Nadi is the main tourist destination of Fiji, even though it is only the country’s third largest city. There are good reasons for this: Nadi is home to Fiji’s international airport; it has a drier climate compared to other parts of the country; and it is home to the largest concentration of hotels, resorts, and touristy activities and facilities in Fiji. All of this makes Nadi both the popular go-to place as well as the gateway to Fiji for vacationers.
Situated on the west coast of this South Pacific Island, most people would expect an ideal beach vacation out of Nadi. Unfortunately, the lagoon of Nadi has been polluted over the years from the run off of sugar cane fields in the area, making the waters murky. But tourists don’t seem to mind. Particularly popular is the Denarau Island about five miles west of Nadi Town. The island resembles more like a resort destination in Florida than an exotic South Pacific getaway. You’ll find great hotels, time-shares, restaurants, pubs and bars, golf courses, duty free shopping, and inter-island cruises.
At one time, Nadi was a small farming community rather than a resort destination. The area around the town is still comprised of patches of sugar cane fields. The surrounding countryside consists of verdant hills, while the coast is lined with uncrowded beaches. The interior features the Nausori Highlands, a remote mountain range offering scenic views; it can be driven up using the mountain’s rough roads.
The people in Nadi are religious, divided between Hindus and Muslims. There is a sizeable Indian population, living often in conflict with native Fijians. Hindu shrines and Muslim temples can be found on the island.
The main attraction of Nadi is probably the Mamanuca Islands off the coast. This group of islands can be reached by cruise boats and offers some of the most pristine beaches and crystal blue waters. In Nadi itself, there are also beaches, but they are not as paradise-like as the ones in the Mamanuca Islands. The main beach of Nadi is the Wailioaloa, which stretches a half-mile and is lined with resorts and vacation clubs. The beach does not offer the best swimming, but Club Fiji on the south end provides a landscaped garden surrounding a pool, which is serviced by a restaurant, bar, and water sports facilities. Most visitors who hit the Wailioaloa like to surf or scuba dive.
The Nausori Highlands and its surrounding valley and villages are another attraction of Nadi. Many tourists enjoy touring on Jeeps into the interior to enjoy the great outdoors and the scenic views. One of the highlights of the Nausori is the village of Navala, which is one of the few remaining villages that still features traditional thatched roof homes.
Nadi also has some impressive religious monuments. The Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple on the east side of Nadi is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern hemisphere. The original temple was built in 1926 and rejuvenated in 1976. The popularity of the temple as a place of worship forced the government to build a bigger one in 1984. Today, the temple boasts an ancient Dravidian Indian Temple architecture and is iconic for its multi-colors and multi-chromes.
For a bit of WWII history, in Nadi you can visit the bunkers and gun emplacements that were installed by Fiji during WWII to defend against a possible Japanese invasion, which never occurred. You can also climb up Mount Victoria, which is the highest peak on Fiji where you can visit and explore three Native Fijian reserves.