If anyone tells you they've already 'done' Fiji, it's worth telling them this: Fiji is hardly a single island destination, there's actually over 330 islands sitting in 150 000 square kilometres of Pacific Ocean. Should you wish to visit every island with some form of accommodation option on it, it would take a lifetime of romantic getaways. But what an undertaking that would be, for Fiji ranks as one of the world's ultimate romantic destinations and what's more, it's just a four and a half hour flight from Australia's east coast and is just two hours ahead – meaning you'll suffer not a single night of jet lag.
The beauty of Fiji is the variety of romantic options it offers. Should you wish, Denarau Island on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, offers you the choice of major hotel chains, with world-class 18 hole golf courses, boutique shopping and every land and water-based activity imaginable. But then there's the other extreme – Fiji also offers you a taste of Pacific life virtually as it was centuries ago. On islands such as Kadavu, just 100 kilometres or so south of Denarau Island, there's still few paved roads and hardly a resort, just kilometres of pristine beaches and towering mountains in an interior that's impossible to cross.
Or there's the island of Taveuni, with its handful of low-key, but high-class, romantic accommodation options, dubbed 'The Garden Island' because one third of the island is World-Heritage-Listed National Park home to some of the world's rarest species of animals and plants (like the exquisite Tagimaucia – 'Crying Tears Of Despair'). Or the Yasawa Island group, which have only been open to land-based tourism since 1987 and are still under the ownership of local chiefs who still live in traditional villages. Or you might choose a tiny island of your own far out in the sea miles from your nearest neighbour, Fiji offers so many, take a seaplane or fast boat there then never leave, there's something quite cosy about choosing a home that can be circumnavigated before breakfast.
But it's the people, as much as the perfect beaches and the impenetrable mountainous hinterlands, that make Fiji. An eclectic collection of Melanesians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indians, Chinese and ex-pat Europeans, many still live a traditional lifestyle far away from modern intrusions. You can visit ancient fishing villages and agricultural settlements deep in the interior of Viti Levu. The International Dateline crosses through Fiji's northern islands but it seems to make little difference in Fiji if it's tomorrow, yesterday or today.
Fiji is located 2800 kilometres east of Australia between Tonga and Vanuatu and is a four and a half hour flight from Sydney.
Top Three Things To Do:
1. Cruise the Yasawas by boat – traditionally the only way to see these pristine islands at all, it's still the best way to see Fiji's most charming island group.
2. Take a day trip to Viti Levu's Nausori Highlands where villagers still live a traditional lifestyle - it makes for an interesting change from lazing on perfect beaches and swimming in warm lagoons!
3. Head to Fiji's second largest island, Vanua Levu, and check out Fiji's most interesting town, Suvasuva. It's built on hot springs so steam rises from the ground (not that you need it more steamy), you can also check out one of the South Pacific's most famous bars, The Planters Club, and ride the Hibiscus Highway to perfect, secret beaches.
For a thrilling expedition to the heart of Fiji, join the Sigatoka River Safari on the Sigatoka River – the longest river on Viti Levu, cutting through the spectacular Coral Coast. Your jet boat driver will whisk you at super high speed to a nearby village, where you will be met by a local guide to experience a day in the life of the real 'kaiviti' (Fijian) – a genuine village experience... and you might even get some heart racing 360 degree spins thrown in on your return trip up the river. So much fun! sigatokariver.com
Westerzaif Tours runs a great half day tour that takes in a walk through the grounds of the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple (the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere), a visit to a local market where you can pick up some kava supplies to take home with you, and a walk through the beautiful orchid gardens of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. You end the day covered in mud at the popular Sabeto Hot Springs, washed down in the therapeutic waters that are naturally set at 30-32°. It's both a hilarious and a relaxing ritual... and you can even get a traditional Fijian Bobo massage at the on-site massage huts.
Fiji Airways offers regular direct flights to Nadi International Airport from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne aboard their newly branded and stylish fleet of A330.