Yasawa Islands Beaches Pictures
of many stops by the Fiji catamaran waterbus Yasawa Flyer, Beachcomber
Pacific Information Moorea Bora Bora Rarotonga Tahiti
is one of the closest Pacific island groups to New Zealand
(1,600kms/1,000miles to the south) and Australia (2,700kms to the
southwest), so flights are reasonably short and cheap from these English-speaking
countries. (New Caledonia is nearer to Australia and French Polynesia
the furthest major island group. Easter Island is waaay further
Fijians are a relaxed and friendly people, cheerfully shouting the
greeting "Bula!" (Health!) to any foreign traveller, a far
cry from a hundred years ago in their cannibal era when they would
shout "Dinner!" if they saw a white face, and reach for
their four-prong, human flesh forks. Missionary eyeballs were especially
succulent when barbecued, apparently.
half of Fiji's indigenous population these days are of Indian extraction, brought
in by the British to work in the sugar cane industry in the late 1880's
as the relatively enlightened colonialists did not wish to exploit
the local Melanesians.
Unfortunately the 'Fiji for the Fijians' system,
while permitting Melanesians to continue owning their land and governing
their own villages didn't do much for the rights of the Indians, an
inequality that still burns today.
The upside of the racial mix is that the Indians are often more industrious
than the laid-back Melanesians and have helped to develop and maintain
the country's infrastructure, particularly with relation to tourism,
though the Indians can be aggressive in their pursuit of the dollar.
When changing money here tourists would do well to carefully check
and double check rates and cash handed over.
Fortunately, though these two racial groups maintain fundamentally
different life styles and rarely intermix, they co-exist with reasonable
harmony and the country benefits from both attitudes.
Fiji's high-speed, low cost Yasawa Island's ferry, the Yasawa Flier.
comprises two large islands and around 300 small ones,
so some upfront planning is essential here.
Viti Levu island is where most travellers arrive and hosts a lot of
attractions, including golf, fishing and boating for the more affluent,
or cultural tours, village visits, sandboarding, Highland hiking,
rafting, tubing and bathing in hot mud pools for the rest of us. Nadi,
an Indian-dominated town, is good for shopping but little else including
Viti Levu also offers excellent beach hotels to suit all pockets,
though the actual beaches and coral are not nearly as good as on other
islands. The Coral Coast to the south is the usual starting point
Some popular and extensive island bus tours cater specifically to
Suva is Fiji's capital, on the other side of Viti Levu from Nadi and
a cosmopolitan high-rise city that is short on interest for most travellers.
Vanua Levu, the other big island, north of Viti, is more wet and less
developed than Viti, with few tourist-oriented options or transport,
but much more of a feel of the old South Seas. The south side of the
island with its coconut plantations and relaxed villages is particularly
redolent of a bye-gone era.
Although the countryside feels primitive there are many excellent
resorts in North Fiji, with scuba as the top attraction.
Straits between Vanua Levu and Taveuni offer some particularly spectacular
coral. Visibility is best May-October.
Beach Resort welcoming guests with the usual tuneful island song,
but unusually afloat.
on the way to the Yasawa chain and just off Viti Levu are perfect
for the time short or very sea sensitive. They are a slightly more
sophisticated and comfortable cluster of tiny islands - with air conditioning
and mains electricity- that can work as a day trip or overnight
stay. The Yasawa Flyer only takes 30 mins to South Sea, 5 more minutes
to Bounty and Treasure, another 10 minutes to Beachcomber Resort (pictured
above). Easy peasy. The next island, Kuata, takes another hour.
The following pictures are mainly of Yasawa Islands beaches, but not,
unfortunately of Yasawa Island itself - we also have budgetary constraints
and that was a beach too far!
and West coasts are drier due to prevailing winds, so choose a beach
resort on one of those coasts if travelling in the wet season.
Visas: A 4 month visa is available on arrival to just about anyone owning
a passport and a return flight ticket.
famous Blue Lagoon Beach, Nanuya Lailai Island, with a very pricey and posh Blue Lagoon
Cruise ship parked temporarily at the end of the beach.
Blue Lagoon Beach
Blue Lagoon's sand is incredibly soft and the palm-fringed backdrop
perfect, but the thick seaweed takes the colour off the tropical effect,
though it does provide a home and larder for fishies, so snorkellers
like the waters. The lower part of the beach is reserved for the people
using the white Blue Lagoon cruise ship.
There are small resorts on small Nanuya Lailai Island or access to Blue Lagoon Beach from other islands such as Kuata and Waya
Lailai by short boat ride is commonplace.
Island (note: not Islands plural) hosts a couple of the best beaches in Fiji and possibly in the world,
with its northerly beaches coming out on top and visited by the famous
and costly Blue Lagoon Cruise ships. Otherwise Yasawa Island is home
to an expensive hotel, the Yasawa Island Resort that needs to be reached
by plane or via several hours on a water taxi.
Lailai resort is in a particularly stunning location and partly protected from the prevailing winds by the island's lumps so
beach going is a comfortable business.
What are the Yasawas?
Yasawa Islands are
a chain of a dozen coral islands up to four hours from Viti Levu by the Flyer are
- with the exception of the furthest, Yasawa Island itself - low cost
and low profile places, providing basic services and activities, with
snorkelling and kayaking topping the list. The islands are visited
daily - (again, not Yasawa Island) by the Yasawa Flyer catamaran,
lugging backpackers and flashpackers to and fro, some staying their
entire time on one island, others hopping from one to another every
couple of days.
For those prone to seasickness the waters around the Yasawa Islands
are partly protected and the ride not too bouncy; maximum
trip time to/from the furthest island is four hours.
The Yasawas are mostly powered by electricity generators so lighting
is limited and air-con nonexistent; islands mostly offer simple thatched
bungalows and communal meals. Beaches are generally small and unmanicured
but pleasant, with pretty fair coral right near the beach, though
these are not by any stretch of the imagination the world's best beaches.
Ray is a resort where partying hard is the main event in the evening
and swinging in a hammock on the beach is the daytime action, though
the off-beach coral is good here and kayaks are popular.
Coral View Resort on Kuata Island
of the older and more primitive but nevertheless pleasant establishments
in the Yasawa Islands, Coral View Resort offers wonky huts and wobbly food
but is good value and a reasonable beach.
but cheerful Coral View's typical budget backpacker massed dining,
rush-for-the-buffet meal and filling but definitely mediocre food.
beach on a not-unusual summer wet-season day. Cloud, rough seas and flotsam.
Beware the Ides of March!
Best months to visit Fiji and the Yasawa Islands: May, June, September, October. The South Pacific lies in the tropics so all islands are warm and
humid year round. The dry season is climatically best, May to October,
with less humidity, cloud cover, rain, wind, rough seas and seaweed
on beaches. However, July and August get very crowded with visitors,
especially Australians and Kiwis escaping winter back home.
Beware the November to April wet season. Don't believe travel agents
who tell you it only rains for an hour a day. Not true! It may rain for an hour, it may rain for days on end, and even when
it doesn't cloud cover could spoil the sunshine, winds make boating
unpleasant, choppy water makes snorkelling water murky and beaches
wear a coat of seaweed. Hurricane force winds (cyclones) may also
occasionally make an appearance.
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