Nadi is known as the point of transit for the rest of Fiji. The major airport was built here instead of the capital Suva because of its relatively drier climate. However, there are still enough points of interest and things to do to spend a few days here before you get on board the ferries or helicopters to the smaller islands or head back home.
The main street of Nadi is Queens Road. It is where all the hustle and bustle is and connects the town with the rest of Viti Levu. As you walk around the town, shopkeepers will occasionally approach you and do their best to make you enter their shop. However, the sales staff are not very persistent nor threatening, so don't worry too much about it.
Often when there is traffic or road work going on at Queens Road, the best road to travel across the town is Nadi Back Road.
You may encounter an underlying air of ethnic tension between the Indian and native Fijian populations, but this rarely comes out in the open.
- 1 Nadi International Airport (NAN IATA). It is the gateway to Fiji and handles almost all of the country's international passenger traffic. The airlines that operate at Nadi International Airport are Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Air Niugini, Air Kiribati, Nauru Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Korean Air, Aircalin and Solomon Airlines. Domestic flights arrive at the southern part of the terminal building. Several hotels have complimentary shuttles, which arrive and depart at a designated area.
By bus and car
Nadi has reliable local buses that let you explore the town and beyond. Just wave to the driver and you will be able to hop on from anywhere along the route. The comfortable, airy buses cost a fraction of that of a rental car. The bus clearly states where it is travelling from and to but you can also confirm with the driver. To get off, just ring the bell and the driver will stop anywhere along the route even if there is no official bus stop nearby.
- Taxis are a convenient way of getting around with reasonable fares. Remember to haggle with the driver before getting in. It is a good idea to ask your tour guide or hotel on the typical prices between two locations. Alternatively, if you are patient and experienced with bargaining, ask multiple taxi drivers what they charge for key locations and haggle down the price.
- There are hire cars available within the airport as well as in town. The internationally recognisable brands including Hertz, Thrifty, Avis, Europcar, and Budget are easy to find. There are local brands too though not all of them are reliable. In order to hire a car, you need to possess a valid driver's licence and, either be over 21 or 25 years of age (the precise age will depend on the rental service you use).
- 1 Wailoaloa Beach. North of Nadi town, the beach is 3 km long. There are many resorts and beach clubs lined up across the beach.
- 2 Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Wailoko Raod, ☏ , . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9AM-noon. The garden was founded by Canadian-American Hollywood star Raymond Burr, as a private nursery of tropical orchids. Nowadays, it contains a diverse and beautiful range range of plants with a number of walking paths set up too. Some of the bright and colourful flowers have a stunning, exotic feel to visitors living outside of the tropics. The terrain is hilly and for most of the year the garden is warm and humid so be sure to take a few breaks during your journey. A complimentary and refreshing fruit drink is provided at the end of your walk. $18 for adults.
- 3 Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Queens Rd (At the southern end of town), ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 6AM-7PM. This bright and colourful Hindu temple is one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. Carved and built in the Dravidian architectural tradition, the temple is probably the most visible monument in the whole of Nadi. As a mark of respect, knees and shoulders (for both genders) should be covered before entering the temple interior. However, if you arrive at the temple in shorts or sleeveless clothing, the temple will provide you with a dhoti/sarong and shawl to cover yourself. Also, the vegetarian food provided at the canteen is a hidden gem. Free to enter though donations are welcome.
- 1 Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool, Wailoko Rd, Sabeto (about 10 minutes past the Garden of the Sleeping Giants), ☏ . Daily 8AM-6PM. Bring your bathing suit and cover yourself with mud, dry in the sun for ten minutes or so, then wash yourself in the three pools, each cleaner than the previous. Massages are available too, and are a popular way to relax even further after the mud cleanse. $30 for the mud bath, $40 for a 30 minute massage.
- 2 Pacific Island Air Scenic Flights, London Ave, CAAF Compound, Nadi Airport, ☏ , [email protected]. Hop on board a helicopter or seaplane, soar to the sky and in 25 minutes, get a bird's eye view on the breathtaking Nadi basin, Mount Koroyanitu, Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Denarau island and a glimpse of the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands from afar. $432 per person.
- 3 Skydive Fiji, 11 Zahoor Rd Martintar (cnr of Queens Hwy and Zahoor Rd), ☏ , , [email protected]. Daily 8:30AM-5PM. The only tandem skydiving company in Fiji. Jumps are offered over Nadi and the western outer islands.
- 4 Jetboards Fiji, Wailoaloa Rd, ☏ , [email protected]. Modern extreme watersports operator. Get on an motorised surfboard, hoverboard or flyboard. Glide through the air like a bird, then go underwater like a dolphin.
