Why go to Nadi?
Though Nadi has a rich history, its primary draw is its first-class golf courses
Nadi's beaches are not the best Fiji has to offer for swimming and sunbathing
Though golf reigns, this city is brimming with culture and history for non-sporting types to explore
Nadi Cruise Port Facilities?
For an authentic shopping experience with locals, head to Nadi Market, off Hospital Road between the bus station and downtown. A dollar here buys a bowl of kava, Fiji's national drink (daily except Sunday).
Nadi's bustling Main Street is the place for lunch and souvenir shopping. Jack's, Nads and Curio Handicrafts sell pottery and wood-carved items like spears and drinking bowls (or tanoas) still used in Fijian households. The bula shirt, which is a variation of Hawaii's aloha shirt, comes in either floral or traditional black and rust masi design. Colorful saris and sulus, the distinctive wraparound sarong worn by men and women, are other popular souvenirs.
Good to Know?
If you're comfortable driving on the left side of the street, renting a car is a good way to explore Viti Levu's west coast. The main highway, Queens Road, is well maintained with good signage. Side roads are another story. Expect gravel, potholes and grazing horses.
Like anywhere, it's best to swim and snorkel with a buddy -- currents and tides can change quickly. And note that most stores and restaurants are closed on Sunday.
Drive on the left side of the road in Fiji; a holdover from the British colonial era. Taxis are readily available and reasonable, but it's wise to confirm the fare in advance. Drivers don't always use their meters.
At about 70 cents a ride, the open windowed local buses are not only the cheapest way to get around; they're a good way to mingle with locals. You can hail any public bus from the roadside by waving to the driver. Pacific Transport Limited and Sunbeam Transport Limited offer air-conditioned bus service from the airport north to Lautoka and south to Sigatoka (670-0044; 927-2121).
Most Fijians don't own cars and renting one in Nadi is pricey -- around $80 a day. Makes like Toyota, Suzuki, Mazda and Daihatsu are available at major resorts and the airport. Companies with airport offices include Avis (672-2233), Budget (672-2636), Hertz (672-3466), and Thrifty (672-2935). Scooters start at around $20 (Beat Rentals, 672-1471).
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The local currency is the Fijian dollar. For up-to-the-minute conversion rates, check www.xe.com.
Though Fiji gained independence from Britain in 1970, its paper and coins still feature Queen Elizabeth. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted in restaurants, shops and car rental agencies. Small notes are best for local markets and taxis. There are dollar and traveler's check exchanges as well as ATM's at ANZ, Westpac and Colonial National Bank in downtown Nadi. The 24-hour ANZ at the airport arrivals area also has an ATM.
Though English is Fiji's official language, Fijian and Hindustani are widely spoken. Translated literally, bula means life, but it's also used for cheers, good morning and good night. Other essential Fijian phrases are vinaka (thank you), bula vinaka (a more polite way of saying hello), and senga na lenga (no problem).
Where You're Docked?
The Nadi International Airport faces Nadi Bay. From the airport, Queens Road heads north 20 miles to Lautoka, the departure point for Blue Lagoon Cruises. Sugar and timber, not tourism, are this town's main industries. Six miles south of the airport along Queens Road is downtown Nadi, a seven-block strip lined with shops and restaurants. Just north of downtown, a 4-mile drive along Narewa Road leads to Denarau Island.