It’s not difficult to see why Fiji has become such a popular destination for tourists from Australia, New Zealand and further afield. The charming island archipelago is home to some of the most welcoming peoples in the world. It is characterised by secluded, palm fringed beaches and lush rainforest interiors, and it is surrounded by some of the purest and most strikingly azure waters you are ever likely to see.
Quite simply, whatever you need for your tropical island vacation, you will find it here in Fiji.
Located to the north of New Zealand, east of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu, the group of over 300 islands that comprises Fiji is at the very heart of vibrant, ancient Polynesian culture. This is evident as soon as you set foot on Fijian soil, and will stay with you long after you depart.
Get to Know the Culture of Island Life
The people of Fiji are renowned for their relaxed and positive outlook on life. However, it is always important to familiarise yourself with local customs when you travel to a new place. Take a look at our brief guide below…
You will notice a lot of patting between people in Fiji, mainly on the shoulders, head or lightly on the cheek. This is a Fijian form of greeting and shows trust and closeness between two people.
In traditional Fijian social structures, the wearing of a hat signifies importance and hierarchy. Only the chief is allowed to wear any sort of head covering, so refrain from this whenever you visit a village or traditional community.
To show respect and deference to the people in Fijian villages and communities, remember to wear skirts, trousers or shorts which cover the knee and tops which cover the shoulders. This is an important measure of respect.
Being able to use a few key words and phrases will get you a long way in Fiji.
Bula – Hello
Vacava tiko – How are you?
Vinaka – Thank you
Ni vosota sara - Sorry
Moce (pronounced as mow-they) – Goodbye
E vuca na kena i-sau? – How much is this?
Da kana – Enjoy your meal
Get the Best Out of Your Fijian Adventure
When is the best time to visit Fiji?
The best time to visit Fiji is traditionally any time from April to October. During this time, there is less rain and the heat and humidity is at a pleasant level.
What are the seasons of Fiji?
The climate of Fiji is tropical, which means that it only has two seasons. These are the dry season, which lasts from May to October, and the wet season, which runs from November to April.
How will I get around in Fiji?
Fiji is a relatively small country when compared to New Zealand and Australia, but it is still important for visitors to know how to get around. Each major coastal town or city will have a ferry port, making it easy to arrange transportation from island to island. Many of the islands – particularly the larger ones – will have un-metered taxi services (remember to agree to a fair before you begin the journey) and all inhabited islands have regular bus and mini-van services.
What is the currency of Fiji?
The currency of Fiji is the Fijian Dollar. While currency values are prone to going up and down relative to one another, the Australian Dollar is equivalent to about 1.6 Fijian Dollars.
Which electrical adapters will I need?
You won’t need any, presuming you are travelling from Australia and New Zealand! Fiji uses the same power systems as you do back at home.
Which language is spoken?
Generally – particularly in the larger towns and cities – people in Fiji speak English and, in fact, English is the country’s official language. You will find that people in smaller villages and rural areas tend to speak Fijian and Hindustani.
Will I need a visa?
If you are Australian, you will not need to prepare a visa before you travel. Instead, you will receive a visitor permit valid up four months on arrival in Fiji.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Fijian culture is relatively laid back so you should have few problems when visiting the island. However, a few other things to bear in mind include; Fiji’s drinking age of 18 and over, Fiji’s +679 international dialling code, Fiji’s drivers drive on the left side of the road, and tipping is not expected within the country.
The sprawling archipelago of Fiji features well over 300 islands, of which over two thirds are uninhabited. There is so much to explore here that it is difficult to know where to begin. Take a look at our Experience Fiji list to help you decide on a starting point – these are our Top Ten Experiences for a Trip to Fiji.
1. Must-See Fiji
No trip to Fiji is complete without checking out a few or all of these must-see destinations on or around the paradise island.
Suva – If it was Fiji’s strong rugby-playing history which brought you here, this is where you need to be. It is also the nightlife capital.
Nadi – Fiji’s number one shopping district and its main international airport.
Taveuni – Fiji’s abundant flora and fauna is all around you on Taveuni, also known as Garden Island. This spot also boasts some of the best diving locations in the region.
Vanua Levu – This is where the unspoilt beauty of Fiji is at its most apparent, as traditional Fijian architecture and settlements butt up against stunning rainforests and pristine beaches.
Mamanuca Islands – A surfer's paradise and Fiji’s main resort area.
2. Get Close to Some of the Most Incredible Coral Reefs on the Planet
If you think coral reefs begin and end with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, think again. The waters around the Fijian archipelago play host to an enormous and incredibly varied reef system. There are hundreds of different species of coral here, while the number of fish species you are likely to encounter run into the thousands. This is marine life at its most stunning; choose the right sites and you can expect to spot creatures as diverse as sea turtles and manta rays.
3. Explore the Sleeping Giant’s Garden
The Sleeping Giant is fairly easy to spot – just look for the mountain shaped like a huge, slumbering man – but it is his garden which houses his treasure. This garden is the handiwork of Ironside actor Raymond Burr, and hosts an incredible collection of orchids from Fiji and further afield. This is a place to truly immerse yourself in as you get lost amid the gorgeous, zen-like backdrop.
