Recognising Fiji Day and 51 years of the island nation’s independence, the country’s Prime Minister gave the news that after nearly two years of being closed, its borders will once again be opened to international visitors wanting a slice of Fijian happiness from December 1, 2021.
Fiji remains an ideal destination where travellers can spread out amongst 333 islands, stay in boutique resorts, have an entire beach to themselves, and escape any crowds. Whether looking for an adventure, a romantic getaway, or a leisurely vacation, Fiji provides the right level of remoteness to detach from the worries of back home, from just 3.5 hours flight from the East Coast of Australia.
Before you pack your bags, there are a few things you need to know.
How to Get Into Fiji
To enter Fiji, you will need to be fully vaccinated and coming from a “Travel Partner” country (defined as one with high vaccination rates and low-test positivity rates). Currently, these are Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
You will also need to provide a negative PCR test taken less than 3 days prior to departure from your home country and fulfil any obligation to take an additional test prior to returning home, based on individual home country requirements. Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 will be able to travel to Fiji accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
If you’re flying back from Fiji, from November 1, 2021, Australian travellers returning from overseas no longer have to hotel quarantine. Find out more here.
Current Restrictions to Know
When you land in Fiji, within the first 48 hours, you should book transfers, tours, accommodation, and adventures supported by CareFiji Commitment. After 48 hours, you will need to get tested again at your accommodation. Upon returning a negative, you’re free to go wherever you want.
Eat Like a King in Fiji
A raft of new restaurants and bars have opened up all around Fiji, including an Airstream pizza van, serving piping hot slices. In Wailoaloa, you will find a beachfront bar, with great cocktails, food and music at night. The Distillery Co Fiji is worth a visit if you want to try their Blue Turtle Gin and Make Vula Vodka—created from scratch using native herbs.
Bulaccino, a popular café in Nadi, Denarau and Suva, launched tours to their organic farm in 2020 to bring awareness to the food that is served on their plates. Over in Taveuni, the Gaiatree Sanctuary is a great example of ‘farm-to-table growing their own organic Fijian superfoods, fruits, herbs and spices. Their Spice of Life tour includes a full immersion in the farm followed by a delicious lunch prepared using all the ingredients across the farm. KokoMana in Savusavu has a tour of their cacao farm where they demonstrate ‘tree to bar’ chocolate. Learning about the whole process of how cocoa is made into fine-flavour chocolate, KokoMana is one of the few places in the world where chocolate is made just a few metres away from cocoa trees.
Where to Stay on the Main Island
The main island is where most travellers start. If you’re looking for places to stay, head to Likuri Island Resort for a true Fijian island experience on the Coral Coast. Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is also great if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, with the luxuries of the Marriott brand. Situated on the north part of the island is Volivoli Beach Resort, great for those who love soft adventure including diving and snorkelling, kayaking through mangroves, and tours to waterfalls. You will find a blend of white sandy beaches, coral reefs, a sunny climate year-round, plus friendly Fijian hospitality and culture with an exciting range of water sports. It’s the less touristy part of the island.
Plan an Adults-Only Escape
If you’re looking to escape from the kids, especially after months of homeschooling, then you’re in luck, some of Fiji’s resorts have adult-only wings. The Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa offers a range of accommodation options, as well as access to the Marina for day trips to Mamanucas (Malamala Beach Club) or Tivua Island with Captain Cook Cruises. The Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa has the Waitu Wing, which is an adults-only with poolside fine dining, and a cocktail bar in the converted wedding chapel. The resort has had a full renovation so lots of new dining options over at the main resort too. Book the Reef Wing at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort for complimentary afternoon canapes and cocktails, and its own pool area.
Take a Day Trip
There are plenty of fun day trips to be had in Fiji. Cloud 9 is a two-level floating platform in the middle of the Mamanuca Islands, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two, and dance to the DJ onboard. The Malamala Beach Club is on its own island and only a 25-minute ferry ride from Port Denarau. You can also hike Fiji’s dramatic peaks on the Talonoa Treks or surf the waves at Cloudbreak. Eco-Trax is an abandoned sugar railway line, which has been given a second life. By way of electric-assisted bicycles mounted side by side, the tracks take visitors along the beautiful Coral Coast through villages, mangroves and pristine coastline to arrive at an unspoiled beach for a swim and tropical fruits.
Rent an Airbnb and Call Fiji Home for a Few Days
Airbnb’s offer a home away from home, so why not rent one for the family for your next visit to Fiji. This villa is a stunning one bedroom mountainside home, perfect for honeymoons and romantic getaways. On Maravu, you will find this two-bedroom island retreat, offering acres of privacy, with access to the water, snorkelling, restaurants, and a horizon edge pool. For the family holiday, book the Grand Villa, which accommodates up to eight guests. Perched on a hillside, the villa offers palm trees and sandy beaches just steps from the front door. It also comes fully staffed with a cook and housekeepers.
Venture to the Outer Islands
Fiji is made up of over 300 islands, each offering its own slice of beach, jungle and cuisine. Head to rain-soaked islands such as Vanua Levu and Taveuni, for a more off the beaten track experience. You can hike trails, chase waterfalls, and get lost in the jungle. The Yasawa Island is remote and less developed, offering nature experiences, while Wakaya Island is where you go to indulge in luxury at the all-inclusive Wakaya Club and Spa. Kadavu is known for its world-class diving spots and volcanic peaks, which are dramatic, and beautiful.
This article originally appeared on Thrillist Australia.