Crystal-blue waters, cotton-white beaches, gorgeous coral atolls – Fiji is emblematic of the ultimate splash-out island escape, and the delightful concoction of tradition, culture and nature is unbeatable.
The Melanesian mélange of over 300 islands and more than 500 smaller islets seem to converge at Port Denarau Marina – the perfect base for berthing your vessel, embark on an isle getaway or holidaying on the turquoise waters under the azure Oceanian sky. The preeminent hub for marina facility is situated only 20 minutes from Nadi International Airport and doubles as an exclusive resort enclave hemmed in with ultraluxe properties.
From Port Denarau cruise off to Mamanuca islands, a cluster of 20 idyllic isles dangling off the Nadi coast. Explore the string of coral reefs and hidden beaches and if you are looking for an adrenaline rush, go for a wreck drive, negotiate the epic waves on a surfboard or jetski through the tranquil lagoon waters.
The stretch of coastline between the riverside town of Sigatoka and Suva on the island of Viti Levu, is another premier attraction – the mesmerising Coral Coast. The coast is peppered with glitzy resorts and luxury boutique hotels but the rural villages up the Sigatoka River have retained a quaint, rural way of life offering an authentic Melanesian experience for those who venture out on a jetboat ride to reach them.
Explore the towering slopes of Sigatoka sand dunes and ride the world’s only solar-powered velocipede along the coastal railway when you can pull yourself off the laze-out mood from the palm-fringed white beaches.
Nestled within the idyllic Coral Coast, Kula Wild Adventure Park is the centerpiece of Fiji’s spectacular bird, reptile & marine biodiversity. And with its vast swathes of forests navigable on elevated boardwalks, Roller-Coaster Zip Rail and Jungle Waterslide, the park is the place for family-friendly fun, laced with adventure pursuits perfect for kids.
Dubbed as “the Garden Island of Fiji” because of its abundant plant life that includes several species found only on this small landmass, Taveuni is the third-largest island of the archipelago. The volcanic black-sand beaches can provide a break from the extravagance of colours you have come across everywhere else in Fiji and the undulating trails lead on to breathtaking vistas of the ocean and the cliffs. Bouma National Heritage Park, on the eastern fringes of the island, has well-marked trails through luscious rainforest, where three cascading waterfalls are the highlights of the easy and exhilarating hike.
At the foothills of the Nausori Highlands about 10 minutes’ drive north of Nadi, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a horticultural wonder with a fascinating collection of about 40 exotic species of Asian orchids and Cattleya hybrids. The fairytale garden is a transportive experience as you stroll through the canopied boardwalk across gorgeously landscaped lawns and dainty lily ponds, learning about the exotic native plants and fragrant floral collections along the way from an accompanying guide and finally walk into a lush, primal rainforest at the base of the Sleeping Giant Mountain.
Even if you are not religiously inclined, make some room in your itinerary for a visit to Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple to be awestruck with the exquisite craftsmanship on the exterior of the largest Hindu temple in the entire Southern hemisphere. The architectural style is Dravidian with sculptures of Hindu deities carved on the façade and the popular place of worship houses sacred statues in its cavernous interiors. The temple is also a fascinating testament to the shared legacy of Indo-Fijian communities on this Melanesian archipelago.
Rooted in the island’s aboriginal foundations, the fire walking ceremony is literally a hot Fijian tradition, where men walk barefoot across a bed of white-hot, wood-fired stones, without incurring any injury. Deeply embedded within the folk customs of the indigenous Sawau tribe, this is a fascinating cultural experience that can be witnessed at the Arts Village Cultural Centre at the Pacific Harbour. The ceremony is also showcased in some of the high-end resorts in Beqa and Viti Levu.
Fiji’s shopping culture is not defined by glitzy department stores and upscale malls. Cosy boutiques, souvenir clothing stores and exotic crafts markets are the places where you should find yourself for an intimate and immersive shopping experience in this Pacific paradise.
Baravi Handicrafts is the quintessential Fiji crafts market where funky fabrics are up for a quick grab for your wardrobe, and the quirky knick-knacks and handmade woodcraft can spruce up your home with some tropical exoticism. Super friendly staff, fair prices and the fact that every purchase supports the local community make the visit a sheer delight, and the onsite café brews some fabulous coffee.
