Fiji's Best Islands to Hit up Next Time You're Seeking a Tropical Getaway
From private islands turned into luxury resorts to hidden archipelagos surrounded by coral reefs teeming with turtles and tropical fish.
November 29, 2022
Fiji has cemented its ongoing status as one of the go-to island holiday destinations for Australian travellers. It's a little further abroad than local spots like The Whitsundays and Bali, but the beaches and rainforests of the South Pacific are magical enough to warrant the extra miles.
While you may have spotted honeymooners and influencers paddling about luxury bungalows on stilts in the middle of a private bay (and wished to join) you don't have to empty the bank account to enjoy some of these 300 islands.
Instead, you can island hop at your own pace and budget, finding the best hidden beaches and reefs within the archipelago. Here are some of our favourite spots to help you start planning your next Fiji trip.
This group of 20 volcanic islands is known for being accessible to people on just about any budget. Within small villages, you can find family-run hostels and hotels as well as larger luxury resorts. But one of the most appealing parts of visiting the Yasawa Islands is the culture. Here, you are significantly more likely to come across locals living a traditional island life, running small eateries and fishing off the shores. Unlike the privately owned islands, these haven't been paved and manicured for tourists.
Getting around the islands is also super easy. You can arrive here by ferry and island hop using their Bula Pass — it's essentially a hop-on, hop-off boat pass for the local islands. No need to get a helicopter or private boat to see the best of these authentic parts of the country.
Kadavu is Fiji's fourth largest island and perfect for travellers looking for adventure. The island has been purposely kept wild, letting nature do its thing.
Head to Kadavu Island for hikes up into dense vine-covered forests to find hidden waterfalls and natural springs. Or take to the water on sea kayak tours, paddling from lagoon to lagoon, stopping off at small coral reefs and local villages along the way. You can also take longer treks out to The Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, for more snorkelling and incredible bucket list scuba diving.
Despite being just a 50-minute flight from Nadi (where international flights arrive and depart), this island feels far off the beaten path. The stress and hustle of the big city grind will seem a million miles away while you explore this tropical wilderness.
These famous islands are more orderly and landscaped than the previously mentioned destinations but they're far from being a Joni Mitchell song: they haven't totally paved this paradise yet. You'll find some of most beautiful white sand beaches in these parts alongside a smattering of resorts and private beach clubs. Spend your days island hopping by boat, jet ski or kayak to explore some of the 20 picturesque islands. Great surf breaks are also a starring feature in these parts, with the famous heart-shaped Tiny Tavurua and Namotu island resorts being perfectly situated for any activities involving stellar waves.
Another big drawcard for the Mamanuca Islands, is the ease at which you can get here. It takes about 20 minutes to get here from Nadi via ferry. And, thanks to its popularity, it's also simple to organise trips around the islands — either ask your accommodation to recommend a good one or find your favourite guide hawking their tours on the beach.
Editor's tip: book a romantic seven-night holiday at an adult's only resort here (which includes all transfers, a couple's massage and a dolphin safari tour).
If you're truly wanting to get away from the tourist crowds head to Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji. Here, you'll find just one paved road which connects the two main towns of Labasa and Savusavu (as well as plenty of dirt tracks where the buses and cars will still traverse). Explore the rambling countryside, hike up into the hills and hit up some of the peaceful beaches.
When staying here, make sure you also visit the neighbouring island of Taveuni. It's another of Fiji's forgotten islands (at least when it comes to international travellers), but boasts the stunning Bouma National Heritage Park — a haven for hikers and bird watchers, and home to the famous Tavoro Falls and pools.
A collection of 16 islands make up this region to the east of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, and they are significantly less touristy than the Mamanucas and Yasawa Islands. The inner islands of this group are relatively developed and welcome a small number of tourists regularly. But, as soon as you get to those on the outer islands and the even-further-afield Lau islands, you find yourselves significantly more isolated. It's a lot harder to travel these parts, with only the most patient and well-prepared travellers heading beyond — to be well rewarded for their efforts.
When visiting the Lomaiviti Islands, we recommend you stay on Ovalau or one of its nearby islands which are all connected by colourful coral reefs. Come here to get away from the crowds and experience a more chill island life.
Top images: Turtle Island Resort
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