- 5 Island Surf Beauty And Spa, Lot 10 Denarau Road/ Smugglers Cove Resort/ Lot 24 Queens Road, Martintar, ☏ , , , [email protected]. 9AM-8PM. Try a traditional Fijian Bobo massage, along with other treatments. Prices are fairly competitive. This spa has 3 different locations, one of which is located at Smuggler's Cove, close to Wailoaloa Beach. $60 for a 60 minute massage.
Shopping in Nadi is two-sided. There are the modern, mini-department stores catered to tourists and there are the traditional local markets. Shopping in the former is much like shopping in a Western country while the latter reveals the real Fiji and requires skill in bargaining and sometimes, holding your own against pestering sellers. The currency in Nadi as it is in all of Fiji is the Fijian dollar.
- 1 Jack's of Fiji, 401 Queens Rd, ☏ , [email protected]. M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 8AM-1PM. A handy starting point for souvenir shopping though fairly touristy. From handcrafted artifacts to clothing and jewellery, there is a variety of items in the store to take back home as memories of Fiji. Jack's is ideal for shoppers who are not that keen on the extensive bargaining you would have to do in the local handicraft markets.
- 2 Nadi Produce Markets, Hospital Rd. M-Sa 7AM-6AM. Buy cheap and organic fruit and vegetables. As all of the produce is seasonal, everything is very fresh and juicy.
- 3 Tappoo, Lot 1, Waikamu Subdivision, ☏ , [email protected]. M-Sa 8AM-6PM. High-end departmental store with an emphasis on fashion, perfumes, jewellery and liquor. Most products are on the pricey side unless there is a sale on. Sells official Fijian rugby merchandise, including polos, tees and singlets.
- 4 Prouds, Queens Rd, ☏ . Upmarket department store selling perfume and cosmetics, electronic gadgets, fashionable goods and liquor. No bargaining.
- 5 Nadi Handicraft Market (At the intersection of Queens Rd and Koroivolu Ave). M-Sa 8AM-6PM. Buy souvenirs, wood products and other handicraft made in Fiji.
- 1 Tu's Place, Queens Road, Martintar area, ☏ . Daily 7AM-10:30PM. The best restaurant in all of Nadi for authentic and traditional Fijian food. Beyond that, there are dishes inspired by European and Asian (particularly Thai) cuisine. Their signature dish is Kokoda (pronounced Kokonda), which is raw fish marinated in lemon juice, coconut milk and mixed with spices and salad. A Fijian form of ceviche. The fish and chips here is just as tasty.
- 2 Daikoku Restaurant (corner of Queens Road and Northern Press Road, Martintar), ☏ . M-Sa noon-2PM, 6PM-9:30PM. A popular teppanyaki steak house. The service and quality of the food is better if you book in advance as it is busy and the number of trained staff is limited.
- 3 Mumbai Dhaba, 22 Sukuna Rd, ☏ , [email protected]. Best value for money Indian in Nadi. The building on the outside looks rundown but the ambience on the inside is great. The servings sizes of nearly everything is huge and a challenge to finish. The tandoori chicken and dosas are delicious. Try the ginger infused sugarcane juice.
- 4 ZigZag Cafe, Ground floor, Prouds Building, Queens Rd, ☏ , [email protected]. Friendly staff and top-class service. The large-sized soft serves are a real treat in the warm climate.
- 5 Taste Fiji Kitchen, Lot 1 Cawa Road, Martintar (Off Queens Road), ☏ . Serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, pastries and desserts. Dishes from all over the world. The sweet treats are in particular delicious.
The drinking and clubbing scene is pretty much confined to the Martintar precinct.
- 1 Ed's Bar, Lot 31 Kennedy Street, Martintar, ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 5PM til late. The bar has a dance area, outdoor beer gardens, pool tables and occasionally a live band pops by. The crowd is a mix of locals and tourists so you won't feel out of place whoever you are. Happy hour from 5 to 10PM every day.
- 2 The Bounty Restaurant & Bar, 79 Queens Rd, Martintar, ☏ , [email protected]. M-Tu 10AM-11PM, W-Su 10AM-midnight. A popular bar among Fijians and tourists. Situated in the middle of town, there is a variety of foreign and local beers, including draught beer. The big TV screen shows live sports matches, including World Sevens Series and Super Rugby. There is a decent choice of tapas and cocktails. The atmosphere is lively and the bar also has karaoke.
- 3 Ice Bar, RB Jetpoint Complex, Queens Road, Martintar, ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 2PM-5AM. A modern and stylish bar and nightclub with a sleek dance floor. The real partying starts from 10PM and continues very late into the night.
- 4 Aliba Best Quality Kava Bar, Queens Rd, ☏ . Serves beer and kava and has a couple of billiard tables as well.
