The vast majority of travellers arrive at Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu, the biggest island in the archipelago. Most stay around the suburban tourist hub of Nadi for a day or two to organize travels to other parts of the country, or use it as a convenient base for exploring the surrounding countryside and offshore islands. The most popular destination in Fiji lies visible off Nadi’s coastline – a gorgeous collection of islands known as the Mamanucas. Here you’ll find sublime beaches and tiny coral cays with suitably exotic names such as “Bounty” or “Treasure Island”. Extending north of the Mamanucas are the Yasawa Islands, a string of larger, volcanic islands home to a mixture of budget beach resorts and upmarket boutique accommodation.
Almost as popular as the Mamanucas and Yasawa Islands, especially with families, are the beach resorts of the Coral Coast along the south coast of Viti Levu. Around an hour’s drive from Nadi, these larger resorts offer good value all-inclusive packages and a great choice of sightseeing tours. Inland is the rugged rural interior of Viti Levu. This region was once home to fierce, cannibalistic hill tribes and is crisscrossed with hiking trails including the route to Fiji’s highest peak, Mount Tomanivi. Heading east along Viti Levu’s south coast brings you to Pacific Harbour, Fiji’s adventure tour capital offering whitewater rafting, jet-ski safaris and world-renowned shark dives off the nearby island of Beqa. Beyond is Suva, Fiji’s cosmopolitan capital city and the hub for sea transport throughout the archipelago.
Of the outer islands, the most accessible are in the Lomaiviti Group, a short trip by boat from the east coast of Viti Levu. Here you’ll find the quirky former capital of Levuka on the island of Ovalau and a good range of budget island resorts – a less commercial alternative to the Mamanucas and Yasawas. Spreading east for hundreds of kilometres is the vast Lau Group. Reached by cargo boat from the mainland, these islands provide a true adventure for the intrepid traveller and the chance to sample Polynesian culture. South of Viti Levu is the snaking shape of Kadavu, a magnet for scuba-divers thanks to the impressive Great Astrolabe Reef.
Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, is in the northern part of the archipelago. On its south coast is the beautiful sailing anchorage of Savusavu while to the east is Taveuni, Fiji’s lush “Garden Island”. Half of Taveuni is protected as a national park and it’s the best place in Fiji to hike through rainforest and encounter the country’s rare, native birdlife. Offshore is the stunning Rainbow Reef, aptly named after its colourful soft corals. Far north of Vanua Levu, the tiny Polynesian island of Rotuma is politically part of Fiji but so isolated it feels like a different country, with its own language, culture and traditions.