One of Fiji's natural highlights, these impressive dunes are a ripple of peppery monoliths skirting the shoreline near the mouth of the Sigatoka River. Windblown and rugged, they stand around 5km long, up to 1km wide and on average about 20m high, rising to about 60m at the western end. They were made a national park in 1989.
Don't expect golden Sahara-like dunes: the fine sand is a grey-brown colour and largely covered with vines and shrubs. The dunes have been forming over millions of years as sediments brought down by the Sigatoka River are washed ashore by the surf and blown into dunes by the prevailing winds. Walking trails take you down to the coast across open rolling grassland. A mahogany forest was planted in the 1960s to halt the dunes’ expedition onto the Queens Road,
Since the coastal margin of the dunes is largely unstable, human bones and early pottery are sometimes exposed. Archaeological excavations here have uncovered pottery more than 2600 years old and one of the largest burial sites in the Pacific. The visitor centre houses a few pottery shards and ceramic pots from some of these excavations, along with helpful staff.
Park access is 4.5km southwest of Sigatoka on the Queens Road. Stick to the designated trails and allow one or two hours for the short or long self-guided walking tours respectively. And if by chance you do come across a thighbone jutting from the sand, know that you’ll be cursed forever if you attempt to remove it.
Most buses (excluding express services) travelling between Nadi and Sigatoka can drop you right outside the visitors centre on the main highway. A taxi from Sigatoka town costs $6.