Things to Do in Fiji
In the shadows of Sleeping Giant Mountain in the Nausori Highlands, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a horticultural paradise, bursting with flowers, lily ponds, and lush rain forest. Founded in 1977 by actor Raymond Burr, it’s now one of Nadi’s most popular attractions and home to more than 2,000 varieties of orchids.
A short journey north of Nadi pulls you from the bustle of town to the quiet Sabeto Valley. A lush, verdant area, the dense-forested landscape was carved by the flow of the Sabeto River running through its center. The valley is sprinkled with traditional Fijian villages and natural sites, set at a different pace.
An archipelago of volcanic islands to Fiji’s west, the Yasawas can be challenging to get to—but the journey’s worth it if you’re looking for a more laid-back, budget-friendly escape than their better-known neighbor. Until the 1980s, the islands were relatively undeveloped, resulting in a traditional village feel and a rich island culture.
This tiny, colorful museum in the heart of Fiji is jam-packed with more than 3,700 years worth of island culture, art and traditions. Travelers will find a well-preserved example of the country’s heritage amid the galleries and halls of this local treasure.
Whether it’s the impressive 100-year-old Ratu Finau, ancient weapons of war, or the story of cannibalism, there’s something for everyone in this unassuming destination. Though archeological artifacts and other items are well-displayed and clearly marked, travelers say the technology-free Fiji Museum is strictly no frills but definitely worth a visit.
Blessed with eternal sunshine, pristine beaches, and lush coconut palms, the Mamanuca Islands are the definition of a tropical paradise. The cluster of tiny islands, dotted along the western edge of Fiji, were also the filming location for the film Cast Away and the TV show Survivor: Fiji.
The Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, a wildly colorful and ornate structure that reflects a Dravidian architectural style rarely seen outside of India. In fact, it was Indian craftspeople who painted and carved the temple’s most impressive features, including its detailed wooden deities and intricate ceiling frescos.
A visit here is a must for anybody looking to experience the religious, cultural and architectural diversity of Fiji. The temple complex is divided into three, with the deity Murugan—to which the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is dedicated—housed in the main temple. The second part of the complex is the Ganesh temple, while the third is dedicated to the deities Meenakshi and Shiva.
Visit the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple as part of a half-day tour from Nadi, incorporating stops at a local handicrafts shop and the Namaka Market, as well as visits to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and the mud pools at Sabeto Hot Springs.
These scenic ancient limestone caves are located on Sawa-i-Lau Island in the Yasawa island group, the home of the famous Blue Lagoon. An adventure in their own right, the caves have been carved from continuous wave action and are known as the resting place of the ancient Fijian god Ulutini.
Today they can be visited for a unique swimming experience. The first cavern is filled with natural light and a deep pool with a water temperature only a few degrees cooler than that of the Pacific Ocean water outside. Take a dip in the cave’s clear waters to see otherworldly limestone formations.
The second cave, depending on the tide, can only be accessed by swimming through an underground tunnel. The caves are known to Fijians as the “heart of the Yasawa” for their beauty and significance.
A town on the island of Viti Levu at the mouth of the Sigatoka River, Sigatoka has become a hub for visitors to Fiji. It is home not only to a large tropical beach, but also an ornate temple, an Eco Park and nearby sand dunes. The scenic area is also famous for its vegetables, giving it the nickname of “Fiji’s salad bowl.”
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, the first in Fiji, contains several miles of windblown coastal sand dunes, some reaching up to 200 feet in height. It is also an archaeological site with ancient pottery and tools that are still being discovered.
Outside of the sands and turquoise waters, there is lush jungle to explore. Sigatoka’s Kula Eco Park is Fiji’s only wildlife park, home to hundreds of species of tropical birds and reptiles. The Sigatoka River is another natural area to wander through. There are also friendly Fijians to meet, a local market and several souvenir shops known for arts, crafts and pottery.
