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One of the world’s more exotic destinations, Fiji is a tropical paradise in the South Pacific made up of 322 islands nearly two thousand miles (3,219km) east of Australia. Once feared as the haunt of cannibals and fierce warrior tribes, today Fiji is regarded as being inhabited by supremely friendly and welcoming people who are full of the joy of life and consider it rude to rush. It has been said that Fiji is where people wear flowers in their hair not to impress, but simply because they like to.

Flowers there are aplenty blooming on these scenic, lush islands where the sun shines every day and orchids hang over waterfalls that plunge into jungle pools behind palm-fringed beaches. Visitors here can swim with manta rays, snorkel over coral gardens, scuba dive on the famous Astrolabe Reef, or ride the amazing 20 ft (6 m) waves known as the ‘Cloud Breakers’ off Tavarua.

Suva is Fiji’s capital, and more than half of the country’s residents call it home. It is the most cosmopolitan city in Fiji, with a number of things to do and see, including the Fiji Museum, which has a large collection of historical and cultural artifacts as well as relics from the infamous HMS Bounty. The Suva Municipal Market is worth a visit on Saturdays as most of the city attends anyway, and you’ll find a range of other shops, restaurants, parks and events. You can stroll down Victoria Parade for buzzing nightlife, or watch the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace. Suva also makes a great starting point to explore the wild areas surrounding.

Turtle on Fiji Beach

Fiji Iguana

Fiji Beach

Nadi is one of the largest towns in Fiji, and while not as big or bustling as Suva, it has a number of attractions that make it worth a visit. The Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, and the Garden of the Sleeping Giant has impressive orchid collections. Nadi also has several pleasant beaches, including Wailoaloa and Newtown.

The Fiji archipelago is the hub of the South Pacific with more than 85 flights a week landing at Nadi airport on the main island of Viti Levu. From there it is easy to access the offshore island resorts or the other large islands of Vanua Levu or Taveuni. Viti Levu has several large towns and the bustling capital of Suva, which is a shopper’s paradise and offers an upbeat nightlife.