Monday, 23 September 2013

Things to do and see around Fiji Islands

Fiji has a fantastic range things to do and see, activities ranging from adventure, exploration or immersing yourself in the Fijian culture. This list below of things to do and see is just a starting point for your dream vacation.

Land Activities

Fire walking ceremony

Vilavilairevo, Fijian for "jumping into the oven", is the practise of fire walking. Legend has it that the practise originated with the people of Beqa Island, who convinced Tui Namoliwai, a spirit god, to allow the Beqa people to forever have the ability to walk on scalding stones. Today, you can watch fire walking ceremonies at resorts throughout Fiji and you can bet that the men doing it hail from Beqa. Many resorts, like Royal Davui Island, which is on of my list of top islands to visit, offer regular fire walking ceremonies.

Hindus in Fiji also have their own fire walking ceremony and this is part of an annual religious festival coinciding with a full moon in July or August usually lasting ten days. Of all of Fiji's cultural rituals, the extraordinary art of fire walking is perhaps the one thing I would not miss out on. Fijians and Hindus perform the ceremonies for completely different reasons.

Fiji Museum

The Fiji Museum tells the history of the archipelago with artefacts that span over 3,700 years. From cannibal forks to shell jewellery and Indian artwork, the items showcased have a long and diverse history.

The museum is locate in the capital city of Suva. Admission is about $16 FJD for adults and $8 FJD for children. The opening hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, and 9:00 to 12:00 pm on Sundays. For more information, visit the Fiji Museum's website.

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is located outside the city of Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu. These attractive gardens are a showcase of native plants and Fiji's largest collection of orchids. The highlight here is the garden's collection of vibrant orchids. First planted in 1977 by Canadian actor Raymond Burr, the orchids have thrived in Fiji's tropical climate.  The garden covers an area of 20 hectares and contains over 2,000 different examples of these delicate and exotic flowers including some rare Fijian species.

While you are here another must-do is the "jungle walk," which wanders past a lily pond and through a native rain forest. It is approximately a 15 minute drive north of central Nadi and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. More information can be found at Garden of the Sleeping Giants website.


Viti Levu, Kadavu (pronounced Kan-da-voo) and Taveuni islands are the best places to see some of Fiji's beautiful species of birds. The larger birds are easily seen on the main islands, while twenty two of the smaller land bird species are endemic. Look out for the red and green Kula Lorikeets which can be seen collecting nectar and pollen in populated areas.

Colo-I-Suva Forest Park (pronounced tholo-ee-soo-va), in the hills north of Suva, is a great place for birdwatchers. This lush rain forest park is a 2.5 square kilometre oasis with vivid and melodic bird life and tropical flora. The 6.5 kilometres of walking trails navigate clear natural pools and gorgeous vistas. Sitting at an altitude of 120 to 180 meters, it is a cool and peaceful place, located 25 minutes drive north of Suva on Princess Road.

The other wildlife sanctuary is Fiji's Kula Eco Park. Situated on the Coral Coast of the main island of Viti Levu, the wildlife sanctuary is a showcase of the furry, the feathered, the aquatic and amphibian in the South Pacific. The majority of the inhabitants of the park are hundreds of species of colourful birds such as parrots and doves in the most amazing primary hues. There's also iguanas, lizards, flying foxes and boa constrictors which you can touch and hold guided by handlers. There are also tropical fish, turtles and soft corals in an aquarium. Time your visit just right and you can also feed the sea turtles by hand at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm or 3:30 pm daily.


Pacific Harbour is a purpose-built visitor destination on the southern coast of Viti Levu, 45 minutes drive from Suva city. The area is fast becoming known as Fiji's adventure playground. Some of the more popular golf courses in Fiji are:

Pearl South Pacific Resort has an 18 hole championship golf course, luxury villas, an arts village and a host of adventure activities.

Sheraton Denarau Golf and Racquet Club is beautifully manicured and challenging course which has a restaurant, bar and golf store.

Novotel Hotel Nadi Executive Golf Course is a 9 hole golf course at Nadi which will test your skills and your patience. Located on a big slope, each hole is a par three.

Shangri-La Fijian Resort Golf Course is a newly recreated course and is the only one in Fiji with Tifton Dwarf grass greens. Shangri-La Fijian Resort has 9 holes in total with five par three holes and four par four holes. Featuring sand traps and 1 hole with a twin water hazard, this course is made for precision more than power.

Natadola (prounced Naa-taan-doe-laa) Bay Championship Golf Course is a 18 hole championship course features gently rolling manicured greens playing into challenging sand traps and bunkers. Seven of the 18 holes play down along the ocean's edge making for a scenic and relaxing golfing experience.

For more information on green fees and other charges, please visit the websites using the links above.

Hot Springs and Mud Baths

Fiji’s hidden hot spring gem is believed by locals to have healing properties. Irrespective of its claims, the three warm mud baths pools and lush natural backdrop combine to make a seriously relaxing experience. There are two hot spring and mud pools available and both are located next to each other. They are known as the Sabeto (pronounced Some-bay-toe) Hot Springs & Mud Pool and the Tifajek Hot Springs & Mud Pool.

Commonly known as the Sabeto Hot Springs or Sabeto Mud Baths, they are located halfway between the major cities of Nadi and Lautoka on the main island of Viti Levu and are approximately 25 minutes drive from Nadi town.

