Flights to Fiji: Say 'bula' to Pacific paradise
Once known as fierce fighters and cannibals, Fijians these days go out of their way to welcome guests. Expect wide smiles from flower-adorned women and singsong greetings of ‘bula!’ from everyone as you step off your flight. Fiji culture is showcased at fire-walking ceremonieson the Coral Coast and in full-to-bursting handicraft shops in gateway town Nadi. Vibrant coral reefs and golden beaches await on outlying islands.
Relax on the Mamanuca Islands in a traditional thatched bungalow, or ‘bure’. Romantic holidays in Fiji approach paradise on the Yasawa Islands, where the turquoise waters and sugar-sand beaches of your dreams become reality. In the evening, sip Fiji Bitter beer or cocktails with freshly picked pineapple and papaya at beachside bars. Flame-carrying, grass skirt-wearing Fijian hunks light resort lamps as the sunset turns the ocean red.
Back to nature
Fiji is famed for its brilliant coral reefs. Strap on mask, snorkel and fins and take in Taveuni Islands' underwater show. Opt for scuba gear and you'll get an eyeful of orange clownfish, blue-green sea anemones, eagle rays and pillars of ancient and living corals. At Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park you can hike the South Pacific’s only dunes. Scale the summits; you’ll forget your aching quads once you see the view.
Indulge in the Fijian equivalent of tea time by joining a traditional kava ceremony. Toast new-found friendships with the locals by clapping your hands and passing around a bowl of muddy-coloured, mouth-numbing liquid made from kava root. Bottoms up! If you throw it back in one go you’ll (mostly) miss the muddy taste. You might prefer to explore Fijian pottery, double-hulled canoes and ceremonial cannibal forks (the Fijians weren’t always so friendly) at the Fiji Museum at Suva's botanical gardens.
Where? The Republic of Fiji is located in the South Pacific, some 2,000km northeast of New Zealand.
Population: Just over 890,000 people live in Fiji, with around 75 per cent resident on the largest inhabited island, Viti Levu. Around 174,000 live in Suva, Fiji’s largest city.
Did you know? Only one-third of the more than 300 islands that make up Fiji are inhabited.
Getting about: Ferries and small planes carry locals and tourists between the Fijian islands. On the main islands you can hire a car to explore, or go with the locals by bus.
Find tropical paradise in Fiji, whatever your budget. Thatched-roof bure set amid lagoonside coconut groves? Luxury spa village with sweeping ocean views? A friendly 'bula' welcome wherever you stay? Yes please.
You'll find fresh fish, sweet papaya and wild bananas on menus throughout Fiji, from fine-dining restaurants like Chefs to Bullacino deli. Feel free to drool as you tuck into fish and cassava wrapped in banana leaves and baked in an underground lovo oven.
Shopping in Fiji
Finely-carved cannibal forks are popular Fijian souvenirs – they're sold everywhere. Visit any handicraft centre for less macabre keepsakes like beautifully printed tapa cloth. Or buy your very own kava bowl at a local market.
A sky of a million stars might be all the nightlife you need. We have more suggestions; stylish bars and entertainment at Port Denerau or firewalking shows at resorts where you’ll be hauled up to join the dancing. Don’t try this at home.
Forget the resort bars, Fiji's finest attractions focus on its natural beauty. Get up close and personal with a yapping golden dove or rare banded iguana at Kula Eco Park. Jet boats whisk you upriver and back on the Sigatoka River Safari.