The Coral Coast is 80 kilometres of barrier reef beaches, on the sheltered southern side of Viti Levu about halfway between Nadi and Suva.
The temperate climate and great variety of accommodation—from self- contained ‘bure’ cottages to international five-star resorts—make it a popular tourist retreat.
The resorts offer great recreational facilities, restaurants, cultural performances and nightlife, while the pristine waters and reefs create an underwater paradise for snorkelling and diving. You can throw in a line with the locals or take out a charter vessel for game fishing.
There are some spectacular surf beaches too. Natadola beach is arguabley the best beach on the island and the a great place to learn to surf. Also at Natadola is the Natadola Bay Chamipionship Golf Course which annually hosts the PGA (AustralAsia) & European Tour accredited ‘Fiji International’ Golf Chamipionships.
For those wanting to take in some nature, history and culture, visit the Sigatoka Sand Dunes where shifting sands and archaeological digs continue to reveal skeletons and pottery arefacts. Fiji’s only wildlife park, the Kula EcoPark in Korotogo displays rarely seen indigenous species.
Head for the hills into the beautiful Sigatoka Valley, aptly named The Salad Bowl of Fiji, a colourful patchwork of agricultural fields, Fijian villages, Indian settlements, temples and volcanic hills. It offers spectacular scenery and a fascinating history of the Tongan tribes who were the last to resist Christianity. Sigatoka River Safari tours into the valley villages are very popular.
At Tavuni Hill you can walk amongst the ruins of an ancient fort. The cave tour follows the Tongan trail to Naihehe Caves to see the spectacular rock formations and awesome reminders of the past. The same tour takes you for a river ride on traditional bamboo rafts. There is also a waterfall tour where you can learn about plant medicines on a rainforest trek, participate in authentic ceremonies with a village chief and swim in a beautiful tropical waterfall.
Robinson Crusoe Island is fringed with white sandy beaches, and offers great snorkelling and Pacific isle entertainment. To get there, take a boat ride or a sea plane which is based on the river at Sigatoka Town. It is also possible to enjoy scenic flights over the coast and valley or charter a small plane for airport transfers.
In the bustling town of Sigatoka, locals and tourists blend together when eating, shopping and socialising. Farmers barter their wares in the central marketplace and there are duty free shops, supermarkets, tailors, bars and cafes. There are quaint roadside markets right along the Coral Coast stretch, so even those just driving through will be able to enjoy this lovely area.
On the eastern most fringe of the Coral Coast, Some 30 kilometres west of Suva, Pacific Harbour is known as Fiji’s ‘adventure capital’, famous for activities like the world-class shark dive at Shark Reef, great scuba diving in the Beqa lagoon, zip-liing, off-road buggy rides, white-water rafting in the Upper Navua gorge, and world-class surf at the Frigates offshore surf break.
Pacific Harbour was originally established in the 1970s as a recreation oriented, residential community as well as a resort area. Here groups can arrange a visit to the Arts Village Cultural Centre and Marketplace for special performances, as well as demonstrations of handicraft making techniques.
Not too far from Pacific Harbour is the legendary Beqa Island, home of the Fijian firewalkers who perform their ceremonies at several major Fijian hotels and resorts.
Exploring Coral Coast
If you want to experience rustic Fijian culture, head over to a Fijian village. There are many close to the Coral Coast and are famous for their handicrafts. The Coral Coast is also famous for watersports. Beqa Lagoon is nearby (pronounced as benga). Often called ‘the Mecca of Pacific Diving, Beqa Lagoon is known for shark sightings. Other interesting places to visit here are the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, Namosi Highlands, Sigatoka Valley, Tavuni Hill Fort and Pacific Harbour.
The Sigatoka Valley (river) Safari is a well known tourist magnet. The Sigatika river is perfect for idyllic boat rides. When you go up the river, the boat will cross villages like Nakbuta and Lawai and you can get down and visit them if you want. The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is a nice place to visit too. Remains of human settlements dating back to 3000 years have been discovered here.
Pacific Harbour is called the adventure capital of Fiji. You can catch a fishing charter from here and go fishing in the ocean. Pacific Harbour’s Art Village offers an interesting peek into Fijian culture. There are also some waterfalls in the area where you can go trekking.
Coral Coast’s Cuisine
There are many restaurants in the Coral Coast area to to experience. IVI Restaurant, Ocean Terrace Restaurant, Eco Cafe and Beach Bar ‘n’Grill are some of the well known hotels on the Coral Coast.
Don’t forget to try the famous Fijian delicacies such as Kokoda (sliced fish, topped with tomatoes, carrots, onions, dunked in lemon juice), Duruka (a vegetable similar to asparagus cooked in coconut) and Taro (a potato like vegetable cooked in various ways).
You can also experience a lovo feast. Meat such as lamb, pork and chicken are packed in banana leaves and placed on sizzling hot rocks. On top of the package, tubers like cassava and wild yam are placed. The whole package is then covered with earth and allowed to cook for two to three hours. Fijian curries are also very tasty especially chicken and fish curries.
Another food item you must try is fried breadfruit. Each of the breadfruit are dipped in batter and deep fried till they are golden yellow. There is also a local brew called kava. It has a small alcohol content, so be careful.
Activities in Coral Coast
There are a number of villages along the Coral Coast where you can buy exotic artifacts. These will make perfect souvenirs of your Fiji trip and they also make for some excellent gifts. Kula Eco Park is Fiji’s only wildlife park. It is of close proximaty to the Coral Coast and you can definitely ask your hotel’s help desk to arrange a visit.
The Arts Village in Pacific Harbour is also an excellent place to shop. The prices are quite affordable and there is a good range of products. The Arts Village is also famous for its Fijian cultural shows. If you stay until nightfall, you will be able to witness a fire walk.