As you plan your trip to this south pacific paradise, you will be considering what things to to in Fiji when you arrive. The answer is – as little or as much as you like – as there are so many options for travelers in this spectacular destination.
Into the Blue Activities
Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands – mostly volcanic in nature with pristine beaches. This means that a lot of Fiji activities revolve around marine based pursuits.
The other advantage is that Fiji’s climate is generally enjoyable throughout the year with the perfect timing for a trip being May-October. Fiji does have a wet season which is typically considered to be December to February but the outer islands including Turtle Island in the north of the Yasawa Group enjoy less rainfall year-round.
As such, be prepared to spend a lot of time enjoying the warm Fiji waters swimming or soaking up the sun bobbing around on a Lilo – safely of course with plenty of sunscreen! If your personal preference is to spend more time under the surface exploring the amazing marine life, then snorkeling and scuba diving are two of the many things to do in the Fiji islands where the water is clear and the fish life and colorful corals are plentiful.
For those travelers looking for a more active getaway there are plenty of Fiji fun things to do that will also supply a workout including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing or jet-skiing. These activities can be organized through the resorts located on the main island of Viti Levu or on the outer islands.
Considered one of the “must-do” Fiji attractions are the Sawa-I-Lau caves located in the spectacular Blue Lagoon. They are said to be the resting place of the ten headed ancient Fijian god, Ulutini. As such, visitors are invited to participate in a traditional ceremony in the nearby village, asking the Guardians of the Cave to allow them permission to enter the area. Your guide will take you into the first cavern where you can swim in a light-filled pool enjoying the spectacular limestone formations. More adventurous visitors are invited to swim underwater though a dark tunnel into the second more dimly lit cavern. The caves can be accessed via boat or seaplane from several of the neighboring Yasawa island resorts.
If you want to step up the adrenaline level, one of the other things to do in Fiji is participate in the shark dives at the Beqa Lagoon. Several tour companies offer small group dive trips to the incredible Shark Reef Marine Reserve which was created to study and conserve the resident shark population. Eight different types of sharks are known to call the Reserve home including Bulls, Tigers, Sicklefin Lemons, Silvertips, Grey Reefs, Whitetip and Blacktip Reefs and Tawny Nurses.
Back on Dry Land
There are also numerous land-based Fiji activities. On Turtle Island, guests can start or end the day with a relaxing horse ride matching the slow-paced island experience you will have come to enjoy. The ride takes you along the Island’s tree-lined trails and down the white sand beaches giving you plenty of time to look around and appreciate the spectacular surrounds.
At the turnaround point, a stopover is scheduled overlooking the ocean with food platters and drinks magically appearing courtesy of your ‘Bure Mama’ (personal concierge) as you take a moment to experience a spectacular Fijian sunrise or sunset.
Guests can also enjoy exploring Turtle Island on foot or by mountain bike enjoying the diverse landscapes from rainforest backdrops through to mountain climes. For more strenuous hiking and biking activities, guests can also be taken by boat to neighboring islands where the steeper volcanic mountains provide a great workout.
Back on the main island of Fiji, the Sleeping Giant mountain range is one of the best-known natural landmarks. In its shadow there are several Fiji attractions. Just 30 minutes outside of Nadi, travelers can enjoy the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. The Garden, once the home of TV actor, Raymond Burr was designed to house his private collection of tropical orchids. Now numbering around two thousand orchids, the Garden is a popular visitor attraction.
The Sleeping Giant eco-park is also one of the Fiji fun things to do. It contains a jungle walk, natural waterfalls and swimming pools and is home to the popular zip line tour which takes guests on a fast-paced ride through the treetops and over the valleys.
Fijian Cultural Activities
When planning what to do in Fiji, many travelers rate cultural activities as high on their list. On the main island they will often plan a trip to the Sri Siva Subramaniya temple, the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Located in Nadi, this spectacular, brightly colored structure is dedicated to the god of seasonal rains, Lord Murugan. Other temples on the site are dedicated to the supreme deities of Shiva and Ganesh. The original structure was built in the 1920s and was built as a place of worship for the large community of Indian residents who had migrated in the late 1800s to work in the sugar plantations. The temples are open daily to the public including during Hindu festivals.
Diwali, also known as Deepavali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. It usually lasts around five days and is celebrated during the Hindu month of Kartika between mid-October and mid-November. Many hotels on the Fijian mainland will offer tours of the brightly lit homes as one of the Fiji attractions available through their tour desks.
