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Fiji

Etymology

Fiji’s main island is known as Viti Levu and it is from this that the name “Fiji” is derived, though the common English pronunciation is based on that of their island neighbours in Tonga. Its emergence can be described as follows: Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not great sailors. They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, and all their Manufactures, especially bark cloth and clubs, were highly valued and much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it was by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Captain James Cook, that these islands are now known. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

O’Reilly’s Bar – O’Reilly’s caters to your entertainment needs, whether nightlife, a getaway, good music, social setting, events venue, friendly staff, great beers, drinks specials & delicious food from our Bad Dog Cafe’, its basically a one-stop shop. [facebook]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Fiji Dating – Since its launch on Valentines Day 1997, RSVP has grown from strength to strength to become the largest singles site in Australia, with over 1,200 new members joining every day. RSVP is a great place for singles to meet other singles. You can search through profiles, message other members, and chat. [rsvp]

Fijilive Dating – Free dating sites in Fiji. [fiji live]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Rough Guides – Rough Guides is a leading travel publisher known for its “tell it like it is” attitude, accurate, up-to-date content and authoritative contemporary writing. [rough guides]

Talanoa Treks – We aim to take you off the beaten track, to experience Fiji’s interior – its dramatic peaks, pristine forests, sparkling rivers, remote villages and unique history – and by going on foot you have the opportunity to experience the vibrant traditional culture that runs deep within Fijian society. [talanoa-treks-fiji]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Couple Up on Turtle Island – The setting for the 2011 Sports Illustrated calendar, this couples-only private-island resort remains as beautiful as it was more than 30 years ago when Brooke Shields filmed The Blue Lagoon here. The resort caters to couples (past guests include John and Cindy McCain and Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline) who hide out in luxe beachside bures, with a dedicated “bure mama” to handle any requests from room service to impromptu foot massages. [islands]

Decompress on Viti Levu – Fiji’s largest isle, Vitu Levu, is home to the official capital, Suva (on the east coast), as well as the tourism capital, Nadi, arrival point for international flights via Air Pacific. But don’t hop on that interisland flight right away. Take a taxi ride from Nadi International Airport to the forested foothills of the Sabeto Range where late actor Raymond Burr (of Perry Mason fame) created the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a botanic sanctuary of vanilla-scented orchids and Zen-like lily ponds. [islands]

Discover Pearls in Savusavu – Justin Hunter has spent the past decade cultivating some of world’s most unique pearls in the pristine waters of Savusavu Bay. While you can find Hunter’s distinctive products at a variety of stores and resorts, they’re best sourced, well, right at the source. J. Hunter Pearls’ flagship shop is situated on the town of Savusavu’s main street, a stone’s throw from where the pearls are harvested. [islands]

Drink Kava on Vanua Levu – Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, sits to the north and is accessible via a short flight from Nadi. Here you’ll find a more rural atmosphere, with stellar beaches and a number of fantastic resorts. On the south coast lies the eco-minded Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort. With a name like this, you know you’ll find epic diving (complete with an on-site marine biologist to guide you), but it’s also a great place to see traditional village life. [islands]

Fly Over the Mamanucas – To get a different vantage of Fiji’s topography, take a helicopter tour from Nadi International Airport to the Mamanuca Islands, a string of islets that stretch for miles northwest of Vitu Levu. One of the highlights: Monuriki, the island Tom Hanks made famous in Castaway. Not close enough? You can also take day trips to the islands or experience them on a multi-day cruise. [islands]

Get Lost on Matangi Island – Just north of Taveuni lies Matangi Private Island Resort, where thatched-roof bures built on stilts peek out from the leafy jungle canopy. (They also have bures on the sand if you prefer.) Pack a picnic basket and play Robinson Crusoe in Horseshoe Bay, a scimitar of sand cupped inside the once-active crater. You can snorkel right off the beach and then nap the afternoon away. [islands]

Hike the Falls of Taveuni – Located just off Vanua Levu’s east coast is Taveuni Island, known as Fiji’s Garden of Eden. More than 80 percent of it is protected within the Bouma National Heritage Park, and it teems with rare orchids, prehistoric tree ferns, tumbling waterfalls and natural water slides. Don’t miss the Tavoro waterfalls, a 60-foot horsetail of white water that cascades into an emerald pool and is easily accessible via a flat, grassy trail. [islands]

