The earthly paradise known as Fiji
The Fiji Islands are an earthly paradise and everyone knows it more or less. What still few people know is that a trip to these beautiful islands of the Pacific does not mean only sea, sun and relaxation. In this islands you will also find several places of interest (mainly naturalistic), many interesting things to see and many activities to enjoy, not only related to the ocean. The villages are very lively and will allow you to discover kind and friendly people and immerse yourself totally in the rich local culture. Viti Levu is the main island of the archipelago and is the place with major places of cultural interest, an island to be discovered.
Viti Levu is not only the largest island of Fiji, but it is also the economic and cultural center of the archipelago. Nadi is the most important city for tourism, since the international airport is located here, while Suva is the largest and most lively urban center in the entire South Pacific. The beaches of Viti Levu are probably not the best (except perhaps for the Coral Coast) but the island offers many other interesting opportunities such as a visit to the local villages and very suggestive trekking routes. The inland is characterized by a lush vegetation and it is here that you will find the best routes. What to see then in Viti Levu? Follow my journey.
Suva is the capital of Fiji and is the most important metropolitan center of the whole South Pacific (in fact the University of the South Pacific is located here). Here you will find little of what you are used to seeing in postcards or travel books. Suva represents a standard metropolitan city. If you love museums, do not miss the visit to Thurston Garden, the annexed exhibition tells the history of the archipelago from many different points of view (historical, cultural, political and economic) and is probably the most significant museum in the area. Here you will discover ancient colonial houses and have lunch in one of the most fashionable restaurants in the archipelago. Suva is a lively city that will most likely surprise you and that is why a visit, even just a day, is an experience not to be missed.
Colo-I-Suva Forest Park
Only 10 kilometers from Suva is located one of the most beautiful protected areas of Fiji. The Colo-I-Suva Forest Park is characterized by several rivers that form as many natural freshwater pools in the heart of the rainforest. Also here there are several hiking trails, many of which lead to a lodge where you can eat. The place is really amazing, although designed for tourists. This park enjoys a particularly cool climate compared to the coast and many travelers visit it just to find some refreshment. A natural paradise to enjoy.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
Nadi is the tourist center of Fiji. The center of Nadi is the port area, from where most of the boats depart to Mamanuca or Yasawa Islands (picture on top). Here, in addition to the main tourist offices, the post office and a bank, you will find mainly restaurants and tourist shops. Nothing to say it all, but if you want to bring home a couple of souvenirs here you will have plenty of choice. The only site of cultural interest is the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, a Hindu temple richly decorated with sculptures from India.
If you are looking for a coral reef and a fabulous sea, the only place in Viti Levu where you will find both is the Coral Coast, a must-see area, probably the best place to stay. Sigatoka is the most important village in the area, reachable by bus or, if you prefer, with a guided tour. Here you will find a market and several shops but nothing else particularly interested. The surrounding region is rather worth seeing.
The Coral Coast Scenic Railway is a scenic route aboard a slightly train that will allow you to closely observe several villages passing through the forest and sugar cane plantations. An experience in my opinion truly impressive. Trains departe from the station near the Fijian Resort and arrive at Natadola Beach, which in fact is perhaps the most renowned beach in the whole Viti Levu, the only one where the coral reef is not present and therefore offers the possibility to swim in all tranquility. Also worth seeing is the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, with impressive sand dunes up to 60 meters high. Finally, I suggest a visit also to Kula Eco Park, to discover the wildest side of Fiji, that is the one consisting of the real river forest. The park is known above all for its commitment to conservation, especially endangered species such as the Peregrine Falcon, the Monuriki Iguana and the Fiji Ground Frogs.
Where to Stay
The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is a 5-star resort located in Fiji, in the heart of the Coral Coast, on a beautiful white sand beach, among 40 acres of palm trees and tropical gardens. Located on the western side of the island of Viti Levu, about 80 km along the Queen’s Road from Nadi Airport, the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort perfectly combines the traditional elements of Fiji, cordiality and hospitality.
The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort was designed as a traditional Fijian village, with 207 rooms and suites and 40 bures scattered between the garden and the beach, all in as many as 16 hectares of lush, manicured gardens that go down to the sandy shores of a lagoon surrounded by a spectacular coral reef. Inside the resort, there are five restaurants and bars, one of Fiji’s largest pools, a kids club, a fitness center, shops and the amazing Bebe Spa from which you will never want to go home.
The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is a family-friendly resort but also offers several specific areas for adults only, including the Kalo Kalo Bar at the top of the hill. The resort is big enough to have several pools, a kids club, a well-equipped gym, tennis courts and several other services. The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is a perfect resort for a long holiday as it offers dozens of activities for everyone, from adults to children, even for the little ones.
Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Another naturalistic area to enjoy in Fiji is the Koroyanitu Park, an incredible protected area located about 10 km southeast of the town of Lautoka, in the northern part of the island. I recommend this park to hikers, since here are the most spectacular trails in the whole Viti Levu. The first, called Batilamu, is a path that crosses the heart of the fluvial forest to get to the top of the homonymous mountain (1,163 m) and that lasts about a couple of hours. The view from here is simply spectacular, in addition to the perimeter of Viti Levu you can also see the islands Mamanuca and Yasawa. The second path, easier in terms of height, leads to the beautiful Savuione waterfalls, which are 80 meters high. The visitor center is located in the village of Abaca, here you will find plenty of information about the park and all the brochures needed to tackle the hiking trails. Or you can request a guided tour.
If you’ve been wondering what to do and see in Fiji, as well as sunbathing and diving, I hope you’ve found some answers with this little travel guide. As you can see in Viti Levu there are many places of interest to visit, the protected areas to explore, the possibilities for recreation. If what you are looking for is the postcard landscape, move to the Mamanuca or the Yasawa, but spend at least a few days here to discover some local culture.