Cruising in Fiji waters is remote and stunningly beautiful, and over the past 34 years it has given me the opportunity to experience many once-in-a-lifetime moments. However, its isolation and untouched beauty also means that it is one of the more navigationally exacting cruising areas in the South Pacific.
There are areas which are still un surveyed and navigational aids are often a non event! The rule of thumb is: do not expect a beacon to be in place even if it shown on the chart, nor assume a light to be working!
There are so many reasons to cruise the idyllic waters of Fiji. It is one of the warmest, friendliest nations on earth and caters to cruisers looking for adventure, time out experiences with locals and very remote cruising. Fiji is a nation comprising 322 islands in 18,376 square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. The islands range from being large and volcanic with high peaks and lush terrain to atolls so small they peak out of the warm aqua water when the tide recedes.
The Yasawa Islands are off the west and spreading to the north of Viti Levu.
These islands are excellent for cruising on the leeward side. They are hilly with grass hills and quite dry climate wise, with stunning beaches.
The Mamanuca Islands has many small resorts with good anchorages with short hops between islands, with mostly protected cruising. There is also good diving for novice and intermediate divers, and great snorkeling.
Beqa is just off the south of Viti Levu and is home of the famous Fijian firewalkers. The world-famous shark dives of Fiji take place here off Pacific Harbour, where reef sharks, white pointers, tiger sharks and bull sharks are hand fed by locals as you look on- once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Also located on Viti Levu, but just near Beqa is a river trip which takes you into the interior of the island for an exciting raft through the Navua gorge, great scenery here. Frigate passage is also great for Surfing.
Kadavu is further south and is a great place for diving and fishing as well as visiting the local villages. Cape Washington is famous for its diving and Surfing.
Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji and it is north of Viti Levu, along with the islands of Rabi and Kioa among other smaller islands.
Taveuni offers Bouma waterfall, one of the biggest in Fiji, as well as diving the Purple Wall and White Wall, which are world renowned dive sites.
Culturally, Rabi and Kioa are very different from the rest of Fiji, as are the people, however these islands have great local handicrafts and put on superb mekes (traditional Fijian song and dance).
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second largest island and the towns of Savusavu and Labasa are found here. Towns are much smaller than the cities of Viti Levu.
Diving off Vanua Levu is spectacular, especially at Namena Island and further north and in the other islands in the Lomaiviti groupsuch as Wakaya, Gau, Koro, Makogai and the Vatuira channel.
Vanua Levu is also home to the world-class resorts of Namale and Cousteau’s Resort.
Ovalau is another large island off the east of Viti Levu and is home to Levuka, the old capital of Fiji. Levuka is a charming town with colonial architecture and church.
The islands of Lau are the most isolated of Fiji with sometimes fairly long open ocean passages between the islands. Located in a north south direction, on the eastern side of the Fiji Islands, the Lau islands are mostly coral or up thrust limestone and the topography will take your breath away, as well as the turquoise waters.
The diving is good, being mainly wall dives, deep with large pelagics.
Vanuabalavu and the Bay of Islands is magnificent for cruising, along with other nearby islands, and it is a great area for fishing.