FIVE ISLAND DESTINATIONS FOR YOUR NEXT FIJI ADVENTURE
Comprised of more than 300 islands that are scattered across the South Pacific, Fiji is a true paradise. It’s been nicknamed the “Pearl of the Pacific”, with everything from exclusive island resorts to rustic thatched huts where you’re invited to do as much or as little as you like. Fiji’s been celebrated by divers as the “soft coral capital of the world” for its staggering diversity of species while also boasting legendary waves such as “Cloudbreak” that lure surfers from near and far. Add to that plenty of waterfall hikes and a captivating local culture, and there’s no shortage of reasons to visit.
“Light diffuses through a palm tree on an idyllic beach in Fiji”
The largest of Fiji’s islands and home of its capital city, Viti Levu is most visitors’ entry point to this alluring South Pacific nation. Its interior is dominated by rugged mountains that are swathed in forest while the coast is ringed by picture-perfect beaches that are dotted with resorts. Delve into the country’s history at Suva’s Fiji Museum or experience its unique Hindu influence at Nadi’s Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, then go sandboarding down the steep slopes of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. If you want to stretch your legs, head to the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park near Lautoka where a trail leads to the summit of Mount Batilamu for panoramic views across the archipelago.
While Viti Levu is home to many of Fiji’s resorts, the second largest island, Vanua Levu, has remained largely rural. It’s a great place to visit if you want to experience the local lifestyle, with copra and sugar cane plantations covering its undulating hills where traditional culture reigns supreme. There’s excellent hiking on offer in the pristine forests of the Wasali Nature Reserve and plenty of hidden waterfalls to discover, as well as outstanding snorkelling and diving on the surrounding reefs. If you prefer to get out on the water, head to the protected bay of Savusavu where yachts can be chartered for island cruises.
“A Fijian man blows into a conch shell during a cultural demonstration”
Just a stone’s throw across the Somosomo Strait from Vanua Levu is Fiji’s third largest island - Taveuni. It’s become somewhat of a scuba diving mecca for accessing the breathtaking soft corals for which Fiji is renowned, while above water, it’s home to the rugged landscapes of the Bouma National Heritage Park. Trek to one of the three Tavoro Falls that each has enticing swimming pools at their base or go birdwatching along the Vidawa Forest Walk. For some of the best views on the island, trek to the summit of Des Voeux Peak that offers sweeping panoramas across the Somosomo Strait.
If you’re after that quintessential island resort getaway, then the Mamanucas (a collection of 20 palm-fringed islands to the west of Nadi) will do the job. It’s here that you’ll find many of Fiji’s most exclusive and upmarket resorts where you can spend your days snorkelling, paddle boarding and windsurfing before kicking back beside the pool with a cocktail in hand.
“A sea turtle lumbers across the sands on a remote beach in Fiji”
Budget travellers don’t have to miss out either, with the remote and largely untouched Yasawas being home to barefoot retreats where you can immerse yourself in the island lifestyle. This volcanic archipelago stretches along Fiji’s western border and offers pristine beaches, rugged interiors and an enticingly laid-back atmosphere. If you want to visit the Yasawas without foregoing your creature comforts, a number of multi-day cruise boats also access the area.