More New Zealanders and Australians are saying Bula to Fiji, establishing this idyllic South Pacific paradise as one of the hottest destinations in the southern hemisphere.
According to Visitor Arrivals Statistics for 2014, a total of 692,630 landed in Fiji in 2014, up from 657,706 the year previously. One of the key markets is New Zealand, with an impressive jump of 15,000 more Kiwis making the short journey last year, when compared to 2013 – and Tourism Fiji is confident these figures will continue to rise and are working hard to make sure they do. Airport Rentals is also expecting continued car hire growth in Fiji and will look to meet this demand with an increased offering of vehicles. While traditionally viewed as a resort-laden destination purely for beach relaxation, people are now exploring all that Fiji has to offer by car.
So, why is there such a blossoming love affair between New Zealanders and Fiji? There are a number of reasons:
- · Coral Coast on Viti Levu:This 80km stretch of paradise incorporates beaches and bays between Nadi and Suva. Natadola and Paradise Beaches are particularly popular, while Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is a perennial favourite. Beachfront resorts combine with mangrove forests and mountain regions. Having the likes of Warwick and Shangri La Hotels as accommodation options reflects the growing demographic of international arrivals.
- · Road trips in Fiji in a car rental: A scenic option is Nadi to Suva Queens Highway, which takes around four hours in total. On the way you can stop over at Natadola, which is regarded as one of the best beaches in Fiji, while the sand dunes are a National Heritage site of geological and archaeological importance. Attractive pit stops include Sigatoka, Korotogo and Pacific Harbour to refuel and have lunch.
From Lautoka along the Suva Kings Highway is around a six-hour drive and a virtually empty highway with beautiful countryside, sugar-cane fields, coastal drives and the Waimanu River. Lautoka City and Rakiraki town provide accommodation and eateries, while you can also enjoy water-based activities at Rakiraki resorts. And why not purchase some fresh produce from roadside vendors along the way?
The Queens and Kings Highways wrap around the entire island of Viti Levu. PR Manager at Tourism Fiji, Patricia Mallam, recommends driving the entire island and breaking up the journey at the wealth of accommodation options and places to eat.
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second-largest island and the drive from Savusavu to Labasa (via Hibiscus Highway) is not to be missed. The easy ferry across to Taveuni Island for a night or two is a trip to paradise, with great diving off Savusavu and Taveuni Islands. You can also enjoy hiking and waterfall trips at Waisali Forest Park and pearl farm visitations.
- Ecotourism: Fiji appears to be a perfect model for ecotourism with so many natural, outdoor attractions that are relatively untouched by industrial progress and environmental threats. Kula Eco Park on Viti Levu’s Coral Coast has been in operation since 1997, emphasising the preservation of wildlife, flora and fauna. Links with organisations such as the International Ecotourism Society strengthen that resolve, while companies such as Fiji Eco Tours offer an authentic, budget-friendly approach to tourism that takes you to the heart of the Fijian village. And Patricia Mallam says this unique experience is key for the expanding market.
- The wedding factor: Tying the knot in Fiji has a massive appeal, from the beach to the sunshine to the wonderful welcome from locals and excellent facilities for guests and families. But another bonus is the fact you can stay right where you are for the honeymoon. A number of resorts are now offering wedding and honeymoon packages – there are even special bucks and hens charters and excursions. The rainforest wedding among waterfalls and tropical birds is also gaining significant traction.
- The product itself: Modern Fiji offers a huge variety of places to stay to suit all budgets – from backpackers to private villas, homestays, hotels, resorts and luxury accommodation. There’s also an increased focus on things to do in Fiji, including more adventure operators in the tourist hubs, offering waterfall tours, zipline experiences, hiking, snorkelling, surfing, river rafting and plenty more. Even 4WD adventures are on the increase, with day trips to Levuka and Taveuni on the dirt roads an exciting challenge. But of course there’s the isolation that attracts so many. A ferry trip from Natovi Jetty to Ovalau Island takes less than an hour. Handy timetable and fare links:
Just 10km from Nadi and 20km from Lautoka, you will find the largest concentration of hotels near Nadi Airport, despite the fact that it’s nearly 200km away from the capital Suva. However, that region’s local airport, Nausori, is being developed as part of a 20-year master plan, highlighting the increased ambition of the Fijian tourism industry. With road improvements happening around the country, including an increase in tar-sealed highways, car hire in Fiji is sure to retain its allure and Airport Rentals is determined to remain at the cutting edge of the market.
Nadi International Airport and Nausori set for more business
Airport Rentals list a variety of Fiji vehicle suppliers all on one site, so you can see the best rates, whatever time of year you travel.
Not interested in travelling to Fiji? Check out our car rental options in New Zealand including a Christchurch Airport Car Hire or an Auckland Airport Car Hire or experience an Australia car rental from locations including a Melbourne Airport Car Hire, Car Hire Launceston Airport, Adelaide Airport Car Hire, Cairns Airport Car Hire and more.