The Fijian archipelago is an amalgam of stunning scenery, colourful cuisine, adventurous activities, and lovely locals. If you weren’t already planning a trip, you soon will be, as these tropical Pacific isles leave little else to be desired…
A short distance from Nadi Airport, Port Denarau is a great starting point for exploring Fiji’s 300-odd paradisiacal islands. Both a tourism and transport hub, the port is packed with restaurants, bars, supermarkets, accommodation and even an 18-hole golf course. Along with the marina’s wealth of facilities, it also provides safe berths for superyachts up to 85 metres. Once you slip the mooring lines, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the variety of stunning anchorages to explore. If you’ve missed the boat, Pacific Island Air provide resort and island transfers, as well as scenic flights via helicopter or seaplane around the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups.
Don’t miss: Vanua Balavu (Bay of Islands), where you can anchor among the stunning mushroom-shaped pinnacles popping out of the turquoise sea.
A warm welcome
As soon as you take a tender ride ashore, you’ll be greeted with a warm, harmonious chorus of ‘bula’ (hello) from the smiling, friendly locals. Prepare yourselves for the traditional ‘sevusevu’ ceremony. As visitors, you must seek acceptance into a Fijian village by donning a ‘sulu’ (sarong) and presenting ‘kava’ (a mildly sedative traditional Fijian drink reminiscent of cold peppery tea) to the village Chief. You’ll be welcomed by chanting and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to a ‘meke’, in which the villagers will conjure up legends, spirits and Fiji’s history in a traditional song and dance, and inspire you to take up the ukulele.
Don’t miss: Visit the Fiji Museum in Suva, where you can learn about the history, customs and traditions of Fiji’s formerly ferocious ‘Cannibal Isles’.
Set your watch to island time, and enjoy the easy-going pace of Fijian life. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll or setting off on an adventurous climb, walking around the islands is something to be savoured. Soak up the sun, admire lush green volcanic patchwork quilt scenery, stunning stretches of white sandy beaches, sweet smells of vibrant flowers and beautiful birdsong surrounding you. Fiji boasts a mild, tropical climate, and undoubtedly, you won’t be able to resist cooling down under the crystal-clear cascading waterfalls.
Don’t miss: Scale Mt Tomanivi, an extinct volcano and Fiji’s highest mountain in Viti Levu or go with the flow at Waitavala, a natural water slide on Tavenui, aptly dubbed ‘Garden Island’.
Fiji offers a wide variety of water-based activities. It’s worth checking out the world-famous wave, Cloudbreak, where you’re bound to spot some pros in the mix. There are plenty of surf breaks around the islands to suit all abilities, but let’s be the honest, duck diving is exhausting, so why not enjoy Fiji’s exhilarating underwater world of world-class dive sites?
Expect to see an abundance of sea life, including vibrant coral reef, tropical reef fish, manta rays, turtles, and sharks. If you fancy a more leisurely cruise above the water, hire a paddleboard or kayak, and don’t forget to pack your snorkelling gear!
Don’t miss: Swim with feeding manta rays in Cuvu Bay on Naviti Island. For daredevils, dive with eight different species of sharks in the Blue Lagoon, including Bull Sharks and Tiger Sharks.
Sundowners & dining
As the pink golden hue of the setting sun casts onto the ocean, and Fiji’s rugged volcanic islands silhouette onto the horizon, ensure your sundowner is within arm’s reach. If the tannic taste of kava doesn’t do it for you, then an ice-cold local beer should do the trick. For the sweeter tooth, wash down the salt water of the day with a cocktail, crafted from local rum.
Due to the easily accessible fresh, local ingredients, the Fijian diet is traditionally very healthy and much of the cuisine centres around seafood, coconut and other flavoursome fruit and vegetables. Navigate through the rabbit warren of stalls abundant with colour and flavour at the Namaka market in Nadi, or barter with local fisherman for their catch of the day at the Lautoka wharf.
Unexpectedly, Fijians put on a great afternoon tea. There’s not a finger sandwich in sight, but roti bread served with butter, jam and a cup of black tea. If you want to step things up a few notches, plenty of Fiji’s island resorts offer exquisite dining with diverse menus.
Don’t miss: Cloud 9, a floating wood-fired pizza bar served on turquoise blue water with a side of paradise.