Singatoka Sand Dunes National Park

Sigatoka (pronounced sing-a-toe-ka) Sand Dunes National Park is an amazing natural phenomenon with a rich archaeological history. Located west of the town of Sigatoka on Viti Levu, the impressive dune system covers an area of 650 hectares. The dunes near the shoreline of the Sigatoka River have been forming for millions of years. Windblown and rugged, the sand is grey-brown in colour and covered with vines and shrubs. It is a remarkable park which lead to the discovery of an ancient burial site in the late 1980s. Over 50 individuals have been excavated and their bodies dated back to around 2,600 years ago making it one of the largest burial sites in the South Pacific.

Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple

A must see for culture lovers, Nadi’s Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is one the largest Hindu temples in the Southern Hemisphere. Illustrating the architectural diversity for which Fiji is well known, the three-part temple is dedicated to the deity Murugan whose statue was specially carved in India and housed in the main temple. It reflects an architectural style rarely seen outside India, and houses sacred statues designed by craftspeople brought over from India.

Sawailau Caves 

These ancient lime stone caves are situated inside a pretty little island in the Blue Lagoon region. The boat trip up to the caves is worth doing. The scenery will blow you away but then there is also the magical experience of the caves themselves which you do not want to miss out on.

You will be greeted and guided by locals. The first cave is magnificent as light filters through, allowing you to look around in awe. If you are up for a little adventure, I recommend you take the option to enter a secondary cavern. To get there you need to swim through an underwater tunnel.

Sea Activities

With all of the crystal clear waters that surround the islands, there is no shortage of water sports to be found.  Jet ski, scuba diving, game fishing, fast jet boat rides, parasailing, luxury charters, leisure cruising, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, water boarding, kayaking, and much more can be found throughout the Fiji Islands. You can also swim in numerous waterfalls found in the forest, coastal parks and reserves.Visit the Adrenalin Fiji website for more information on activities as they cater for all you adrenaline seekers.

Surfing and Sailing

If you surf, you would have heard of Fiji and some of the legendary breaks such as Swimming Pools, Restaurants and of course Cloud Break. Although there is some surfing off Kadavu, Vanua Levu and Lau Group of islands, by far the most popular and consistent breaks are are found on the reef passes off the southern most islands of the Mamanuca chain which is home to Cloud Break. The other major break, Frigate, fringes a pass on the barrier reef surrounding Beqa Island. To get there you need to travel about two and a half hours east by car from Nadi to Pacific Harbour, where you are approximately 20 minute boat ride from the break.

There are a couple other minor breaks along the Coral Coast, such as Hideaways and beach breaks near the Sigatoka River but nothing close to the magnitude to those mentioned above. Surf Fiji Ltd has skippered and chartered sailing boats throughout Fiji as well as captaining extensive voyages offshore. For more information, have a look at Fiji Surfing Association website. They have a fleet of vessels including a 80 foot sailing boat and fast transit 30 foot catamaran ideal for personalised day trips and group surf trips. Also available are jet skis, paddle boards and various other water craft. Their website Island Surf Fiji and Sail Surf Charters Fiji has more information. Boards and accessories can also be hired at surf shops on the smaller islands if required.

Diving and Snorkelling 

In Fiji you will enjoy some of the best diving locations in the world. The consistently warm sunny climate and crystal clear water create perfect diving conditions. Combined with the abundant, colourful and tropical marine life, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic and memorable diving experience. The best time for diving is between the months of April and October but from early June to late August, the ocean water cools drastically which means you will need thicker wetsuits.

Some of the top dive locations around are:
  1. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
  2. Taveuni
  3. Kadavu Island
  4. Vatulele Island
  5. Mamanuca Islands
  6. Makongai Island
Kadavu, the fourth largest island in Fiji, is located south of Suva and surrounded by the world famous Astrolabe Reef. The reef at Kadavu is a prime dive site with drop offs, underwater caves and walls with a rich array of coral and marine life.


Consisting of more than 330 islands, Fiji is fabulous for cruising. Discover uninhabited beaches, tiny atolls and visit traditional villages while soaking up the tropical weather and the beautiful unspoilt environment. Take a day cruise or head out for several days and nights. There are many options to choose from and the best place to start from is the Tourism Fiji website to help you decide.

Game Fishing

Game fishing is amazing in Fiji and a large variety of fish can be found year round. The biggest event is the annual International Game Fishing Tournament held at Pacific Harbour around August. Big game fish are found off southern Viti Levu. Here, tuna and mahimahi run from January to May, and big wahoos in June and July.

Other Activities

Windsurfing in the Mamanuca group of Islands

Ideal water conditions, big waves and a year round breeze makes for great windsurfing experiences . Most resorts in group offer the sport with instructors on hand, however if you are no novice, and keen on something special, look no further than Mamanuca.

Sky Diving

Experience the spectacular beauty of the Fiji Islands from up to 14,000 feet (an approximately 20 minute scenic flight) before jumping out to about seventy seconds of free fall, then 6 to 8 minutes of guiding the parachute before landing beside a beach. If that gives you your kicks, visit the Skydive Fiji website for more information on your fulfilling adrenaline filled experience. 

If you have been to the Fiji Islands and participated is some of these fun activities, please feel free to add your comments and feedback here.

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