A true island oasis, Fiji is an intoxicating land full of breathtaking natural beauty and a warm, welcoming culture. It’s the ideal destination to escape everyday stresses and embrace a blissful beachside existence that can be as laid-back and luxurious, or as exciting and energetic as you want.
History & Culture
According to archaeological evidence (mostly pottery), Fiji was settled in three different waves. The earliest wave dates from between 1260 and 900 BC. A second group of migrants appear to have arrived between 990 and 720 BC, and a third group after 830 BC. This is evidenced by a number of birds becoming extinct and changes in the distribution of bird life, indicating a massive environmental impact caused by a large, sophisticated population.
The European discoveries of Fiji were accidental. The first of these discoveries was made in 1643 by the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman and English navigators, including Captain James Cook who sailed through in 1774, and made further explorations in the 18th century.
Cannibalism practiced in Fiji at that time quickly disappeared as missionaries gained influence. When Ratu Seru Cakobau accepted Christianity in 1854, the rest of the country soon followed and tribal warfare came to an end.
From 1879 to 1916 Indians came as indentured laborers to work on the sugar plantations. After the indentured system was abolished, many stayed on as independent farmers and businessmen. Today they comprise 44 percent of the population.
The 20th century brought about important economic changes in Fiji as well as the maturation of its political system. Fiji developed a major sugar industry and established productive copra milling, tourism and secondary industries.
Fiji is made up of a collection of 333 islands, although only one-third are inhabited. This begs the question – where to go? With great resorts and classic blue-water pursuits like sailing, diving and fishing, narrowing down the various choices can be a challenge.
The largest of the Fijian islands, Viti Levu, is where you’ll find the main international airport in Nadi. At more than 10,000sq km, the island is one of the largest in the South Pacific.
- Denarau Island - If it’s family fun or social interaction you’re looking for, Denarau is the place for you. Just off the main island of Viti Levu and 5km from Nadi city, you’ll find all the big-name hotels and resorts here
- Yasawa Islands - Accessible yet remote, that’s the appeal of the Yasawa Islands. Northwest of Viti Levu, the Yasawa Islands feature a plentiful array of affordable accommodation options, as well as a collection of upscale resorts
- Mamanuca Islands - One of the most popular island chains in Fiji, the Mamanuca Islands offer larger hotels and more intimate resorts. Made up of 20 islands, the Mamanucas are just a short plane or ferry ride from Denarau and the island of Viti Levu
- Coral Coast - Located on the southwestern side of the main island of Viti Levu, the Coral Coast has been a popular holiday destination for many years. It was one of the very first areas in Fiji to be developed for tourism.
Landlubbers and water babies alike will enjoy exploring Fiji’s breath-taking beauty from above or below the surface. Whether you are an active lone ranger, a group on a quest for adventure, or a family with kids in tow, Fiji truly offers something for everyone. With so much to see and do, try and taste, learn and experience, Fiji can keep the mildly inquisitive to the flat out adventurous active from dawn until dusk.
Choose to explore on your own or be guided through your experience as part of a tour. There is a world of options in Fiji. Power down rivers in an inflatable raft or along rugged terrain in an off road buggy; enjoy panoramic views as you parasail over the calm South Pacific Ocean, or turn up the thrill factor and take a bird’s eye view of the islands as you hurl yourself out of a plane and into an adrenalin charged free-fall.
Take a gentle snorkel from shore to explore the vibrant coral reefs, as scuba divers below enjoy the reef from a close up perspective. All while the game fishers remain topside searching for the big catch.
Surf into iconic waves or gently paddle along our beautiful coastline in a canoe built for two. Play a round of golf on one of Fiji’s challenging championship courses or a take gentle jaunt on horseback at sunset.
What will your adventure be?
Fiji thrives off tourism, so it makes sense that there’s an unbelievable range of experiences to be had there. Admire the beauty, revel in the culture, absorb the history, play the sports, taste the food and enjoy the peace; flop on the beach or embark on an adventure – whatever you are looking for, you will find it in Fiji!
