The Nadi area offers a host of sporting and outdoor activities to suit almost every interest. Most of these excursions take place near Nadi, but some -- such as white-water rafting on the Navua River -- require a boat trip to the Mamanuca Islands or a bus ride to other locations on Viti Levu.
Adrenalin Watersports (tel. 675 1288; www.adrenalinfiji.com) provides diving, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, parasailing, game fishing, and other watersports at the resorts on Denarau Island.
Flightseeing & Sky Diving
Island Hoppers Fiji (tel. 672 0410; www.helicopters.com.fj) and Pacific Islands Seaplanes (tel. 672 5643; www.fijiseaplanes.com) both offer sightseeing flights over Denarau Island, Nadi Bay, the Mamanucas, and Vuda Point north of Nadi between Viseisei village and Lautoka. Call them or inquire at any hotel activities desk for prices and reservations.
I've never had the courage to put my life in someone's hands while falling to Denarau Island from 3,000m (10,000 ft.) up in the air, but you can with Skydive Fiji (tel. 672 8166; www.skydivefiji.com.fj). You'll pay at least F$350 (US$227/£116) for a tandem flight.
Rafting on the Navau River
The best of these excursions onto the water -- in fact, it's one of Fiji's top experiences -- is a full-day rafting trip on the Navua River, between Pacific Harbour and Suva on Viti Levu's south coast. The tour visits a Fijian village that puts on a yaqona (kava) welcoming ceremony, a lunch of local-style foods, and a traditional dance show. The cost is about F$150 (US$97/£50) from the Nadi hotels, less from those on the Coral Coast. Be sure to opt for the variation of this tour that includes a ride down the river on a bilibili (bamboo raft).
Excursions to the Coral Coast
Other fine outdoor excursions are the waterfall and cave tours offered by Adventures in Paradise Fiji (tel. 652 0833; www.adventuresinparadisefiji.com), on the Coral Coast. You can also go for a ride on the Coral Coast Railway Co. (tel. 652 0434), based outside Shangri-La's Fijian Resort. I'm most fond of the trip to lovely Natadola Beach, where you swim (bring your own towel) and have a barbecue lunch. Another Coral Coast tour visits the town of Sigatoka and the meandering river and fertile valley of the same name. For animal lovers, the best part of this trip is Kula Eco Park. These full-day trips cost about F$150 (US$97/£50) from Nadi.
Robinson Crusoe Island (tel. 628 1999; www.robinsoncrusoeislandfiji.com), on an islet off Natadola Beach, offers a day trip from Nadi including bus transportation to its jetty, a jungle river cruise (on the mainland), snorkeling trips, lunch, and an island dance show for F$89 (US$58/£30). Jet Fiji has one of its high-speed jet boats stationed at the island. You also will pay extra for water-skiing, tube rides, hair braiding, and massages.
The Denarau Island hotels and all the resorts in the Mamanucas offer sportfishing as a pay-extra activity for their guests. Based at Port Denarau, Crystal Blue Adventures (tel. 675 0950; www.crystalbluefiji.com) has a fleet of fishing boats that ply the waters off the Manamucas for wahoo, giant trevally, mahimahi, tuna, and other game fish.
Golf & Tennis
The 18-hole, 7,150-yard, par-72 links at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club (tel. 675 0477; www.denaraugolf.com.fj) occupy most of Denarau Island, with the clubhouse opposite the Sheraton Fiji Resort. Its barbecue-style restaurant and bar serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at moderate prices. It also has locker rooms with showers. Greens fees for 18 holes are F$110 (US$71/£36) for guests of the island's big resorts, and F$120 (US$78/£40) for those of us who can't afford to stay there. The course is open daily from 7am to dark, and lessons are available.
The club's six Wimbledon-standard grass tennis courts are open daily from 7am to dark, and its four all-weather courts stay open until 10pm. Fees are F$25 (US$16/£8) per person per hour on grass, or F$20 (US$13/£7) per hour on the hard courts. Lessons are available, and proper tennis attire is required.
