With over 300 islands within its borders, Fiji seems like it's best seen by boat. But with your own set of wheels, you’ll uncover scenery and a way of living around the islands rarely seen by those who travel solely by sea and sky. 

On a Fiji road trip, you’ll discover waterfall trails, roadside markets selling piles of tropical fruits and floral bouquets, villages with impeccable gardens, sandy beaches and snorkel and dive sites with untouched corals. Unlike a tour or bus trip with fixed schedules, you can linger at a newfound favorite spot for as long as you like. 

To rent a car, you’ll need a valid driver’s license written in English or an international driver’s permit. When driving in Fiji, stick to traveling during the daytime as streets outside the main towns tend to be poorly lit. Go slow and keep a look out for potholes, pedestrians and animals, all of which make appearances on the roads. Here are some top driving routes to help you make the most of your visit to Fiji.

An empty coastal highway with a sandy palm-lined beach to right and a hill in the distance on Viti Levu, Fiji
Pause on your drive along the Coral Coast to snorkel on the colorful reef or try out a surf spot © Medioimages / Photodisc / Getty Images

Follow the road along Viti Levu's Coral Coast 

Best road trip for families

Start – Nadi; End – Suva; Distance – 190km (118 miles); allow three days

The Coral Coast road trip connects Nadi, home to Fiji’s main airport, to Suva, Fiji’s capital, along Queens Road. While the journey takes just four hours if you hit the gas in one go, you can easily spend a week exploring all the sights in between. 

Spend the first morning of your trip in Nadi at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a jungle park with over 30 species of orchids, lily ponds and a covered walking path. For more of a thrill, buzz over tropical treetops with Zip Fiji. Or just admire views of the Mamanuca islands from Momi Battery Historical Park. Spend the night near Natadola Beach, a crescent of white sand with a beginner-friendly surf spot – little ones will love it.

All along the coast, there are snorkeling spots with coral reefs rife with colorful fish, and you’ll see just how aptly named the Coral Coast is. Spend time scrambling up and down the soft sand dunes of Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park and taking a ride on a former sugar cane railroad at Ecotrax Fiji. 

From Pacific Harbour, spend a day at the beach or arrange a trip with Rivers Fiji to explore Fiji’s highlands from a raft on the Navua River. Bathe in the waterfalls and swimming holes of Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. The road trip ends in Suva, where the Fiji Museum, Thurston Gardens, the country’s largest municipal market, Albert Park, Indian-Fijian restaurants and the chance to watch a rugby game await.  

Escape the city with a drive along Viti Levu's Suncoast 

Best road trip for scenery

Start – Suva; End – Lautoka; Distance – 265km (164 miles); allow two days

Escape any semblance of city living by venturing from Suva east on Kings Road, keeping to the coastal roads along the way to Viti Levu’s wild Suncoast. Admire grasslands, jagged hilltops, huge banyan trees, groves of palm trees, and views of the sea that span from turquoise to deep cobalt. Take it slow through the villages to stop at a stand selling just-picked produce or plants grown in immaculately kept gardens. 

The Vatu-I-Ra Passage (also called Bligh Water) is a marine protected area accessible from Volivoli with Ra Divers. With over 50 dive sites in the area, it’s one of the best places to spot marine life such as soft and hard corals, anemone fish, sea turtles, dolphins and sharks. 

West of Rakiraki, from Tavua to Lautoka, is the hub of Fiji’s sugarcane growing industry, and you’ll spot a few factories as you chug along. Escape into the wilderness at Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, where trails lead to the nation’s highest peaks. To complete a circular tour of Viti Levu, connect this road trip to the Coral Coast road trip and extend your destination from Lautoka to Nadi

A woman stands in a pool of water in front of a waterfall
If you like waterfalls, you'll love a road trip on Taveuni © Don Mammoser / Shutterstock

Feel free on a road trip on Taveuni

Great road trip for waterfalls

Start – Kanacea; End – Bouma; Distance – 75km (46 miles); allow three days

While many travelers opt to visit Taveuni through day tours, there’s a far greater sense of freedom in exploring its many sights and trails with no fixed return time. Its stunning landscape is largely thanks to regular rain, so budget extra time on this Fiji road trip for dodging squalls. It’s wise to split your nights between Taveuni’s eastern and western sides. 

