Most travellers go to Nadi (nan-di) twice, whether they like it or not: once on the way in and once on the way out. Its indecently warm air slaps you in the face when you first step from the plane and its airport is the last place to buy sunburn remedies before heading home. For some, two times is twice too often and many people aim to minimise their Nadi exposure to the briefest time possible. Others pause long enough to make the most of the infrastructure before heading out to more picturesque locales. Not that this bothers Nadi. The shops, restaurants, cafes and tour operators strung along Main St can make a decent living from the plane loads of arriving and departing tourists.
Nadi is something of a perennial adolescent in constant pursuit of an identity, not quite sure whether it’s a city, tourist junction or business hub. There are no must-sees in the city itself, but there are interesting possibilities in the surrounding areas. Sugar-city Lautoka is just to the north and the lush Sabeto Mountains hug Nadi’s perimeter, while gorgeous Natadola Beach, the many Mamanuca islands and ancient cultural sites around Sigatoka are all within striking distance.
Just north of downtown, between the mosque and the Nadi River, Narewa Rd leads west to Denarau island, where you’ll find Nadi’s top-end resorts. There’s also a busy tourist shopping and eating area at Denarau Marina, where boats depart for the Mamanuca and Yasawa Groups.