviti travel guide

The international airport is located at Nadi on the sunny west coast of the main island (Viti Levu). Nadi is a small market town thriving on tourism and a great base for exploring the offshore islands – Fiji's most popular tourist destination. The Mamanuca Islands is popular with both families, couples and single travellers looking for some fun, whilst backpackers head a little further north to the beaches of the Yasawa Islands, also destination of overnight luxury cruises and several small luxury resorts. Both have a great selection of beach resorts for all budgets and accessible by fast passenger ferry, seaplane or helicopter.

On the mainland, for those into sightseeing or simply not wishing to travel by plane of boat, the Coral Coast is just a 1- 2-hr journey by road from Nadi. This coast has great sightseeing, several beautiful golf courses and some excellent adventure tours. Extending from the Coral Coast is Pacific Harbour, the a great base for exploring rainforest and traditional inland villages as well as the famous shark dive in Beqa Lagoon. Suva, the capital, sits on the wet and humid east coast and is visited mostly by business travellers.

South of Viti Levu is Kadavu Island, a high rugged island with few roads. Its extensive walking tracks connecting the many traditional villages along its coastlines make both an excellent choice for those looking to explore by foot. Kadavu is home to the famous Astrolabe Reef with its stunning soft corals and drift dives as well as large population of rays which always delight snorkellers.

The main island of the Lomaiviti Group is Ovalau, home to the charming seaside town of Levuka which provides a unique historical twist to the South Seas visit. Offshore are a handful of small islands, some tiny coral islands like those of the popular Mamanuca Group and provide a similar stunning holiday environment around the sea but without the commercialism.

Savusavu on Vanua Levu offers great sailing adventures, game fishing and exploring tranquil bays by sea kayak. Vanua Levu is Fiji's second largest island so its also a great place to hire a car and explore.

Adjacent to Vanua Levu is Taveuni, the garden island of Fiji. This is one of the most popular outer islands to visit on holiday and apart from its famous scuba diving around the Rainbow Reef, it hosts a dozen or so upmarket boutique beach resorts popular for honeymoons or to elope and be married on a deserted beach. Taveuni also has a massive National Park with walking trails along the coast and into its mountains.

Five Things for Travellers to Know about the Fiji Islands

1) Fiji is the coup capital of the South Pacific with four coups in the last 25 years - the country has a history of nepotism, corruption and bureaucracy, with a bound judiciary and gagged media. But you're on holiday so don't worry, be happy, as the locals say. And happy they are, regarded by many as the friendliest resort staff in the world.

2) Fiji is a traditional society with many taboo subjects and ceremonies to observe - do not turn up at a village dressed for the beach as this is a great insult to the people. And no top-less sunbathing please.

3) If in Fiji on a Sunday try and visit a local church to hear the incredible singing and maybe attend the village feast afterwards.

4) You'll be greeted with the word "Bula" throughout your stay and along with "Fiji Baby" (slang for the local beer) these are the three most common words you'll encounter.

5) Make sure you have a bowl of grog, officially known as yaqona or kava - it may just be with the resort boys as they wind down their evening, or in a traditional ceremony when visiting a village - it is Fiji's national drink, mildly narcotic and tastes awful!

Beautiful Pacific has personally reviewed and hand selected what it believes are the best places to stay in our Fiji hotel guide with independent reviews on all beach resorts as well as some self-catering apartments and backpacker hideaways for more budget minded holiday-makers.

Fiji Travel Details

matavai bay beqa island

Fiji has a population of almost one million people making it the most populated of the small South Pacific islands (aside from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea). The country receives almost one million visitors annually, more than all other small South Pacific islands receive collectively. Despite these high tourist numbers, there are so many beautiful islands to visit with plenty of secluded accommodation to choose from, the country doesn't feel overwhelmed by tourism.

Travelling around the islands is easy. Domestic flights though are very expensive, although buses, passenger ferries, taxis and car hire are all cheap. The main island of Viti Levu has a decent network of local buses around the towns and there are almost hourly buses running between Nadi and Suva, a journey of around 5hrs. Taxis are readily available for hire from Nadi Airport and pretty much every hotel has a taxi stand.

Both the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands are best reached by fast passenger ferry operated by South Sea Cruises - there are four daily departures to the Mamanuca Islands (travel time from 1hr to 2hrs) and a daily departure to the Yasawa Islands (travel time from 2hrs to 4hrs), all from Port Denarau in Nadi. If you are travelling outside these schedules, or looking for more flexibility, water taxis to the Mamanucas are available 24-hrs from either Port Denarau or Vuda Marina. The alternative is to take a charter helicopter from Nadi Airport or several other resort locations around Viti Levu, or by sea-plane from Nadi Bay.

If you're exploring the outer islands, you'll need to catch a domestic flight with Pacific Sun or Fiji Link. There are several daily flights from Nadi Airport to Savusavu and Labasa on Vanua Levu, to Taveuni, to Levuka or to Kadavu. If visiting Beqa, you'll need to catch a resort boat from Pacific Harbour. If you have time, there are local passenger ferries / cargo boats departing Suva and visiting Kadavu, Savusavu and Taveuni but these are all 12+ hour trips and without a regular or reliable schedule. You can catch a daily passenger ferry from Natovi Landing (1hr north of Suva) over to Ovalau with a connecting bus into Levuka Town. Once on any of the outer islands, local travel is a bit more tricky. There are buses on Taveuni and Vanua Levu, but not on Kadavu where travel is mostly by boat.

English is spoken fluently at all resorts although in the villages is mostly broken. The weather is warm and balmy with year round temperatures seldom falling below 24 degrees Celsius. December to April are very humid being the wetter summer months. June to October are cooler and the most popular months to visit.

The country is free from malaria, yellow fever and most other diseases endemic in tropical countries. Mosquitoes are present and can be annoying during the wetter months (Dec to April). Water is considered safe to drink.

Electricity is 240 AC voltage (same plugs as Australia / NZ). Banks and ATMs can be found in all towns. The currency is the Fijian Dollar (F$) and credit cards are accepted at most tourist establishments though a 4% surcharge is not uncommon.