- 5 The Hive, Lot 30/31 Kennedy St, ☏ . 4-10PM daily.
Accommodation in Nadi generally tends to be budget to mid-range while the lavish and luxurious resorts are usually further out west in Denarau Island.
- 1 Aquarius On The Beach, 17 Wasawasa Rd, Wailoaloa Beach, ☏ , [email protected]. All rooms at have their own ensuite bathroom and top quality facilities. The pricier rooms have ocean views.
- 2 Bamboo Backpackers, 33 Newtown Beach, Nadi Bay, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. Daily acoustic music nights and kava parties. Free Wi-Fi and airport pickup. There are a large number of amenities including a board games room and pool table. The restaurant serves cheap Fijian food. From $17 per dorm bed.
- 3 Tanoa Sky Lodge, Namaka, Queens Highway, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. There are 55 rooms in total including superior and deluxe rooms, family units with cooking facilities and multi-share (4 to 6 beds per room) accommodations.
- 4 Tanoa Apartments, Votualevu Rd, ☏ , [email protected]. Clean and serviced yet self-containing apartment complex perched on a hill with views of the garden and ocean. They have a pool and a tennis court surrounded by palm trees. Free airport transfers.
- 5 Smuggler's Cove, 13 Wasawasa Rd, ☏ . A basic hostel which is located on the Wailoaloa beach. Offers a complimentary shuttle from the airport, although the return shuttle is not complimentary. Fire dances are shown on Sunday nights, amongst other activities. This is a well-known area, many tour operators and transfer shuttle services will know how to drop off and pick up here.
- 6 Capricorn Hotel, Queens Road, Martintar (between the airport and town), ☏ , [email protected]. This hotel has 67 air-conditioned rooms. Complimentary breakfast and airport shuttle. Has a pool, gardens, private car park, a poolside cocktail bar, spa and restaurant.
- 7 Club Fiji Resort, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. A remote boutique resort by the Nadi Bay beach. The accommodation styles at the resort vary and range from bures to villas. There are two restaurants, two bars and an outdoor pool. Cheapest rooms from $130.
- 8 Mercure Hotel Nadi, 203 Queens Road, Nadi Airport, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. A 3-star transit hotel featuring 85 rooms that command a view of the tropical setting gardens and swimming pool. There is alfresco dining in the restaurant, a Senikai spa and relaxing Rokete bar. The prices are modest but you get what you pay for.
- 9 Nadi Bay Resort Hotel, Wailoaloa Beach Rd, ☏ (general), (group enquiries), [email protected]. The Nadi Bay Resort is a few minutes by road from the airport and seaplane base, and offers a variety of accommodation including dorms, standard rooms and apartments. Amenities come in two here. There are two restaurants, two bars and two swimming pools.
- 10 Stoney Creek Resort, Sabeto village, ☏ . The resort has friendly staff and plenty of nearby activities. Waterfalls, the Sabeto mud pit and hot springs, hiking, kayaking and various villages are all easily accessible.
- 11 Tanoa International Hotel, Votualevu Road, Namaka, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Suitable for leisure and corporate travellers. The hotel is three minutes away from the airport. It has three restaurants, one bar and a coffee shop. From $230.
- 12 Novotel Nadi, Namaka Hill, ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Every room in the hotel overlooks the tropical landscape. The hotel is equipped with meeting rooms making it suitable for business travellers. In addition to having a bar and restaurant, this Novotel offers a fitness centre, golf course, spa and outdoor pool.
You may hear about some stories of scams and pickpocketing in Nadi. Crime is on the decline however, and whatever crime exists is mostly petty. There is a police station in the centre of Queens Road if you have any problems.
Although Nadi is on the drier, western side of Viti Levu, the climate is still very warm and humid. If you are walking around for a long time during the day in unshaded areas, it is likely that you will sweat profusely. As such it is important to stay hydrated and take regular breaks in shaded areas.
Most of Nadi's roads are well developed and maintained but you should be wary of a few big potholes on the smaller roads around the outskirts of town.
- Hop on a local bus for $2 to Lautoka and visit a Fijian city away from the tourist eye. The bus terminates at the local markets, where you can buy tonnes of fresh produce.
- Head down south to Sigatoka and begin your journey along Viti Levu's famed Coral Coast.
- Air conditioned buses go from Nadi International Airport to the capital Suva two times a day (at 7:30AM and 4PM). You can request the bus to stop at any points of interest along the route.
- Many ferries suitable for days trip leave daily from Port Denarau just west of Nadi to the outer island groups such as the Mamanucas and Yasawas. The ferries start from 9AM to 4PM daily.
- Venture east into the sparsely populated Nausori Highlands. Experience traditional Fijian village life while being surrounded by spectacular views.