overview

FIJI ISLANDS

Fiji is an archipelago of over 300 islands in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s about 3,300 km due east of Cairns, and 2000km due north of New Zealand.

The Fiji Islands are volcanic in origin, and as well as the fringing reef surrounding many of the islands, there are also sea reefs including the Great Sea Reef – third largest coral reef system in the world. So although it’s not considered part of the coral triangle, it has plenty of coral reefs – like 1000s of KMs of reef – and is acknowledged as the soft coral capital of the Pacific.

It offers shark diving, snorkelling with ocean going manta rays and every kind of reef: entry level stuff on the islands’ fringing reefs and challenging yet massively rewarding 25m coral stacks like those in Vatu-i-ra.

Most of the dive guides stick with particular operators for a while, so you’ll find them very knowledgeable about the areas they dive guide in. You’ll also find them very friendly.

Dive Sites Around Viti Levu, that are five distinct areas, starting from the top clockwise, they are: North-East from resorts like Volivoli close to Raki Raki. Central South – the main shark-diving areas close to Pacific Harbour and Beqa Lagoon. Coral Coast resorts on the South Coast, either side of Sigatoka. Mamanuca Islands west of Nadi. Yasawa Islands north east of Viti Levu.

Where to Stay Once you’ve worked our which area you want to visit, select accommodation that offers the kind of diving experience you’re after, and suits your budget.

Other Activities Apart from the usual non-diving activities available at the resorts, you can also enjoy a round of golf or go horse-riding – both available at the Intercontinental and Shangri La Fijian resorts.

Weather The climate is tropical with the cooler drier months being May to November with temperatures ranging from 19°C (night time) to 29°C (daytime), and the warmer humid season being (normally) from December to April with temperatures from 22°C to 33°C. Cyclone season in Fiji is November to April and may result in flooding, landslides and disruptions to infrastructure and essential services. It also rains frequently in the cooler part of the year, though in most cases, the rain is in the late afternoon and in the night.

Observing Culture The Fijians are pretty easy-going, but if you are invited into a village, wear modest clothing and take off your hat (wearing one is an insult to the chief) when in the village. Leave your shoes outside the door when entering a home and keep in mind that it’s also insulting to touch someone’s head – which can be tempting when you are surrounded by wide-eyed, smiling children. Fijians are the friendliest people in the world. Your respect for their customs and traditions will not only make you a welcome guest in their villages and homes, but add another dimension to your Fijian holiday Be prepared to shake hands and answer personal questions like, where you are from, are you married, how many children do you have… and so on.

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