Fiji

Introduction

If someone were to ask you to describe your idea of paradise your reply would probably include white sand beaches, clear blue waters, constant sunshine, stunning scenery and welcoming people. Well, you have just described Fiji.

For many Fiji is a paradise on earth. The Fiji archipelago comprises of 300 volcanic and coral islands in the South Pacific about 2000 miles east of Australia.

The largest of the islands is Viti Levu, home to the capital Sevu and the resort town of Nadi. As one of the world’s best snorkelling and dive sites, Fiji attracts visitors from all over the world. Once thought of as the playground for the rich, today Fiji caters for all budgets.

Many people’s impression of Fiji is the exclusive Turtle Island (in the Yasawa group) which was the famous location for the movie “The Blue Lagoon”. But that impression is one that is replicated throughout the islands.

Whether you just want to relax on the palm fringed white sand beaches, snorkel the coral reefs and explore the colourful world of tropical fish, or surf the “Cloud Breaker” 20ft waves at Tavarua Island, Fiji has it all. Coupled with the warm welcome you will receive from the Fijians, why would you want to holiday anywhere else?

The currency in Fiji is the Fijian Dollar. Currency can be exchanged at the airport, trading banks, private exchange offices and most hotels. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at a number of establishments and most major credit cards are accepted in the ATMs located in Nadi, Suva and Savusavu. If you are using traveller’s cheques they can be exchanged at banks and private exchange offices. 

 

See & Do

Fiji’s islands provide a wealth of things to see and do during your stay. So when you’ve had enough relaxing on the beach (is that possible?) you can explore what the islands have to offer.

  • Naihehe Sacred Caves
  • Suva
  • Fiji Museum (Suva)
  • Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple (Nadi)
  • Nadi
  • Nausori Highlands
  • Viseisei Village
  • Coral Coast
  • Natadola Beach (Viti Levu)
  • Blue Lagoon/Turtle Island
  • Taveuni (“Garden Island”)
  • Levuka (Ovalau Island)
  • Church of Saint Francis Xavier
  • Arts Village (Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu)
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Boat cruises
  • Sailing
  • Windsurfing
  • Waterskiing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Parasailing
  • Surfing
  • Trekking
  • Kula Eco Park
  • South Pacific Distilleries
  • Momi Battery Historic Park (Nadi)
  • Sabeto Hot Springs & Mud Pool (Nadi)

 

PLUS:

  • Mamanuca Islands: Beachcomber Island, Mana, South Sea Island, Malolo, Castaway Island
  • Yasawa Islands: Nabukeru, Sawa-i-lau and the underwater grotto,  Waya (hiking in the Yalobi hills)
  • Vanua Levu: Savusavu, Labasa

 

Shopping

If you want to do some serious ‘mall’ shopping you’ll need to head for Suva. Here you’ll find the Mid City Mall, the first western-style mall in Fiji. Other shops can be found along Victoria Parade which is the main shopping street in the city. Here you’ll find stores selling jewellery, audio equipment, cameras, clothes, handicrafts, artefacts and souvenirs. The downside is that you can’t haggle in the stores but you can at the Suva market.

Nadia Town also offers a range of shops, boutiques and internet cafes as well as a regular market.

Popular mementos are the multi coloured bula shirts, grass skirts, ceremonial forks (relics of the island’s cannibal history), hand painted jewellery and traditional pottery. There are many markets dotted around the islands but you should be wary of over priced “genuine” artefacts. The many small craft shops tend to, in general, guarantee quality but you can’t haggle over price.

 

Food & Drink

Fiji caters for a variety of international tastes, and yes, even this paradise has been invaded by the traditional fast food outlets like McDonalds (found in the major resort areas).

Indian and Chinese food is especially popular. Curries are a staple of the Fijian diet but rather than ordering a specific type of curry, a basic one is served along with dishes of chillies, lime and vegetables which you can add according to your own taste.

There are a number of specialities for you to try during your stay, including:

  • Lovo – this is a Fijian feast which usually comprises of many vegetables and meats cooked in an earthen pit for most of the day and covered with banana leaves to give it a distinctive smoky flavour.
  • Kokoda – marinated raw fish served with coconut milk
  • Duruka – a vegetable resembling asparagus and often served with a taro leaf dish known as rourou.
  • Sweet potato and pineapple bake – prepared with coconut, green onions, potatoes and pineapple slices (served hot)
  • Banana cassava cake

When it comes to drinking, due to the number of tourists that visit the islands, there are a number of imported beers and wines widely available. However if you want to try something a bit more local the Fijian light pilsners Fiji Bitter and Fiji Gold are very refreshing.

But the locals prefer their own concotion – Yaqona. This mild narcotic is made from piper methysticum root. It is very much a part of local life with custom and ritual surrounding how and when the brew is prepared and drunk. Be warned, refusal to take part will offend.

There are many restaurants to try but below is a selection of some of the best.

 

Coral Coast:

  • Le Café
  • Ocean Terrace Restaurant
  • Wicked Walu

 

Lantoka:

  • Great Wall of China

 

Nadi:

  • The Bounty Restaurant and Bar
  • Daikoku
  • Hamacho
  • Lagoon Restaurant
  • Mama’s Pizza
  • Nadina
  • The Original Curry House
  • V Restaurant

 

Sigatoka:

  • Raj’s Curry House

 

Suva:

  • Bad Dog Café
  • Fiji Malthouse Brewery and Restaurant
  • Fong Lee Seafood Restaurant
  • Hare Krishna Vegetarian Restaurant
  • JJ’s on the Park
  • L’Opera
  • Old Mill Cottage Café
  • The Point After
  • Singh’s Curry House
  • Tiko’s Floating Restaurant

 

Entertainment

Most of Fiji’s entertainment is centred in and round the capital, Suva. There are a few bars in Nadi which offer music and dancing such as Ed’s bar, but for those who want to party late into the night, Suva is the place to go. Below are just a few places you might like to try.

  • Holiday Inn
  • Traps Bar
  • O’Rielly’s and Wolfhound
  • Birdland R&B Cub
  • Purple Haze Night Club
  • Signals Night Club

 

Excursions

Fiji’s numerous islands offer a wealth of opportunities to the explorer. If you can tear yourself away from the beauty of the beaches, why not take a cruise over to one of the other islands (such as Turtle Island) or explore the lush green mountainous interior of the islands.

Your hotel will be able to provide you with details of the tours available.

 

Health & Safety

At present there are no recommended vaccinations that are required but you should check with your GP before travel for up to date information.

Avoid drinking the tap water, having ice in your drinks and dairy produce. There is no malaria on the islands but there are plenty of mosquitoes so make sure you pack plenty of repellent.

The only poisonous land animal is a very timid and rare species of snake. Take care in the water as Stonefish and Jellyfish will give you a nasty sting if you stand on them. If this does occur seek medical treatment immediately.

Healthcare provisions are adequate with the largest hospitals being on the main island. You are strongly advised to take out full medical insurance prior to travelling.

Fiji is a very safe environment but instances of petty theft can occur therefore you should take the usual precautions with your valuables and never leave your belongings unattended on the beach.

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