Visiting Suva - What to See and Do
(Suva Nausori International Airport SUV, Fiji)
It may be notorious for its sudden downpours and the occasional coup, but that shouldn't deter anyone from visiting Fiji's fun and cosmopolitan capital Suva. You'd be wrong to assume that Fiji is a monocultural island. Suva's streets are filled with just as many Indians, Chinese, Europeans and Polynesians as native Fijians.
There are plenty of crumbs left over from the British colonial days, with the historic buildings along the Victoria Parade now housing nifty cafés, restaurants and bars, injecting the capital with life. The working side of Suva is best explored down the twisting lanes around Nubukalou Creek.
There is more to do in this capital city than most travellers give credit for, with plenty of attractions to search out. To the east is lovely Laucala Bay, while the western end of the capital is home to the bustling port and the suburbs of Walu Bay and Lami Town. Suva is arguably the commercial and political hub of the South Pacific, and so there is a lot going on underneath the surface. Take an extra day or two from the beach and get to know this uniquely Polynesian capital.
Ten things you must do in Suva
- The best example of real Fijian daily life is found in the Suva Municipal Market. This is where the locals shop every day for their produce and meat. It is a wonderfully colourful place that particularly buzzes on Saturday mornings, when the whole city seems to converge on the market to get geared up for the weekend.
- Fiji has been on the sea routes of civilisation for centuries, and the Fiji Museum in Suva has an outstanding collection of artefacts, objects and other odd things from many cultures. WWII relics stand next to ancient war clubs, shell jewellery and cannibal forks. It is all quite interesting.
- The quickest escape into nature is at the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. Trails criss-cross through the thick tropical forest that boasts stands of mahogany and other rare trees. You can grab a taxi or take the Sawai Bus at the Municipal Market to get to the park.
- Friday nights are the big night out in Suva, so if you want to see this city in party mode, that is your day. The Victoria Parade is the best place to start, as it has most of the popular bars and nightclubs in the capital. Keep in mind, things often turn rowdy late into the night at Fijian bars and the capital in general has a major crime problem. Be aware of this if you start bar-hopping late at night.
- Fiji has a rich tradition of art and craftsmanship. You can find keepsakes in most of the towns on the island, but the Government Handicraft Centre in Suva is arguably the best one-stop shop for quality locally made handicrafts. Helpful staff and the chance to buy unique items from rural artists whose work rarely reaches the outside world make this a solid choice for shopping.
- A unique night away from the capital can be found an hour by boat up the Rewa River. There is an unusual sand island in the river called Toberua Island that is home to a single resort. This is a great getaway, especially if the rain starts to annoy you, since Toberua is located in a dry belt that typically misses the storms.
- The Coral Coast is Viti Levu's top beach destination, easily reachable from Suva. Here, destinations like Natadola Beach and Robinson Crusoe Island provide a near-idyllic tropical environment for swimming, lounging and pretending you don't have to go back to your life in the real world.
- The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is one of the natural attractions on the island. Towering sand hills run for miles along the coast, with not a trace of humanity in sight. The shifting dunes and crashing surf create a powerful scene, and hundreds of ancient burial sites have also been found beneath the sands. The park's visitor centre will get you headed in the right direction.
- The only wildlife park in Fiji is the Kula Eco Park, just a drive down Queen's Road from Suva. A stream meanders through the tropical forest, where hundreds of rainbow-coloured birds and other creatures roam around freely. There is also an aquarium with a huge range of tropical fish.
- Pacific Harbour is the place to head for outdoor adventure and attractions along the south coast. From shark-feeding dives to zipline canopy rides, there is something for everyone. Both the deep-sea fishing here and the river rafting are among the best in Fiji.