You’ve decided on Fiji as the destination for this year. Confirmed, set in stone and done. Now, where exactly in Fiji’s 333 islands are you heading to? Yasawas, Mamanucas or the Fijian mainland? Aha – there’s fine-tuning to be done for organising and enjoying the right Fijian holiday!
First, the bad news. If you’ve not done basic homework, a holiday in Fiji might very well turn out not as stellar as you’ve hoped. Mundane, even. And there are several reasons which might contribute to it. The resorts might not be what you’ve expected. Too many kids running out and about. Too far or too near hullabaloo for your comfort. Too few activities or too many clamouring for your attention.
Then, you’ve to decide how far would you go? Should you stick to the mainland or venture out to the other island? How many transfers can your little group take, especially if you’ve got toddlers with diaper changes and kids on sugar-rush? Because here, the simple rule applies – convenience is inversely proportionate to beauty. If you want the rustic, untouched beauty, then there will be multiple transfers. It also means that travellers expecting a pub crawl on a single resort island will end up disappointed, duh.
How do you go get that tropical paradise experience you’ve dreamed about?
Fiji is perfect – it has got high-end luxury hotels, family-friendly all-inclusive resorts, adults-only haunts, budget backpacker motels and the like. Each of the above are set in a particular set of the 333 islands. The trick is not to end up where you don’t fit. For example, a family of four will not be at ease in an adventure diving lodge in the Yasawas. A romantic couple on their honeymoon will definitely be down on their luck in an all-inclusive mainland resort of 400 rooms’ capacity! And so on and so forth – you get the idea. Let’s break the problem of the perfect Fijian holiday down.
The Fijian mainland has the most populated and happening city in the South Pacific – Nadi. It has got its fair share of resorts, motels and beauty. From the Coral Coast to Suva and Pacific Harbour, you’ve got five-star offerings, family friendly resorts and more. Because if its closeness to the airport, the mainland is perfect for silver travellers who don’t want to hop around too much.
It is also great for families with very young children – from Australia, the flight is around a Disney movie long! By the time they start getting cranky, you’re off the flight, in a cab and then checking in. Nadi has resorts which are spread out over double-digit acres and have plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation. There’s the Novotel Nadi, the Doubletree Resort on Sonaisali Island, standalone budget-friendly hotels like the Fiji Gateway Hotel, the Tokatoka Resort (which is just two minutes away from the airport!), the Ramada Suites by Wyndham Wailoaloa Beach, the Tanoa Skylodge Hotel and so on.
Nadi has scores of activities and experiences in, out and around the main city such as museum tours, white-water rafting, off-road SUV safaris and the like. (And there’s a lot to do outside Nadi, too – check out our ‘What To Do in Suva’ blog post!)
Denarau, an island complex of resorts, boasts of several five-star resorts close to each other. And travellers will be spoilt for choice here. Take your pick from Radisson Blu Resort Fiji, the Westin Denarau Island Resort, Sheraton Fiji Resort, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa and the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa – a bushel of five-star resorts, if you please. Denarau also has a choice of luxe apartments for long-stay visitors, too! Besides, there’s also the international-quality golf course, the beautiful Denarau port and its marina. Here families, groups and older couples looking for superb comfort, gourmet dining and activities will lack for nothing.
And Coral Coast is no slouch, either. Connected to Nadi by the picturesque Queen’s Road, it hosts names like the Warwick Fiji, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Shangri-La Yanuca Island, Fiji and more. Need something more budget-friendly? Well, there’s the Naviti Resort, Wellesley Resort, Mango Bay Resort… we can go on. The point is, don’t diss the mainland just because it’s the launchpad for a great Fiji holiday. There are pearls right under your feet, good sir.
The Mamanuca group of islands are a half-an-hour boat ride or a 10-minute seaplane flight from the mainland. Known for great diving hotspots, island cruising and island resorts, the Mamanucas are pretty awesome for couples and families with active children. Almost all of the resorts are spread out over the island and have plenty of hiking trails, perfect for exploring the forests. The snorkelling and scuba-diving is pretty great – there are charters for diving, fishing and sunset cruises.
The choice range from all-inclusive stars like the Naviti Resort to family-friendly resorts like the Mana Island Resort, Castaway and Plantation Island; besides adults-only havens like the Tropica Island Resort. The accommodations range from twin bed single rooms to beachfront bungalows and lavish villas. Of course, there are also five-star luxury private island resorts like the Vomo for the all-out, no-holds-barred, luxurious Fijian holiday. Check out their Residence – it’s what rock stars and Hollywood celebrities would stay in with their entourage!
Each of the resorts pride themselves on the freshness of their home-grown produce and just-caught seafood. Despite being separated from the mainland, each of the resorts provide travellers with choice of restaurants and bars. But (as said previously!) don’t go looking for pub-crawls, partying into the morning or a superstore! These resorts provide travellers with an authentic Fijian experience full of water-sports, activities, good dining and comfortable stays – and they excel at it!
Did you know that till 1987, these islands were closed off to the travelling masses? Regarded as sacred, the tribes did not allow foreigners entry at all. Like, forget Fiji holidays, these islands were practically off the map! Even the early 90’s saw only cruises taking day-trippers to the Yasawas. It is only a few years now that resorts have been permitted, allowing people to see the magnificent beauty of these islands. See, you already know quite a lot now about picking out the right fit for a great Fiji holiday – ta-daa!
And beautiful they are. Craggy mountains covered with forests, powdery white sand beaches and some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world! The reefs are brilliant with healthy corals, plenty of marine life and fantastically clear waters. Diving here is fan-freaking-tastic and so are snorkelling and fishing. Plus, you don’t have to share beaches – what a destination for a honeymoon! Swim with manta rays off the waters of Drawaqa or splash about with pods of wild dolphins in Kuata Bay, it’s perfect in every way. (See, you already know a lot now about how to pick out the perfect island and hotel for the right Fiji holiday!)
The Yasawa islands are a bit further off the mainland. The daily catamaran will take around one-and-half hours to reach the chain of islands. If you want to reach quicker and in style, there are seaplane and chopper operations that will have you on the resort’s beach in less than half an hour.
The resorts range from garden rooms in family-owned boutique resorts to two-bedroom villas in private island escapes – you will find the right fit. Check out the Yasawa Island Resort for a Fijian holiday getaway for couples and adventurers; the picture above does less than justice. Then, there is the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort and the Octopus Resort – perfect four-star resorts which provide travellers with a plethora of dive sites, great water-sports, fine dining and comfortable suites.
Again, what goes for Mamanucas applies doubly for Yasawa islands. Instead of fast-food chains, expect to candle-lit dinner under the stars or with other guests in an authentic Fijian-style bure. There is more travel involved than a simple ocean hop, but the rewards are equally fantastic.
Now that you know which part of this island nation is more to your liking, go ahead and book that perfect Fiji holiday! Check out partner resorts for Mamanucas, Yasawa and the Fijian mainland right here. If you want to talk to our experts for more ideas on what to do in Fiji, do just that – pick up the phone and call on 1300 991 751. Our holiday deals package accommodations, transfers, airfare, activities and even bonuses like complimentary nights and experiences – explore them today. Also, for first-time visitors to Fiji, we’ve a great little blog that jots down everything that you need to know before a Fiji holiday!
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