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Viti Levu Travel Guide
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Around Viti Levu

Viti Levu is Fiji ’s big island measuring 10,390 sq. km comprising almost two thirds of the country’s land mass yet it’s still only half the size of Wales . The island is also the most heavily populated in the South Pacific with a dozen towns and cities along its coastline. Despite this, of all Fiji ’s islands it’s the most pleasurable to explore with an exotic mix of beaches, historical sites, virgin rain forest, waterfalls and remote traditional villages. Viti Levu can be circumnavigated by car in a full day, but to enjoy the sites at least three days is recommended, with a stopover in Suva and Rakiraki most practical. Nadi, the hub of tourism in Fiji and location of the international airport, sits on the sunny west coast with lots of affordable hotels and good restaurants but is devoid of the picture perfect beaches splashed around tourist brochures. It acts as a convenient stopover for moving on to other islands, or as a practical base for sightseeing both the offshore islands and the inland countryside. The south coast of Viti Levu, popularized by the large family resorts of the Coral Coast , is graced by white sandy beaches but with generally poor snorkeling. This was once the premier holiday destination in Fiji but its ageing resorts, flaunted through discounted package holidays to Australians and New Zealanders, are beginning to wear thin in popularity but offer excellent value for money. In between the large resorts are several excellent and very popular budget resorts, some along the coastal road and others tucked away in secluded bays hidden from the highway by the Serua Hills. Beyond is Pacific Harbour , with the fabulous Beqa Lagoon offshore for scuba diving and game fishing, and the oppressive virgin rainforest of the Namosi Highlands with remote riverside villages, pristine waterfalls and white water rafting. The bustling rain drenched capital city of Suva is just forty minutes drive along the coast from Pacific Harbour . The lively cosmopolitan capital city of Suva sits on a five kilometre long peninsula in the south east corner of Viti Levu , backed by steep mountains and fronted by a deep water harbour. Visually it’s one of the most attractive harbour settings of the South Sea ports with sweeping views of rugged peaks shrouded by thundery clouds. The ever growing city skyline continues upwards overshadowing the pretty colonial style buildings along Victoria Parade while the cosmopolitan make- up of young Suva- ites offers an alluring charm with trendy restaurants and a thriving arts culture. The dark side of Suva though is equally visible: homeless, handicapped and belligerent drunks roam the city centre, the harbour and streets are strewn with litter, the air thick with belching bus fumes and a murky political history gives the city a gritty atmosphere. Suburban Suva sprawls north along the Kings Road in an almost constant parade of busy satellite towns to Nausori, an industrial and farming centre with Suva ’s domestic airport. The mighty Rewa River and its surrounding mangrove estuaries is the heart of the political hot seat of Fiji with the historically important provinces of Rewa and Bau which shaped Fiji’s destination but hinders it’s evolution into a modern democratic state. The hilly tropical countryside of East Viti Levu is the least visited part of the main island with some of the prettiest roadside landscapes in Fiji , particularly around Viti Levu Bay along the north east coast. The sun burnt north Viti Levu with its endless sugar cane fields, rolling grassy hills and a mangrove lined ocean is another seldom visited tourist region. Apart from three quirky Indian towns, the pretty beaches of offshore Nananu- i- Ra Island and Fiji ’s most breathtaking traditional village of Navala , there’s little to hold travellers here for long. Getting around The easiest way to travel around Viti Levu is by road, with the busy single lane Queens Road connecting Nadi and Suva along the south coast (4hrs), and the less travelled Kings Road connecting Nadi and Suva via Lautoka along the north coast (6hrs). Stray cattle, especially at night, kids playing on the roadside near villages, speeding mini van drivers, over- laden trucks and deep pot holes make the roads somewhat hazardous. There are no trains apart from industrial sugar train lines and no boat service between towns around Viti Levu . The only domestic airports are Nadi Airport , adjacent to the international departures, and Nausori Airport , half an hour drive north of Suva City . The 30- minute flight between the two depart most hours between 6am and 7pm, serviced by Pacific Sun. Buses Public buses and are the best and safest way to travel with great views of the countryside from the high windows, are extremely cheap and offer regular express and local services Eight passenger mini vans operate between all towns and are quicker than buses, cost approximately the same, but are infinitely more perilous than a bus journey - these operate from designated carrier vans close to the main bus stands in each town although unlicensed drivers prowl the streets for business. Carrier vans with a tarpaulin covered open back travel to all interior villages along dirt roads bringing produce to and from market - ask amongst the market vendors and you should be able to hitch a bumpy ride squashed in the back for $2- $5 depending on the distance. Otherwise, to hire a carrier van with driver costs around $35 for a one hour journey. Organized tours Round island bus tours can be arranged with Feejee Experience which takes four days travelling around Viti Levu overnighting at the Coral Coast , Suva and Rakiraki with sightseeing and activity stops along the way. Numerous day tour companies explore inland Viti Levu from Nadi and Sigatoka . Nadi Airport on the dry and sunny west coast of Viti Levu is the arrival point for all tourists to Fiji. Unfortunately it is a rather uneventful town, set slightly inland from an ordinary beach. Nadi sprawls along a busy road lined with hotels, motels, restaurants, a couple of bars and sub division housing estates. It's a pretty bland place although the mountain views are nice. However, Nadi does make a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside and offshore islands and offers the cheapest resort rooms in Fiji making it an ideal base for a budget holiday. It also offers the lifestyle resorts of Denarau Island which boasts three Sheraton Resorts, a Sofitel, a Hilton, marina, restaurants, boutique shops and a championship golf course with grass tennis courts.