A local market with a global reach, Savusavu Farmers’ Market in Vanua Levu is a wonderful place to get a glimpse of Fijian way of life, and also to shop for freshest farm produce, exotic tropical fruits and catch of the day from the ocean. Have a chat with the smiling, friendly folks eager to assist you in every way and remember to drink a refreshing round of coconut water, straight from the husk.
Restaurants & Bars
Floating on a secluded speck of an island amid cobalt blue waters, Wicked Walu is a top-rated seafood restaurant in Fiji, where you can delve into the delights of chargrilled steaks, grilled seafood and divine desserts while listening to the rhythmic soundscape of the waves of Pacific Ocean lapping at your feet. Perfectly positioned on the Coral Coast, the place turns surreal in the evening with flaming tiki torches at the causeway and candlelit dining spaces laid out on the open pavilion and on the beach.
For oceanfront international haute cuisine, head over to Nuku inside the super-splurgy Hilton Fiji Beach Resort at Denarau. Handcrafted from local seasonal harvest, Nuku offers its patrons a delectable choice of global culinary flavours and Fijian delicacies. The gastronomic journey gets more enjoyable with impeccably attentive service from the super friendly staff.
Nestled inside Novotel Suva, Husk is wrapped in seafront serenity with scintillating views over the gorgeous Lami Bay. The décor is chic-modern and the al fresco dining experience is a delightful culinary journey plating up delicacies from around the globe, rustled up with freshest local ingredients. The fabulous full buffet breakfast is followed by exquisite all day menu.
A cosy and casual vibe defines the breezy Ocean Terrace at Bedarra Beach Inn, and the Fijian fusion fare designed are masterful seafood delicacies. The vibe is intimate and friendly and the casual verandah with beautiful lagoon views is the perfect place to delve into the delectable culinary fare on offer – from light Mediterranean salad dressed in a red wine vinaigrette to the flavourful curries rustled up with a spicy Oriental touch.
Fiji’s late-night antics are centred mostly around Suva and Nadi. Surrounded by stunning Pacific views Cloud 9 is a haven for artists, musicians. and dreamers. The two-level floating platform with an internationally stocked bar and Italian wood-fired pizzeria is located at the breathtakingly beautiful Ro Ro Reef amid the Mamanuca Islands, 45min speed boat ride away from Port Denarau. The arty, bohemian vibe attracts a roster of internationally-acclaimed DJs and underground musicians to play their tunes on this floating paradise. Get groovy on your weekends here, with a prior booking.
A gathering spot for international visiting yachts as well as resident guests, the iconic Yacht Club Island Bar is nestled inside the splurgy Musket Cove Island Resort at the beautiful Malolo Lailai Island. Connected to the resort via a floating marina walkway, the outdoor bar features spread-out lounging in the open and under a huge Fijian hut. Sip your sunset cocktails with stunning colours of the Pacific around you, followed by an elegant dinner. You can also order up a succulent BBQ pack and grill your own dinner to make it a more casual, immersive evening.
Museums & the Arts
Fiji has its small selection of museums but not all of them match the concept of impeccably curated spaces we usually associate a museum with.
Located in Thurston Gardens in Suva, the Fiji Museum founded in 1904 boasts of an extensive collection of Fijian artifacts showcasing the archipelago’s culture and history dating back more than three millenniums. The centerpiece of the fascinating collection is the 13 metre long double-hulled canoe, Ratu Finau. The chequered history of cannibalism to colonialism is faithfully represented across the well-appointed galleries. Girmit Gallery showcases the history and culture of Indo-Fijian communities and the Natural History Gallery is dedicated to the exotic array of species found on this South Pacific archipelago.
The disheveled disarray is part of the charm of the wonderfully atmospheric Levuka Museum, situated in the historic port town of Levuka, the first colonial capital of Fiji. Once a bustling commercial hub, the town in the island of Ovalau itself looks and feels like a living museum with its set of quaint townhouses. The small, if a little clumsily curated Levuka is a treasure trove of archaeological and anthropological relics from its trading past.
