Fiji Fanatic Zoe Marshall on the One Thing Everyone Gets Wrong About the Island Nation

InterContinental Fiji

One of the biggest misconceptions about Fiji, according to Australian writer and podcaster Zoe Marshall who has been to the island nation no less than nine times, is that it’s merely one destination. In fact, she says, most people don’t know it comprises 333 islands, each offering their own different version of paradise.

“There’s so much to see and do on Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu, where the international airport is located, that people can forget to venture beyond,” Marshall says. “You can simply catch a boat transfer at Port Denarau Marina or a domestic flight with Fiji Link to easily hop between islands, discovering different cultures, landscapes and adventures along the way.”

She says two of the main reasons she’s been so often are its convenience — it’s a 3-4-hour direct flight from most major cities in Australia — and its flexibility as a destination. Though it’s often thought of as a family-oriented destination, due to its family-friendly resorts and activities, there’s a wide variety of holiday experiences that cater to adults.

Tips for Fiji travel
Image: Unsplash

“I love the resort life, relaxing and reading a book, but beyond that, you can zipline, dive, snorkel, quad bike, island hop, surf or do other thrilling water sports,” she says. “You can also visit floating bars like Cloud 9 and Seventh Heaven.”

Ahead, Marshall shares some of her favourite islands to visit in Fiji, along with the restaurants you can’t miss on each.

Which Island to Visit in Fiji

Denarau Island, Viti Levi

Denauru Island is ideal for convenience — it’s only a 20-30-minute car transfer from the airport, so is a great option for families and those looking to minimise travel time, Marshall says. On the island, she recommends staying at The Sheraton Fiji Resort, Radisson Blu Resort Fiji, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, and Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, all with pools and some with swim-up bars.

“The good thing about staying in Denarau is that you can visit all the other resorts close by and try out their restaurants and facilities,” she says. “You’re also only a 5-minute drive from Port Denarau marina if you’re planning lots of day trips to outer islands. However, if you’re looking for pristine white sand beaches, I would venture beyond Denarau.”

Natadola Bay, Viti Levi

For those seeking a quintessential beach holiday, Marshall suggests Natadola Bay, home to the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. It’s beachfront, with a spa, watersports, snorkelling and diving, and golf.

Malolo Island, Mamanuca Islands

“The Mamanuca Islands are just a one-hour boat transfer from Port Denarau and are home to some amazing accommodation options,” says Marshall. “If you’re travelling to Fiji’s outer islands you may need to spend a night near Port Denarau Marina to catch an early flight or boat transfer.”

Malolo Island Fiji
Image: Unsplash

If an adults-only paradise is on the agenda, Likuliku Lagoon Resort is a great adults-only option with plenty of romance on offer for couples, says Marshall. Also on Malolo Island is Six Senses Fiji, great for families or groups looking for privacy. It has villas with private pools. The larger residences are great if you’re travelling in a group.

“I have yet to explore further afield from the main island and Mamanuncas, but I have heard that the Yasawa Islands and Vanua Levu are also amazing, especially if you’re seeking a place off the beaten track,” says Marshall.

Where to Eat in Fiji

Marshall’s general advice for dining in Fiji is to embrace the relaxed ‘Fiji time’ mentality.

“You’re in paradise, so just relish the beautiful atmosphere during your meal, there’s no need to be in a rush,” she says. “Also, Denauru Island has the most variety of dining choices. The Bula Bus is a hop-on, hop-off bus around Denarau, so you can easily sample the restaurants and bars at different resorts or at Port Denarau Marina.”

While Marshall says there are so many good restaurants to choose from in Fiji, she shares three of her favourites ahead.

Tatavu Grill & Bar

“Right on the beachfront, Tatavu Grill & Bar at the Sheraton Fiji Golf Resort & Spa lets you eat with your feet in the sand,” says Marshall. “This restaurant is all about delicious grilled food so I would recommend a surf and turf option or grilled fish.”

Sanasana Restaurant

This restaurant is located within InterContinental Fiji, where Marshall has stayed several times and says she would happily return again.

“Sanasana Restaurant offers a delicious à la carte lunch menu with views of Natadola Bay,” she says. “The buffet dinner is next level — they change the cuisine every night to a different theme so you never get bored. Saturday nights are all about delicious local Fijian flavours and another favourite is the ‘Spices of India’ night on a Wednesday.”

Fish Bar Fiji

“Head to Fish Bar Fiji on the main island Nadi for sunset cocktails and dinner with stunning views across Momi Bay,” says Marshall. “The restaurant specialises in seafood, so try the local daily catch or the Fijian Kokoda. Kokoda is a delicious traditional Fijian dish made with raw fish marinated in coconut cream, lime juice, and vegetables — it’s bliss.”

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