Fiji, Melanesia

Countless islands with pristine beaches surrounded by warm, clear water and coral reef make up the Fiji Islands. It is pure bliss for sunbathers, surfers and snorkelers alike. Volcanoes helped form the varied landscape which features tropical rainforests, mountains and hot springs. You can find a blend of mid-range and luxury resorts scattered across the postcard-pretty islands.

Fiji’s time zone is ahead of most of the world. While this does not allow you to predict the future, it is a source of pride among locals. The tropical marine climate hardly fluctuates year-round making it a perfect destination most of the year. For near perfect weather, try May to October when there is less chance of rain and extreme heat.

You’ll find such an abundance of tropical paradises you won’t know what to do first. You can even reserve an island. 

Book the 4-hectare (10-acre) Nanuku Island for a romantic getaway in utter seclusion. It is 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) from its nearest neighbour. Go back to basics by drinking rainwater, showering outdoors with a bucket and using composting toilets. Take a guided tour of the island to explore the beach, reef and jungle terrain.

Are you brave enough to swim with sharks? Take a boat to Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu to scuba dive with these majestic but scary creatures. Swim among fish and soft corals in caverns or sunbathe on a beach along the coast.

The main island of Viti Levu offers a host of novel activities. Visit the Sleeping Giant Zipline, a 14-hectare (35-acre) eco-friendly park. Whiz through the tropical setting on any of the ten zip lines scattered throughout the Sabeto Valley at the foot of the Sleeping Giant Mountain. Relax in the natural spa at the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool.

Learn about local culture in the capital city through fascinating archaeological relics at the Fiji Museum and the sights, smells and sounds of Suva Municipal Market.

You can’t visit Fiji without trying the local food which harks back to its days as a British colony. Typical of islands in the South Pacific, expect to see mountains of exotic fruit, fish and coconut milk. You can also frequent the Indian and Chinese restaurants for a fusion that better reflects the country’s current demographic. Watch out for the yaqona drink, which contains a mild narcotic.

Fiji’s largest main transfer hub is the Nadi International Airport on the west coast of the island of Viti Levu. It is 190-kilometre (118-mile) drive that should take around 2 hours from Fiji’s capital city, Suva. Boats also arrive from Australia’s east coast. Take cheap taxis to get around on land and ferry transfers to hop to other islands.

For your own little slice of paradise, explore Fiji’s secluded islands, vast stretches of white-sand beaches and intricate networks of coral reef.

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