Given that Fiji is renowned for its tiny coral islands, many visitors are struck by the sheer size of its main island, Viti Levu or “Big Fiji”. Covering just over ten thousand square kilometres, it’s roughly half the size of Wales and offers a wide range of scenery, from sunburnt yellow sugarcane fields along the dry north coast to the verdant blanket of rainforest spread over the eastern half of the island. With the exception of the Nadi to Lautoka corridor and the urban sprawl between Suva and Nausori, Viti Levu is distinctly rural in character, with only a handful of small market towns along the coastal road circling the island. Most such towns are found at the mouths of rivers, which in turn connect the isolated and seldom visited mountainous interior.
Viti Levu can be hastily explored in two days, either by public bus or rental car, but a week is recommended to have a chance to meet some of the exceedingly hospitable characters who will welcome you along the way. More time will allow you to branch off the main roads to explore and hike amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in the South Pacific.
The Queens Road, the main artery connecting Nadi and Suva, travels along South Viti Levu, a relatively well developed tourist region. The first stop is the small town of Sigatoka, close to the absorbing Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. Further east are the beach resorts of the Coral Coast and the adventure sports capital of Pacific Harbour. By contrast, North Viti Levu appears rather barren, its scenery dominated by sugarcane farmland interspersed with the market towns of Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki. Inland, however, is Fiji’s most attractive village, Navala, as well as the country’s highest point, Mount Tomanivi; offshore are the budget resorts of Nananu-i-Ra island. East Viti Levu is the least developed area on the mainland, still mostly covered in rainforest; its main attraction is the picturesque Tailevu Coast, accessed by remote dirt road.