The Novotel Nadi Hotel (tel. 672 2000) has a 9-hole executive course, and the hotel tour desks can arrange for you to play at the 18-hole Nadi Airport Golf Club (tel. 672 2148) near Newtown Beach, behind the airport. The latter is a 5,882-yard, par-70 course that isn't particularly challenging or well kept, but the setting, on the shores of Nadi Bay, is attractive.
Where "V. Singh" Started Swinging -- The Nadi Airport Golf Club plays second fiddle to the manicured links at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club these days, but it was here that one V. Singh won the Grade A Open Championship in 1981. That would be Vijay Singh, one of the world's top professional golfers. Before he started playing, the Fiji native served as caddy for his father, who was club president. Vijay Singh now lives in Florida and is seldom seen around Fiji.
In addition to Adventures in Paradise's waterfall hikes on the Coral Coast, Adventure Fiji (tel. 672 2935 or 672 2755; www.rosiefiji.com), a branch of Rosie Holidays, takes trekkers (as hikers are known in these parts) on 1-day walks some 600m (2,000 ft.) up into the Nausori Highlands above Nadi. I found this hike to be fascinating but strenuous; in fact, you have to be between 10 and 45 years old to sign up. Wear high-traction walking shoes that you don't mind getting wet, because the sandy trail goes into and out of steep valleys and crosses streams. Most of this walk is through grasslands with no shade, so wear sunscreen. We had a long midday break in a Fijian village, where we shared a local-style lunch sitting cross-legged in a simple Fijian home. The cost is about F$95 (US$62/£32) per person. The company also has 4-, 6-, and 10-day hikes across the Sigatoka Valley and Nausori Highlands, ranging from about F$777 to F$1,739 (US$505-US$1,129/£259-£580), including transfers, guide, accommodations, and meals provided by Fijian villagers along the way.
I have never been up there, nor do I know anyone who has, but in the mountains 15km (9 miles) east of Lautoka is the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, an ecotourism project operated by Abaca (pronounced Am-bar-tha) village and funded by the Native Land Trust Board, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and the New Zealand government. The park includes native forests, grasslands, waterfalls, and magnificent mountain vistas. Admission is F$8 (US$5.20/£2.70). Before you set out call the Ambaca Visitor Center (tel. 666 6644 and dial 1234 after the second beep) to make sure the village has someone on hand to show you around.
You can ride along Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi with a local man known as Babba (tel. 679 3652), who charges about F$25 (US$16/£8) an hour.
A 20-minute drive south of Nadi Town, Sonaisali Island Resort (tel. 670 6011; www.sonaisali.com) has guided horseback rides through the tropical vegetation on its 42-hectare (105-acre) private island. Rides cost F$20 (US$13/£7) per hour. Reservations are required.
For a thrill-a-minute carnival ride afloat, Jet Fiji (tel. 675 0400; www.jetfiji.com) will take you twisting and turning through the mangrove-lined creeks behind Denarau Island. Heart-stopping 360-degree turns are guaranteed to get the adrenaline flowing and the clothes wet. The half-hour rides depart every 30 minutes daily from Port Denarau. A shuttle connects the nearby Sheratons; scheduled pickups are arranged from other Nadi area hotels, so call for reservations. The price is about F$80 (US$52/£27) for adults; children 14 and under ride for half-fare, and kids 5 and under ride for free. Jet Fiji also has a boat stationed at Robinson Crusoe Island, off Natadola Beach .
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Serious divers head elsewhere in Fiji, but you can go underwater with Aqua Blue (tel. 672 6111; www.aquabluefiji.com) on Wailoaloa Beach; they provide dive guides and teach courses. Expect to pay about F$130 (US$84/£43) for a single-tank dive. You can also go snorkeling with Aqua Blue for F$60 (US$39/£20). Adrenalin Watersports (tel. 675 1288; www.adrenalinfiji.com) provides diving on Denarau Island.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.