Navigating Fiji via Bus & Coach
There’s a good network of buses, on all of the major islands, linking up all of Fiji’s population centers (including smaller towns and even villages). Despite jokes about “Fiji Time”, for a small island nation, Fiji’s bus system is dependable enough to allowing you to plan a day trip or adventure with some precision.
The average price to get from Nadi to Suva is $F18 per person. With with this in mind, you can explore Fiji at a price that won’t break the bank. Below are some useful resources and links.
Many visitors like the adventure of using the local open-windowed buses so they can take in the sights and sounds of the passing scene. Canvas flaps are unfurled in the event of a rain shower. Local buses also allow the visitor a chance to mingle with the people of Fiji, who by choice and tradition, treat strangers with gracious hospitality.
Every town and village has a bus stop, since this is still the most common form of transportation in the islands. You can also hail any public bus from the roadside merely by waving to the driver. The destination of the Bus is displayed at the top of the windshield.
Information Courtesy of Airports Fiji
Minivans – are also an increasingly common sight on the roads across Fiji. Popular with locals, for speed and cost. They are slightly more expensive than a coach, but a lot cheaper than a Taxi. You can catch a Mini Van at all the major bus stations. (Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Rakiraki, Nausori, SIgatoka), or simple flag them from the roadside.
If you wish to be transported to your resort in an air conditioned coach in a timely fashion, there are several coach companies that travel up and down Viti Levu’s two main (Kings and Queens) Roads every few hours throughout the week. Service is less frequent but available on the weekends as well.
Queens Road in Fiji stretches from Lautoka to Suva, winding along the southern coast of Viti Levu.
King’s Road, also known as the Kings Highway, is an ideal service for visitors who want to catch the beautiful scenery of the north coast as their semi-coach cruises through sugar cane belts, pastoral lands and the great Wainibuka River.
How to use the E – Ticketing Card
Passengers who wish to travel via public bus, including Coaches, are required to purchase e-ticketing disposable cards which are available at all Coach stations and Vodafone outlets across the country. Disposable cards are also available for purchase on public buses and are available in $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. They are recommended for passengers who do not use the public bus on a regular basis.
Queens Road Service
Sunbeam serves the Queens Road with eight daily trips between Lautoka and Suva respectively. They pick and drop passengers at various destinations along the highway, airports, towns and all major hotels. Pick and drop locations are as follows:
- Nadi International Airpor
- Nadi Town
- Fijian (Shangri – La) Resort
- Sigatoka Town
- Tabua Sands
- Hideaway Resort
- Naviti Resort, Korolevu, Warwick Resorts
- Beach House, Crusoes Retreat Junction
- Deuba Inn
- Tradewinds Lami
Kings Road Service
Service starts as early as 6:00 am til 4:30 pm daily. Express services to and from usually take up to 5 hours and stops only in towns. Non-express services take up to 6 and 1/2 to 7 hours but stops at more locations.
Round the Island Service
This is a 12 hour service that covers the whole of the island of Viti Levu. An express service starting along the King’s Highway and stops at all towns as well as express stops. The service continues along the Queens Road stopping at all towns, hotels and resorts. Both services depart early morning at 6:00 am, leaving Suva and Lautoka bus station respectively on their 12 hour journey. This is an ideal day trip excursion of Viti Levu.
Information Courtesy of Sunbeamfiji.com
Pacific Transport Fiji
Pacific Transport carries in excess of 10,000 passengers per day, so is a well established and integral member of the Transport network in Fiji. It provides services for Queens Road patrons travelling from / to Suva, Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba.
They stop and disembark at all the major resort and towns along the coastal route.
Pacific Transport Fiji Timetables & Costs – http://www.pacifictransport.com.fj/time-table.html
As you travel around Fiji’s by-ways and highways here are a few items to consider:
Pacific Transport will display a movie at the front of the coach on a 17 inch screen, with the volume played, via the speakers spaced along the length of the coach. I mention this because if you are a frequent traveler like myself, or your using this as your main transportation whilst in Fiji, you might watch the same movie several times. (I have seen The Titanic around 20 times).
Instead of movies, the Sunbeam Coach may play the local radio station or a of a driver’s favorite music selection stored on a USB stick or CD. Sometimes the music is played at a very loud level. If you find this uncomfortable, you can simply ask the ticket master on the coach to please turn down the music and they will oblige.
If your travelling around the island via the Kings Road, the older coaches are normally used. These vehicles most likely have been in service travelling the length of the Queens Road several times a day. As the companies update their fleets, the older coaches get assigned to the less traveled routes. On the older buses note that the floor-well, which has seen thousands of travelers walking up and down its surface over the years, bruised and battered. The wear and tear of the furnishings, seat covers and air-conditioning systems which sometimes drip bath you, like it or not with may bath you in a pool of cool water. The buses are inspected to meet for health and safety regulations but comfort is often a secondary consideration.
There are several coaches that have the following seating arrangements–3 seats on the left and 2 seats on the right as you enter the coach. This is to compensate for the storage compartments at the bottom of the coach, so it is evenly balanced, for a smoother ride. I mention this for an important reason. My advice is to ALWAYS choose the right hand, 2 seat arrangement, because there is nothing worse that travelling for the next 4 hours pinned between two people, caught sardine-like, between two pieces of bread.
If you can imagine a hot day, an older bus and possible hygienic issues with fellow travelers it’s not hard to fathom why taking my advice might be in your enlightened self-interest.
Keep your Receipt
When the ticket master comes around the bus, to check your tickets or swipe your E-Ticketing Card, he will provide you with a receipt similar to the ones you get at the checkout at a supermarket. DO NOT DISCARD. If for example, you are travelling from Nadi International Airport to Pacific Harbour along the Coral Coast, sometimes the ticket master who services you with the initial receipt will change shift, and a new member of the team will get on. He will then proceed to march up and down the coach asking for your receipt, which he will sign and hand back. You may think FINALLY I can dispose of this but you would be wrong. When you disembark from the coach the Coach Driver will usually ask for the receipt. At that point, I can assure you, it’s better to have it in your possession.
All heavy luggage is stored in the large, dust free luggage compartments at the bottom of the coaches. Thus if your headed to the Airport Arrival area you can rest assured the driver or assistant will store your gear securely, in the right bay, for easy disembarkation. There are also overhead compartments for hand luggage on the coach. If you observe your luggage being stored next to a bundle of dalo (or taro, an important staple food crops in Fiji) do not be concerned. Many locals from the countryside travel to sell their goods at the local markets in Nadi, Lautoka and Suva.
Note that restrooms are not available on coaches. Along the Queens Road, the Coach stops in Sigatoka for 15 minutes, so you can purchase a snack and frequent the public toilets, located next to the market. Be back within 15 minutes. The ticket master does his best to count heads but there are no guarantees.
The coaches travelling the Kings Road stop at Rakiraki, before heading down to Nausori.
The public toilets, as you might imagine, may not be up to your standards of hygiene. It’s wise to be prepared by bringing toilet paper, tissue or possibly hand soap if by chance you need to use one of these facilities.
When you leave the Coach for the short break, do one of three things:
- If your travelling with a friend or partner, get one of you to stay on the bus, so they can secure your seat, and alert the bus if they are departing without you.
- Leave an item on your seat, as some people are disembarking at this location, and subsequently some people are just starting their journey, so you may find your seat taken upon returning.
- Or simply tell another passenger who is staying on the coach, to secure your seat as you will be returning, they will be more than happy to oblige.