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5 Ways To Explore Fiji's Islands

The hardest thing about travelling around the South Pacific paradise of Fiji is wanting to do it all.


Fiji has been a go-to island destination for families and budget travellers for decades. It is a well-oiled tourist machine: seamlessly transporting you from the city airport to your beachside bungalow. With 800 islands ranging from dramatic jungle peaks to deserted coral quays the traveller is spoilt for choice.

But Fiji isn't just some one-size-fits-all travel destination. Here, you choose your own adventure. Whether you want an inland trek, dive with manta rays, chillax in one 5-star spot or island-hop, the options are easy to come by. And for the intrepid traveller who wants to get off the tourist trail, there are definitely still OTBT adventures to be had.

1. DAY TRIP IT

Monuriki Island in Fiji's Mamanucas was the location of the Tom Hanks film "Castaway". But don't worry, you can have an island castaway experience without having to stay overnight.


The Mamanucas are a perfect day trip distance from Nadi / Denarau. Packages typically include lunch and swimming/snorkelling with extra activities on offer. Many are based at island resorts, so you can enjoy the facilities without committing to leaving the city behind for too long. Captain Cook Cruises, South Sea Cruises and Cloud 9 (a man-made floating party island) all offer daily trips.


2. STAY PUT

Whether you want to play, get pampered, or pay it forward, Fiji's islands offer a range of different travel experiences in such idyllic surroundings you won't want to leave.


Fiji makes quality budget tourism options available with many mid-range resorts integrating dorm accommodation. For a backpacker price, you can get a bungalow a few meters from the beach and access to quality facilities.


When booking your resort, it's good to remember that not all islands offer the same experiences. Some are great for sandy beach swimming, others are on coral gardens with amazing snorkelling, some specialise in deep water dive experiences and others offer village visits and volunteering. And although the weather may be all-year-round perfect, activities offered could be season-specific. Those looking to swim with manta rays should head to the resorts at the southern end of Naviti Island in the Yasawas from May - October.

3. ISLAND HOP AN ARCHIPELAGO

The Awesome Adventures ferry daily plies the waters of the Yasawas, picking up passengers from their Nadi hotel/hostel and dropping them and their luggage at their designated island resort. The Yasawas covers 80 km of South Pacific islands ranging from steep jungle-covered volcanic islands to coral quays. You can't help but want to explore more of it.


Luckily, Awesome Adventures offers multi island packages"bula" passes where you can make multi-stop trips on the ferry over a 21 day period. Their website is super easy so that even the most rookie tourist can become an independent traveller, allowing you to arrange your island accommodation so drop-offs and pick-ups are co-ordinated. Which is great, as they won't let you disembark otherwise.

4. TAKE ON THE BIG ISLAND

75% of Fijians live on Fiji's big island, Viti Levu, so it must have something going for it. The cosmopolitan cities of Nadi and Suva with their modern shopping complexes, colonial buildings and Hindu temples, offer a very different, but no less authentic, insight into Fiji life. 38% of Fiji's population of Indian descent and Hindustan is one of the nations 3 official languages.


It doesn't take long out of the city to get back to nature. Being an island, there is plenty of coastline to explore. But if you are feeling adventurous, leave the Coral Coast behind and head inland. Here you can white water raft down spectacular gorges or trek through tropical forests to remote villages for a kava with the locals.


SunbeamPacific and Getting around the larger islands is not difficult with decent roads and light traffic running around the circumference of the island. Hire a scooter to DIY or hop on one of the island's local bus services. run coaches between Nadi and Suva via the coastal Queens Road and the Interior Kings Road.

Image Credit: Merbabu / Wikipedia Commons: CC3.0

5. GO WELL OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


Visiting Fiji's eastern islands is more arduous and time-consuming, but if you are after an OTBT experience this is the place to go.


While Taveuni and Kadavu and are remote, they have good traveler infrastructure. On the other hand, the Lau Group of islands are Fiji's most remote and least visited. It is not your usual tourist experience. There are no restaurants or hotels and only two islands with guesthouses (Moana's on Vanua Baluu & Jeke Qica's on Lakeba). But you are rewarded with an unspoiled environment and traditional Fijian hospitality.


There are passenger/transport/cargo ferry services out of Suva / Natovi to Fiji's Eastern Islands. Patterson Brothers & Groundar Shipping are the most frequent services. If you prefer to fly, Fiji Airways and Island Hoppers are the main carriers.

 

 

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