Fiji (FJ)


Fiji travel guide (Australia & Oceania)

Location: the Republic of Fiji is an island country in the South Pacific and is located about 1200 km north of the coast of New Zealand or 5000 km south-west of Hawaii. The isolated archipelago includes more than 300 islands, 100 of which are inhabited.

Geography:
the two largest volcanic islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu take up 65% of the entire area of land. They rise up abruptly out of the sea and have relatively narrow coastlines. Towards the interior of the islands these flat plains rise up to form mountain chains that are crossed by lush green river valleys. The mountainsides of both islands also feature an abundance of waterfalls, partly falling from a height of 1000 metres. The highest points are on Viti Levu and include the Tomavini, which is the highest mountain in the whole archipelago, with an altitude of 1,324 metres (4343 ft).

Climate and best time to travel:
the climate in Fiji is tropical, humid and warm throughout the year, with only small seasonal temperatures fluctuations, that in general remain at a constant 26° to 28° C during the day. The best time of year to visit Fiji is during the geographical winter between May and October, as there is less rainfall during this time and the climate is more favourable. During the geographical summer between the months of November and April, the weather is very warm and humid and there is also a danger of hurricanes, which, although statistically only taking place once every 10 years, then cause severe devastation. The water temperature has an average of 26° C throughout the year and this makes Fiji an ideal destination for beach holidays. Cheap flights may be purchased especially during the off-season, when the prices for accommodation are also more affordable.  

Language and communication:
the official language is English, Fijian being the national language. The population also speaks Hindi, Mandarin-Chinese as well as Urdu.


Health and vaccinations:
vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to protect against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. Medical care on all of the islands tends not to be of a European standard. Visitors are advised to take out a comprehensive medical and travel insurance, which includes a cover for repatriation costs. A first aid kit should also be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before eating.

Entry requirements:
British nationals do not require a visa for Fiji if planning to visit for less than 4 months, visitors for business purposes are permitted to stay for 14 days. Please contact the Fijian representation in the UK to obtain more information if travelling to Fiji, especially if planning to travel with children.  

Arrival and ongoing journey:
seen from Europe the Fiji islands are at the opposite side of the world and a trip to the islands involves a 24-hour plane journey. New Zealand Air or Korean Air provide flights and these fly to the airport on Viti Levu, Nadi International Airport (NAN). The airport is about 10 km north of the city of Nadi and is also known as the hub of the South Seas. The island also has a second international airport near the capital city Suva (SUV) that is mainly served by Qantas from Australia. Both airports offer a “flight-seeing” trip: a round trip of the islands with magnificent panoramas of the South Seas. It is also possible to commute using the national airlines Air Fiji and Air Pacific and to fly to the other islands: Vaua Levu, Kadavu and Taveuni.

Capital city: the capital Suva on Viti Levu has about 200,000 inhabitants and is the cultural and administrative centre of the archipelago. The main attractions are the Fiji museum that was founded in 1904, the parliamentary building and the botanical gardens where plants from the entire region of the South Seas thrive. There are also numerous Hindu temples and a farmers market that takes place every Saturday.

The national park Colo-i-Suva Forest Park 18 km from the capital is extremely interesting. Here the visitor may enjoy picturesque waterfalls, nature trails, and many small lakes. The 45 metre high sand dunes near the town of Sigatoka and the 70 km long coral reefs that are a divers paradise are without doubt one of the highlights on the island.

Places of interest and beaches:
the islands are mainly volcanic and were inhabited about 4000 years ago by Melanesian and Polynesian peoples. All dreams of the South Seas are answered on these islands. The Fijis with their wealth of corals are one of the most popular places in the world for divers and also provide unforgettable views of the underwater world for the hobby diver. Palms fringe the beaches, the water is glass clear and the powdery, white sandy beaches offer an ideal backdrop for a beach holiday.

The second largest island is Vanua Levu, which means „large country“ in translation. This island is famous especially for its rainbow reef that is also a popular divers destination. Other activities on the island include cycling on the Hibiscus-Highway, and discovering the wealth of flora and fauna. The Wasvula Ceremonial Site, near the capital Labasa, is one of the most remarkable sights on the island: it has a 2 x 77 metre ceremonial platform that was formerly used for ghost and ancestral worship ceremonies.

Taveuni is the third largest island and as a result of its humid climate has a legendary wealth of flora and fauna and also bears the name “Garden Island“. Interesting places on the island include the Bouma waterfalls, the crater lake: Lake Tagimaucia with an altitude of 824 metres, and the memorial stone for the international dateline that is on the island of Taveuni.  Lavena Beach, Charles Beach and the Great White Wall are recommended for swimming and diving.

Religion:
the multiethnic population on the Fiji islands is 52 % Christian. There is also a large minority of Hindus: 38 %, and a smaller minority of 10% of Muslims faith.  

Large cities and accommodation
: Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Labasa and Nausori.