Otherwise known as the Sunshine Coast thanks to its north facing elevation, the North Coast of Viti Levu may discourage travellers because of its distance from Nadi International Airport. But it’s worth it if only to get a wonderful perspective of dramatic volcanic mountains. Allow at least two hours to drive coastal King Road that skirts the mountainous interior from Nadi to the North Coast. If you’re not in a hurry, make a day trip of the journey, stopping at villages or coastal viewpoints along the way, passing through sugar cane fields and coconut plantations. With emerald-hued mountains on one side and an azure South Pacific Ocean on the other side there is plenty of fabulous scenery to keep travellers mesmerised.
Beneath a mountain plateau sits the charming one-street Indo-Fijian town of Tavua. As with most Fijian towns the marketplace is a lively gathering point and Tavua is no exception. Tavua Hotel is a charismatic white-washed colonial style timber building that is worth visiting if you’re in need of refreshment. Further east near Rakiraki, Yaqara Valley’s ancient volcano is home to famous Fiji Water which is bottled directly from an artesian aquifer deep below the surface of an ancient rainforest. Standing taller than 1300m Mt Tomanivi dominates the landscape and is popular with hikers who are rewarded with stunning panoramic views from the summit. Cool off after a long hike at Narara Waterslide, a natural rock slide that terminates in a small pool at the base.
But most travellers visit the North Coast in order to access a handful of boutique-style mainland and island resorts in Bligh Waters. Some are accessible by seaplane or helicopter from Nadi International Airport if a long drive is not really your style. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the real Fiji untouched by popular tourism, you’ll likely find it on the North Coast.
Bligh Water is actually a passage with currents that ensure marine life is well nourished and prolific. Divers and snorkelers are attracted to clear waters that see little boating traffic. Fishermen too are well catered for either, with both inshore line fishing or offshore sports and pelagic fishing on offer. Protected waters are perfect for kayakers too, with plenty of shallow reef to explore and headlands to poke around in.
Tiny Dolphin Island is an exclusive retreat for pampered guest who rent the whole island just off the coast, while Wananavu Beach Resort on a peninsula jutting out into Bligh Waters has something to suit most all travellers who want to stay on Viti Levu.
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