With miles of white sand beaches and untouched coral reefs, it's no wonder that Fiji has played host to the likes of heartthrobs Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson.
Many celebrities such as Michelle Pfeiffer, media mogul Bill Gates and Pierce Brosnan have even chosen these paradise islands as their honeymoon destination and now rock legends Status Quo have just filmed their first feature length action film there.
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An archipelago consisting of 333 islands in the South Pacific, Fiji offers 1,129 km of stunning coastline, pristine shores, lush tropical rainforest and even volcanic mountains. With some of the friendliest people in the world and breathtaking settings perfect for the most romantic of getaways, the islands also have plenty to offer thrill-seeking adventure travellers.
Water sports are big in Fiji resorts – including kayaking, white-water rafting, surfing and snorkelling. If you're after a diving experience, Fiji, known as the 'Soft Coral Capital of the World' and rated within the Top 10 dive destinations in the world, is where to make a splash.
Your first destination on arrival will be Nadi – the central hub of Fiji – a bustling city, jam packed with people, enticing shops, exquisite dining and some of the best resorts in the tropical island paradise. Visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant – a beautiful orchid range started in 1977 by the late Raymond Burr, star of Perry Mason and Ironside, that has fast become one of Fiji’s most popular attractions.
Catch a boat to Mamanuca and Yasawa, home to Monuriki Island which is famed for being the deserted island backdrop of Tom Hanks' film, Castaway. After unwinding on the sandy beaches, try sailing, cruising, diving or visit the limestone Sawa-i-lau Caves, well known for Brooke Sheilds' Blue Lagoon.
Denarau Island is the largest integrated resort in the South Pacific and is a golfers' paradise. The Coral Coast is home to Kula Eco Park – Fiji's only wildlife park which is dedicated to the conservation of Fiji's indigenous Fauna and the environmental education of Fiji’s children. Have your photo taken with their resident iguanas and parrots before taking a half hour award-winning jet boat tour down the Sigatoka River – the longest river in Fiji.
Fiji islands are perfect for the adventure lover and it's on the Coral Coast that you can try sanding duning (surfing on the sand) and sea surfing on the fearsome coral reef breaks. A regular venue for world surfing championships, it’s not for the faint hearted, where some of the most famous ‘left handers' in the world are located.
Adrenalin junkies should head to the The Pacific Coast where tourists can try 'Zip Fiji' – soaring through a 200-metre long line in the jungle at speeds of up to 60 km per hour from platforms as high as 45 metres. Or head underwater to catch a glimpse of up to eight species of shark in the South Pacific waters – with no cage.
Air Pacific (soon to be Fiji Airways) is Fiji's international carrier that has direct flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. So if you're travelling from the UK you will need to change over at one of these cities on the way, making Fiji the perfect add-on to a long-haul break. Fiji also forms part of the 'round the world ticket' as a stopover.
You can rent a car in Fiji if you have a British driving license and the maximum speed limit in built-up areas is 30 mph and 50mph on the highway. Luckily, they drive on the left hand side of the road. There are also modern, air-conditioned coaches serving resorts in the major towns while you can travel like a Fijian and ride on the local open-windowed buses to take in the sights. Of course when visiting the islands travelling by boat is essential and there are a number of ferry services.
Where to stay
There are a number of options when deciding where to stay in Fiji, including traditional thatched roof cottages with modern amenities (Bures) to five star hotels. Villas, homestay arrangements and family accommodation are also an option.
Fiji is well known for being one of the happiest places on earth, so Tourism Fiji have created the Happiness Test on Facebook. Take the test and be in with a chance to win a holiday worth over £10,000 to the happiest place on the planet.
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