# 10 Viti Levu in Fiji
Viti Levu is the heart of Fiji’s 333 islands. It is home to 75% of the country’s population and Fiji’s only two cities: Suva, its capital, and Nadi, Fiji’s entry point for virtually every traveler. The 4,020-square-mile island is known by locals as the “mainland”.You can do as much activity as you like among the verdant mountainsides, volcanic peaks, lush river valleys, and barrier reefs. The major resorts each has a Tours Desk that can arrange day trips that range from aqua-tours in mud pools and waterfalls or wildlife tours of Kula Eco Resort’s zoological gardens, to activities like horseback riding, golf, scuba diving, or spa treatments.
You won’t find Fiji’s best beaches on Viti Levu, but excursions to the Mamanuca group’s lovely sands leave daily from Port Denarau, near Nadi, returning you back in time for Fiji’s best restaurants and five-star hotels. Other easy trips are possible to one of the surrounding uninhabited islands, where you’ll experience the tranquil simplicity of secluded white sands and the Pacific’s warm, clear waters.
You can visit the old colonial capital of Suva; the sugar cane town of Lautoka; or dive the Vatu-I-Ra, which is off the northern branch of the King Highway, halfway between Suva and Nadi. You can climb millennia-old sand dunes or kayak through a prehistoric setting capped by 300-foot black volcanic rock walls, and swim with sharks as they’re fed within one of the world’s largest barrier reefs, in Pacific Harbour. If you want to explore on your own, just rent a car at the airport and discover the world as you like.
# 9 Nadi in Fiji
Renowned for its breathtaking beaches, crystal clear water, swaying palm trees, friendly locals and relaxed island atmosphere, Fiji is a majestic holiday destination.
Most travellers go to Nadi twice. Its warm air slaps you in the face when you first step from the plane, and kicks you up the backside as you board for home.
For some, this is twice too often and many people ensure their Nadi exposure is as brief as possible: this ramshackle town doesn’t offer much, though it’s a good place to stock up on supplies, plan trips and make use of facilities that may be lacking elsewhere.
On the west coast of Viti Levu, Nadi is Fiji’s third largest city and tourism hub. A gateway to world-class resorts, located on stunning island atolls – such as the Mamanucas and Yasawa island groups and the famous Tavarua – Nadi is the perfect South Pacific stopover city
Just north of downtown, between the mosque and the Nadi River, Narewa Rd leads west to Denarau island, where you’ll find Nadi’s top-end resorts. There’s also a busy tourist shopping and eating area at Denarau Marina, where boats depart for the Mamanuca and Yasawa Groups.
# 8 Tavarua in Fiji
The island Tavarua is the mother of all world-class surf resorts. Located in the Mamanuca Island chain, about 15 miles southwest of Nadi, Tavarua is a 24 acre heart shaped island. Activities on Tavarua include surfing, sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking. There is also a pool, spa, workout facility and tennis court along with a restaurant facility and two bars. Beginning surfers can enjoy fun learning waves directly in front of the island at “Kiddieland.” The island hosts annual professional surfing competitions that can be viewed via webcast. The island is so popular throughout the surfing community thanks to its heart like shape and ability to handle waves ranging from two to twenty feet.
Tavarua comfortably accommodates 36 adults in 16 private bures. They are beautifully made in a traditional island style that is still thoroughly modern in comfort. The bures are there to rest, relax, and rejuvenate, for the next surf, kite, sailboard, dive, snorkel or SUP session.
The food at Tavarua is legendary and tailored to meet the appetites of hungry guests who are playing hard in the ocean and the sun. The buffet is loaded with fresh, healthy foods in generous portions providing energy to restore and reload.
Tavarua has become a family friendly resort and is finding more and more guests who come as much for the wonderful amenities as for the surf.
# 7 Taveuni in Fiji
Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji. The island is covered in tropical rainforest, and surrounded by tropical reefs with some of the world’s best dive sites. The island is calm now, but it was the site of a famous battle, where Taveuni soldiers turned back a huge Tongan force. Advised by a French Missionary, the Taveuni people repaid him by building the Catholic Mission at Wairiki, which you can still see today.
Getting to Taveuni is accessible by boat or plane. There are some resorts in Taveuni, and while backpacker options are limited, there are both campsites and cottages, holiday homes available for the cost-conscious traveller.
Vatuwiri Plantation is the most famous sight in this island. One hour’s drive from the Taveuni airport, Vatuwiri Plantation is also a farm, a wildlife preserve, and an ocean and eco activity wonderland. There are a huge array of activities to choose from, with horse treks through the spectacular landscape, hikes to the top of a dormant volcano, or a visit to a 200 year old fortified village.
The village, Baudua, was led by the great Tui Vuna. Considered by some to be Fiji’s greatest warrior chief, he commanded a vast army who built the fortifications with only the most basic of tools. With multiple layers of wide moats (15 feet wide and 10 feet deep) the village was never conquered, but ultimately fell to treachery as Tui Vuna’s son was kidnapped by a close relative who sided with the enemy, and he surrendered to save his son’s life.
With 1500 acres, an active copra production process that employs 80 local workers and houses their families on the estate, a cattle farm, vanilla and cocoa production, Vatuwiri is a world class resort with a difference.
