Turquoise water, white sand, palm trees, a blissfully slow pace and only a four-hour flight from Sydney. It’s no surprise Australians flock to Fiji – Aussies account for more than half of the tourists who visit this idyllic cluster of tropical islands annually. To help you plan a holiday to Fiji, we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know before you go, including which parts to see and the best time of year to visit.
Fly with Qantas leaving from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Sydney (there are four direct flights between Sydney and Nadi each week). The flight time ranges from three to five hours, depending on your departure city.
Australian passport holders do not require a visa to travel to Fiji for tourism purposes. Visas for stays of less than four months are issued on arrival, as long as you can show proof of a return ticket and accommodation.
Flying into Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport is located about 10 kilometres outside the city of Nadi on the island of Viti Levu. It’s 192 kilometres northwest of Fiji’s capital, Suva. Connect to a domestic flight or a boat transfer to one of Fiji’s many islands or drive 20 minutes to the resorts of Denarau Island.
Possession of any quantity of an illegal drug could result in a prison sentence. It’s illegal to be inebriated at an airport or on a plane in Fiji. If in doubt, exercise caution.
The language barrier
English is widely spoken in Fiji, as are Fijian and Hindi.
SEE ALSO: Which Fiji Resort is Right for You?
Customs and etiquette
‘Fiji time’ is real – the slow pace of life means things can sometimes take longer than they might in other places. Be patient and respectful when waiting for service in a restaurant or elsewhere, and never raise your voice – it might be interpreted as rude.
When visiting a village, dress modestly, take off your shoes and hat before entering a home and smile at at everyone you pass – it's considered poor form not to acknowledge each other.
One Australian dollaris equiavelent to $1.50 Fijian dollars at the time of writing – check a reliable currency conversion service for up-to-date exchange rates.
Even if you mostly plan on planting yourself in a hammock at an all-inclusive resort (likely) make sure you have a wad of cash handy for any trips to nearby villages. While there are ATMs (including outlets from Westpac and ANZ) in Nadi and at some hotels, smaller towns rely on cash.
Medical facilities in Fiji are not as comprehenseive as in Australia, with regional hospital generally providing a basic level of services. Make sure you puchase travel insurance before your trip.
Outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and Zika virus, have been known to occur in Fiji. Apply insect repellent at all times and cover up with long clothing as much as possible in rural areas.
Kava, a traditional alcoholic drink, can be dangerous. Smart Traveller recommends Australians avoid it, especially if taking medications including anti-depressants.
Nadi International Airport is on the island of Viti Levu. To get to the other main island, Vanua Levu, and elsewhere in Fiji, it’s possible to take a short domestic flight, a ferry or a resort boat transfer, depending on your destination. Metered taxis are plentiful on on the main islands.
The climate in Fiji is tropical and mild. Average temperatures range from about 25-31 degrees Celsius year-round. The seasons are similar to Australia – it’s warmer November through to April and cooler bewteen May and October.
When to go
Fiji’s wet season coincides with its summer. Rainfall is significantly higher November to April, although downpours tend to be limited to just an hour or two in the afternoons. Travellers looking for as much sunshine as possible should visit between May and October, although prices are higher and the beaches are more crowded in response.
Fiji is generally a safe place to travel. However, visitors to Fiji may fall victim to petty crimes such as theft or ATM skimming. Avoid walking alone at night in urban areas, particularly downtown Suva, lock your car if you have one and keep expensive valuables out of sight as much as possible.
The water that comes out of the tap in Fiji is not the same as that famous brand of bottled water. It’s generally safe to drink the tap water at major hotels and in popular tourist areas like Nadi and Suva, but some visitors do complain about the taste. Outside of these centres, tap water may not be safe to drink.
Fiji is a tropical holiday destination, so feel free to dress in clothes you’d typically wear to the beach. But if visiting a traditional village, dress more conservatively (see customs and etiquette above).
Smart Traveller recommends all visitors to Fiji take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover overseas medical costs, including evacuation.
SEE ALSO: The Best Family Friendly Fiji Resorts
Where to stay
There are a plethora of resorts and hotels to choose from in Fiji. The beaches near Nadi, mainly Wailoaloa and Denarau Island, are the most convenient locations for international travellers, just 20 minutes from the airport.
The Mamanuca Islands and Yasawa Islands are just off the western coast and can be easily reached by boat, seaplane or helicopter – you’ll be at your hotel within a few hours of touching down at Nadi International Airport.
The Coral Coast, on the southern end of Viti Levu, is another popular spot for tourists. It’s best to organise a transfer for the one-hour drive from the airport.
Those who want to get off the beaten path should visit Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island. It’s less tourism-oriented but has a range of accommodation options.
Where to find a secluded beach
The beach at Oinafa, Rotuma: You can't get more remote than Rotuma, a 2.5-hour flight off Fiji's coast. The Fijian territory is home to a special mix of traditional Fijian and Polynesian culture, with the picturesque shores of Oinafa Beach on the island's north east coast one of Fiji's most guarded secrets.
Savusavu Beach: Located on the Coral Coast, the clear waters of Savusavu are filled with native sea life, including parrotfish, clownfish and giant clams, making it a top pick for your snorkelling and scuba adventures.
Horseshoe Bay: The idyllic shores of Matangi Island, including Horseshoe Bay, are only accessible if you're on a yacht or staying at the private resort. If you're a guest, take lunch in the hotel's specially designated picnic bure that rests on the shore.
Nacula Bay: Head to Nacula Bay on Nacula Island for turquoise blue water and white-sand beaches. The beach is fed by a lagoon that hosts a range of coral and sea life for keen snorkellers and divers.
Honeymoon Beach: Hidden in the private paradise of Turtle Island Resort, Honeymoon Beach is the spot to go for total seclusion. The resort is only open to 14 guests – the same amount of beaches on the island.
Phone calls and mobile data
Australian phones will work in Fiji, but you will incur international roaming fees. Before you land, disable data roaming, don’t answer incoming calls, then purchase a local SIM card at the airport. Or don’t –real life can wait until you get home.
To call Australia, dial +61 followed by the phone number – including the area code minus the zero. So, to call a Sydney landline telephone, you would dial +61 2 then the phone number. To call a mobile phone, use the same country code and dial the mobile number minus the first zero.
If you have an Australian phone or local SIM, you’ll be able to access fast internet in populated areas, although coverage can be patchy in rural parts of Fiji. Wi-fi is available at most hotels, many restaurants and other public places.
In Fiji the voltage is 240V, compared to Australia’s 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz, the same as Australia, so most devices will work without issue. The electrical wall socket is conveniently the same shape as Australia, so you don’t need an adaptor.
Handy apps and websites
Find Fiji to locate restaurants, shops, accommodation and other local businesses.
Tourism Fiji for researching destinations, hotels, activities, tours and more.
XE for currency conversion.