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Photograph: Supplied/Tourism Fiji

Five days to spend in Fiji with friends

Follow Time Out’s itinerary for a perfect five-day chillax in Fiji

By Time Out in association with Tourism Fiji
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As we start to think about travel again in a post-Covid world, Fiji stands out as a safe, convenient and super-chill place for a tropical getaway that combines all the best things in life. Lazy days on the beach or by the pool? It’s what Fiji was made for, but it also boasts surfing and diving, unique cuisine and culture, and some of the most idyllic bars you can imagine (some floating over coral reefs). 

Brought to you by smiling locals embodying the ‘bula’ spirit of welcome and goodwill, Fiji’s attractions are just a 3.5 hour flight from the East Coast of Australia. The islands have accommodation to suit all budgets, and you’re assured of health and safety measures via the Care Fiji Commitment covering social distancing, extra sanitisation, wellness ambassadors at hotels, and a contact tracing app. 

Planning a memorable travel experience for a small group of friends? Fiji’s the place. Here’s a sample itinerary perfect for you and your besties.

Your five-day Fiji itinerary

Day One: Denarau Island
Photograph: Tourism Fiji

Day One: Denarau Island

On arrival at Nadi Airport get a 20-minute transfer to your digs on Denarau Island, on the western side of Viti Levu, home to several resorts – many with private beaches. Suggested hotels include the Hilton Fiji Resort and Spa, Sofitel’s Waitui Beach Club (a good one for adults-only groups), Sheraton Fiji Resort, the Palms Denarau and Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island (where the Harmony Spa comes highly recommended for premium pampering).

After you’ve all checked in and enjoyed an afternoon by the pool, get a crash course in fine South Pacific cuisine with dinner at Lance Seeto’s Nadi restaurant, Kanu. Seeto has travelled extensively throughout Fiji to learn about traditional dishes and ingredients, which he fuses with modern techniques. Afterwards, go exploring the Wailoaloa Beach bar scene. View the sunset over drinks and nibbles at the Ramada’s rooftop bar which overlooks the whole beach, then wander down and along the beach to Smugglers Cove Beach Resort and Bamboo Travellers hostel for some live music with the locals. 

 

Day Two: Cruising
Photograph: Supplied/Tourism Fiji

Day Two: Cruising

Steel yourself for a big full day in Fiji with a barista coffee and a hearty breakfast from Bulaccino in Nadi. If you like what you’ve eaten and drunk then you ought to take the two-hour culinary tour of Bulaccino’s 30-acre farm near Nadi, which has sheep, jackfruit and dragonfruit orchards, vegetable and herb gardens, medicinal plants and bee hives. 

Alternatively, how does a day on your own tiny tropical island sound, for coral reef snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and glass bottom boat tours? Tivua is a tiny island surrounded by a halo of white sandy beach and crystal waters containing a garden of coral, and day cruises depart from Port Denarau. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea and beer and wine are included in tours departing twice daily on most days. 

When you get back, wander down to Denarau Marina for sundowners and live music. Try Cardo’s Steakhouse, Nadina, or Lulu Bar for casual dining overlooking the marina and the superyachts. 

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Day Three: Sigatoka River Safari
Photograph: Supplied/Tourism Fiji

Day Three: Sigatoka River Safari

It’s time to explore the Coral Coast of Viti Levu. Take a Sigatoka River Safari by jetboat, which takes you on a 17km cruise into the ‘salad bowl’ of Fiji to witness authentic village life, take part in a Kava ceremony and enjoy a lavish Fijian lunch. The river water on this trip is so clear you can see fish and rocks on the river bed. You can book a pick-up and drop-off back at Port Denarau. 

For dinner, don’t go past Tu’s Place. Tu’s specialises in Fijian cuisine alongside South East Asian and Western dishes and a signature here is the kokoda – a salad of raw fish marinated in lemon juice and served in coconut milk that is reminiscent of a ceviche. 

Day Four: Surf’s up
Photograph: Supplied/Tourism Fiji

Day Four: Surf’s up

Today, take a 30-45 minute transfer out to the Mamanuca Islands, a place of powdery beaches and coral-fringed lagoons. Find cheap accommodation at Funky Fish on Malolo, which is close to famous Fiji surf breaks, or a more luxe stay at Mana Island Resort on Mana.

If a surfing safari is on the cards, charter a local boat to the world-class surf breaks such as Cloudbreak, Wilkes Passage, Restaurants and Desperations. Cloudbreak’s six-metre swells are the stuff of legend, but there are gentler waves to be found at Wilkes, and there are other ways to experience the surf such as stand-up paddleboard, foil or kiteboard.

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Day Five: Bar heaven
Photograph: Luke Thompson

Day Five: Bar heaven

Take some time to chill! Get a boat out to one of Fiji’s famous, spectacuar floating bars such as Cloud 9 or Seventh Heaven. Go swimming, paddle boarding, snorkelling and kayaking, then kick back on the deck and enjoy some cocktails and local Pacific cuisine while DJs spin the tracks. Life doesn’t get much better.

Alternatively, there’s Malamala Beach Club, the world's first beach club located on its own island, Malamala Island. It's your very own island haven complete with white sand beaches, lush palm tree surrounds, beachside cabanas and an infinity pool. There’s also an Asian-inspired menu and a specially curated list of cocktails, complete with butler service. You’re worth it.

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