- Coast line Reef-ringed, forest-fringed archipelago
- Coast life Scuba, snorkelling and surfing
If the views of Fiji's peak-dotted interiors and jewel-like islands don't wow you from your seaplane or speedboat, then the underwater scenes of soft coral, Technicolor fish and reef formations will.
A cluster of more than 320 islands, Fiji puts the seductive into the South Pacific. Home to the well-trod tourist ports of Nadi, Port Denarau and the Coral Coast, the main island of Viti Levu is a favourite among families and thrill-seekers thanks to its line-up of world-class diving, surfing and trekking. If deserted stretches of sand and day-spa sessions are more your speed, seek out Fiji's secluded offshore isles, where exclusive-hire retreats, soft-coral reefs and seaplane-hopping beckon.
Do go/Don’t go
Fiji enjoys a sunny, tropical climate year-round, but the best time to go is during the dry season, or ‘Fijian winter’, from May to October, when temperatures are milder and less humid. This is also high season, with a spike in costs. The wet season, from November to April, ramps up the rain, which can mean poorer visibility for diving. It’s also cyclone and hurricane season, although severe storms are rare. December and January’s summer holidays see Australian and New Zealand families flock to Fiji.
- Planes Fly into Fiji's Nadi International Airport (www.airportsfiji.com; pronounced 'Nahn-di'), on the west coast of main island Viti Levu. Fijian national carrier Fiji Airways (www.fijiairways.com), which code shares with Qantas (www.qantas.com), offers direct flights to Nadi from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Christchurch, Hong Kong, Honolulu and Los Angeles, as well as connections via Los Angeles from major US cities and Vancouver. Other international carriers flying into Nadi include Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.co.nz), Virgin Australia (www.virginaustralia.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com), Korean Air (www.koreanair.com), US Airways (www.usairways.com), United Airlines (www.united.com), Air Vanuatu (www.airvanuatu.com) and Air Caledonia (www.aircalin.com). Fiji Airways also flies to Nadi from Fiji's South Pacific island neighbours Kiribati, Samoa, the Solomons, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Domestic flights with regional airline Pacific Sun (www.fijiairways.com) operate between Nadi, capital Suva and Fiji's offshore island airports.
- Boats Many island resorts offer their own motorboats for transfers (or even seductive seaplanes). Alternatively, arrange a private boat charter with Adrenalin Fiji (www.adrenalinfiji.com), Mamanuca Express (www.mamanucaexpress.com) or South Sea Cruises (www.ssc.com.fj); the latter also offers scheduled catamaran transfers. For trips to the Mamanuca or Yasawa islands, a more affordable option is to take the yellow Yasawa Flyer (www.awesomefiji.com) catamaran's scheduled circuits, which double as a great way of seeing the archipelago. Multi-island passes mean you can hop on and off at will. For more comfort, pay extra for a spot in the air-conditioned VIP lounge, which includes savvy service, soft drinks and snacks, or alcohol for an additional charge.
- Trains Forget trains on the Fijian archipelago – car, boat or air are the way to go.
- Automobiles Avis has a few offices, including one at Nadi Airport, if you want to self-drive; see www.avis.com.fj. Bear in mind that many roads on the main islands are unsealed, so the going can get bumpy. Smaller islands often have few roads if any, so you may need to hop around the coast by boat. Driving is on the left and you'll need a valid licence from your home country. Rosie Holidays (+679 6722 755; www.rosiefiji.com) can provide chauffeured cars if you'd rather someone else take the strain.
- Taxis Taxis are cheap and plentiful in Fiji's main towns of Nadi, Port Denarau and Suva. Agree fares in advance if drivers don't have a meter, and don't expect slick cars. For longer trips, organise a more comfortable chauffeured car, as roads can be rough and unpaved. We recommend Rosie Holidays (+679 6722 755; www.rosiefiji.com).