4. Excite Your Tastebuds
If there is one thing that unites all previous visitors to Fiji, it is a love of the culinary delights on offer here. Fiji is the place where the Polynesian culture meets that of India, and, as you might imagine, this translates to some seriously good food. Don’t leave Fiji until you have sampled the delights of Kokoda marinated fish or duruka curry. And, if you are invited to enjoy a drink of Kava with the locals, you know you have been accepted.
5. Live the Beach Life
Fiji is spread across an archipelago and, as such, there is no shortage of beaches for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are keen on snorkelling, diving, swimming, strolling or just relaxing on the shore, Fiji has some of the most splendid beachside locations anywhere in the world. Check out the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawas and find yourself never wanting to leave.
6. Take a Dip Beneath a Waterfall
Taveuni is home to the Tavoro waterfalls, a lush tropical paradise of swimming holes, stunning cascades and beguiling jungle vistas. The hike here – which should take you about three hours for a round trip – is well worth it, and you may even spot some of Fiji’s most endangered animals en route.
7. Explore the Dunes
The region of Sigatoka is characterised by an incredible 650 hectares of rolling sand dunes. This is no barren wasteland, however, and you are likely to encounter a variety of lizards, birds and even bats here along the side of the Sigatoka River. Be aware of your health here, as this region can become oppressively hot with no shade to provide respite. Always take plenty of drinking water with you.
8. Take the White Water Challenge
Speaking of water, the Upper Navua River has plenty. It is one of Fiji’s prime white water rafting spots. The scenery up here is incredible, and, combined with the thrill of rafting, makes for an unforgettable experience. The Luva River is another great spot for rafting enthusiasts and will give you a chance to experience local culture on the way.
9. Indulge Yourself
As if a trip to Fiji wasn’t enough of a sensory indulgence, the hot springs and mud baths found in the area between Nadi and Lautoka provide the opportunity for total mental and physical serenity. The Sabeto Springs are a must-visit on any trip to Fiji. They offer the ultimate in relaxation for guests.
10. Understand Fiji
The measure of a country is always its people, and Fiji is strong in this regard. As any visitor to Fiji will tell you, the people here are warm, welcoming, kind and generous, which gives you a great opportunity to interact and to learn more about the local culture, first hand. Take in a traditional Meke show, listen to stories and cultural tales from locals, or attend one of the many festivals and parties that take place here. Getting to know and understand Fiji makes your experience all the richer.
Safe Travelling in Fiji
Most visitors to Fiji arrive and leave without picking up so much as a scratch. However, this does not mean that future visitors should be complacent. By following a few simple tips, holidaymakers can make sure that they and their families have a great time on their Fiji vacation.
The Threat of Crime
The crime rate on Fiji is relatively low, and may even be lower than the cities you are used to back home. However, petty crime is still a serious concern in Fiji, particularly in urban locations like Suva and Nadi. These areas are hotspots for organised muggings, often targeting tourists. When choosing a resort in these areas, select one which employs its own security team.
Fiji is a tropical country and, as such, visitors are advised to take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses. Use a powerful insect repellent which you can trust, and avoid exposing large areas of skin. Mosquitoes – particularly the ones which carry dengue fever – are likely to spawn and live around areas of stagnant water, so steer clear of such locations.
Danger on the Roads
One thing you will notice in Fiji, particularly outside the major towns, is that the country is not too well lit. This calls for careful, conservative driving, particularly at night. Large animals on the roads, damaged surfaces, severe potholes; all of these are a common sight on Fijian roads. Drive very carefully and always make sure that you have the necessary insurance.
Staying Safe in the Sea
The nation of Fiji is an island archipelago. This means, your visit to Fiji is likely to involve some kind of interaction with the stunning seas that lap up against its sandy beaches. As with any ocean, or any large body of water at all, caution is advised. Stay close to the shore or to your boat when swimming and don’t become overconfident. Applying and re-applying sunscreen regularly is a must, as is carrying anti-bacterial cream. The coral reefs that surround Fiji have a habit of delivering nasty scratches and cuts to swimmers, which can get infected if not properly treated.
Healthcare and Hospitals
As Fiji is still developing, the healthcare infrastructure you find here might not be as sophisticated and well-equipped as what you are used to in Australia. Minor injuries and illnesses will pose no problem for local doctors and clinics, but more serious conditions may require you to be rushed to one of the bigger hospitals in Suva and Nadi, or even medivac-ed back to Australia for further treatment. This is why health insurance is a must.
Eating and Drinking
Fiji is famous for its incredible food. You are going to be eating a lot of this on your trip to Fiji, so it pays to stay safe. First of all, Fiji’s tap water is not safe to drink; always request bottled water and never accept ice in your drink. Don’t ever wash food or accept food which has been washed in tap water, as this also presents a hazard. When purchasing food, take a look at the storage units beforehand; if the food is stored warm it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Always choose meat which has been fully cooked.