Visit the Tropical Islands of Fiji!
The paradise archipelago of Fiji is a collection of 332 tropical islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Located on the 180 degree line of longitude, it is ahead of most of the world time-wise, as it is just west of the International Date Line. Formed by volcanic activity, Fiji consists of lush jungle-covered mountains, coconut plantations, warm tropical waters and colorful coral reefs. With a warm tropical climate is has all the ingredients necessary for a great vacation, honeymoon or relaxing retreat destination.
Once ruled by cannibals with a history steeped in tribal warfare, Fiji is now a mainly Christian country. With a minority of Hindu and Muslim followers, it remains unhindered by religion or terrorism. Although most visitors head for the gorgeous beach resorts, a trip into the mountains is a wonderful experience. Remote villages, waterfalls and scenic trails abound, along with plenty of extreme sports activities for the more adventurous traveler.
Spend the day exploring the capital of Fiji, Suva. See the old Parliament buildings and Government House which is next to the lovely Thurston Botanical Gardens. To glean an insight into the culture and history of Fiji, a visit to the Fiji Museum is an educational and informative attraction. It has many exhibits that travelers will find fascinating, dating back over 3,700 years.
One of the most beautiful attractions on Fiji is the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, at the foot of the Sabeto Mountains in Nadi. It was originally the garden attached to the home of actor Raymond Burr. Now covering 20 hectares, it is full of orchids and native flowers. These lovely gardens are a wonderful place to stroll for an afternoon amidst the exotic tropical flowers or admiring the lily pond in this serene setting.
For a taste of local culture, visit the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Nadi, the largest Hindu temple south of the equator. It is wonderfully colorful and ornate and this replacement temple was only completed in 1994.
Another sacred spot to the Fijians is the Naihehe Sacred Caves, situated in the Sigatoka Valley on Viti Levu. The caves contain a priest’s chamber and a ritual altar and were once the fortress of Fiji’s last pagan tribes who practiced the ceremonial arts of Mana and Taboo. The Church of St Francis Xavier in Viti Levu is another site worth visiting. Located on a hillside above the King’s Road, it is decorated with beautiful religious murals.
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes are an impressive sight, located in the national park just off the Queens highway in Viti Levu. They cover an area of 650 hectares and are up to 60m high in places. The Arts Village is another wonderful place to spend some time when visiting Pacific Harbor on this island. It has many specialty shops in the market for browsing and buying souvenirs.
Wherever you choose to stay, plan to attend a cultural Fijian evening. Cultural performances include locals walking on hot stones, singing and Meke dancing with floral leis and grass skirts.