While this orchid-filled garden is now open to the public, there was once a time when the valley was owned by the actor Raymond Burr. Best known for his role in Perry Mason, Burr purchased these 50 acres at the base of the Nausori Highlands and proceeded to plant over 2,000 different varieties of colorful orchids. Today, the gardens serve as one of Fiji’s most spectacular floral displays, where wooden boardwalks weave through a valley that’s dripping in flowers and ferns. Bring a picnic for a leisurely lunch looking out over the multiple lily ponds, or pay a small, additional fee to visit the actor’s home. For those who want some extra info on the various species of orchids, local guides are available to accompany and tour you around the gardens, and their services are included free of charge along with the general admission. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of flowers, the serene setting can be easily appreciated regardless of your horticulture past.
This tiny, colorful museum in the heart of Fiji is jam-packed with more than 3,700 years worth of island culture, art and traditions. Travelers will find a well-preserved example of the country’s heritage amid the galleries and halls of this local treasure. Whether it’s the impressive 100-year-old Ratu Finau, ancient weapons of war, or the story of cannibalism, there’s something for everyone in this unassuming destination. Though archeological artifacts and other items are well-displayed and clearly marked, travelers say the technology-free Fiji Museum is strictly no frills but definitely worth a visit.
After you’ve experienced the luxurious Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center, airport layovers anywhere in the world won’t ever seem the same. Just minutes from Nadi’s international airport, the center is a sanctuary for weary travelers awaiting their upcoming flight, or a modern retreat for pampering and dining throughout your Nadi stay. If you have time to kill before your flight—or a long layover in Nadi—a transit pass is like having the world’s best airport lounge minutes away. Refresh with a shower, store your luggage, and enjoy a relaxing foot massage, before sinking into a beanbag chair and settling in for a movie. There’s free Wi-Fi for finishing up some work, as well as a café for perking up and satisfying your growing hunger. Head up to the center’s rooftop lounge for a view of the Sabeto, or if you’d prefer to really be pampered before drifting onto your flight, a full service day spa has additional treatments to wish you a fond farewell.
With its teeming markets and non-stop activity, Nadi can be a fascinating city for experiencing Fijian culture. Every now and then, however, you simply need to escape the city and drive out into the country. Go to a place with wide open spaces where the pace of life is slow. For travelers who need a break from the city but are still wanting a bit of adventure, the Sabeto Valley offers a nearby escape that is one the most popular day trips from Nadi.
Set 15 minutes north of the city, this lush valley at the foot of the highlands is a journey to rural Fiji. The Sabeto River winds its way down from the densely-forested interior, and along its route it has carved a valley which is peppered with traditional villages. One of the most popular sights in the Sabeto Valley is the Sabeto Valley mud bath. The locals believe that the mud in this pool has natural healing properties, and you immerse yourself in a pool of mud and let it cake your body.
A town on the island of Viti Levu at the mouth of the Sigatoka River, Sigatoka has become a hub for visitors to Fiji. It is home not only to a large tropical beach, but also an ornate temple, an Eco Park and nearby sand dunes. The scenic area is also famous for its vegetables, giving it the nickname of “Fiji’s salad bowl.”
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, the first in Fiji, contains several miles of windblown coastal sand dunes, some reaching up to 200 feet in height. It is also an archaeological site with ancient pottery and tools that are still being discovered.
Outside of the sands and turquoise waters, there is lush jungle to explore. Sigatoka’s Kula Eco Park is Fiji’s only wildlife park, home to hundreds of species of tropical birds and reptiles. The Sigatoka River is another natural area to wander through. There are also friendly Fijians to meet, a local market and several souvenir shops known for arts, crafts and pottery.
The glorious Mamanuca Islands are picture-postcard Fiji. These are the islands of eternal sunshine, pristine beaches and coconut palms.
Lazing about in the sun is one of the best ways to enjoy the Mamanuca’s and they offer plenty of opportunities from the tiny, uninhabited Monuriki which featured in the movie Cast Away, to Bounty Island where Survivor: Fiji was filmed.
There are plenty of activities to partake in around the islands and snorkelling would have to be one of the most endearing, with fantastic opportunities to view Neptune’s world. There are also some excellent dive sites, especially Gotham City and the Supermarket. If you’re a surfer there are some good breaks around the southern islands.
If you’re keen on calmer activities then the islands of Tokoriki and Navini offer great walks, good native birdwatching and decent game fishing.
A tropical garden paradise awaits you on Taveuni. Rich volcanic soil has made it a stunning nature-lover’s dream with high volcanic peaks covered in lush dense foliage.
Diving around the island is world-class, the surrounding waters are as fertile as the land and you will see sharks, turtles and loads of colorful fish all darting around the spectacular coral reefs. Subsequently the island is home to lots of good PADI approved dive companies. If you’re not keen to dive then most companies offer snorkeling which is also richly rewarding.
The best beaches for swimming are Lavena and Matei on the east and northern coasts. On the south coast there are caves and blowholes that are hard to access but worth exploring.