Most who visit
Fiji want little more than a white-sand beach, a cloudless sky and the
opportunity to fall into a sun-induced coma under a palm tree. On this
score, Fiji doesn't disappoint. The Mamanuca and Yasawa islands arc
north like a stingray's tail from the body of
and are Fiji's movie stars, dangled in front of the world as idyllic
South Sea Edens – their reefs and cobalt blue waters providing cinematic
eye candy for films such as Tom Hanks' Cast Away and Brooke
Shields' vehicle to stardom, The Blue Lagoon.
Fiji has been in
the tourism business for decades and the
and Denarau island-hopping-escape itinerary has proven to be a winning
formula. Those that arrive with notions of cocktails on alabaster
beaches are seldom disappointed. The underwater scenery is spectacular
and some of the finest, and most accessible, dives in the Pacific can be
found here. Its reputation as the 'soft coral capital of the world' is
well justified and with the opening of the country's first overwater
bungalow resort on Malolo, Fiji remains flushed with sunburnt tourists
despite the 2006 coup.
Fiji's largest island,
a chain of volcanic islands set to rival the better-known
in the popularity stakes. A daily catamaran threads its way from one bay
to the next, dropping off and picking up travellers as it goes. The
are sparsely populated and the rainless dry spells that once made life
so difficult for villagers is proving to be their greatest asset now.
Local communities, inspired by the successes achieved further down the
line, have opened budget 'resorts' and tout their coral gardens and
laid-back charm as 'the real Fiji'.
– as lovely as they are – are only part of the equation and there’s more
to Fiji than can ever be seen from a beach towel.
To get to grips
with the national psyche you have to spend time on either of the two
Two-thirds of the population live in urban centres and it is on
that you’ll find the country’s two cities:
the capital and
a port town reliant on the sugar-cane farms that surround it.