Explore Fiji, Melanesia
Also called the Fiji Islands, they are a Melanesian country in the South Pacific Ocean. They are about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii and consists of an archipelago of 332 islands, a handful of which make up most of the land area, and approximately 110 of which are inhabited.
Explore Fiji, the product of volcanic mountains and warm tropical waters. Its varied coral reefs today draw tourists from around the world, but were the nightmare of European mariners until well into the 19th century. Today, Fiji is a land of tropical rainforests, coconut plantations, fine beaches, and fire-cleared hills. For the casual tourist it is blessedly free of evils such as malaria, landmines, or terrorism that attend many similarly lovely places in the world.
Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation. Tropical cyclonic storms (The South Pacific version of Hurricanes) can occur from November to April. Temperature sensitive visitors may wish to visit during the Southern Hemisphere winter.
Mostly mountains of volcanic origin.
- Viti Levu. This is the largest and most important island of the country. It has most inhabitants, is the most economically developed and is home to the capital, Suva.
- Vanua Levu. The second largest island, surrounded by some smaller northern islands.
- The third largest island, near Vanua Levu, with the 180th meridian cutting the island in half. It is the exclusive habitat of the Tagimoucia Flower.
- This island is south of Viti Levu.
- Yasawa Islands. Northwestern island group popular for island-hopping holidays.
- Mamanuca Islands. A group of tiny islands west of Viti Levu.
- Lomaiviti Islands. The central group of islands between Viti Levu and Lau Group.
- Lau Islands. Group of many small islands in eastern Fiji.
- Remote dependency of Fiji, home to a different Polynesian ethnic group.
- Suva — the capital
- Nadi (pronounced ‘Nandi’)
- Nananu-i-Ra Island
Tourism is the backbone of the Fijian economy. Overall, Fiji can be classed as a mid-range priced destination and so most of Fiji’s accommodation falls into this range. However, world class luxury resorts, residing on isolated islands, attract the rich and famous. Fiji can also be done on a budget, but it is advisable to plan ahead. Budget resorts offer equally beautiful views compared to their wealthier cousins, and Fiji’s internet accessibility is improving which increasingly aids travelers.
There are family friendly resorts which have kid facilities including kids clubs which can ease the pressure of parents looking after their children whilst getting a chance to relax themselves. Some resorts even have a nanny service for the youngest ones.
The official languages are English, Fijian and Hindi.
English is the language of government and education, and is spoken by most in Nadi, Suva and other major tourist areas. On a few of the less touristy islands, English may be spoken with some difficulty.
What to see. Best top attractions in Fiji, Melanesia
The landscape of Yasawa, one of the smaller Fijian islands
Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Nadi, Fiji. Monday to Saturdays – 9 am to 5 pm.. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant was originally the garden of famed actor, Raymond Burr, and is located next to his house. The garden covers 20 hectares and is full of orchids native to Fiji and many flowers. With a beautiful lily pond and many exotic plants, this garden is sure to take your breath away.
The Fiji Museum is an excellent place for tourists to understand the historical background of Fiji. With artifacts dating back as far as 3,700 years it provides many exhibits that educate travelers on the nation’s traditions and culture. The museum is located in heart of Suva’s botanical gardens.
What to do in Fiji, Melanesia
Queens Road, Pacific Harbor, Pacific Coast, Fiji Islands. The Pearl Fiji Championship Golf Course and Country Club is situated in Pacific Harbor and surrounded by beautiful tropical forests. With 60 + bunkers, multiple water traps, and winding course, it provides a challenge for even the most experienced golfers.
Skydiving over the Fiji Islands.
Tropic Surf at Six Senses, Vunabaka, Malaolo Island Fiji (35 minutes by speedboat from Port Denarau). 0600 1800. Tropic Surf Fiji is just 15 minutes from world famous waves such as Cloudbreak. Tropic Surf offers guided surfs, surf lessons and a surf academy so whether you’re a pro or a complete beginner Tropic Surf will find you the perfect surf activity to suit you. Located just a short boat trip from a range of left and right hand surf breaks including Namotu, Wilkes and Cloudbreak, experienced surfers will be in their element riding the waves of the South Pacific. For those looking to start a new hobby Tropic Surf provide all the knowledge and skills necessary to turn you into a pro in no time. Smaller breaks such as Swimming Pools are the perfect location for learners. Experience the beauty of catching waves in a true slice of paradise here at Six Senses Fiji.
