More than just stunning beaches
With a bounty of natural and cultural marvels, Fiji is more than just a place to stop and flop on the sand. These five unforgettable experiences highlight Fiji’s most tempting offerings – unique animal encounters, breathtaking scenery, tantalising cuisine and a touch of luxury.
Swim with sea life
Every swim in Fiji’s sparkling South Pacific waters redefines the colour blue. Known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, the islands of Fiji are brimming with opportunities to go below the surface. And you don’t need to be a seasoned deep sea diver to experience it. Swimming and snorkelling should be fun, leisurely activities where you can go at your own pace. In Fiji, this is what it’s all about.
Fiji’s pristine beaches mean you can grab a snorkel and head straight out to explore the reefs just offshore. Most hotels and resorts will have snorkelling equipment to hire. Otherwise, you can often purchase it from the general store fairly inexpensively. For guaranteed sightings of vibrant coral and colourful fish, organising a day trip will be your best bet.
Beqa Island Lagoon off the coast of Viti Levu is a great place for beginners. The protected reef boasts thousands of exotic fish and anemones with regular sightings of turtles, giant clams and sharks. This is also where you can opt for a truly unique, though slightly terrifying experience. Feel the thrill and majesty of swimming side by side with the ocean’s most formidable creatures. Shark Reef Marine Reserve was established in order to study and preserve the population of sharks of Fiji’s coral coast, and now offers gutsy visitors a chance to get in the water with them.
Would you prefer a swimming buddy with less teeth? Head to Naviti in the Yasawa Islands for the chance to swim with Manta Rays. At the south end of the island, Manta Ray passage is teeming with these velvety creatures, gliding through the water. To watch them from above is breathtaking. To swim alongside them is something else entirely. Be sure to visit during Manta season, between May and October.
Discover the islands from above
If you’re lucky enough to fly in during the day, you’ll get an entrée of what Fiji’s 330 islands look like from above. For a full course, it’s worth booking a scenic helicopter flight.
Fiji has dozens of helicopter tour companies so do your research and choose an operator with a good safety record. Opting for a Fijian-owned and run company is a nice way to ensure your tourist dollars go towards empowering and supporting the local community.
A popular flight route takes you on an aerial tour of Denarau, the largest integrated resort in the South Pacific. You’ll see the lush landscapes and perfectly maintained gardens of some of the biggest luxury resort chains in the South Pacific.
Heading further inland, discover Fiji’s overgrown jungles and striking mountain landscapes. Soaring above the Mt. Evans Range, expect to see rugged volcanic formations, pockets of wild orchids and spectacular waterfalls.
Perhaps the most popular scenic flight is the joy ride to Heart Island. Home to Tavarua Island Resort, this heart-shaped island is surrounded by balmy waters with pumping surf breaks. Each year, surfers come from all over the world flock to this heart-shaped island to take on Cloudbreak.
Scenic helicopter flights can be expensive, but are often a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Most resorts will have a handful of preferred tour companies they recommend to their guests. You can also organise scenic flights independently, or in advance through a travel agent.