Fiji: Viti Levu's best tours and cruises

18 April 2016

To see more of this beautiful country, book a day tour. They're a great way to meet the locals and explore Fiji beyond the beach – all the while supporting the cyclone-ravaged local economy. Below, some of the best tours in and around Viti Levu, Fiji's main island.

Navua river rafting with Rivers Fiji. Photo: riversfiji.com Navua river rafting with Rivers Fiji. Photo: riversfiji.com

 

Navua River tour

On a day cruise along up the Navua River you'll explore Viti Levu's spectacular interior while experiencing the local culture firsthand. The popular Jewel of Fiji tour from Discover Fiji takes you upriver by motorised longboat to a village for traditional dancing, singing and lunch, then on to a remote and spectacular waterfall for a swim, before returning to base by bamboo raft – a much less precarious vessel than it looks. For an even more adventurous day on the river, check out Rivers Fiji's whitewater rafting trip through the Upper Navua Gorge.

Sigatoka River Safari. Photo: Sigatoka River Safari. Photo:

 

Sigatoka River Safari

The Sigatoka River is a little less picturesque than the Navua, but significantly more accessible from Nadi. And whereas the Navua tour focuses on traditional modes of transport, the well-established Sigatoka River Safari guarantees you thrills and spills – after all, it's not a jetboat trip without a few good soakings and 360 degree spins. After collection at your hotel, you'll travel by bus to Sigatoka township near the mouth of the river, then continue your journey by jetboat; the trip to the village takes around half an hour, including stops along the way. The village tour includes a comprehensive introduction to local life, including a kava ceremony, dancing and lunch.

Cannibal Caves tour

For a smaller-scale, 100% Fijian-owned and operated tour of the Sigatoka River region, try Coastal Inland Tours. They offer four options: a river cruise, a tour of the adjacent area known as the Salad Bowl; a hike through the jungle to the Biausevu Falls; and a visit to the Naihehe Caves, former home to Fiji's last cannibal tribes. The tours are small, friendly and led by informative locals; all include a village visit including a kava ceremony and stop-in at a primary school to meet the kids.

Coral Cats day cruise to Malolo Lailai. Photo: fiji.travel Coral Cats day cruise to Malolo Lailai. Photo: fiji.travel

 

Day cruises from Denarau

If you're visiting Fiji, you have to get out on the water at least once, ideally as often as you can. On Viti Levu, you're spoilt for choice. Every morning at Port Denarau outside Nadi a plethora of yachts, catamarans and ferries set sail for the nearby Mamanuca Islands. One of the best day cruises is Coral Cats' day out onboard the catamaran Wanaka (the founder is a Kiwi), including reef snorkelling and a barbecue lunch at Musket Cove on the resort island of Malolo Lailai. Another great option is Oolala Cruises' trip to remote Savala, with paddleboarding, snorkelling and glass-bottom boat rides on the island and live Fijian singing en route.

Heli-Tours Fiji: Photo: helitoursfiji.com Heli-Tours Fiji: Photo: helitoursfiji.com

 

Helicopter tours

Fiji is beautiful at ground level, but it's utterly gorgeous from above. See for yourself on a helicopter tour like those offered by Heli-Tours Fiji, where options range from 10 jaunts around Denarau to hour-long flights over Modriki (the Castaway island), the southern Yasawas and the waterfalls and mountains of the Evans Range, northeast of Nadi.

Suva city tour

For anyone interested in Fiji's colonial past – or simply looking for a change of scene from the touristy west coast – Fiji Tours' day trip to Suva is a must. You'll be collected from your hotel in Nadi or the Coral Coast, then driven to Suva for a full day exploring the Fijian capital. Highlights include the president's residence, Albert Park and Thurston Botanical Gardens, with plenty of time for shopping or eating out – be sure to wander down Narrow Cumming Street, once a colonial red-light district, now one of Suva's most popular retail strips.