Fiji is a holiday destination with so much to offer. The 333 beautiful islands lure travelers with white sand beaches, blue waters, soft corals gardens, extreme sports and warm Fijian Hospitality. Volunteers can spend their weekends exploring areas near Suva and Levuka, or after their volunteer program they can take some time to island hop some of the most beautiful locations on earth. We have listed some of the popular destinations and activities in Fiji below, however this is only an introduction to the experiences Fiji can offer.
In and Around Suva
The volunteer accommodation in Nausori is only a short bus ride from the centre of Suva city. Here you can buy tropical fruit from the fresh fruit market and search for souvenirs at the Suva craft market. For a freshwater dip, volunteers can head to Colo-I-Suva. Colo-i-Suva is an oasis of lush rainforest, teeming with tropical plants and featuring 6.5km of walking trails to explore. The highlights of Colo-I-Suva are the natural swimming pools which are fed by Waisila Creek. The swimming holes are a local favourite and are busy with barbequing families in the weekend.
For those volunteers interested in traveling further afield, there are endless fascinating destinations and activities to choose from, including Pacific Harbour and the Coral Coast, relaxing on the white sand beaches of Mamanucas or diving with manta rays in the Yasawa’s. You may want to base your travel plans on some main activities listed below, or you may want to travel to wherever the trade winds take you.
Diving and Snorkling
Almost every body of water in Fiji offers good diving or snorkelling opportunities recommendations for the best diving sites are dependent on what you are interested in and your level of skill or experience. The diving in Ovalau is excellent and the waters are teeming with marine life which includes humpbacks, dolphins, sharks, mantas and tropical reef fish. From Suva, the nearest great dive sites are off Beqa Island, which is an hour away from Suva. Beqa hosts than 100 dives sites, some just a 5 to 20 minute boat ride from shore. Here you can see soft corals, blue ribbon eels, ghost pipefish and seahorses. Beqa also has one of the best shark dives in the world. If you are after a beautiful, colourful, coral-filled dive, you may need to consider a dive trip to Kadavu. The Great Astrolabe Reef is what scuba diving in Kadavu is all about. The reef is about 100 km long, making it the 4th largest barrier reef in the world, and boasts a variety of stunning hard coral in glorious colours, and steep soft coral drop-offs. Finally, if you would like to combine really good diving with a vibrant party scene, Manta Ray Island in the beautiful Yasawas is for you.
Pacific Harbour is known as the adventure capital of Fiji and has the added bonus of only being 1 hour from the program base in Suva. While in Pacific Harbour you can go zip lining, kayaking, white water rafting, and hike through the rainforest to breath taking waterfalls. All throughout Fiji are great spots for scuba diving, reef snorkelling, windsurfing and swimming with sharks. There’s almost no limit to what you can do if you love being out on the water.
The Mamanucas are a chain of 20 islands of the North Western coast of mainland Fiji and are hard to beat for breath-taking beaches, with island surroundings beautiful enough to be the location of ‘Castaway’ and ‘Survivor’. If you grow tired of relaxing on white sand beaches, these islands also offer parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, snorkelling, dolphin-watching and some of the best surf breaks in the world. For white sand loveliness closer to our program location then the coral coast is a good bet. Located along the South Western Coast of Viti Levu, the beaches can be accessed from the Queens highway which runs between Suva and Nadi. From Levuka, volunteers can take a 20 minute boat ride to the picturesque sandbanks.
Culture and Arts
The culture of Fiji is an intriguing blend of indigenous Fijian, Indian, European, Chinese, and other nationalities. The Fijians are justly proud of their ancient culture, and are eager to share stories of their ancient past and keep their traditions alive. The best way to learn about Fijian culture is to simply immerse yourself in the communities in which you are volunteering, however you can also enhance your understanding of the culture by visiting other areas of Fiji. Tavuni Hill Fort near Sigatoka, is the best example of a traditional Fijian fort and provides a glimpse of what war was like in the old days and is a fantastic lookout over the Sigatoka River Valley. The Arts Village Cultural Centre in Pacific Harbour is a reconstructed traditional Fijian village built of thatch which offers fire-walking shows in addition to demonstrations of old-time Fijian skills.
Looking to be surrounded by birdsong and lush tropical bush? Taveuni, also called the Garden island of Fiji, is for you. Taveuni lies about 7 kilometers off the south east coast of Vanua Levu and is an archetypally beautiful tropical island. Pristine rainforest covers much of the island and around 80% of this is protected by forest reserve and the Bouma National Heritage Park. Taveuni offers a rich natural history, in particular a fine array of birdlife. Fortunately, unlike the rest of Fiji, the mongoose was never released or introduced to Taveuni and consequently many birds that have disappeared on the Main Islands still thrive here on Taveuni. Taveuni’s attractions include world-class diving, dozens if not hundreds of waterfalls and an array of indigenous flora and fauna.
To learn more about volunteering in Fiji with IVHQ, visit our Volunteer in Fiji program page.