Although many tourists head straight for the tourist enclaves of the main island Viti Levu which includes Denarau Island and the Coral Coast, those who venture further afield will stumble across lush rainforests, waterfalls and tiny villages. The markets and museums of the islands capital, Suva, are also worth a visit.
To the north of Viti Levu is Vanua Levu – less touristy than its larger sibling, but still with plenty to offer intrepid travellers with a range of options from rainforests ripe for hiking, pristine beaches, dive sites and dolphin sightings.
Taveuni, the third largest island, is known for its rich flora meriting it the title of Garden Island – its nature reserves are home to an impressive number of plants attracting much wildlife. It is also known for its dive sites which include Eel Reef and the Great White Wall.
For that desert island feeling, head for the islands of the Yasawas where the beaches tick every box. Here you can simply lounge in the shade of a palm tree or grab a snorkel for an underwater experience with shoals of speckled and striped tropical fish or perhaps some reef sharks and mantarays if that appeals.
The Mamanucas’ 20 islands offer similarly idyllic stretches of sand, although with a greater number of luxury hotels and access to some of the world’s most famous surf breaks – Cloudbreak, Namotu and Restaurants.
Then there is the laidback lifestyle of other more undiscovered island chains such as the Lau Archipelago and the Lomaiviti Group where you can discover the country’s first capital Levuka.
Places to Visit in Fiji
- Coral Coast
- Yasawa & Mamanuca Islands
- Vanua Levu
Unique Things to See and Do in Fiji
- Island hop the Yasawa Islands
- Snorkel with reef sharks and mantarays
- Surf the breaks of Cloudbreak, Namotu and Restaurants in the Mamanucas
- Dive the coral reefs off Taveuni
- Hike the lush rainforests of Vanua Levu
Fijian Food – a Tourism Drawcard?
Although Fiji has historically suffered from a poor reputation for food, the destination’s dining scene has significantly evolved as it becomes a major part of its strategy to lure hungry travellers.
Traditional dishes continue to play an important role, such as lovo which is similar to a New Zealand hungi with meat, fish and vegetables wrapped and covered in leaves and cooked in the ground. Then there is kokada which is the South Pacific version of ceviche but made using coconut milk. Palusami is a dish of corned beef or fish baked in taro leaves, also with coconut milk.
However, Fiji is also home to a number of other culinary traditions which have come to the country with settlers from various parts of the world – most notably India and China. Now it is drawing on this fusion of Indian, Chinese and Polynesian cooking methods as well as its own native cuisine to set itself apart from other South Pacific destinations.
An emphasis on training local chefs has seen the quality of food served in a large number of resorts dramatically improve, however many people still associate the destination with below par cuisine and so its major challenge is to grow awareness of its culinary offering.
Getting Around Fiji
Fiji has a decent network of buses and ferries that make getting around the islands relatively easy. But if you’re sticking to the two largest islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, then consider renting a car. These two islands contain 90% of the country’s roads.
The cheapest way to get between the islands is by ferry, but it is also possible to charter small planes or boats.
There are domestic air services which operate between the main islands, although less frequently or reliably to the more remote outer islands.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Fiji
The peak season falls during the months of June to September which coincides with the school holidays in Australia and New Zealand – the main markets for the destination. As a result, expect crowds at this time of year as well as higher prices – June and July are particularly expensive.
These peak months fall within the dry season which runs from May to October. The shoulder months of May and October can be a good time to visit thanks to dry conditions and fewer crowds meaning better prices.
However, the best bargains are to be had during the wet season which takes place from November to April. At this time of year, the rains are heaviest and the humidity is highest, but for some these negatives are counteracted by the low costs.