How To Plan The Perfect Fiji Holiday
Bula! This is the must-know phrase for anyone looking to visit Fiji. It’s also the exact phrase you’ll be greeted with as soon as you touch down on this magical island destination. It means “welcome/hello”, and is the perfect representation of how you’ll feel the entire time in Fiji. It also aligns with the local culture – easy-going, warm, and welcoming.
I’ve been to Fiji three times now. From the second I step off the plane the whole place just feels magic. Ukulele serenaders greet you in the airport (yes, really!) Everyone smiles and gives you a huge “Bula!”. The air is like a warm hug. You just know you’ve landed in a tropical paradise, and you haven’t even left the airport yet.
It might sound weird and woo-woo but Fiji just has this healing energy to it. The first two times I visited, I was going through periods of darkness and massive upheaval. And I left with clarity. So it was only fitting that we chose Fiji as our wedding destination (click through to read more about our Fiji wedding, or considering a destination wedding in general!)
Not only does Fiji and its surrounding archipelago – just over 330 islands – boast some of the most stunning island scenery in the world, you will be spoilt for choice for things to see and do during your stay.
Let’s go through all the key information you need to consider when planning your dream holiday to Fiji.
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a booking, I earn a small commission at no cost to you.
Current COVID-19 situation (as of April 2022)
Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Fiji without quarantine, pending a negative PCR or supervised RAT. See Smartraveller for more details.
You will also need travel insurance that includes COVID coverage.
Where is Fiji located?
Fiji and its archipelago are situated between other popular island destinations in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu and New Caledonia are to the north and southwest respectively, and Samoa is to the northeast.
Its entire archipelago is made up of 9 island groups with two larger islands hosting most of its population. The biggest is Viti Levu where the capital Suva and Nadi International Airport are situated, and which also contains approximately 75% of the overall population of Fiji.
How do you get to Fiji?
Due to its remote location in the South Pacific, to be able to visit Fiji you are required to travel by air or cruise ship.
From Australia, there are daily direct flights to Nadi International Airport from all major airports on the East coast with Fiji Airways, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar.
If you’re travelling from New Zealand, you can also fly directly from Auckland to Nadi with Fiji Airways or Air New Zealand.
From either of these ports, the expected flight times range from 3-5 hours.
Fiji is also a popular and easy destination for North American visitors. Fiji Airways fies direct from Los Angeles and San Francisco. This leg is a bit more of a trek, around 11 to 12 hours.
Where to stay in Fiji
After booking your flights, the next step in planning your perfect island getaway is choosing where to stay. Luckily, no matter your budget, you will be spoilt for choice in Fiji. You can easily sift through these options online by filtering budget type, amenities included, area or region, and room-type through most major travel booking sites.
Below we will highlight some of the most popular regions to stay and what makes them a great choice for your Fijian holiday. For even more detailed information, read our complete Fiji resort guide.
A holiday on Viti Levu. Fiji’s main island, means you will combine convenience, nature, and culture. Just because it is the main island doesn’t mean you will be missing out on any of Fiji luscious island scenery.
Port Denarau, the upmarket marina near Nadi, boasts many of the big names – Sofitel, Radisson, Hilton etc. I love Denarau because of the choice in accommodation and dining options – everything is extremely close, and there’s a free trolley that stops at all the resorts as well as the Port, so it’s easy to go out for a meal. When we got married at the Sofitel, some guests stayed with us there, some at the Sheraton, and some at the Hilton, and we could all meet at each other’s hotels or for dinner in the Harbour.
Many more resorts are located on the Coral Coast. This is the southern coast between Nadi and Suva. These resorts, including the Outrigger, Intercontinental, and Warwick to name a few, give you direct access to pristine sand, translucent aqua water and all the land and sea activities you can manage. It is also where you will find many of the cultural and historical sights.
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second largest island. Only 60km northeast of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu is ideal for those seeking a more traditional Fijian holiday.
Despite its size and accessibility from Viti Levu, Vanua Levu is still relatively untouched by modern tourism. However, it still boasts several stunning resorts – the Koro Sun and Jean-Michel Cousteau resorts are incredible options – and natural surroundings ready for exploring.
A visit to the hot springs is a must on this island.
If you want a holiday with more natural attractions than cultural ones, The Mamanuca Islands are a must.
Located west of Nadi, these islands are perfect for those looking to scuba dive, snorkel, or just relax next to blue, translucent water. It is also easy to island hop around the 20 stunning islands that make up this island group.
Click through to read our guide to the Mamanuca Islands.
If you love to stay in eco-resorts, then the The Yasawa Islands just northwest of Viti Levu should be on your bucket list.
These 20 volcanic islands are where the 1980’s Hollywood film The Blue Lagoon was filmed.
The Yasawas are perfect for those seeking a more adventurous holiday. Here you’ll find fantastic diving and snorkelling spots, hiking, and famous underground caves to explore.
Click through to read our Yasawa Islands guide.
Another tropical oasis located south of Nadi, that is considered to have some of Fijis most spectacular island scenery is Vatulele Island. It is also where you can truly witness Fiji’s ancient culture and stay a stone’s throw away from 4 active traditional villages. A perfect escape for those who want to combine culture and leisure into their holiday.
Lomaiviti and Kadavu Islands
If you are looking for a more authentic local escape that is less commercialised, then you should visit The Lomaiviti Islands or the Kadavu Islands. Although small, The Lomaiviti Islands are dotted with historical sights showcasing Fiji’s colonial past. You won’t be disappointed by the scenery either, with secret waterfalls and jungle treks on land, and an endless web of stunning coral reef systems by sea.