On Taveuni’s southern tip, witness puffs of saltwater spray above volcanic rock at the blowhole. Heading east, drive along the rugged northern coastline where dive resorts like Paradise Dive Resort and Taveuni Dive Resort offer trips to snorkel and scuba dive around Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo Strait. The reef is a haven for technicolor soft and hard corals as well as pelagic creatures like manta rays, sharks and barracudas. 

Back on land, admire the stained-glass windows of Wairiki Catholic Mission Church, where visitors are welcome to join in on Sunday service. While the International Date Line technically bypasses Taveuni, there is a fun sign near the town, where you can straddle the 180th meridian. To cool off, scoot from rock pool to rock pool down the natural rockslide of Waitavala

Passing the quiet town of Matei and Taveuni’s airport, venture south to the entrance of Bouma National Heritage Park, where trails lead to some of Fiji’s best waterfalls. Follow the Tavoro Waterfall trail, with three main cascades along its path. The most impressive is a 10-minute walk along a flat pathway. The Lavena Coastal Walk is also scenic, ending at a waterfall-accented swimming hole.

Happy children having fun under a waterfall
Have a refreshing swim under Vaudomo Waterfall © chameleonseye / Getty Images

Drive Vanua Levu's Hibiscus Highway

Best road trip for offbeat experiences

Start – Labasa; End – Savusavu area; Distance – 155km (96 miles); allow three days

Start your journey in Labasa, the liveliest town on Vanua Levu, heavily influenced by its Indo-Fijian heritage. Shop for produce and spices at the Labasa Market, admire the vibrant and intricately embroidered textiles at fabric shops, and sample curry rotis cooked with a distinctly Fijian flair.

Down the Cross Island Road, make a short detour to Vuadomo Waterfall, where you can wander around the village and swim beneath the cascade after giving a donation or gift, called sevusevu

The Hibiscus Highway leads to the quiet town of Savusavu. Watch bundles of root crops cook in the town’s natural hot springs and see steam rise from the tranquil shoreline at low tide like a cloud machine. Come sunset, grab a drink at Copra Shed Marina to clink glasses with visiting sailors and Savusavu residents. KokoMana Farm hosts chocolate tastings and crafting classes. Diving trips head out from here to the Somosomo Strait, one of the best marine parks in Fiji, while Liquidstate Freediving offers a chance to dive deep into Savusavu Bay with your own set of lungs. The calm waters of the area are ideal for swimming, kayaking or paddling. 

There's little traffic on Ovalau and no need to rush 

Best road trip for history buffs

Levuka round-trip; Distance – 50km (31 miles); allow one to two days

Take your time on a trip around Ovalau, a quiet island with little traffic and no sense of urgency. Roll your windows down and you’re likely to hear children shout “Bula!” and wave as you drive past – tourists outside of the main drag are a novelty. 

Spend a day wandering through Levuka, Fiji’s former capital and a 19th-century port town that once hosted American, European and Asian traders at its shores. Architecture resembles America’s Old West, complete with false fronts and swinging doors among coconut and papaya trees. Levuka Community Center holds a small museum with handicrafts and weapons, and along Beach Street you’ll find the best place to stop for a meal or drink. 

North of Levuka is the shipwreck of Sinu-I-Wasa Tolu jutting from the waters. Make a stop at Rukuruku Bay for swimming and snorkeling. There are multiple trailheads leading to Ovalau’s interior, but hiring a guide is recommended due to damage from 2016's Cyclone Winston.  

This article was first published Jan 23, 2022 and updated Oct 12, 2023.

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