Six Senses Spa, Vunabaka, Malolo Island (35 Minutes by Speedboat from Port Denarau). Set in a traditional themed Fijian Village, Six Senses Spa highlights location treatments using native medicinal plants and created in the Spa’s Alchemy Bar. The Wellness Village includes a wet relaxation area, gymnasium, treatments rooms and yoga pavilion. An Integrated Wellness analysis is available for guests which assist spa experts to recommend a course of action for you to reach your full potential. Skilled therapists use a variety of natural products to provide a comprehensive range of signature treatments plus rejuvenation and wellness specialties of the region.
What to eat
Locals eat in the cafes and small restaurants that are found in every town. The food is wholesome, cheap, and highly variable in quality. What you order from the menu is often better than what comes out of the glass display case, except for places that sell a lot of food quickly and keep putting it out fresh. Fish and Chips are usually a safe bet, and are widely available. Many cafes serve Chinese food of some sort along with Indian and sometimes Fiji-style fish, lamb, or pork dishes. Near the airport, a greater variety of food is found, including Japanese and Korean.
Local delicacies include fresh tropical fruits (they can be found at the farmer’s market in any town when in season), paulsami (baked taro leaves marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk often with some meat or fish filling and a bit of onion or garlic), kokoda (fish or other seafood marinated in lemon and coconut milk), and anything cooked in a lovo or pit oven. Vutu is a local variety of nut mainly grown on the island of Beqa, but also available in Suva and other towns around January and February. A great deal of food is cooked in coconut milk.
A customary dish in Fiji includes a starch, relishes and drink. Starches common in Fijian meals include taro, yams, sweet potatoes, or manioc but can include breadfruit, bananas, and nuts. The relishes include meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables. Drinks include coconut milk but water is most prevalent.
What to drink
A very popular drink in Fiji is yaqona (“yang-go-na”), also known as “kava ” and sometimes referred to as “grog” by locals. Kava is a peppery, earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum). Its effects include a numbed tongue and lips (usually lasting only about 5-10 minutes) and relaxed muscles. Kava is mildly intoxicating, especially when consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis and one should avoid taxi and other drivers who have recently partaken.
Kava drinking in Fiji became popular during the fall of cannibalism, and originated as a way to resolve conflict and facilitate peaceful negotiations between villages. It should not be consumed alongside alcohol.
Most crime takes place in Suva and Nadi away from the resort areas. The best advice is to stick to hotel grounds after dark, and to use extreme caution in Suva, Nadi and other urbanized areas after nightfall. Travelers have been victims of violent crime, particularly in Suva. Some resorts and hotels have more extensive security measures than others which should be taken into account.
Fiji, like most of the South Pacific, can have intense solar radiation that can cause severe skin-burns in a short amount of time. Be sure to use hats, sunglasses and liberal amounts of high-SPF value sunblock on ALL exposed skin (including ears, noses and tops-of-feet) when out in the sun.
Fiji, like many Pacific Island states, has a strong Christian moral society; having been colonized and converted to Christianity by missionaries during the 19th century. Do not be surprised if shops and other businesses are closed on Sunday. The Sabbath starts at 6PM the day before, and some businesses celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. Many Indians are Hindu or Muslim.
Also, dress modestly and appropriately. While Fiji is a tropical country, beach-wear should be confined to the beach. Take your cues from the locals as to what they consider appropriate dress for the occasion. When visiting towns and villages, you should be sure to cover your shoulders and wear shorts or sulus (sarongs) that cover your knees (both genders). This is especially true for visiting a church, although locals will often lend you a sulu for a church visit. You should take off your hat when visiting villages or homes.
Public phones are numerous and usually easy to find (look around shops).
Explore Fiji, Melanesia you will not regret it.