If you are interested in the traditional Fijian way of life, Kalevu Cultural Centre is your place. Tucked inside Gecko’s Resort on the Coral Coast 10 minutes from Sigatoka town, the 4.5 acres of the centre houses a wonderful array of Bure (traditional wood-and-straw Fijian huts) where you can experience indigenous culture and traditions including pottery and Tapa Cloth demonstrations. If the display of the most grisly weapons that were used by the Fijian warriors is a spine-chiller, lift your spirits with a participation in the Kava ceremony and learn about the ancient community traditions of Fiji.
Soar the sky in a chartered seaplane that operates from Nadi International airport, Port Denarau and Wailoaloa beach with options to land anywhere on this South Pacific archipelago. Enjoy unbeatable views of the stunning reefs, emerald jungles and the picturesque array of islands scattered around the turquoise blue Pacific waters. You can take an island transfer through a short scenic seaplane flight or embark on a day trip that includes landing on a secluded island. You can also trigger off your A-Lister Fiji experience – arrive at your chosen ultraluxe resort in style with a chartered helicopter or a seaplane from the airport.
While most island trips in Fiji are woven around Mamanuca islands, a few outlying island experiences can be exhilarating, and the volcanic Kuata Island tops this list. Just two hours from Nadi, this is a slice of paradise where you can snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks. If you are not an adventure junkie, find your way through the verdant trails in the tropical forests, explore the remote caves and laze on the unspoiled stretch of powder-soft sands.
Nestled inside Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Bliss Spa synthesizes an assortment of best spa treatments with the finest beauty and wellness products from all corners of the globe. A retinue of experienced staff ensures a relaxing and rejuvenating session and facilities include a dry sauna, steam shower and private massage rooms where the focus is on traditional Fijian massage with cold-pressed nut oils infused with fragrant tropical flowers. Replenish and nourish your body, skin and soul at this exotic Day Spa.
A unique sporting culture has evolved in Fiji as a result of various racial and cultural mixes.
A tiny speck in South Pacific, the island is a surprising force to reckon with in the global rugby arena, despite its isolation. Registered rugby union players number a whopping 80,000 from amongst a population of about a million. Catch a pulsating game at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva, primarily used for rugby league. The state-of-the-art venue features a track and a pitch suitable for world competitions and accommodates about 4000 spectators.
Jacques Cousteau aptly called Fiji ‘the Soft Coral Capital of the World’, which makes it one of the premier scuba diving destinations in the world. Additionally, its year-round pleasantly warm tropical climes bring marine mammals and aqua-creatures such as sperm whales, hammerhead sharks, Manta-Rays and exotic fish species. There are a plethora of dive spots strewn across the archipelago to take a plunge into the kaleidoscopic underwater world.
From world class championship courses to luxury private island greens, Fiji has no dearth of expert-designed golf courses to suit the skills and recreational needs of the well-heeled jetsetters. The 18-hole par 72 Natadola Bay Golf Course matches sterling golf architecture with stunning landscape of rolling greens leading to the Pacific waters. And in the breathtakingly beautiful Denarau Golf & Racquet Club the elaborate fairways wind their way around giant coconut trees and tidal waterways, throwing a rather stiff challenge to both serious and social golfers.
Must Buy Souvenir
A barkcloth made from the pounded bark of paper mulberry trees, Tapa Cloth is an ancient handicraft indigenous to the Pacific islands, including Fiji. Locally known as masi cloth, this thick fabric, decorated with ancient motifs and symbols, can be the perfect souvenir of your Fiji holiday in the form of authentic wall hangings, distinctive hand bags or even some quirkily stylish attire.
Exquisite seafront sanctuaries, opulent ocean villas and world-renowned resorts in remotest of islands – Fiji boasts of some of the most luxurious hotels, replete with private speedboats, pristine pools and impeccably attentive service.
From Nadi, the main international airport of Fiji, it is best to take a taxi to Port Denarau, 15 kilometres away. Whether you fly, cruise or drive, navigating your way around the islands of Fiji is not as difficult as you imagine. Most hotels can arrange airport transfers, often included in the package. Pre-booking of transfers through local inbound operators and tour companies can be an equally easy alternative.
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