Where the azure of the reef folds into the deep blue of the sea, the horizon of Fiji’s sparkling Coral Coast is picture perfect. Everywhere you look, your vision is framed by the curve of the palm trees and their long green fronds ebbing and flowing in the breeze. The water is calm and the sky seems to rotate above you as you bend your head back to follow the clouds. With just a week ahead of us to explore the hinterland, the villages, the reef and the sea it hardly seemed enough time, so with tourist guides in hand, I found a shady spot on the beach to think through all the things to do over the coming days. With the lapping of the water, the distant sound of kids laughing and the warmth of the sun pressing into my face, drifting off was an obvious first choice. So here’s our list of top things to do to make the most of your time on the Coral Coast.
Leave the city behind
There are few places in the world where you leave it all behind, but when you see the Coral Coast, letting go is easy. It lulls you into a sense of tranquility with the fresh summer air, the inviting beaches and palms swishing overhead. Spending time on the Coral Coast gives you the chance to sit still, to breathe, to allow the peace around you to calm your spirit. When I saw a hammock on the grassy edge of the beach slung between two palm trees, there seemed no better place to clear the mind.
Snorkeling through the corals
Along the Coral Coast, the waters are shallow enough for everyone to snorkel and for kids to join in the activity too. Though being a reef with an undulating sea floor and blooms of coral, you do have to be a little careful but there are enough sandy patches and shallow areas to discover the underwater beauty with ease. To see the rainbow fish darting beneath you in pairs, the blue starfish resting on the sandy bottom and the occasional reef shark is a sight you’ll never forget. All resorts and hotels will give you these options, but you can also book external snorkeling tours.
Dive into water sports
I’m not the most active sportsperson around, actually, I’d classify spending a day poolside as a water sport but with the sea surrounding you, you’ll eventually want to dive right in. At the resorts and hotels, most activities are made easily available from kayaking, paddle boarding and scuba diving. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of local tours to take you on deep sea dives or you can explore the oceans by chartering a fishing boat.
Take a peek into Village life
Once you step foot in a resort, it can be hard to step back out again but when you do, you’ll discover the other wonderful side of Fiji. We spent a day in a local village where we were welcomed in a traditional Kava ceremony and enjoyed the morning with local preschoolers singing and reading stories. It gave us a privileged peek into the culture and heritage of the indigenous Fijian people. For us, to understand a country, you have to meet the people at the heart of it.
Explore the wilderness
The drive from Nadi to the Coral Coast takes you a couple and as the road hugs the coast, the crisp blue of the sea comes into view and the hills seem so inaccessible. There are a number of tours and activities you can do from jungle walks to zip lining that give you a peek into this other world. We walked barefoot through the jungle to a waterfall at the mountain peak and swam surrounded by the lush tropics with only the sweet chattering of birds for company. Another beautiful way to see the tropics come to life is a visit to the Kula Eco Park, the only wildlife park in Fiji.
It’s the colours of the Coral Coast that stay in your mind the most. It’s soft and breezy and the time passes gently. The feeling of being connected to nature is all around and the happy hearts of the people always make you smile. On the night before we left, we were sent off by the beautiful harmonies of staff singing us the traditional farewell song Isa Lei, leaving the beauty of the Coral Coast with us always.