<< Nadi Main | Accomodations & Dining
It’s generally pretty quiet round Nadi town but there are a few local nightclubs in town, which can be entertaining but full of drunks. The best local place is Eds, a nightclub in the Martintar area midway between Nadi Town and the airport. The best place to meet locals and lonely flight attendants are the hotels such as the Tanoa, Mocambo for weekend dances.
Get your souvenirs in Nadi. Jack’s in downtown Nadi is a good place to start. They have a good quality stuff ranging from handicrafts to clothing. It’s more like a department store. Sogos, across the street and down the road from Jack’s has good quality clothing for men and women. Check out their Tabu Soro sports wear. Be sure and see the public market in town. Oh, yeah the Post Office has a great array of postcards sand stamps for philatelists. (Go here for a primer on shopping in Fiji).
Go to the Beach
Wailioaloa Beach is a 1/2 mile stretch of (not particularly attractive) brown sand butbis the best beach in the Nadi area. On its north end is Travellers Beach Resort and to the south is Club Fiji . The beach is popular with local families that swim there (adults swim usually fully clothed) or beer drinkers, particularly on the weekends. At Club Fiji or Travellers one can buy a beer a meal and/or use the hotel facilities.
When the waves churn the water near the shore swimming is not the best. If you are going to swim at all, you’re better off on the north end. The south end has a preponderance of mud flats, especially at low tide. However, the Club Fiji is a nicer venue. There is a pool, better restaurant, landscaped gardens, deck chairs, Mexican style palapas and water sports facilities.
Nausori Highlands Rd
The turn-off to the Nausori Highlands is not too difficult to find. The access road is called the ‘Nadi Back Rd’ and it branches off the Queens Rd about three km south of Nadi Airport in an area called Nawaka, adjacent to a school playing field. It can also be accessed on the southern edge of Nadi town. It’s a bit more difficult to find from the Nadi end but it can be done. Before leaving, it’s good idea to contact the Public Works Department, the police or the Forestry Department to get a report on the current road conditions in the mountains.
To get to the highlands road, take the Queens Rd as far as Nawaka and turn inland; or from Nadi go east from Nadi’s main street. If uncertain, ask a police officer – chances are other people will shrug their heads. Allow a day for this trip and take a picnic lunch. The road will be rough, but the scenery will be fantastic and well worth the drive.
There are several options for traveling the highlands road, depending on how adventurous you are. You can go as far as the major junction at MamanucaBukuya and then go on to Ba in the north and connect with Kings Rd. This is a long and tortuous route (about a three-hour drive) ideally suited for a 4WD. The highlight is passing through Navala village (see above photo), deep in the mountains. The bures in this settlement are almost exclusively traditional thatched-roof homes, which are becoming a rarity in Fiji. To see this magnificent village perched on the side of a river valley is worth the trip. The village does, by the way, take in visitors for a set daily fee. There are also fees for photographing the village. You can also reach Navala via a 1-1/2-hour bus ride from Ba three times daily.
The second option is to take the highlands road to its eastern extremity at Bukuya village and continue south 60 km along the Sigatoka Valley and eventually to Sigatoka town. The condition of the road is apt to be much better on this route. Make sure you stop at Nakabuta village along the Sigatoka Valley road, to purchase pottery. This is also a lovely route, but at least a three-hour drive.
A third option is to go as far as you feel comfortable, eat your picnic lunch and head back to Nadi. The scenery along the way begins with rolling hills studded with cane. About 15 to 20 km inland you get into mountains, which tower over deep cleft valleys. Much of the land has been planted with Caribbean pine, which is already yielding valuable building material and, in the form of wood chips (visible in an immense pile at Lautoka Wharf), is also a major export product. Deeper into the interior the landscape becomes more rugged, precipitous and wet.
The inhabitants of the occasional villages are poor, eking out a living from their dalo and cassava patches. It is not unusual to see them walking along the road, bush knives at their sides, on their way to the family teitei (vegetable patch) or perhaps leading a pair of oxen. Some residents of the area, mounted on horses, hunt wild pigs using only bush knives and dogs. After school, children will be making the often long trek back to their homes. Perhaps you will see them toting their books, or village women with prawn nets heading for a stream.
If you're interested in visit a waterfall in the highlands that very few people get to, ping Fijisurfco.com and if you can arrange a visit. See video below.
Wailoaloa & Newtown Beaches.