On the outer Islands, guests can experience Fijian culture through visits to the local villages. These often begin with a gift of kava to the village Chief who will give permission for guests to enter. Sometimes this will be done in reverse with visits organized by the neighboring villages to the resorts. This often involves performances by the children dressed in their “Sunday best” and concludes with a marketplace where local goods are available for purchase with the money going directly back to the village.
One of the other popular things to do in the Fiji Islands is connect with the local culture by attending a Meke. This is an exciting opportunity to experience the stories of the country’s history told through vibrant song and dance performances.
Fiji’s Top Culinary Experiences
Travelers are also able to connect to the local cultures they are visiting through food. One of the things to do in Fiji is to enjoy a traditional Lovo or Fijian feast cooked in the ground. Many hours of preparation go into this wonderful meal experience starting with placing a layer of rocks in a deep hole which are then covered with wood, set alight until it has burned through. The charcoals are then scattered, and the food placed on top and covered in banana leaves. This might include local vegetables such as taro, sweet potato and breadfruit accompanied by chicken, pork and local fish which have been wrapped in beautifully braided coconut palms.
On Turtle Island, guests can tour the vegetable garden which supplies up to 80% of the produce for the staff and guest meal requirements. Five full-time staff manage the garden which covers about 5-acres housing 150 garden beds filled with vegetables, fruits and herbs including a hydroponic section for the lettuce.
Many resorts also run cooking lessons. One of the other Fiji activities worth looking into might be learning how to prepare some of the popular local dishes such as Kokoda – a Fijian form of ceviche where raw fish is ‘cooked’ by marinating the fish in lemon and lime juice and adding lots of beautiful rich coconut milk.
During these lessons you might also get to learn about the seasonal calendar Vula Vakaviti which is based on planting and fishing seasons. It begins in June/July and is divided into 11 months. This ensures that the food you enjoy in Fiji, particularly on the islands will be seasonal and fresh only using ingredients found at that time of the year.
Weddings in Fiji
Fiji is a highly popular destination for weddings and vow renewals. Most resorts offer special occasion packages as part of their Fiji activities.
Incorporating Fiji traditions into the ceremony makes for a memorable experience. This might include wearing wedding attire of tapa, a cloth of tree bark, hand-painted with tribal symbols in tan, brown and black. This is usually accompanied by garlands of fresh, fragrant flowers.
On Turtle Island, the wedding ceremony begins with the trumpeting of conch shells announcing the bride’s arrival on the wedding raft, called a billi billi. Beating drums and the singing of the Island choir form a backdrop to two Fijian warriors escorting the bride to her groom. After the ceremony, everyone gathers for kava, an ancient tradition. The couple is then carried onto the billi billi for their return to the wedding feast or traditional lovo.
Vow renewals are also popular on Turtle Island and can be enjoyed in the small Island chapel or in spectacular outdoor settings such as the gardens or mountain top overlooking the neighboring islands.
Wellness Activities in Fiji
The concept of wellness on vacations now spans personal wellness to the wellness of the destination. Visitors to this beautiful country will often seek out Fiji activities which will help them to slow down and take a break from their daily lives. This might include starting the day with a relaxing yoga session or enjoying one of the many spa treatments on offer at the resorts. Massage in Fiji called Bobo and pronounced “mbombo”, is a traditional healing treatment passed down from generation to generation. Relaxation is taken to the next level with treatments using banana leaves, warm shells or fragrant local oils of coconut, ginger and lemongrass leaving you rested and calm.
As guests gain a deeper appreciation for the destination, they will often want to engage with activities in a more meaningful way. On Turtle Island, each guest is invited to plant a native tree to continue the Island’s approach to sustainability. Marine programs focusing on Turtle Conservation – a tag and release program – and sustainable fishing practices are also practiced on the Island.
Activities on Turtle Island
When considering what to do in Fiji, we recommend putting Turtle Island on your travel bucket list.
The private Island, with only 14 bures and 12 secluded beaches provides an idyllic getaway. A range of activities starting with yoga or sunrise horse-riding and followed by private beach picnics, excursions to neighboring islands and a range of marine activities such as snorkeling, SCUBA diving, kayaking and fishing are available during the day. A visit to the Turtle Island spa overlooking the Blue Lagoon is also a popular activity. As the sun sets, cocktail hour is followed by dinner at one of the many beautiful locations on the Island such as the mountain-top or the vegetable garden. Private dinners are also an option and can be booked at the end of the jetty, on a candle-lit floating pontoon or at nearby cliff point. Cultural activities such as mekes or choir performances provide a fascinating insight into Fijian culture and each evening ends with a communal celebration as guests are invited on to the Kava mat to join the staff for music and singing.
Contact us today to learn more about the Fiji activities you could enjoy at Turtle Island and begin your journey to our private island paradise.