Backpacker Travel Fiji Islands

Backpacker Travel Fiji Islands

Travel Fiji

fiji island image

LIFE is not fair. Not only does Australia have the perfect climate, natural wonders, fascinating wildlife, gorgeous women, etc, it also has the paradise islands of Fiji off its north coast.

So much to discover and explore

With over 300 islands, even the most hardened (some would say pompous) travellers cannot claim to have “done” Fiji, but there are certain islands that must be visited. Chief among these is the largest in the archipelago, Viti Levu (literally translating to the “Great Land”). This is where 99 per cent of tourists begin, and of those, 98 per cent land in Nadi, on the Western coast.

Third Largest City in Fiji

Although not the capital, and only the third largest city in the islands, this is the tourist hub, mainly because it is a great base to see the rest of the paradise isles. If you do end up here (which you inevitably will), there are a host of day trips around the port. The most popular is the trips to the Mamanucas and Yasawas, home of incredible beaches, though it would be a travesty to go to either group for one day as they deserve a lot more time than this.

resort in fiji with swimming pool

Lots to do in Nadi

This is not to say there is nothing to do in Nadi itself. To add a bit of culture to your trip (if only to show your parents that all that money they gave you – don’t deny it – wasn’t completely wasted) visit the Hindu Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple. Visitors are welcome, as long as you respect the customs. As well as this, the city is surrounded by the wonderfully named Sleeping Giant mountain range, which at its foothills has the equally wonderfully named Garden of the Sleeping Giants, perfect for taking your loved one for a romantic picnic. If you do not have that special someone, then go along to remind yourself that you are still allowed to keep friends and go out for drinks after work.

Suvu the Capital city of Fiji

The capital, Suvu, is a four hour drive from Nadi on the eastern side. For a capital city, this is laid-back. People actually smile! I had never imagined such a thing would be possible in a capital city. It is cosmopolitan in comparison to the rest of the pacific islands and, although no Sydney or Melbourne in terms of night-life, there is enough to keep you hardened party animals going. Daytime activities are aplenty, including a fascinating municipal market as well as the Museum of Fiji and a permanently empty Olympic sized outdoor pool, perfect for cooling down – which you will inevitably need to do.

Fiji is Paradise

But, although the main island is something that cannot be missed, the first thing you think of when thinking Fiji is paradise beaches. There are decent beaches on Viti Levu (especially Natadola Beach, a short hop from Nadi), but for those white-sanded, coconut strewn havens so beloved of marketing men, you could do a lot worse than visiting the Mamanucas and Yasawas island groups.

Bounty Island could be a setting for one of those photos that you would have on a poster on your wall. It truly is what we would define as paradise.

Mamacumbas Islands Fiji

The islands of Mamacumbas are too numerous to go through, but it is definitely worth a look at Beachcomber, which has the reputation as the party island of the group. Another thing to add is that, with names like Bounty Island, Treasure Island, and Castaway Island – where the Tom Hanks film of the same name was filmed.

Yasawaras more raw.

The Yasawaras are not as developed as the Mamanucas, but this adds to the charm. For those that do not want to have to jump in the back of a lorry to enter Tibet whilst dodging Chinese soldiers on the border, this is a way of developing your own travelling adventure stories to retaliate against those horrible, nauseating bores that think that travelling is a challenge and not something to be enjoyed. This feels like you are really sampling Pacific life, but are being rewarded by some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see – the best arguably being Orsmans Bay on Nacula. You may find it tough to live without an ATM machine around the corner, but you really will not regret this.

Friendly people in Fiji

It is impossible to write a feature on Fiji without mentioning the people. They truly are some of the friendliest you will meet. Many travel books rightly tell of respecting customs and often frighten you with tales of how easy it is to insult, but it seemed to me that the islanders were going out of their way to not insult you and, if you did make a mistake, they put this down to ignorance and did not hold it against you – you will no doubt be offered cups of tea by the locals. It is the most multi-racial country in the South Pacific and the culture is a mish-mash of Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese and European influences which, if nothing else, makes for a wonderful cuisine.

fijian men performing a kava ceremony

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