For stunning 360-degree views of Fiji that you’ll never forget, head to Vuda Lookout. The elevated position will give you views over the surrounding farmland to Nadi Bay and Nadi International airport. To the east are the beautiful mountain ranges covered in tropical forests. Fifty miles to the northwest you can see the lovely Yasawa Group of Islands which stretch for miles towards the horizon.
After you’ve experienced the luxurious Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Centre (also known as the Essence of Fiji Transit Lounge & Spa), airport layovers anywhere in the world won’t ever seem the same. Just minutes from Nadi’s international airport, the center is a sanctuary for weary travelers awaiting their upcoming flight, or a modern retreat for pampering and dining throughout your Nadi stay. If you have time to kill before your flight—or a long layover in Nadi—a transit pass is like having the world’s best airport lounge minutes away. Refresh with a shower, store your luggage, and enjoy a relaxing foot massage, before sinking into a beanbag chair and settling in for a movie. There’s free Wi-Fi for finishing up some work, as well as a café for perking up and satisfying your growing hunger. Head up to the center’s rooftop lounge for a view of the Sabeto, or if you’d prefer to really be pampered before drifting onto your flight, a full service day spa has additional treatments to wish you a fond farewell.
More Things to Do in Fiji
Located along the beachfront of Ovalau Island and located at the base of an extinct volcano, Levuka Historical Port Town was an important outpost for American and European colonizers during the 1800s. Today the UNESCO World Heritage site is home to an independent indigenous population and caters to visitors.
The journey to get to Navua River Village and Kava Ceremony involves a stunning boat trip up the Navua river, floating by traditional villages and past the remarkable beauty of waterfalls and impressive gorges.
Once at Nukusere Village you will join with the locals in a Kava ceremony and a traditional Fijian lunch of tropical fruits and local delicacies.
Kava is an intoxicating drink that is part of everyday life in Fiji. It is drunk by families while stories and jokes are told. It is also a ceremony shared by warring tribes as a type of ‘peace pipe.’
A tropical garden paradise awaits you on Taveuni. Rich volcanic soil has made it a stunning nature-lover’s dream with high volcanic peaks covered in lush dense foliage.
Diving around the island is world-class, the surrounding waters are as fertile as the land and you will see sharks, turtles and loads of colorful fish all darting around the spectacular coral reefs. Subsequently the island is home to lots of good PADI approved dive companies. If you’re not keen to dive then most companies offer snorkeling which is also richly rewarding.
The best beaches for swimming are Lavena and Matei on the east and northern coasts. On the south coast there are caves and blowholes that are hard to access but worth exploring.
Tivua Island is a glorious Fijian hideaway surrounded by 500 acres (202 hectares) of spectacular coral reef. The reef is home to tropical fish, starfish, octopus and sea cucumber making for some of the finest snorkeling in Fiji. During the nesting season Tivua Island is a sanctuary for turtles.
Perfect white beaches ring Tivua Island and are fantastic for swimming; only a limited number of visitors are allowed on the island each day so it is never crowded. When you’re done lying on the beach there are canoes to take out on the water and give your muscles a workout.
If you’ve fallen in love with Tivua Island then you can secure one of the two accommodation huts on the island. A romantic candle-lit dinner on the beach is a must if you’re staying overnight.
Known also as Sandalwood Island, the waters surrounding Vanua Levu have some of the best dive spots in the South Pacific. These include the world-renowned Rainbow Reef and Savusavu Bay.
The island itself does not have the best lazing beaches, but the snorkeling is unsurpassed. In fact, it impressed Jean-Michel Cousteau so much he built a resort overlooking Savusavu Bay.
Savusavu is the fastest growing town in Fiji. It has a lively expat community, a flourishing bar and restaurant scene, and it’s popular with people island hopping by boat to stop and grab supplies at.
The interior of Vanua Levu is heavily forested in parts and offers excellent birdwatching, walking and trekking. The land given over to agriculture supports sugarcane and coconut plantations.
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