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Fiji Islands - An Idyllic South Pacific Escape

Jan 15, 2008
Occupying a land area of about 18,350 square kilometers, Fiji is an archipelago nation, situated in the center of the South Pacific Ocean, west of Tonga, east of Vanuatu, and south of Tuvalu. Fiji is about 2000 miles north-east of Australia, and has the Hawaiian Islands to the north and New Zealand to the south. Officially known as the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the archipelago of Fiji consists of 322 islands and more than 500 islets. Of which only about 100 islands are inhabited.

Formerly known as the Cannibal Isles, Fiji Islands were first inhabited by the Polynesians. In 1874, Fiji became a colony of the British. Nearly after a century of British rule, Fiji gained independence in 1970. But, Fiji has now become a major hub of the trade and tourism in the South Pacific and one of the significant stopovers for flights between New Zealand and the USA.

With its sheer beauty, thousands of magnificent beaches, beautiful volcanic islands, coral reefs, pristine lagoons, palm fringed shorelines, lush green forest areas, and volcanic peaks rising up to 3000 ft, Fiji has now become the most enchanting tourist destination in the South Pacific.

No matter you have come here for celebrating your anniversary, honeymoon, or just to enjoy sport activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, Fiji has superb options for all. The Fiji Islands has been categorized into three groups such as the central islands comprising Viti Levu and Vanua Levu; the Lau Islands; and the Ra Islands, containing the Mamanucas and the Yasawas.

The largest as well as the prominent among the islands in Fiji is the Viti Levu, which is home to Suva - the capital city. Viti Levu boasts of all that is required to make your vacation at Fiji truly enjoyable as well as unforgettable, including well maintained cities, tropical mountains, lush green areas, scintillating waterfalls, upscale hotels and resorts, and stupendous beaches coupled with diving facilities.

For nature enthusiasts and travelers seeking solitude, one of the great destinations in the country is Taveuni, often referred to as the Garden Island, because of its abundance of beautiful as well as colorful flowers. Almost all plants and animals that are indigenous to the country can be seen here. Attractions, among many others of this island, are Lake Tagimaucia with a volcanic crater and Bouma Falls, which is one of the most scenic in the world. Additionally, Taveuni is home to some of the best diving sites in the country, such as, the Rainbow Reef and the Vuna Reef.

Another popular island among the Fiji Islands is Vanua Levu, which is located about 65 kilometers north of the Viti Levu. This is also the second largest island in the country. Labasa and Savusavu are the main towns in the island. Taking a tour to Vanua Levu is a great way to experience to the indigenous life of the country.

Also, prominent among the islands in Fiji is the Kadavu, located south of Viti Levu. About 75 percent of the island is occupied by rainforest, and also included in the landscape of the region is several soaring mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and incredible beaches. A rich variety of bird species can also be seen here. In addition, Kadavu also boasts of Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the premier scuba diving resorts in the country.

Apart from these, things to see in Fiji are endless, ranging from museums and cultural centers to beautiful shrines and monuments. Perhaps most prominent among the attractions in the country is the Fiji Museum in Suva, with an amazing selection of artifacts that throw light on the interesting past of the region. A gallery housing prehistory-related items can also be found within the museum. Aside this, the museum provides opportunities for the visitors to take a ride in Vitian drua, a traditional type double hulled canoe.

No visit to Fiji would be complete without taking a tour to Sri Siva-Subramaniya Temple in Nadi, which is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Dedicated to the Lord Muruga, the temple is much famed for its exquisite architectural styles. Attractions in Fiji also include Orchid Island Fijian Cultural Centre in Suva and Suva Municipal Market, the South Pacific's largest as well as liveliest market.

Above all, Fiji is a paradise for water sport lovers, and in fact, provides superb options to enjoy an array of water sport activities such as scuba diving, water skiing, snorkeling, swimming, coral viewing, wind surfing, fishing, sailing, and kayaking. Even some high-end resorts and hotels in the area render facilities for activities such as boat trips and para-gliding, apart from excellent accommodation and dining facilities.
About the Author
Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and manages 54 hotels under Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 27,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services.
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