- Play Castaway - Get lost on one of Fiji's many islands! Mamanuca is a group of around 20 gorgeous islands that feature everything from a secluded resorts on Navini Island to trendy bars on Mana and Beachcomber islands. One of the idyllic islands Monuriki, was the island from the Tom Hanks movie Castaway. You can take day trips to the islands, go on a multi-day cruise or take to the skies and experience them from a unique vantage point with a helicopter tour from Nadi International Airport.
- Head underwater - Fiji beckons travellers to its shores with beautiful, pristine waters and soft, warm sands. And there is no better way to explore the extraordinary marine wilderness that lies beneath the ocean surface than with a face mask and snorkel.
- Go on a tour of a traditional Fijian village - If you’re keen experience some of the unique Fijian culture then visiting a traditional Fijian village like Viseisei is a must. According to legend, Viseisei is the landing site of the first Fijians.
Can't decide where to go in, or want to see it all? Set sail on a range of small-ship discovery cruises, day tours and restaurant cruises with Captain Cook Fiji – and make it a holiday to remember. With an enormous range of experiences and locations, you'll never be short of options while you're on holiday
From the volcanic Yasawa Islands, to the remote Northern Islands, they can take you to some of the most beautiful and remote places in the world.
You’ll visit places rarely seen by tourists, away from the hustle and bustle so you can truly relax and enjoy what Fiji has to offer. You’ll take part in cultural activities and immerse yourself in the traditional Fijian way of life, then return to the luxury and elegance of their modern vessels.
Points of Interest
For visa, passport, health and security advice for Australian travellers, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website: www.smartraveller.gov.au
Register your details online so you’re easier to contact in case of an emergency.
Best Time to Visit
|Relax without too many kids around||March or October|
|Snorkel the reefs||May to October is great for underwater visibility|
|Swim with manta rays||Head to Manta Ray Island in the Yasawas, from April to October|
|Lazing on the Beach||It's always hammock time in Fiji|
Getting around Fiji is easy and cheap. There’s a good network of buses and ferries for travel within Fiji’s main islands, and taxis are common. Hiring a car is a good way to explore the two largest islands – which contain 90% of Fiji’s roads – or charter a boat or small plane to get between islands. Fiji is well-served by two domestic airlines which operate between many of the islands, although services are less regular to the outer islands. Yachting and cruising are also great ways to explore the country.
Fijian cuisine is a delicious mix of local and international flavours, conceived from a long history of cultures who have arrived upon the Fijian shores over hundreds of years. Whether dining at your hotel, an island resort or “in town”, you’ll find a palate painted by flavours from India, China, Korea, Japan, Italy and the best of Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific waters.
For something completely different, head to the local markets to gain an insight into Fijian food in its raw form. Immerse yourself in the Nadi or Suva markets where you’ll find a plethora of fruit, vegetables and seafood.
Whether you want to spend up a storm or pick up a couple of great bargains and fun mementos from your visit to Fiji, you’ll find a wide range of shops, boutiques, supermarkets and duty free outlets offering all manner of purchases. Local markets present the perfect opportunity to find that special something for the folk you left back home.
What to Pack
Pack lightweight and casual clothing, preferably cottons to keep you cool and comfortable. Loose pants, tank tops, a rash vest, shorts, an evening dress and your swim wear! The worst you may suffer are mossie bites, a hangover or sunburn.
Fiji is overflowing with experiences to make everyone happy. Like to keep active? Fill your Fiji holiday with world-class diving at the Great Astrolabe Reef, take to the water in a kayak or trek along jungle trails that are showered by waterfalls. Need some downtime? Make your way out to the Mamanuca group of islands and enjoy relaxing in style at any one of the luxury resorts. Fancy an easy getaway with the kids? A Fiji family holiday is everything you could wish for, with loads of fun and activities for children, which means an easy break for mum and dad.
Take a look at the Experinces section of our latest Fiji Brochure for more ideas.