It may be on the other side of the planet, but Fiji is one of the most beautiful long-haul destinations in the world, a true tropical island paradise. You can’t move for palm-fringed beaches, brightly coloured coral reefs and South Pacific charm, as well as unexpected sights such as the dense jungles and dramatic mountains of Viti Levu, and some of the top spa resorts in the world.
What to do
The tinier islands may be postcard-perfect, but don’t be in a rush to leave the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu – this is where you will get a taste of the ‘real’ Fiji, with its traditional villages, rugged mountains, bustling markets and kava ceremonies.
The Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands are beautiful, but busy. Beachcomber Island in particular has a reputation as a party resort, where you’ll find Australian and New Zealand backpackers during peak season.
If you’re looking for a desert-island experience, head east. Taveuni, Lomaiviti Islands and Lau Islands are still relatively underdeveloped, although they are a little more difficult to get to.
Where to stay
There is a huge range of accommodation here – from eco-friendly cottages (Matava Eco-Adventure Resort), to beachfront villas (Octopus Resort) and luxurious options such as Turtle Island Resort and Laucula Island Resort and Likuliku Lagoon Resort.
Popular hotel chains such as Sofitel and InterContinental have a presence around the main cities of Nadi and Suva, while affordable gems can be found on off-the-beaten-track islands such as Taveuni (Maravu Taveuni Lodge).
Where to eat
Thanks to the constant tourist presence, you can find almost any type of cuisine on Fiji, but nothing beats the freshly caught fish and seafood which can be found sizzling away on beachside barbecues across the country.
If you want to splash out, treat yourself to traditional Fijian cuisine at popular restaurants such as Blue Bure in Nadi, Guava in Suva, or one of the highly rated resort restaurants such as IVI Restaurant at the Outrigger Resort on Viti Levu.
It will come as no surprise to learn that in order to reach Fiji’s smaller islands, you’ll need a boat. Reasonably priced ferries leave daily from Pacific Harbour in Nadi, or Suva’s vast port, and stop off at most of the main islands. However, despite what the schedule says, they won’t necessarily leave until they have reached a certain quota of passengers.
Alternatively, you can rent water taxis from most of the main towns, or hire your own boat.
The roads on Vanua Levu and Viti Levy are pretty good and not too congested, although they are not terribly well signposted. If you choose to drive around the main islands, take a map with you, and leave yourself plenty of time to get from A to B.
When to go
Fiji has a tropical climate, which means that it can be very hot and very humid during the rainy season (November to April). The islands are prone to rainstorms and cyclones during this period, so you may wish to take your trip between May and October.
The sunrise from the east coast of the country. Fiji’s easterly islands are among the first places on Earth to see the sun rise each morning, and it is a truly magical experience to spend a morning sipping a coconut on a Koro Island beach, gazing out to the horizon as the sea changes from purple to pink to golden to turquoise.
Three things we like
Something we don’t like
The insects. They’re everywhere! All you can do is cover up with a good insect repellent, and bring your own mosquito net if you are staying in more rustic accommodation. Consider yourself lucky if your hotel room comes with a couple of geckos – they will hoover up the mosquitos and ants while you sleep.
High50 insider tips
Need to know