What's Good Fiji?

 Whats Good Pacific? 

Where is Fiji?

Fiji is a group of 333 South Pacific islands  (and countless islets). Part of Melanesia, the  archipelago lies south-east of Papua New Guinea, east of Vanuatu and north-west of Tonga, and sits roughly at the same latitude as Cairns, Australia. Fiji was a British colony until 1970. Following a series of coups d’etat, it was declared a republic in 1987. The main (and largest) island of Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, and gateway city of Nadi (pronounced ‘Nandi’). The airport here is connected to more than 20 international destinations. Visitors  overnighting near Nadi usually head to Denarau  Island, home to nine resorts and hotels. Denarau  also houses a marina, from where you board ferries and boats to reach smaller, more scenic islands. Fiji’s second-largest island is Vanua Levu.

What languages do they speak?

Fiji’s three official languages are English, Fijian  and Fiji Hindi (Indo-Fijians make up 38 percent  of the population).

What’s there for visitors?

Visiting Fiji is all about soaking up tropical  island life. Divers and snorkellers are drawn to Fiji, known as the soft coral capital of  the world, for its eye-popping underwater  pleasures. Others come to laze on a beach,  enjoy time in a spa and slurp cocktails  (or a half-shell or two of kava) by the pool.

Another attraction is the warmth and  friendliness of Fijians, who greet visitors  with an exuberant “bula”.

What makes the economy tick?

With tourism a major economic driver (morethan 12,000 hotel rooms are offered across the islands), the pandemic left a deep scar. Many tourism professionals returned to their villages to help on family farms. However, visitor  arrivals in June this year topped numbers for  June 2019, solidifying Fiji’s tourism bounceback. Fiji also manufactures garments, which are among the country’s major exports along  with bottled water, fish and sugar.

What is the currency?

Fiji’s currency is the Fijian dollar.

What are the highlights?

Take your pick of how you want to enjoy  Fiji’s picture-postcard islands. From Denarau  Marina, embark on a day trip – maybe to  Mana Island, where the US Survivor TV series  is filmed – or head out to a party pontoon  such as Cloud 9 off Malolo Island. On Viti  Levu’s Coral Coast, Sigatoka River Safari is an  adrenalin-pumping jet boat ride incorporating  a village visit.

Anything unusual?

Fiji’s only UNESCO World Heritage site is  on the island of Ovalau, off Viti Levu’s east  coast. Inscribed on the list in 2013, Levuka  Historical Port Town was Fiji’s first colonial  capital and a bustling hub bursting with bars  and boarding houses. With copra sheds,  bond stores, port facilities and religious,  educational and social institutions  intermingled with indigenous villages, it’s a fascinating example of co-existing European,  US and islander cultures. Today, you can still  visit the timber post office, built in the 1870s,  which was Fiji’s first post office. After the  capital relocated, a ‘pigeongram’ service  operated between Levuka and Suva, with  pigeons delivering news to The Fiji Times in a mere 22 minutes.

_Paradise Magazine / Whats Good Pacific 

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