Nadi is the gateway to Fiji and sits on the western side of Viti Levu. It has a population of more than 10,000 and because of its proximity to the international airport, it essentially caters to tourists. Facilities include accommodation of all kinds, restaurants, nightlife, duty free shopping, sightseeing tours and inter-island cruises.
The town itself is small in comparison to the capital, Suva, but is still a bustling centre of business with 18 hotels dotted along its undulating coastal fringe, providing holiday makers with everything they desire. It also acts as a gateway to other Fijian destinations.
The Coral Coast
The Coral Coast is 80 kilometres of barrier reef beaches. It is on the sheltered southern side of Viti Levu and about half way between Nadi and Suva. The temperate climate and great variety of accommodation - from international resorts to self-contained 'bure' cottages - make it a popular tourist retreat.
The resorts offer great recreation facilities, restaurants, cultural performances and nightlife, while the pristine waters and reefs create an underwater paradise for snorkeling and diving. You can throw in a line with the locals or take out a charter vessel for game fishing. There are some spectacular surf beaches too, and for those wanting to take in some nature, history and culture - visit the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, where shifting sands and archaeological digs continue to reveal skeletons and pottery artifacts dating back to 15 BC, or the Kula Eco-Park in Korotogo which displays rarely seen indigenous species.
Head for the hills into the beautiful Sigatoka Valley, aptly named The Salad Bowl of Fiji, a colourful patchwork of agricultural fields, Fijian villages, Indian settlements, temples and volcanic hills. It offers spectacular scenery and a fascinating history of the Tongan tribes who were the last to resist Christianity.
The Mamanuca (pronounced Mah-mah-noo-tha) islands lie in a majestic arc, only a short distance from the mainland of Viti Levu, curving to the north-west, and almost touching the Yasawa chain. There are 13 islands in all, not counting those covered by the Pacific at high tide and they all share in common pristine white sandy beaches, waving palms, crystal blue waters and, at night, the cooling influence of the trade winds.
The Mamanucas are essentially volcanic outcrops pushed up from the ocean floor in a gigantic earthquake thousands of years ago. Some are especially significant in Fijian folklore. A number of resort islands are scattered throughout the Malolo group, each offering comfortable casual bure (Fijian style cottage) accommodation, a relaxing holiday atmosphere and a range of water activities. There are boat excursions, fishing trips and water sports including water skiing, wind surfing, snorkeling, diving, sailing, speed boat riding, and coral viewing.
The Yasawa Islands
The Yasawa Islands have a different ambience. They are a chain of 16 volcanic islands and dozens of tiny islets stretching 80 km in a north-east direction off the west coast of Viti Levu. They are special because of their beautiful, isolated beaches, cliffs, bays and reefs, unspoiled by much tourist development. Because they sit in the lee of Viti Levu, the Yasawas are dry and sunny with crystal clear waters.
It was from the north end of the Yasawas that two canoe-loads of cannibals appeared in 1789 and gave Captain William Bligh and his 18 companions a chase, less than a week after the famous mutiny. Two centuries later, cruise ships ply the island chain and its waters, while more and more luxury resorts dot the islands' foreshores. The group was romanticized in the movie 'The Blue Lagoon' twice, once in 1949 with Jean Simmons and again in 1980 with Brooke Shields.