BULA! – WELCOME TO FIJI.
In February/March 2016, many communities across Fiji were devastated by the massive Category 5 Severe Cyclone Winston, with a death toll of 44. Fijians were left without proper food and water for weeks, disease breakouts and lack of electricity options harboured efforts for fast repair, but now, only a few months later, Fiji is the place to be once again.Most of the resorts that were damaged by the cyclone have now been repaired, and the locals are more than ready for your tourist dollar. Fiji Airways are one of the first to put a plan into action, and are offering very special deals and the locals need Australians to visit now more than ever.Our top 5 places in Fiji to visit this year are below:1: Hike the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park Trails.The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is Fiji’s first National Park and was established in 1987 to protect a unique natural and cultural heritage site. The Park is open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Its Visitor Information Centre is manned by local rangers, who provide an informative introduction to the Park’s status and how to traverse its walking tracks.
Visitors can take the 1 hour walk or the 2 hour walk to explore this unique ecosystem or seek a guided tour from the local rangers onsite. Both walks provide visitors an opportunity to experience first hand the key attributes that make the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, a well-known national heritage. We recommend the 2 hr walk for a full on ‘Dunal experience’.
Two popular Park activities include a visit to the old archaeological sites to see ancient Lapita artefacts and bird watching in the Park’s pockets of Native Dry Forests. The Park also runs a Going Native program which sees visitors helping local rangers and local community volunteers replant native trees. The Park is a popular destination for many international student groups wanting to experience Fijian culture, history and wilderness. Specially designed programs are available for visitors wanting to make their visit to the Park more experiential and memorable. For details on the Park’s special programs, please contact the Park.
2: Surf some of the world’s best breaks in Fiji
While most of Fiji’s waves break onto the reef and are therefore better for the more experienced surfer, surf schools and beach breaks are also available for keen learners and rookies. You can mix it up on a variety of left and right-handers and are quite often sharing waves with only a handful of fellow wave warriors. Fiji is best known in the surfing world for the iconic Cloudbreak. Attracting scores of surfers each year, even the pros flock to Fiji to surf the incredible 20 foot super swells often enjoyed. Fiji is great for surfing year-round but is best between now and October when consistent swells as high as 8-10 feet roll in. Surfing Fiji is nothing short of epic.
3: Fiji’s Watersports Paradise on the island of Nananu-i-ra.
Situated about 1.5kms north of Viti Levu, roughly midway between Nadi and Suva on the Kings highway, lies the coastal township of Rakiraki, the departure point for the short boat ride to Nananu-i-ra. Boats from the island will pick up and drop off at Ellington Wharf.
Compared to the ever popular Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, this place is very laid back. Enjoy the spectacular, yet uncrowded beaches, and make the most of water sports activities like windsurfing, SUP, snorkelling, diving, and game fishing. There are some terrific dive sites in close proximity to Nananu-i-Ra, which range from beginner to experienced, and there is snorkelling right off the beach. It is also possible to take a short boat ride out to some of the outer reefs for some exciting dives.
4: Climbing Fiji’s Highest Mountain – Mount Tomanivi
Mount Tomanivi (formerly Mount Victoria) is an extinct volcano located in the northern highlands of Viti Levu. At 1,323 metres, the mountain can be summited in a single day (roughly a 5-6 hour round trip), if the weather is perfect, leaving you plenty of time to get back to the resort pool with a cocktail, before sunset. If there is a lot of rain leading up to your climb day however, you can expect to double your ascent and descent times. Fiji has pretty consistent temperatures throughout the entire year, but the best times to climb are during the cooler months, June to August.
5: Sailing the Lau Islands
The Lau group of islands in Fiji’s Far East offer a serenely untouched vista of exotic bays and safe harbours where locals live as they did before Fiji was discovered by Europeans. You’ll need special permission to visit this group, but if you do, you’ll be treated to a unique view of Fijian culture. Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, is a popular cruising destination, containing the small community of Savusavu and a range of resorts in relatively close proximity. For a taste of what life was like in Fiji’s colonial days, cruise around Ovalau Island and visit Levuka, the country’s first capital. Nearby, the islands of Gau, Batiki and Nairai are virtually untouched, consisting mainly of villages. To experience Fiji’s truly pristine environment, sailing through Kadavu is a must. The fourth-largest island in the group, Kadavu is remarkably untouched, containing a mixture of volcanic peaks and magnificent rainforests which sweep down to the water’s edge. If that doesn’t quite give you your fill of eco-goodness, continue on through Teveuni, the Garden Island of Fiji, where everything is a brilliant, vibrant green. The island has fabulous waterfalls in national parks; lush rainforests filled with birdlife and beautiful mountain treks.
To book accommodation and tours, visit http://www.fiji.travel/au