The tiny island nation of Fiji may be mere speck on the map, but it packs a punch when it comes to things to do and see.
An archipelago of more than 330 islands, Fiji is famous for rugged landscapes, palm-lined, white sand beaches, coral reefs, clear lagoons and infectious local smiles. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of the population. Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture and the main airport of Nadi.
Affectionately named one of the happiest places on Earth, the local Fijians are most welcoming. It is a destination that is well known for travellers embracing the local island way of life. It won’t take long slip into this and swap your “hello” for “bula” and your “thank you” for “vinaka”. The Fijian way of life requires you to drop the pace back a few discover a place where happiness finds you.
It is also a destination focused on sustainability. Many hotels are adopting no plastic/limited plastic, growing food in own herb, vegetable and fruit gardens; using local fisherman for fresh daily catch and engage in eco-activities such as coral planting to help preserve marine life.
Fiji truly is a destination for everyone. The wide range of accommodation caters for this diverse market, from cheaper backpacker options and products, to exclusive use, or adults-only private islands. It is a destination that is most certainly family-friendly. There is an abundance of kids clubs at family-friendly hotels, great locals and friendly nannies, lots of resorts with family rooms and multi-room residences for multi-generational families travelling together. For couples, romance is easy to find at adults-only hotels like Tokoriki Island Resort, Royal Davui, Likuliku Resort, Qamea, and adults-only sections of hotels like at the Hilton, Vomo and Shangri-La Hotel. There is even a demand for Fiji weddings, as it is cheaper than Australia with a range of venue locations, from small intimate ceremonies, to hiring a whole island and having exclusive use of a resort.
Adventure seekers will love the range of activities like Talanoa Treks (multi-day hiking tours inland and through villages), waterfalls, surfing (world-class waves), diving with sharks in Yasawa Islands and Beqa Lagoon, quad bike tours, Sigatoka River Safari, white water rafting and much more. For travellers who like a bit of freedom to explore, it is easy to self-drive Fiji. The coastline of the mainland is stunning and there are several self-drive options with many rental car companies.
How to get to Fiji
With four airlines from Australia that fly to Fiji, air access is great. The flag carrier Fiji Airways (code-sharing with Qantas) fly direct from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with connections from other cities in Australia. Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qantas all offer flights to Fiji also, so finding a flight to suit your itinerary is easy.
A number of large ship cruises do stop in Fiji but these are scheduled on longer itineraries. However, when in Fiji, there are some small-ship fly and cruise options for 3-4 day add-ons, or for longer 7-12 day itineraries exploring several regions.
Top 10 things to do in Fiji
Island hopping (Yasawas or Mamanucas)
Fiji has some of the most amazing beaches and islands, which are picture perfect. There are many day cruises to the islands, or you can visit Malamala Beach Club, which is a private island day club with great food, signature cocktails and lots of watersports. Hire a private cabana with a butler and spend a lazy day enjoying the sun.
There is some of the world’s best diving is in Fiji. From manta rays to colourful soft coral gardens, as well as wreck dives and live-aboards. If you aren’t a diver, then you can still see amazing marine life snorkelling. On top of that, many resorts invest in the environment underwater, employing marine biologists and creating activities for guests to help protect, preserve and support the ocean. E.g. Jean-Michel Cousteau resort has a number of coral planting kids’ activities.
Cloud 9 is floating bar in the middle of the clear-blue ocean – with DJs and oven-cooked pizzas, it is a destination to tick-off the bucket list
Sigatoka River Safari
Away from the idyllic beaches there’s a stunning landscape in-land. The river safari combines a village visit to experience local life and cultures.
If you love exploring, then there’s a range of itineraries for hosted treks inland, over hills, and through villages. This combines homestays with locals, and offers a different side of Fiji. There’s also a one-day trek, with incredible views, for those short on time.
Some world-class waves for the more skilled surfers, head to Mamanuca islands for a range of breaks, or up to Taveuni for waves during summer months.
Fiji Hot Glass
Most people don’t think of Fiji and think of glass-blowing, but you can learn a new skill from the Fijians and blow your own glass ornament or vase to take home.
Waterfalls and landscapes
Explore some of Fiji’s best waterfalls, like Bouma Waterfall in the Bouma National Heritage Park near Taveuni in the northern islands. The landscapes allow you to hike, swim, and spot rare flora and fauna.
Eat and drink
Whether it is a traditional Fijian lovo, cooked in the ground, or the new-wave of fine-dining across the islands which use fresh local produce with a modern fusion, make sure you enjoy Fiji’s tropical flavours, fresh produce and abundant seafood. Lance Seeto, head chef at Malamala cooks some of Fiji’s best dishes and is an ambassador for Fijian food. While Six Senses on Malolo Island, makes all their bitters, tonics and kombucha from scratch to make healthy cocktails. And Kokomo’s Walker D’Plank restaurant does not have menus, instead cooking up whatever guests want, using the day’s fresh catch and seasonal produce from the on-site farm. If you head further north to Taveuni, then visit Gaiatree Sanctuary with its food tours and cooking classes. You’ll also learn all about the natural superfoods that grow in Fiji.
Ziplining and Abseiling
Zipline or abseil across the tree-tops and into caves. It will be an adrenalin rush to counteract your relaxation of beach life. Zip Fiji offers guided abseils and zip-lining.
For more visit www.fiji.travel
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