The Incredible Fiji islands are calling!
A short flight from the east coast of Australia, Fiji is surrounded by Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the west, Samoa and Tonga to the east and New Zealand to the south. Set in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is spread over 18,272 square kilometres and consists of over 330 islands, of which around a third are inhabited and approximately 520 smaller islets.
Each of Fiji’s islands showcase extraordinary and stunning landscapes. From white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters to lush tropical rainforests, mountainous regions and vibrant coral reefs.
The majority of Fiji’s islands formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago, with several mountain peaks exceeding 900m above sea level. Smaller islands are made up of coral and limestone with barrier reefs surrounding most islands as well.
There are two main islands in Fiji—Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, being the largest and second largest respectively, which account for around 87% of Fiji’s land mass. The third and fourth largest islands are Taveuni and Kadavu and other island groups that make up the balance of the land in Fiji include:
- The Mamanuca Group (just off Nadi);
- The Yasawa Group (to the north of the Mamanucas);
- The Lomaiviti Group (off Suva);
- The remote Lau Group (near Tonga).
In addition, Rotuma, located around 500 kilometres north has a special administrative status in Fiji and Ceva-i-Ra is an uninhabited reef about 460 south west.
Viti Levu Island Fiji
The main and largest of the Fiji Islands, Viti Levu is home to more than three quarters of Fiji’s total population with the majority living along the coastal urban centres, including the capital of Suva, connected by a major road around its perimeter. Viti Levu is also quite mountainous with the highest point being Mount Tomanivi.
The majority of tourists fly into Nadi, which is the tourism hub of Fiji and where the largest international airport is located. Nadi is often called Nadi Town by the locals and has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts in the country being so close to the airport.
- The Nadi public market
- Garden of the Sleeping Giant
- Mud baths and hot springs of Sabeto and nearby Tifajek
Not far from Nadi is Denarau Island, a tranquil oasis for visitors and a five-star resort hot spot that includes Sheraton Fiji Resort, The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Sheraton Denarau Villas, Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Wyndham Resort Denarau Island, The Terraces, and The Palms Denarau – Executive Apartments.
A little further away, the Coral Coast remains one of Fiji’s most popular tourist destinations with both large and small resorts dotting the coastline, including Shangri-La and Outrigger as well as the smaller Hideaway and Beachhouse.
- Sigatoka Valley
- Natadola Beach
- Sigatoka Sand Dunes
Vanua Levu Island
The second largest Fijian island, Vanua Levu, is quite rugged with a mountain range dividing the island and coral reefs surrounding it. Vanua Levu’s main towns are Labasa and Savusavu with Natewa Bay in the in the northeast’s Loa peninsula.
- Drive the Hibiscus Highway to towards Natewa Bay
- Grab a beer at the Planters Club in Savusavu
- Visit the Hot Springs Hotel overlooking Savusavu Bay
Known as the garden island of Fiji, Taveuni is off the south east coast of Vanau Levu and rich in natural history and wonders. Lush tropical rainforests and an abundance of flora and fauna cover this island paradise, which was once the home of fierce warriors.
- Bouma Falls
- Lavena area (Ravilevu) Nature Reserves
- Visit Wairiki Mission
- Hike to Lake Tagimaucia
- Bird watching or check out the old site of the International Dateline
- Meridian Theater
Located 88km south of Suva, Kadavu is quite remote and underdeveloped but well known and popular with divers. The Astrolabe Reef in particular showcases the Fiji island’s rich diversity of sea life. An abundance of unique and beautiful flora and fauna also inhabit Kadavu, including the protected Kadavu Parrot, making birdwatching also quite popular.
Not for the leisure traveller, transportation is strictly by launch and food generally has to be brought in, so it is an expensive option. Most resorts are away from the airstrip, meaning you will need to be met and taken by boat to your destination.
- Visit a village
Good to know:
- Kadavu is very isolated and there are no roads, electrical grid or public water system.
- Mobile phone service with Vodafone, can be very sketchy – better to get a Digicel SIM card if you really want to communicate (or don’t if you’re looking to escape!)
The Mamanuca Islands
Located just off the west coast of Viit Levu are the Mamanuca Islands, home to many of Fiji’s more traditional resorts, such as Mana, Beachcomber, Castaway, and Plantation Island.
Made up of around 30 islands, the Mamanuca Group is only a only a 10 minute plane ride from Nadi Airport, or an hour by boat, making it a convenient, popular and peaceful alternative away from the bustling tourist hot spots of Viti Levu.
Showcasing magnificent weather, stunning beaches and sought after surfing wave breaks, such as the infamous Cloudbreak, The Mamanuca Islands offers visitors luxury, romance or family friendly fun.
- Wreck dive
- Surf world-class waves at Cloudbreak
- Island hop
Good to know:
- The islands are also a good option for day trippers, who can easily catch a boat from Port Denarau or take an air shuttle
The Yasawa Islands
Comprised of around 20 islands of volcanic origin, the Yasawa Group is a string of islands off the northwest coast of Viti Levu. Stretching approximately 80 kilometres, the islands feature dramatic peaks, long white sandy beaches and are surrounded by clear, sapphire blue waters. The beauty of the Yasawa Islands is an irresistible draw card for countless tourists every year and the main source of income for local villagers.
- Octopus Resort
Fun fact: Both versions of Blue Lagoon were shot on location in the Yasawas.
The Lomaiviti Islands
Consisting of seven main islands and a number of smaller ones, the Lomaiviti Group of islands are located off the eastern coast of Viti Levu. Located on the largest island of Ovalau in this group is the former capital of Levuka, the only major town on any of the smaller islands.
Rich in colonial history of the South Pacific, Levuka’s was once an old whaling town in the nineteenth century with the harbour and bars at one time welcoming vessels from all around the world. If you’d like to step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of the Lomaiviti Islands, there are several good, low-end accommodation options available and it will take about a ten minute flight from Nausori Airport or a ferry from Suva to get there.
- Have a beer at the Levuka Club
- Visit the town graveyard (if you dare)
- Visit the Cession Bure
- Visit Bobo’s Farm
The Lau Islands
Divided into northern and southern Lau, there are 57 isles of Lau with the most southern island in the group, Ono-i-Lau, able to see Tonga on a clear day across the Lakeba Passage.
Being so close to Tonga, this island group’s culture is very much influenced by the Tongan way of life, including language, food, decoration and architecture. The islands are quite remote with no restaurants, not much commercial activity or credit card facilities, so Fijian currency is required for lodging and the general store.
With only three official accommodations on the Lau Islands, they are the least visited islands of Fiji. However, for dedicated Fiji travel enthusiasts, the Lau Group offers warm, Fijian hospitality and pristine, untouched islands and waters.
- Island hop
- Snorkel limestone caves in the Bay of Islands
- Scuba dive
- Deep sea fishing
- Lakeba’s Caves, Hillforts and Fijian-Tongan Villages
- Play Golf on Votuvara Island
Around 460 kilometres northwest of Viti Levu, you will find the remote and culturally conservative Rotuma. With just 2,000 people, in 1985 85% of Rotumans voted against opening the island group to tourism, meaning few travellers visit there.
Geographically, Rotuma belongs to Polynesia with a vast distance to the Fiji mainland. This has allowed Rotuma relative autonomy and to develop such a unique culture.
Ceva-i-Ra, previously known as Conway Reef until 1976, is an uninhabited coral atoll and cay. Located about 450 kilometres to the southwest of Viti Levu, Ceva-i-Ra is part of the Republic of Fiji, however it would seem too small for vegetation to survive.
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