# 6 Thurston Gardens in Fiji
Thurston Gardens are the botanical gardens of Fiji. The Fiji Museum is currently maintaining the gardens. Although many of the buildings and artifacts seem to be in need of attention the gardens are still regularly enjoyed by the people of Suva during the day. Spread throughout the grounds are varieties of palms, gingers, water lilies and other local flora.
The Gardens have European plant and tree life in richness, a legacy of Colonial times, and sections that display the vibrancy of indigenous tropical flora. People enjoy the gardens taking in the sea air, children play under the old, historical trees, couples picnic in the cooling shade while historians check out Clock Tower and bandstand. There is a great feeling of peace and tranquility for everyone.
# 5 Kula Eco Park in Fiji
Kula Eco Park is Fiji’s only wildlife Park, endangered species breeding facility and free Environmental Education Facility for Fiji’s school children.
Initially established as a ‘bird park’ in the late 1980′, the Park displayed typical aviculture species but ran into hard times. By 1996, the Park was in shocking condition with most birds in dire need of proper nutrition and care. Kula Eco Park Management bought the Park in 1997 and immediate action was taken to save the Park’s inhabitants.
The Park has been presented with a local “Excellence in Tourism” award numerous times and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) bestowed the prestigious Phoenix Award to Kula Eco Park – the only one handed out in the Pacific.
# 4 Suva in Fiji
Suva has a number of parks and a few gardens. Albert Park, in the City centre, is famous as the stage for many national-historical events such as the Independence of Fiji, the landing by Kingsford Smith on the Southern Cross and many parades and carnivals.
Bollywood and Hollywood square off at the local cinema and within the same hour you’re likely to see businessmen in traditional sulu (sarong) and student hipsters from across the Pacific region rocking the latest styles.
During the course of the year, arts, music and trade festivals are held in Suva, albeit on a small scale. There are a few large and notable festivals that occur annually and these include the Hibiscus Festival (largest carnival in the South Pacific islands), the New Years Street Party, and the Fiji Show Case tradeshow that includes carnival rides, food as well as magic and circus performances.
Suva has a vibrant nightlife where most nightclubs and bars open in the late afternoon and remain open till 5 am. Suva’s nightlife caters to all tastes, moods and likes. Food stalls are open throughout the night and the city is well policed at night. Apart from nightclubs, there are lounges and bars that cater to those seeking low-key entertainment
The seedier side of Suva is Victoria Parade where night clubs such as Signals Night Club, East Court Restaurant, and Angel Night Club are located in the same stretch.
# 3 Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Fiji
This colorful and bright Hindu temple is one of the few places that are not situated in India. Here you can see traditional Dravidian architecture; the wooden carvings of deities travelled here from India, as did the artists who made the temple in its colorful coat and eye-catching ceiling frescos.
You have to dress modestly and take off your shoes at the entrance. You can do photos in the outside, in the garden but not the temple. The inner sanctum is reserved for devotees bringing offerings. The on-site temple custodian can help you make sense of it all.
The original temple had been in existence for a long time. It was at the old temple building that the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam (TISI Sangam) was formed in 1926. The TISI Sangam was rejuvenated following the Golden Jubilee celebration in 1976. The revival of Sangam activities with the arrival of Shivacharya Mahalinga Gurukkal, whose services were made available to Nadi Siva Subramaniya Temple in 1984 by the government of Tamil Nadu as the chief priest boosted the activities at the temple. Devotees flocked there in very large numbers to witness and participate in the many new and unique religious ceremonies conducted at the temple for the first time.
# 2 Nananu-i-Ra in Fiji
This very small island is the favorite destination for most travellers to northern Viti Levu. The 3.5-sq-km island is beautifully hilly, and is surrounded by scalloped bays, white-sand beaches and mangroves. Neither roads nor villages are situated on this island and accommodation is simple. Everything is wild and peaceful here.
Nananu-i-Ra is renowned for its offshore reefs and for windsurfing and kiteboarding. It can get very windy on the east side of the island from the end of spring through to July and again from late autumn to December during the cyclones. The narrow strip of land that separates the west (Front Beach) from the east (Back Beach) is only 200m wide and no matter which way the wind blows, it’s only a short walk to the calmer side. Walking across the inland hills is a good chance to stretch your legs.
The water cleared much of the dense vegetation and today rolling hills of grass are on the interior. It’s only 3km north of Ellington Wharf, but the atypical landscape and small enclave of wealthy holiday homes exaggerate the distance. Nananu-i-Ra’s original residents were wiped out by illness and war, and their land was sold by their surviving heirs, mostly to Fijians of European descent.
# 1 Mamanuca Islands in Fiji
The Mamanucas are a group of 20 little islands near Nadi and Denarau. One of the most developped resort areas in Fiji, the Mamanucas provide a unforgettable array of activities for all types of travelers and for all ages.
In surroundings beautiful enough to star in ‘Cast Away’ and ‘Survivor: Fiji’ these islands offer dolphin-watching, parasailing, windsurfing, famous dives such as the Gotham City and Big W, some of the world class surf breaks in the world, and simply any other activity you can do on or under water. Young or old, party animal or looking for a family holiday, it’s an island for everybody.