These are great places to jog or have a picnic if you’re staying near the Dominion International Hotel, the Nadi Bay Motel, Traveller’s Beach Resort, Horizon Beach Resort or the Newtown Beach Motel. From the airport head south about five km and turn right at Wailoaloa Rd, which is about 100 meters past the Dominion. Continue past the Nadi Bay Hotel about three km and follow the road straight to the beach. A vast reach of sand stretches to your left and your right. If you continue to the right a few km (down the beach) you will arrive at Newtown Beach where Traveller’s, Horizon and Newtown beach accommodation is located. If you don’t want to walk to Newtown from Wailoaloa Beach, turn right from Nadi Bay Rd onto Enamanu Rd and follow it to the end. The public access at Newtown Beach stretches northwards from the Turtle Island Airways ‘terminal’.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
This garden, which contains a collection of 30 to 40 varieties of Asian orchids and cattleya hybrids, is not just for horticulture enthusiasts. It’s a combined commercial nursery and fantasy garden at the foot of the Sabeto Mountains, in the shadow of the ridge known as the ‘Sleeping Giant’. The garden was once the private collection of US actor Raymond (Perry Mason) Burr.
The highlight of the garden tour however, is not just the orchids. Of equal interest is a meandering stroll on a canopy-covered boardwalk through gorgeous landscaped grounds, across lily ponds up to the edge of a densely vegetated jungle. The turn-off to the garden is about five km from Nadi Airport, on your right as you head towards Lautoka. Take this side road for about two km. You could take a bus and hoof it from the main road, but it’s naturally easier if you have a rental car. Admission is charged.
Guns of Lomolomo
Past Nadi Airport the rugged hills of the Sabeto Mountains end almost at the foot of Queens Rd. At this juncture (about 8-1/2 km from the airport) watch for a set of railway tracks and turn right onto the dirt road. There is a school building about 400 meters up the lane on the left.You have to go through private property to get to the gun site so be polite when doing so. It might be better taking the track to the left of the school rather than the one on the right, which will lead you to the base of the bluff and is a tougher climb to the top of hill. Unlike the battery at Momi Bay, this site has not been taken over by the National Trust and thus has been left in the state in which it was abandoned after the war. The view from the top of the gun emplacement is outstanding. For those traveling by bus, the Lomolomo site is easier to reach than Momi Bay. Take a Lautoka or Viseisei bus from Nadi and ask the driver to let you off at the school.
Around the bend from Lomolomo and on your left is Viseisei, 9-1/2 km from the airport. Legend has it that this village is the oldest settlement in the country. Fijians say their ancestors first came to Fiji in great ocean-going canoes and landed at nearby Vuda Point. Speed humps have Mamanucarecently been installed in the vicinity of the village to ensure that passing cars move very slowly. This came about after a villager was run over by a speeding vehicle. This also should remind motorists that they should take care when driving in Fiji – pedestrians are not as wary of cars as they should be and can put themselves in dangerous situations.
There is a crafts center at the Nadi side of the village. You can stop there and ask if someone can take you to see the centennial (1835-1935) monument marking the arrival of the missionaries. Opposite the monument is the bure of the chief or tui vuda. In the middle of the village is a large Methodist church with a monument commemorating the arrival of the missionaries. Usually a small tip to the person who has shown you around the village is proper. Incidentally, after having visited this village you’ll be in good company. Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Prince Charles have also visited Viseisei. The huge, brand-new looking bure to the left of the road belonged to Dr Timoci Bavadra, the late, deposed prime minister of Fiji.
The turn-off to Vuda Point and the Anchorage Beach Resort is on the left near the top of the first steep hill along the Queens Rd. About three km down, you pass several large oil storage tanks and then the road becomes very sandy. The beach is a short walk away (through a cane field between two freshwater ponds). This is traditionally where the first Melanesians landed. There is not much to see, but the point is a popular picnic spot for families in the area. Vuda Point is about 12-1/2 km from Nadi Airport.
One of the newer developments in the area of interest to sailors is the Vuda Point Marina (see right), which has a small chandlery, fuel dock, a coffee shop, Internet access and a grocery store. Food and drink can be had at the Vuda Yacht Club, whose thatched building is a leisurely spot to watch the boats pass through the marina entrance. To quote one happy yachite, “Local hotels also offer “yachtie specials” for dinner; First Landing Resort is next door and you can also get a pass to use their swimming pool; the Anchorage will collect you and deliver you back to the marina free of charge.” All of these spots offer great venues to enjoy the sunset while sipping cold Fiji Bitter. Pacific Marine Services carries out boat repairs and maintenance and provides security for unattended boats. Image courtesy of www.yachthelp.com.
The local dive operators (the best being Aqua-Trek) will arrange day dive trips to the nearby Mamanuca islands.
Visit the Mamanuca Islands
There are a myriad of day trips to the Mamanuca Group. You can either fly or take a boat. For day trips talk to Margaret Travel at the airport. She’ll listen to what you want and book you on a tour.Tel 721988/722558/921992/921988 or email@example.com.