The Coral Coast is an 80km (50 mile) stretch of beaches and bays along the Queen's Highway between Nadi and Suva on Viti Levu.  As the name suggests, the region is named for the large fringing reef that greets you from the shoreline. As a well-established tourist destination, the Coast offers both the full resort experience and a chance to visit the real Fiji in the many villages along the way. Golf, beach life and diving are there for the taking, but for travellers who seek a more authentic experience, many villages operate home stays. From a fisherman selling his day’s catch on the roadside, to bargaining with a local at the Sigatoka Market, true island life is here.

History

Korolevu, on the Coral Coast, is the birthplace of Fiji tourism.  A brilliant stretch of white beach dotted by copious lush vegetation, popular back-packers, hotels and resorts still line its beautiful shore.

The place that started it all is the Korolevu Beach Hotel. Built in the 1950s by pioneer hotelier Bill Clarke on 76 acres of prime real estate, it was an immediate hit with the colonial expatriates of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Korolevu is believed to be the first place where individual bungalow-style units were called "bures.” Clarke was also the pioneer of cultural shows to educate guests about the local lifestyle. Long since closed, the Beach hotel’s legacy is a still-thriving tourist industry as guests continue to arrive, drawn by Fiji’s natural beauty and Fijian’s natural hospitality.

Accommodation

Resorts dot the many beautiful bays and beaches along the coastline and are available at a range of price points.  Many resorts are isolated on their own stretch of beach but a A cluster of resorts and restaurants can be found at Korotogo just outside Sigatoka town.

Activities

Sigatoka Valley
Whether by tour bus or on your own adventure, head inland along the west bank of the Sigatoka river.  Either side of the road are the patchwork of flat green fields growing the crops that give the Valley its nickname: "Fiji's Salad Bowl." Along the way are the villages of Lawai and Nakbuta, who welcome guests and offer handicrafts and pottery for sale.  The drive past Nakbuta is not for those who suffer from vertigo, as the road climbs steeply along a narrow ridge, but the reward is a panoramic view across the winding Sigatoka Valley with its quilt-like fields to the right.

The road then winds to the valley floor and Sigatoka Agricultural Research Station, a popular spot for picnic lunches.  From here, the roads get rough and are strictly for the four wheel drives, but even for those who turn back, this trip is a once in a lifetime glimpse at the real Fiji.

Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is located at the mouth of the Sigatoka River. The extensive dune system extends for several miles along the coast with dunes reaching heights of 60m (200ft). Fiji’s first National Park, this is also an archaeological site where early settlements and Lapita pottery dating back some 3000 years has been uncovered by the shifting sands, alongside stone tools and human remains. The Park is worth visit for its wild beauty, excellent walks and archeological significance.  Morning visits - before the blazing heat of midday -  is a great time to visit.

Kula Eco Park
Just off the Queen's Road opposite the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Kula Eco Park is Fiji's only wildlife park.

The Park is located in a small forested valley. Native food and timber trees like Dawa, Ivi, Vutu and Vesi tower above the valley floor filtering the sunlight and enabling an enjoyable walk through the cool forest. Visitors will hear the call of barking pigeons, the shrill of honey eaters and the constant, pulsing concert of unseen canopy dwellers. This is as wild as Fiji gets.

The Park doubles as a captive breeding facility for some of Fiji's endangered native wildlife like the peregrine falcon, Fiji ground frog and crested iguana which are regularly released into their natural environments.  The Park also acts as a free education facility for Fiji's schoolchildren.  Both programs are fully funded by tourism gate-takings.  

Dining

Most dining options are confined to the resorts but restaurants and markets at Korotogo and Sigatoka town are worth a visit for more variety.

Transport

Pacific Transport and Sunbeam run continuously between Suva and Nadi - the ‘stopping bus’ does exactly what it says, picking up whoever waves them down from the side of the road, although there are also express services available. 

The entire region is about 1-2hrs travel from the Nadi International Airport. Most resorts make airport pickups but public buses also run multiple times a day between Nadi and Suva. Simply board an airport bus and let the driver know your hotel destination on the Coral Coast. Its likely that they'll be able to drop you right outside.