7 things about Fiji that will make you want to go there

Boozy traditions, ocean conservation and a rich multi-cultural history - there's lots more to the Pacific Island nation than its beautiful islands and beaches.

A traditional Kava drinking ceremony in Fiji
  • Rachel Gray
  • April 2020

Talk about the land that time forgot. Settle in to “Fiji time” and enjoy the Pacific island nation where the welcome is as warm as the tropical weather.

It's the home of kava

Kava (also called yaqona) is an intoxicating drink that’s at the heart of all ceremonial and social events. When entering a village, custom dictates you bring a gift (sevusevu) of kava root and participate in the 3000-year-old tradition of kava drinking. Everyone sits in a circle as the root is pounded to a pulp, mixed with water then strained into a bowl called a tanoa. The village chief drinks first and when it’s your turn – clap once, gulp it down, then clap three times. When everyone has slurped this tongue-numbing drink, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Fiji is going plastic-free

The Pacific island nation plans to be completely plastic-bag free this year in a bid to save marine life from the environmentally unfriendly material, which can take up to 1000 years to disintegrate.

A woman with her back to the camera walking along the beach in Fiji
Fiji is committed to protecting the ocean, the country's lifeblood.

Temples and churches

The largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami in the Fijian tourist hub of Nadi is just one symbol of the nation’s conflation of cultures that includes Indigenous Fijian, Indian, Chinese and European origins. Designed by Indian architect V. Ganapati Sthapati, the colourful temple opened in 1994 but throughout the former British colony – Fiji only gained independence in 1970 – you’ll notice this Christian-majority nation has many churches, which were built after visiting missionaries began converting Indigenous Fijians in the 1800s.

The colourful facade of Sri Siva Subramaniya temple in Fiji
Fiji is home to the largest temple in the Southern Hemisphere.

Coral reefs and lush forests

The Fijian archipelago is made up of about 333 islands but just two of those islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are home to 87 per cent of the population, which stands at about 900,000. Around 90 per cent of the territory is water and scuba divers and snorkellers have nicknamed Fiji the “soft coral capital of the world” because it encompasses more than 4000 square kilometres of brilliantly coloured reef gardens. Back on land, you’ll find tropical forests growing on inactive volcanoes, the highest being Mount Tomanivi.

An underwater image of coral reefs and marine life.
The Pacific nation is known as the soft coral capital of the world for a reason!

Islands of sugarcane plantations

With enough produce to fuel Willy Wonka’s factory, sugar is a huge agricultural export for Fiji. The country produced a whopping 160,204 tonnes of raw sugar in 2018 alone.

They love rugby in Fiji

All sporting roads lead to rugby union in Fiji. Its men’s team is ranked ninth in the world and the sports-mad nation has about 80,000 registered rugby players. That equates to around one in 10 people!

Four men playing rugby on the beach.
Rugby is the most popular sport in Fiji.

It's a multicultural nation

How do you say hello in Fiji? Well that depends on what language you’re speaking. Fiji is one of the few countries in the world where there are three national languages. So, whether you say namaste in Fiji-Hindi, bula in Fijian or plain ol’ hello in English, you’ll be understood and warmly welcomed by the locals who have a reputation for being among the friendliest people on earth.