Hunt Lairo Crab on Qamea – A short boat ride from Taveuni, the intimate island of Qemea hosts lush jungle-clad hills and pristine beaches alike. Qamea is also known throughout Fiji as the home of the Lairo, a unique — and remarkably tasty — species of land crab that inhabit the island’s steep hills. During full moons from November to January, guests of Qamea Resort and Spa head into the jungle at sunset hoping to snare the Lairo as they trek toward the shoreline to breed. [islands]

Overwater It on Malolo – Lap up the lagoon views at Likuliku Lagoon Resort, home to Fiji’s only overwater huts. Take a bath overwater. Read a book overwater. Brush your teeth overwater. Here, everyday tasks seem new and exciting. Glass floors and glass counters let Fiji’s blues radiate throughout your living space at every turn. The hut is more house than hut thanks to an entryway, a full bath and shower, and a living space that trumps most overwater offerings in space and style. [islands]

Sample the Culture in Nadi – At Nadi’s open-air souvenir market, pick up traditional Fijian crafts such as wooden kava bowls, hand-painted saris and scepter-like cannibal forks, the latter a nod to the region’s colorful past. Then explore the country’s Indian legacy at Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, an elaborately painted Hindu temple. Nearly half of Fiji’s population is of Southeast Asian heritage, descendants of the Indians and Bengalis who came to work the British sugar-cane plantations in the late 1800s and decided to stay. [islands]

See Fire-Walking on Beqa – Located just off Vitu Levu’s southern coast is Beqa Island and the surrounding Beqa Lagoon, home to more than 100 dives sites, some just a five- to 20-minute boat ride from shore. See why Fiji is considered the soft coral capital of the world as you spy on blue ribbon eels, ghost pipefish, seahorses, pelagics and more — most at depths above 50 feet. But it’s not just about underwater sightseeing. Beqa Island is home to the Sawau tribe, who originated the traditional art of firewalking. [islands]

Festivals

Festivals

Bula Festival – The Bula Festival (bula meaning ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ in Fijian) is a very similar affair, taking place just a few weeks prior, on the other side of Viti Levu in the town of Nadi. Held in the Koroivolu and Prince Charles Parks, a vibrant parade made up of floats, music, and dancing opens the festival. It concludes with the finals of its yearly beauty pageant and the election of ‘Miss Bula.’ [the culture trip]

Diwali – A beautiful festival that highlights the nation’s rich Indian heritage, Diwali (‘the festival of lights’) has been embraced by Fiji’s Christian community as much as its Hindu population. It is even a public holiday, a testament to the country’s multi-cultural nature and communal harmony. Houses are lit with candles and lanterns in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, whilst sweets and gifts are shared out among family members and close friends. [the culture trip]

Fara – The island of Rotuma and its neighboring islets belong to Fiji, though they are culturally and socially very distinct. With their own indigenous ethnic group and a culture heavily influenced by other Polynesian islands, particularly Tonga and Samoa, Rotuma is a unique member of the archipelago. Each year Rotumans celebrate Fara, during which large groups of singers, musicians, and dancers travel between houses to entertain the families who live there and encourage their participation. [the culture trip]

Fiji Day – Fiji was officially granted independence on 10 October, 1970, after several decades of British colonial rule. It is a significant milestone in the country’s history that is commemorated every year with a week of festivities and celebrations. Almost every town and city in the archipelago organizes its own events in honor of the occasion, which include military parades, speeches, performances, and street parties. [the culture trip]

Friendly North Festival – The Friendly North Festival takes place in Labasa; a bustling Indo-Fijian settlement on Vanua Levu island. It has been running for approximately 40 years now and is organized by a dedicated committee. Friendly North very much echoes Viti Levu’s larger festivals in terms of its program, which aims to promote this more remote, less-developed island as a tourism destination. [the culture trip]

