Ten Days in the Sun
- Two Weeks
Hit the ground running – or riding – in Nadi by joining a fast-paced downhill cycling tour of the nearby Nausori Highlands. The next day, take a 14,000ft leap over the spine-tingling scenery of the Mamanuca islands with a tandem skydive. Continue your island journey with a few days of surfing some of the country’s best breaks at Cloudbreak, Restaurants and Desperations.
Catch the Yasawa Flyer back to Nadi, but don’t wash the salt from your hair just yet; travel south to Pacific Harbour for an exhilarating shark dive at Beqa Lagoon, then hop a boat for more surfing, this time at the underrated Frigate Passage. For freshwater thrills, head up to the nearby Navua River for rafting through deep canyons.
Make your way to Suva and indulge in some wild nightlife before hopping a flight bound for Savusavu on Vanua Levu (landing at this tiny airport can be a spine-tingling experience in itself). From your base in this rollicking port town, it’s easy to access some superb dive sites, including an exhilarating, superfast drift dive through the narrow Nasonisoni Passage. Continue your underwater adventures at any of the remote dive resorts near Buca Bay. At Naweni, you’ll encounter the legendary 'sacred prawns' that respond to locals' chants. Across the strait, Taveuni offers jungle kicks, including hurtling down the Waitavala Water Slide and clambering across slick boulders at the Tavoro Waterfalls.
Once around the Block
- Three Weeks or More
From Nadi, head up and inland to the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park for a few days of slow-going hiking: you’ll need a guide, and your guide will need a machete! There are two small, friendly villages – Abaca and Navilawa – visitors are welcome to stay and take part in laid-back local life.
Take your time making your way towards the capital; there are lots of off-the-beaten-track destinations worthy of your time. The Naihehe cave, north of Sigatoka, was once used by cannibals; down south, you can drift along the Navua River on a bilibili (bamboo raft) or head to any of the small islands lying off the coast, including Vatulele.
Once in Suva, explore the Fiji Museum, amble along the trails of Colo-i-Suva Forest Park and pick through the eclectic offerings at the Suva Flea Market. From there, catch a ferry to Ovalau off the coast of eastern Viti Levu; during colonial times Levuka was the nation’s capital, and it retains a good measure of its Wild West vibe. Time your return to Suva with the weekly ferry from there to Kadavu, a far-flung paradise encircled by the eminently diveable Great Astrolabe Reef; it's also a hiking and birdwatching mecca. If you've got the time to truly get away from it all, occasional ferries and flights leave Suva for Fiji's 'final frontier', the Lau and Moala groups, home to spectacular nature and almost no infrastructure.
The Yasawa Explorer
- 10 Days
Slow down and get into the slow swing of Fiji time with a relaxing couple of days at a family-friendly resort on Denarau Island. It’s not all flopping by the pool (though it can be if you desire), with a nearby water park, family cooking classes and minigolf to keep everyone on the go. Head out of town – you can stay at the wonderful Stoney Creek Resort or take day trips from Denarau – and enjoy a bout of literal mudslinging at Sabeto Hot Springs, whizzing over waterfalls on a zipline and bouncing through the forest on a buggy tour. Nearby, the friendly village of Viseisei offers homestays (though you can also just visit); the local kids love making new playmates.
But a boat ride away, the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups seem purpose-built for families, with easy snorkelling, water sports and safe swimming on offer. Some popular family destinations include Treasure, Castaway, Malolo Lailai and Mana island resorts. If you’re on limited time, a day trip out to South Sea Island (30 minutes from Denarau) is a must-do.
Back on Viti Levu, options abound. If you can’t get enough of island escapades, head north from Nadi, making a brief stop in Lautoka to watch the sugar trains (in season) clunking through town, then carry on to Nananu-i-Ra, a low-key island with great kayaking, windsurfing and oodles of friendly fish. Otherwise, head south to the Coral Coast for a ride on its scenic railway, a trek to the top of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes and awesome animal encounters at Kula Eco Park. Nearby Pacific Harbour offers all manners of adventurous outings, from horse-riding to fishing.
The Northern Loop
- One to Two Weeks
Though it's easy to imagine the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups as one long string of same-same paradisiacal islands, this hugely popular region is diverse. Board the Yasawa Flyer at Port Denarau and head first to Beachcomber Island; popular with party people (and increasingly, families), this is a great place to pick up tips from fellow travellers and to soak up the first of your island rays. Head onwards to Mana Island for a sharky scuba dive at the nearby Supermarket and a day trip aboard a schooner to Modriki, where Cast Away was shot. Say goodbye to the resorts of the Mamanucas and hello to a genuine look at local life, Yasawas-style, with a homestay at Waya Island. After a couple of days of village food – and a steep host-led hike up a volcanic plug on neighbouring Wayasewa – you’re now ready to keep up with the manta rays that ply the passage between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa islands; resorts in the area run snorkel trips here in season. Further north, give yourself a well-earned rest with a frolic in the Blue Lagoon before hopping a water taxi to the magnificent and mysterious Sawa-i-Lau Cave.
This trip is best undertaken with a Bula Pass (from five to 21 days) for the Yasawa Flyer.