The Fiji Web Forum
The name Fiji is synonymous with paradise. The beautiful South Pacific group consists of some 300 islands and atolls dotted across 200,000 square miles of sea. The main island is Viti Levu, the second largest is Vanua Levu, and together they make up 85% of the country's total land area.
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All the islands have picturesque coasts, tall coconut palms nodding over still waters of brilliant turquoise lagoons fringed by coral reefs and white silk soft sandy beaches.
CAPITAL AND MAJOR CENTRES
The capital is Suva on the south east corner of Viti Levu, although most visitors have their first taste of Fiji via the International Airport at Nadi, one of the other major towns.
Nearby are the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands offer picture postcard lagoons and beaches. The old capital of Levuka on Ovalau island has been preserved as a historical monument.
Fiji is the "hub" of the South Pacific, a melting pot of both the Polynesian and Melanesian races. The nation comprises many different races and people, predominantly native Fijians and the descendants of indentured Indian labourers brought to the island to work in the plantations and sugar cane fields.
Fiji was probably first settled 3,500 years ago. Dutch explorers were the first European to arrive in 1643. Further exploration was made by Captain James Cook in 1774 and by Captain William Bligh who sailed through the group after the mutiny on the Bounty.
In 1835, the missionaries arrived, introduced Christianity and ended cannibalism. In 1874, Fiji was ceded to Great Britain and Indian indentured labourers were introduced. Fiji finally gave independence in 1970 and declared itself a Republic on 7th October 1987. A draft constitution was introduced for a single chamber parliament with 71 seats.
Vegetation is mainly tropical coconut palms and the pandanus interspersed with hibiscus, frangipani and other exotic flowers.
Unique fauna includes the fruit bat, mongoose, and Fijian crested iguana. On the road from Suva to Nadi are the kula bird park and the Sigatoka Sand Dune.
Fiji lady dancers
In Suva, the National Museum stands right next to Government House with its colourful guards dressed in red tunics and white sulus. For those who like to explore, there is a central island bush trek through the province following the track which the missionaries took in 1849.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation is prolific - something for every budget from luxury hotels, resorts and villas to Fijian bures with modern facilities, cottages, lodges, townhouses and apartments. Camp sites are also available. There are a variety of rental car agencies, and an extensive local bus service on each of the main Islands, deluxe coach tours, and taxis.
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
Nightclubs, restaurants and cinemas are located in the city centres with most big hotels providing their own entertainment in the form of Fijian nights which include underground cooking and sometimes kava drinking and always some songs and dance.
Kava bowl, Fiji
Water based activities abound including scuba diving, game fishing, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, cruising and yacht charters. On land choose from golf, horse-riding, squash, rugby, bushwalking, shell gathering and numerous island tours.
Bargaining is still conducted in some shops, but the larger stores have fixed prices. Fijian artefacts are available from Suva handicrafts on Stinson Parade and from roadside stalls and Indian bazaars. Shopping hours are Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays most shops close at 6 p.m. On Saturdays, a number of shops stay open for half a day.
For More Information Contact:
FIJI VISITORS BUREAU
Fiji Postcards and Picture Galleries
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