Nadi is the fun-filled launchpad to Fiji's thrills
Nadi is your gateway to all the fun of Fiji. It’s home to Fiji’s main international airport, so everyone heading for a Fiji holiday lands here at Nadi, which is on Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu. This culturally eclectic, tourist-friendly city is a great place to kick off your Fijian adventures.
Fiji is made up of 333 dreamy, beachy islands to hop between and explore. Picture bright, glistening water and technicolour coral and you’re on the right track. Loaded with eco-friendly adventures, surfing and water sports, fun resorts and cultural offerings, this lush Pacific nation is one perfect holiday destination.
If you’re book-ending your holiday with a few days in Nadi, there’s plenty of fun to be had. After some quality beach time, check out the Sleeping Giant orchid gardens, Waqadra Botanical Gardens and the 'presidential village' of Viseisei, the site of the islands’ first settlement.
Things to do: Nadi
Island-hop the Mamanucas
So gorgeous that they starred in the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away and TV’s Survivor: Fiji, the Mamanucas are a chain of 20 islands near Nadi and the resort hub of Denarau. They are blessed with crystal clear waters, palm-fringed beaches and oodles of coral. The island chain is a resort paradise of restaurants, snorkelling, diving, kayaking and surfing. You can also go stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing, parasailing, dolphin-watching, catamaran riding and sun worshipping. And any other beach-based pleasures you might want to dream up.
Climb the Sigatoka Sand Dunes
Scramble up dunes up to 60m high, explore archaeological sites 2000 years old, marvel at ancient artefacts and catch sight of rare birds in native dry forests. All this can be found by following Queen’s Highway out of Nadi to the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. It’s first of its kind on the islands and a site that’s under consideration for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Explore the Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Actor Raymond Burr is best remembered as the star of late-night TV staples Ironside and Perry Mason, but this passionate horticultural hobbyist also left this gift to garden posterity. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is located in the foothills of the Nausori Highlands, 6km north of Nadi airport, and its 2000 varieties of Asian orchids are the big drawcard. The garden’s huge expanses of manicured lawn and rainforest canopy-covered boardwalk make this the ideal spot for some serenity in the wake of an adrenaline-charged visit to the Mamanucas.
Go white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon
Unlike its celebrated counterpart in Arizona, Fiji’s 'Grand Canyon' – Viti Levu’s waterfall-fed, rapids-rich Upper Navua River – carves a deep, volcanic rock-walled pathway through nearly 30km of pristine rainforest that’s alive with wildlife before emptying into the ocean. Needless to say, a trip along this utterly breathtaking river gorge is a whitewater-rafting enthusiast’s dream.
Coral dive at Bligh Water
There’s no shortage of dive sites in Fiji but the Bligh Water, off the glorious northern coast of Viti Levu, is in a class of its own. Reached via an unforgettable two-hour drive, the Bligh Water is home to strong currents that carry nutrients to the area’s soft corals. You’ll see why Fiji is known as 'the soft coral capital of the world'. Toss in huge schools of tropical fish, barracuda and turtles and you’ve got the diving trip of a lifetime.
Distance to city centre 8km
Taxi A taxi into Nadi town will take around 10 minutes and cost about FJD $15.
Bus Local buses from just outside the airport go into Nadi and cost around FJD $2.
Shuttle A number of companies run shuttle services to Nadi (around FJD $10) and around the island. Also check with your hotel for their shuttle service.Back to top
When to go
June to September marks Fiji’s cool, comfortable, dry season, and July and August are peak period for tourists. The warm and humid wet season, which runs from November to April, typically sees periods of several days of heavy rain followed by periods of intense sunshine. Nadi and the bulk of Fiji’s resorts are on the dryer, western side of Viti Levu.
Hindu Holi or the Festival of Colors is celebrated in Fiji in February or March with much splashing of coloured water while Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is marked with fireworks and candles in October or November. The mid-year Bula Festival is Nadi’s annual, city-wide celebration, featuring music, performances and parades, while the Lautoka Sugar Festival takes place in September.Back to top
The fares for local minibuses (with number plates bearing the letters 'LM' for licensed minibus) are eminently affordable and the buses stop just about anywhere, not just at bus stops (so if you’re in a hurry, this is not the way to go).
Taxi fares are also cheap and drivers are even willing to negotiate lower prices. Just settle on the fare before you start your journey. Use only taxis with number plates bearing the letters 'LT' (for licensed taxi). There’s no dispatcher for taxis so ask your driver for his card (with phone number) so you can call next time you need transport.Back to top