The Kadavu Islands are even less developedwith only one township, Vunisea offering visitors accommodation options. This is perfect for those seeking a true secluded island experience that can be packed with nature-based activities including game fishing, surfing, snorkelling, sea-kayaking, and scuba diving.
Accommodation in Fiji
You will find almost all the big hotel chains spread across the country including resorts by Outrigger, Sofitel, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton, and the Holiday Inn – just to name a few – so definitely check if one of your faves is available for your planned dates.
If the big names aren’t for you, there are countless smaller resort providers, private villas, or bungalow options available.
For true budget travelers, there are even hostel options with direct beach access, such as the famous Smuggler Cove Resort and Hostel – I have very fond memories of this place as a 21-year-old “flashpacker”! – showing you don’t need to spend big to have access to your own private beach.
Are there extras included in the room-rate or should I budget extra expenses?
Another great thing about planning a Fiji holiday is that a lot of the time, room-rates will include a lot of little extras that in other countries would be excluded. For example, some of the bigger resorts include buffet breakfast, watersports, daily resort activities, and a kids club all included in the room rate. A true blessing for those mums and dads who want to get a bit of alone time during their holiday. These all-inclusive hotel holiday packages are especially common if you decide to stay on one of the other island groups away from Viti Levu.
Be sure to check out what else is available on-site as many of the resort complexes are massive and offer their guests numerous onsite dining options, fitness and wellness services, access to external tour providers, multiple pools, and private beach access.
Is it easy to get to the accommodation?
To make sure guests landing in Fiji feel at ease from the get-go, some resorts offer their own private transfers from the airport to the accommodation included in the room-rate – or have the option available to their guests for an extra fee.
If you are looking at staying somewhere else in the Fijian archipelago, and the accommodation doesn’t have an inclusive transfer option, see our Getting Around Section to determine if it is the best choice for you.
Some interesting things to see and do in Fiji
If you decide to stick around Viti Levu, you may be wondering what else there is to do away from your resort activities.
If your definition of “holiday” means taking a step back and letting others take control for a bit, then there are plenty of tour operators offering half day, full day, and multi-day trips. You can easily book tours onsite at accommodation tour desks, or via online third-party booking sites such as Viator.
If organised group tours aren’t your thing and you like to take part according to your own schedule, here are some of my favourite things to see and do on Viti Levu and some of its surrounding islands:
- Island hop by boat with a “Bula Pass”
- Stroll around Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple – the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere
- Explore the spectacular Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park.
- Take a day trip to the magnificent Taveuna Island
- Visit the Fiji water springs in Yaqara Valley
For lots more information, read our amazing things to do in Fiji post.
Interesting places to eat in Fiji
What’s available in terms of places to eat will depend on where you choose to stay. Of course, if you get sick of eating in your own resort, you can hop over to any of the surrounding accommodations and try what they have to offer. However, this is only if you haven’t isolated yourself on another island group away from Viti Levu.
If you are a bit of a foodie and don’t mind travelling a bit to try some unique local culinary delights, here are a couple of restaurants and traditional dishes I think all travelling foodies should try in Fiji.
Eat at the luxurious Wicked Walu Restraurant. This is an award-winning waterfront seafood restaurant and #1 restaurant in Fiji on Tripadvisor. It is located between Nadi and Suva within the luxury Warwick Fiji Resort.
For an authentic Fijian foodie experience, try to organise a visit to a traditional Fijian Lovo feast. Several resorts offer this special cultural ceremony which involves cooking local produce in a “lovo” or underground oven. In fact, this is what we served at our wedding!
Want to eat a banquet of affordable fresh seafood literally sitting on the sea? Well, you can at Tiko’s Floating Restaurant located in Suva.
If you like to support local business, then it might be worth your while to try The Fiji Food Truck located in Suva. This food truck has over 28K followers on Instagram!
Key things to know before travelling to Fiji
When is the best time to travel to Fiji?
The general climate is warm and tropical with temperatures rarely moving either direction from 26C to 31C degrees all year round. However, due to its tropical location, to avoid any nasty cyclones that commonly tear through this region, the best time to visit Fiji is May through to October. If you do decide to go between November and April, you will still have a fantastic time, but you may experience a few more rainy days and much hotter temperatures.
Is it easy to get around Fiji?
Is it very easy to get around Fiji, especially if you are deciding to stay on Viti Levu or its neighboring islands. There are all forms of transportation options available, including private transfers, car rentals, public transport, ferry services, boat hires, and even seaplanes to some of Fiji’s more remote islands.
Is Fiji Safe?
Fiji is extremely safe in terms of falling victim to a crime. However, like many places, I don’t recommend walking around at night by yourself in Nadi or Suva.
The greatest risk posed to your safety is related to natural disasters. Fiji is geographically located in an earthquake zone and commonly experiences cyclones – some that disrupt essential services on the island. Be rest assured though, your accommodation will have an evacuation plan in place if this unfortunate situation arises during your stay.
My biggest tip in terms of day-to-day safety is to pack plenty of sunscreen – the Sun just hits different in Fiji (trust me, I’ve been severely burnt every time).
Are you ready to say Bula to Fiji?
Fiji is an extremely affordable location for those looking to get away and get some well needed R&R. It is an especially family-friendly travel destination with its endless selection of stunning island resorts that have activities the whole family can enjoy.
Whether you just like to lay by the pool, snorkel through pristine water, drink cocktails on the beach at sunset, or pack your days full of adventurous outdoor activities – then Fiji is an absolute gem of a holiday destination that is only a stone’s throw away from Australia.
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