Yasawa Islands Pictures
of many stops by the Fiji catamaran waterbus, the Yasawa Flyer, Beachcomber
Pacific Information Moorea
Bora Bora Rarotonga
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 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. The Somosomo
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.
A 4 month visa is available on arrival to just about anyone owning
a passport and a return flight ticket.
season to visit Fiji and the Yasawas
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