Coral Coast

ja-icon Coral Coast Island, Fiji

Coral Coast
The Coral Coast is one of the few places on the main island of Viti Levu where you can step off the beach and get up close and personal with an extensive fringing coral reef.  This patch of hilly terrain, roughly halfway between Nadi and Suva, is arguably Viti Levu’s most scenic drive. Each turn along the meandering coastal road unveils beautiful small bays with thundering offshore reef breaks, secluded beaches and multiple opportunities to stop and buy local fruits and veggies from roadside stalls along the way.

The Coast’s refreshing breeze and light, passing showers offer a welcome respite from the sometimes stifling heat of Nadi or sudden downpours of Suva. Accommodation here is generally spread out in hidden pockets of lush coastline, lending to the overall feeling of isolation.  The choice of accommodation is varied, from private villas in gated communities, to large sprawling resorts, boutique resorts, flashpacker and backpacker getaways.

In rugby-mad Fiji, the Coral Coast is known as rugby country because the Nadroga province regularly supplies excellent and entertaining players to the National Sevens team and overseas rugby clubs.  Sigatoka, the area’s principal town, hosts the annual Coral Coast Sevens tournament - one of the biggest rugby tournaments in the country.  The annual bilibili  (a type of bamboo raft) race down the Sigatoka River, which takes place every Fiji Day (10th October) is another great way to meet the locals and witness how Fijians travelled downriver in the not too distant past.

 

Fertile Sigatoka River Valley is Fiji’s ‘Salad bowl’ and a trip to the Sigatoka market will on a Saturday will reward you with tropical fruits and juicy vegetables at dirt cheap prices. A day trip with the Sigatoka River Safari offers a thrilling trip up the valley, into the heart of the main island and offers visitors an insight into local village life.

The Sigatoka Sand Dunes at the mouth of the Sigatoka river is unusual in this part of the world and offers some excellent short hikes and lots of opportunities for stunning scenery shots of its windswept coast.  The dunes are Fiji’s first national park and is currently managed by the National Trust of Fiji.  Archaeological excavations at the dunes have uncovered multiple human settlements separated by time and layers of sand including those of the Lapita people, a coastal-dwelling people known for their excellent maritime navigational skills and distinctive decorated pottery.

Kula Eco-park in Korotogo gives the kids a chance to gawk at some of Fiji’s native wildlife (and some not-so-native ones).  The Eco-park also doubles as rescue and breeding centre for some of Fiji’s endangered wildlife like the native peregrine falcon, ground frog and crested iguana and children can volunteer as Park Rangers for the day.

Korotogo, just 10 minutes out of Sigatoka town, has a small community-like feel to it and you’re likely to run into the same characters at the all the popular eateries and watering holes.  The largest five-star operator in Korotogo is the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort with its equally famed hilltop Bebe spa.  Other resorts of note along the coast include The Warwick Fiji, Shangri-La Fijian Resort (where you can have a go at fly-boarding) and The Naviti.   Fijians are excellent with children and many of the large resorts also offer kids’ clubs to keep the little ones entertained – a great chance for parents to catch up on some quality ‘alone’ time.   There are also smaller operators in the area which are excellent bases to explore the area on a budget.

The sprawling Intercontinental Golf Resort and Spa hugs beautiful Natadola beach, roughly halfway between Sigatoka and Nadi.  The bay is a popular swimming spot and one of the best areas on the island to learn how to surf.  Nearby, the 72-par Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is the home of the Fiji International – a PGA accredited tournament for the Australasia circuit.

Tip  Visit the Sigatoka Sand dunes in the morning before the sun gets too hot for a more enjoyable experience


 

Ready for Coral Coast? 

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