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Need another reason to visit Fiji? We've got 333...

Published December 13th, 2017

With 333 South Pacific islands to choose from, there’s no wrong way to spend your summer vacay in Fiji. But which island has your name (in sand) on it? Whether you’re after adrenaline-pumping adventure (hello buggys and whitewater rafting), blissful days in the sun or living that mermaid life in a technicolour underwater world, different islands cater for different travellers.

Full-time student or under 30? Score hot deals on flights to Asia or for something a little closer to home like Fiji check out some of our stays and packages in our End Of Year Sale.

Here’s our breakdown of the main Fiji islands:

 


 

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Viti Levu – The Island with the Lot

Most Aussie travellers will touch down on the main island of Viti Levu at Nadi International Airport – a taxi to downtown Nadi will set you back FJD$15, while the bus is around FJD$0.90. Most resorts and hotels will also offer pre-booked transfers to and from the airport.

Viti Levu is the hub of Fijian commerce and tourism and the country’s largest island. It’s a great taster for island life with all the conveniences of modern life with retail therapy, watersports, adventure and cultural options galore. Nadi is great for backpackers, while capital Suva offers a more local experience.

Food-wise, you’ll find a great multicultural selection of Western, Indian and Fijian faves. There’s also plenty of accommodation options from resorts to backpacker stays, especially around the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour areas.

Viti Levu is also optimised for adrenaline junkies – there’s jet-boat river rides in the highlands, jet-ski safaris to other islands, zip-lining at Nadi and Pacific Harbour (Fiji’s watersports mecca) plus buggy rides in the rainforest. Horse riding is also an option at certain spots on the island. For legit bucket-list thrills, don’t miss diving with bull and tiger sharks at Shark Reef in Beqa Lagoon – one for the experienced diver and not for the faint-hearted! For newbie divers, check out the soft coral and tropical fish off Nananu-i-Ra.

 

How to get around:

To get around the larger islands, you can rent a car (opt for a 4WD if you want to explore outside the built-up areas) or there’s the bus or taxi (a cheap option for day trips if you don’t want to hire a car).

 

When to go:

Nadi is a year-round destination, while over on the east coast of Viti Levu, Suva is best to visit between May and October aka the dry season. Prices do jump in the high season, which coincides with Australian and NZ school holidays between June and September and the December-January festive season. For surfing, check out the Coral Coast between November and April.

 


 

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Denarau Island – The Resort Island

If you’re after the classic flop-and-drop beach vacay, Denarau Island is your spot. There’s no natural beach on this man-made island, (it’s built on reclaimed mudflats) but there’s heaps of well-known resorts for pool time plus a popular golf course. It’s attached to Viti Levu via a short causeway, and just 10km west from Nadi. For meals and shopping, you’ll find cafes and the shopping centre at Port Denarau, otherwise there’s the eateries on offer at the resorts, too.

 

How to get around:

Go from resort to resort on the Bula bus (FJD$8) or use the island as a jumping point for day trips from Port Denarau to the Mamanucas and Yasawas.

 

When to go:

As the South Pacific’s most integrated resort island, you’re really in your own blissful bubble here so there’s no bad time to go!

 


 

 

Mamanuca Islands – The Beachy-Keen Islands

Located northwest of the main island, Viti Levu and just an hour’s boat ride from Nadi, the Mamanuca Group consists of over 15 islands, each with their own flavour. Beachcomber is the party island, while quieter South Sea Island will allow you to catch up on some shut-eye and Bounty Island is a bit of both. All islands have resort and budget accommodation options, although dining options are limited to resorts here.

The Mamanuca Islands is also Fiji’s most famous, having starred in Tom Hanks’ Cast Away movie and also as the backdrop for Survivor: Fiji. The picture-perfect setting of white-sand beaches, warm jewelled waters, swaying coconut palms and a year-round ideal climate are the stuff of screensaver daydreams and why this island group is famous for its beaches.

Fun fact: uninhabited Modriki is the island where Tom Hanks was marooned in Cast Away, not the actual Castaway Island (aka Qalito Island), which has a resort.

Not surprisingly, it’s all about being in the water in this island group. Surf’s up at famous breaks like Cloudbreak, Restaurants and Namotu Left, while novice divers can get among the tropical fish of Gotham City within Malolo Barrier Reef. More experienced divers can check out the Salamanda wreck near Treasure Island to spot the soft corals and anemones sprouting on the submerged vessel. Watersports are also an option with many resorts offering equipment for hire.

 

How to get around:

Go island hopping with water taxis.

 

When to go:

The Mamanuca Group can be visited all year round – May to October is the dry season, while November to April is the wet season with heavier rain and humidity.

 


 

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Yasawa Islands – The Untouched Islands

For a more authentic local experience that’s geared to the backpacker and flashpacker crowds over family-friendly resorts, the Yasawa Group is the go.

Hop on a ferry or take the 30-minute seaplane trip over from Nadi to the remote and rugged Yasawas, just north of the Mamanuca Islands. In this group of 20-plus isles, you can really get back to nature. Being a tad more remote than the Mamanucas, there’s also less day trippers to spoil your island paradise.

With affordable accom and untouched beauty, the Yasawas is the spot for beachside bliss. You can still party here (hello, Tavewa Island) and get to know the locals. Dining is restricted to the resorts, and there’s no shops or banks, btw.

Watersports, such as kayaking and diving, are the must-do activities on this island group. For divers, the Yasawas is less crowded with some stunning underwater sites – Lekima’s Ledge is great for beginners and Maze offers some awesome tunnels to swim through off Nacula Island. Snorkellers won’t want to miss finning alongside giant manta rays either. Shark dives are also an option on Nacula, Nanuya and Tavewa island – check with your resort.

 

How to get around:

The Yasawa Flyer catamaran is the only public boat in the island chain, or go island-hopping by water taxi. Some resorts may also offer inter-island transfers.

 

When to go:

The Yasawas is another year-round destination – for less chance of cyclones, consider visiting in the Fijian winter (May to October) aka the dry season.

 


 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.