Suva (soo-va) is the heart of Fiji, home to half of the country’s urban population and the largest city in the South Pacific. It's a lush green city on a hilly peninsula, that gets more than its fair share of rain, and has a vibrant cultural scene. Downtown is as diverse architecturally as the populace is culturally.
A wide bank of coral offshore gives this stretch of coast between Korotogo and Pacific Harbour its name. Flanked by waves of richly vegetated hills and a fringing reef that drops off dramatically into the deep blue of the South Pacific Ocean, it’s the most scenic slice of the Queens Road and resorts of all standards exploit the views.
This small island (2.55 sq km) is laden with fancy resorts manicured to perfection with heavenly pools and designer suites. Although it’s only 6km west of Nadi town, the disparity couldn’t be starker: staying here offers little insight into everyday Fijian life. But to splash some cash, get spoiled and avoid Nadi, then Denarau is the place to go.
According to legend, Fiji’s second-largest city derives its name from a battle cry that means ‘spear-hit’. The story goes that when an argument erupted between two local chiefs, one cried out the words lau toka as he killed the other by spearing him through the chest, simultaneously stating the obvious and naming the location.
Sigatoka (sing-a-to-ka) is the largest town on the Coral Coast and serves as the commercial hub for the farming communities that grow sugar cane and vegetables upriver in the fertile swathe of the Sigatoka Valley. Because of its pretty riverside location and accessibility, Sigatoka is a popular day trip from Nadi and the nearby Coral Coast resorts.
Leaving the glorious vegetation and hilly passes of Korolevu in its wake, the Queens Road sweeps across a small bridge into Pacific Harbour, the self-labelled ‘Adventure Capital of Fiji’. A range of activities, guaranteed to have hearts racing and knees knocking, backs up the claim. Pacific Harbour itself looks anything but adventurous.
Rakiraki & Around
The scenery continues to be stunning along the Kings Road, winding past Viti Levu Bay and into the beautiful region of Rakiraki, Viti Levu’s northernmost tip. The climate on the northern side of the Nakauvadra Range is similar to that of western Viti Levu – drier and suited to growing sugarcane – but far windier.
Korolevu & Around
Further east, the section of the Queens Road between Korotogo and Korolevu is the most beautiful. The road winds along the shore, affording views of scenic bays, beaches, coral reefs and mountains. Photo opportunities beg around every bend: it’s an especially spectacular trip at sunrise or sunset.
Korotogo & the Sunset Strip
The start of the Coral Coast begins in earnest at this condensed group of hotels flanking the water on Sunset Strip. Korotogo itself is a small village, but at high tide the lagoon is swimmable and at low tide you can take a decent-length walk on the beach and poke around in rock pools on the exposed coral shelf.
Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Despite being just half an hour’s drive from Nadi airport, Koroyanitu National Heritage Park seems deep within Viti Levu’s interior. It’s very beautiful, with walks through native dakua (a tree of the Kauri family) forests and grasslands, birdwatching, archaeological sites and waterfalls.