Hibiscus Festival – There is perhaps no better way to sample multiple elements of Fijian culture and experience the islanders’ famous joviality than at the annual Hibiscus Festival. Hibiscus is held in the capital city of Suva and draws crowds from all over Viti Levu island, with hundreds of stalls selling Pacific fare amid vibrant music and dance performances, rides, competitions, and parades. The excitement culminates in the crowning of ‘Miss Hibiscus.’ [the culture trip]

Holi – Of the various cultures that intertwine to make Fiji’s own, it is India’s influence that is particularly evident on the islands. It is unsurprising, therefore, that Holi is a popular event in the archipelago. Originally a Hindu festival now replicated the world over, Holi involves crowds gathering to throw multi-colored powders at one another signifying the reconciliation of relationships through forgiving and forgetting. [the culture trip]

Lautoka Sugar Festival – September’s Sugar Festival originally celebrated the archipelago’s lucrative sugar trade. The event takes place in Lautoka; the country’s sugar capital and also its second largest city. It is a fun and light-hearted affair involving the usual performances, food kiosks and activities, as well as an inclusive beauty competition, which sees the appointing of not only ‘Lady Sugar’ but also ‘Mr Sugar King,’ ‘Miss Sugar Teens,’ and ‘Miss Sugar Princess.’ [the culture trip]

South Indian Fire Walking Festival – Fire-walking, which involves walking barefoot across hot embers or coals, is a tradition originating on the island of Beqa, approximately five miles from Viti Levu’s southern coast. The custom has since crossed the lagoon and is now frequently performed along the Coral Coast, with the annual festival taking place at the Mariamma Temple. Participants enter a 10-day period of sexual abstinence and prolonged meditation prior to the event, during which Hindu priests pierce their faces and bodies with skewers and smear their skin with yellow turmeric, before they perform this extraordinary art thought to bring physical and spiritual cleansing. [the culture trip]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Bicycle – Bicycles are becoming more popular in Fiji in recent years for locals and tourists alike. In many ways, Fiji is an ideal place for a rugged bike tour. However, the motor vehicle traffic can be intimidating on well-travelled roads, and there is a lack of accommodation along secondary roads. Cycling is a great way to see Fiji but make sure you carry all your own spares and supplies as bike shops are scarce. It is a good idea to carry plenty of water, a camelbak is great, as it is very hot and humid almost year round. [wikitravel]

Bus – Travelling by bus, whether in the city or between towns is definitely the cheapest from of transport. The catch is, you need to know where you are going as directions and instructions are not readily available. [experience suva]

Car Rental – The third and most common form of transport around the city is by private or hire car. Although it’s best to hire a vehicle if travelling from one area to another it is not required in Suva with not only the problem of a lack of parking space but with Suva being compact it is sometimes easier to walk. [experience suva]

Motorbike – It is possible to rent a motorbike and get it delivered to the airport. Expect to pay c. FJD100 for a day. They will confirm that you have a motorbike licence. The roads are’nt as safe as they may be at home, but its not bad at all – comparable to riding in rural Thailand. [wikitravel]

Taxi – The second most preferable form of travelling inside the city would be a taxi. Catching a cab to your destination is the most convenient for any tourist especially since he is in an unknown place. Cab drivers will take you where you want to go at an exceptionally low price, with standard starting rate at just AUD$0.80! [experience suva]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Suva- Pacific Entrepreneurship Meetup – We’re a group that promotes entrepreneurship in Fiji and the Pacific. We meet to discuss issues and challenges for start-ups. Our plan is to build a community that can organise events like start-up weekends and pitching competitions. Anyone with an interest in starting a new venture is welcome. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Living in Fiji – As the heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands that are home to happiness. It’s famous for its soft coral diving, white sand beaches and pristine natural environment and is a leader in eco-tourism. It’s surely a beach lover’s vision of nirvana!  And while history shows ethnic and economic tensions occurring in Fiji, the country is entirely safe for visitors and expats. [expat woman]

Living in Fiji- Expat – Real gem of the Pacific Ocean, Fiji is an ideal destination for expatriates who are looking for an escape. [expat]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

LGBT Fiji – This page was created for all those individuals in Fiji who identify themselves as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. [facebook]

Resources

Resources

Places in Fiji

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