Why Nadi is the perfect base from which to explore Fiji
On the mainland of Viti Levu, the multi-cultural town of Nadi is the international gateway to Fiji, with a newly redeveloped and upgraded airport to welcome visitors. A bustling tourism hub on the mainland’s west coast, it is a great place for travellers to eat, drink and shop. Nadi is also situated close to the districts of Denarau and Wailoaloa Beach, where there’s a range of accommodation for all budgets.
Nadi has options for retail therapy, local restaurants, and is a great base for travellers to stay before heading out to discover the rest of Fiji.
The area around Nadi offers access to the rural interior of Viti Levu, the spectacular Nausori Highlands, as well popular Denarau Island and the picturesque Mamanuca Islands.
Heading north towards Lautoka, visitors can experience the scenic Sabeto River Valley and Vuda Point, while the town of Lautoka offers good shopping and access to the north coast regions. Head South and you’ll weave along the popular Coral Coast, an 80km stretch of brilliant white beaches and secluded bays.
WHAT TO DO?
Just a short drive from Nadi is Wailoaloa beach, one of the fastest developing tourist destinations in Fiji. With a tranquil ocean outlook and stunning views towards the mountains, it makes an excellent spot for a beach stroll. Along this stretch of beach, you’ll also find an enclave of laid-back affordable bars and eateries where locals, expats and travellers alike, all mingle to enjoy the sunsets while listening to local live music.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant:
Often regarded as one of the best kept horticultural secrets in the South Pacific, a trip to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, nestled beneath the Sleeping Giant mountain in the Nausori Highlands, is a pleasant experience for those interested in flora and fauna.
Founded by actor Raymond Burr (aka Perry Mason), the botanical gardens boast a wonderful collection of orchids and other flowering plants, with trails that meander through lowland rainforest and manicured gardens. It is one of Nadi’s most popular tourist attractions.
Vuda Boat shed:
Go where the locals go! The Boatshed Restaurant at Vuda Marina is a popular dining venue for locals and yachties and for good reason. Located on the point at Vuda Marina, the sunset bar is a great spot for laid-back food and drink while watching the sun setting over the water.
Off the Beaten Track:
Around Nadi, there’s stunning landscapes and you can take in this scenery with an adrenaline rush by getting off the beaten track with a Go Dirty Quad Bike guided tour. Discover remote forests, enriching culture, waterfalls, mud-baths and hot springs while zipping around on a quad bike.
Queens Road in downtown Nadi, often referred to as Main Street, is lined with fashion and accessory shops, with a lively market square off to one side. Take advantage of the many products made in Fiji when shopping in Nadi and Denarau. Rise Beyond the Reef makes products that are hand-crafted by locals using traditional methods. The organisation bridges the divide between remote communities, government and the private sector in the South Pacific, sustainably creating a better world for women and children. Products, including hand-stitched cushion covers and carved candle shells, can be found across outlets in Nadi and Denarau.
Eat like a local:
There’s nothing more immersive to travelling than eating the local cuisine. Flavours of Fiji run market tours at the local Nadi markets which are filled with hand-picked local greens, fragrant spices, unearthed root crops and an array of assorted seasonal harvests. Afterwards, join an authentic local island cooking class using the fresh produce collected from the markets. Create delicious island favourites using traditional cooking techniques and taste your way through Fiji’s rich cultural history.
Nadi International Airport is Fiji’s busiest airport with most international flights arriving into Nadi, including regular direct flights from Asia, Oceania and North America.
Get down to Wailoaloa Beach in the afternoon to watch locals play volleyball on the beach
Missing a sunhat, swimsuit or sunscreen? Head to Jacks of Fiji for anything you’ve forgotten to pack
If you need your coffee fix, head to Bulaccino in Nadi or Denarau, where they serve international barista standard coffee made from Arabica beans grown and harvested locally in the Pacific islands.