- Fijian meets fashionista
- Pristine private isle
- The Life Aquatic
- Seaside coconut plantation
- South Pacific panache
- Malolo Island lagoon
- Fijian coastal cool
- Rainforest meets ocean
- Trad-rustic beach retreat
- Jungle-lush Qamea Island
- Casual take on tropical
- Bijou island in Beqa Lagoon
- Ralph Lauren goes Fiji
- Sea-scoping headland
- Mod Pacificiana
- Peak-topped Vomo Island
Fiji Islands Overview
- 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.
Fabulously Fiji Islands
Bitter, peppery and downright muddy, the national drink kava is definitely an aquired taste. This slighty narcotic brew, made from the Piper methysticum root, is drunk as part of a revered social ritual, where communal cups are passed around. If you're after something a little more refined, keep an eye out for kava-infused cocktails at your hotel bar (it'll give your martini a zingy herbal twist).
- 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).
- Tipping culture
- Tipping isn’t expected, although a 10 per cent tip for good service will do. Most hotels prefer guests to contribute to the staff Christmas fund box at reception, so tips can be shared equally among all.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Banks open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday; businesses and shops from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and usually until 1pm on Saturdays. Restaurants serve from about 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm weekdays.
- Packing tips
- Flip-flops and shorts or short skirts for hopping in and out of boats, as you may have to jump out in the water. Your own snorkel and rash shirt if you're serious about diving. Sun-cream, mosquito repellent and trainers, if you fancy jungle trekking.
- Recommended reads
- Fiji's largely oral tradition means literature has historically taken a back seat, but Myths and Legends of Fiji & Rotuma, by AW Reed and Ines Hames, shares dramatic tales of the gods and spirits behind the islands' creation. Set in capital Suva, Joseph Veramu's 1994 novel Moving Through The Streets deals with the pressures on Fiji's modern-day urban youth. Also look out for Indo-Fijian writing, such as Sigatoka-born Mohit Prasad's poetry, including Eating Mangoes.
- Regional specialities
- The cuisine is all about simple, seasonal and largely organic fare, with fresh-caught fish a feature (often seasoned with coconut cream, lime and spice, as in the ceviche-style kokoda). Carbs come care of hearty root vegetables, such as tavioka (cassava) and dalo (taro), and there's tropical fruit galore. Curries and dahl also come to the party, thanks to the country's Indo-Fijian minority.
- Fijian dollars (FJ$ or FJD). Australian, New Zealand or US dollars can all be easily exchanged at banks, and ATMs are readily accessible.
- Time zone
- GMT +12 hours; +13 if daylight savings have kicked in.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Fiji: +679.
- 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.
Don't go home without...
catching a local rugby game. Fiji is obsessed with rugby union and every village green has a pitch and posses of players. Capital Suva's Albert Park is often a gathering point for teams and tournaments, or look out for any World Sevens series, as Fiji rules the roost (www.fijirugby.com). The local rugby season runs from April to September.