Traditional Fijian market, marina with beautiful views, lush botanic gardens, rugged mountains, the most beautiful beach in Fiji and more are on offer in or around Nadi.
The site of Fiji’s international airport, Nadi (pronounced Nandi) on the island of Viti Levu, is the gateway to Fiji. Many visitors pass through Nadi on their way to island or Coral Coast resorts without stopping. However Nadi and surrounds offer a range of varied and interesting attractions within easy travelling distance.
Located one block south of Nadi Main Street, the Nadi Market offers a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and other produce. Here is the place to stock up before heading off on a day trip or picnic. Fijian pineapples are especially worth sampling. Smaller than other pineapples, they compensate by being much sweeter and tastier.
One whole section of the market, about thirty stalls, is devoted to just one product: kava. Kava consists of the dried roots of the plant piper methysticum (‘intoxicating pepper’) which are ground into powder to produce a mildly intoxicating drink which plays an important role in the social and cultural life of indigenous Fijians.
Travelers who intend visiting villages in Fiji should be aware that it is considered good manners to present the chief with a gift of kava on arrival. Nadi market is a good place to buy that gift.
Denarau Island, 6 km north west of Nadi, is an artificial island reclaimed from mangrove swamps. It contains an 18 hole golf course and a number of upmarket resorts.
Port Denarau is the island’s marina from which boats leave for offshore islands. Offering spectacular views across Nadi Bay to the Sabeto Mountain Range, the marina complex includes a waterside commercial centre of shops, cafes and restaurants, built in tasteful South Pacific colonial style. A number of Nadi’s best restaurants, including the famous Chefs, are relocating from Nadi Town to Port Denarau.
Jet Boat Ride
Jet Fiji offers exciting 30 minute jet boat rides on the Nadi River and through mangrove swamps. The rides begin in Port Denarau.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
14 km north of Nadi, this botanic wonderland is nestled at the foot of a ridge of the Sabeto Mountain Range called the Sleeping Giant because of its shape. Originally established by American actor Raymond Burr, of Perry Mason fame, to house his personal orchid collection, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant now also includes a wide range of diverse Fijian plant-life. A boardwalk trail across streams and alongside pools guides visitors through a lush and colourful jungle walk.
Inland from Nadi, the Nausori Highlands offer an insight into another Fiji, one of rolling green hills, rugged mountains and dramatic vistas. A trip through the highlands requires a whole day, but visitors with limited time can gain a taste of the Nausori Highlands by driving inland for about 13 km to the first crest and taking in the panoramic view it offers back over Nadi and the coastal plain.
Fiji’s most beautiful beach, Natadola, is located 36 km south of Nadi.
Sigatoka River Valley
Sigatoka (pronounced Singatoka) is a picturesque town 60 km south of Nadi on the Queen’s Road by the side of the Sigatoka River, the second largest river in Fiji. A drive up the Sigatoka River Valley Road is a scenic, winding journey following the course of the river past market gardens and orchards. The villages of Lawai and Nakabuta are famous for their pottery. It is also possible to take a boat tour up the Sigatoka River.
Accommodation in Nadi
Nadi offers a wide range of accommodation from backpackers to five star resort hotels.
Getting Around Nadi
The easiest way to see Nadi and surrounds is by hire car. However, roads in Fiji are in poor condition and many attractions are accessible only by unsealed road, so a 4 wheel drive is advisable.