... Detailed Nadi Travel Guide
Nadi Accommodation

The Coral Coast
Fiji's Coral Coast has the largest concentration of beach resorts in the country, with both large and small resorts and lots of organized day tours. Located between 50 minutes and 2 hours drive from Nadi International Airport, the Coral Coast is the ideal holiday destination for families or those who don't want to travel far from the international airport. It is also a great base for mixing a beach and sightseeing holiday and offers excellent value for money compared to the offshore islands.

... Detailed Coral Coast Travel Guide
Coral Coast Accommodation

Pacific Harbour, Suva City & Coconut Coast
Beyond the Coral Coast, 40-minutes by road from the capital of Suva, is Pacific Harbour. This expatriate community has several resorts, independent restaurants and a championship golf course set at the foot of stunning rainforested mountains. The south eastern coast gets more rainfall being Leeward side of the island and consequently the rainforest is lush and vibrant. Pacific Harbour is a great centre for exploring with several river and village tours into the interior as well as a large cultural centre. There are several dive, surf and fishing operators to the excellent Beqa Reef.

Suva, the capital, is a cosmopolitan city set alongside an attractive harbour. There are a few attractive buildings, an excellent museum, and some good shops but there is no beach and only a couple of resorts - most accommodation here is hotel-style for businessmen or hostels. The entire east coast beyond Suva has no attractions and most of the coast is mangrove forests.

... Detailed Suva Travel Guide
Suva Accommodation

Sunshine Coast
The North Coast, sometimes referred to as the Sunshine Coast, is the driest area on the main island, and the least developed. Much of the area is dominated by sugar cane farms and the sugar towns of Rakiraki, Tavua and Ba are quiet trading towns with majority Indian population. The mountains beyond the sugar belt are steeped in traditional legends and here you'll find some very traditional Fijian villages and lovely mountain scenery. One of the highlights is visiting the traditional Navala Village inland from Ba Town with its 100 plus thatch houses. There are virtually no hotels along this coast, few beaches and few tourist attractions. However, the coast and mountains are very scenic and the lack of tourism brings more authenticity to your travels.

Nananu-i-Ra Island is a good spot to stop over for a few days to break the journey along the north coast. The small island lies just 10-minutes off the coast from Rakiraki (about 3-4 hour drive from Nadi Airport) and has a three budget / backpacker resorts. The beaches are some of the best around Viti Levu and there's excellent scuba diving . The grassy hills are good for exploring and offer great views and some archaeological sites. It is possible to walk around the entire island in a day.

... Detailed Sunshine Coast Travel Guide
North Coast Accommodation

Tour Companies
The two main tour companies on Viti Levu are Tourist Transfers (Fiji Experience) and Rosie Holidays. The Fiji Experience offers the most varied and interesting tours in large air-conditioned buses. Their circle around the main island of Viti levu visiting scenic and cultural attractions along the way in a 4 day adventure. Rosie Holidays is the oldest company and operate large 40-seater coaches aimed at general sightseeing. Rosie Holidays have tour desks at 90% of the Nadi hotels and will try emphatically to sell their tours above any one else. It is wise to check out the brochure racks and call direct to make sure you get the right tour. Coral Sun also operate large coaches and focus on the Coral Coast.

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