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Denarau Island & The Rural Nadi Coast

natadola beach south coast of nadi

In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn:
Denarau Island & Port Denarau  —  Vuda Point & Marina  —  Sonaisali Island & Momi Bay  —  Natadola Beach

Staying along the rural Nadi Coast gives the sense of being in an exotic destination yet close to Nadi Airport with little travelling time lost.

There's a small beach area at Vuda Point just fifteen minutes drive north of the airport with great views across the bay and towards the inland mountains as well as day trips and scuba diving / snorkelling excursions to the offshore islands which are, literally, offshore.

The best beach on the mainland is at Natadola, just under an hour drive south of Nadi Airport, but otherwise there are no other beaches around Nadi worth visiting. There are some splendid mountains and hiking trails inland, most notably the Nausori Highlands and Koronayitu National Park. Navala Village, Fiji's most stunning thatch-house community, can be visited on a day tour although its a 2 hour drive north.

Reasons to Visit Denarau
  • Convenient Holiday Base
  • Dining Out and Lively Bars
  • Resort Lifestyle on Denarau
  • Day Cruises to the Islands
  • Sightseeing, Shopping & Village Tours
Best Nadi Coast Denarau Resorts

The most popular place to stay though is on Denarau Island, twenty minutes drive south of the airport, although this is very much an over-hyped tourist centre with large internationally branded hotels and a sterile ambience - good for a hen or stag party or if you really don't want to do anything by day but sit around a pool and read a book and then showcase yourself at night around lively Port Denarau.

Denarau Island

Fiji's most exclusive "gated" resort area is Denarau Island carved out in mangrove estuary about ten minutes drive from Nadi Town. Denarau Island boasts six large international branded hotels offering superficial Fijian environments alongside a black sand beach and murky ocean. This is an all purpose resort lifestyle with a shopping centre, restaurant promenade, golf course, tennis courts and spa centre.

For the majority who visit Denarau on a package holiday they do little more than sunbath around the pool, browse the souvenir shops, slurp cocktails at the expensive bars and watch Hula dancers strut their stuff, and claiming to their friends back home that they have experienced Fiji. Unfortunately, not even the surly Fijians who serve here represent anything close to the special bula spirit the country really has to offer holiday-makers.

beach on denarau island fiji

The beach on Denarau stretches for a couple of kilometres and makes for good beach walking with pleasant views looking back towards the Nadi mountains - however, the sand is tinged brown from the nearby mangrove estuary and the sea is usually too murky for snorkelling. It is reasonable though for watersports with para-sailing, windsurfing and sailing all quite good when the afternoon winds come in off the sea. The nicest beach is on the north side of the island alongside the Sofitel and Hilton with stunning views looking across the bay to Nadi's mountains.

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picture of Sheraton Villas beach
The Sheraton Villas offer spacious apartments in a courtyard setting surrounding a landscaped swimming pool. Whilst there is no beach or activities directly in front of the Villas, it's a short walk either side to the adjacent Sheraton and Westin hotels.
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picture of Fiji Hideaway Resort beach
The contemporary apartments of the Hilton Beach Resort front the nicest stretch of beach on Denarau. With motorised watersports in the ocean, two large swimming pools and the golf course close by, this is our preferred resort on Denarau Island.
Sofitel Fiji Resort, Denarau Island
F$ 495 - 995 per couple
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picture of Sofitel Fiji Resort beach
The Sofitel Fiji Resort is located on Denarau Island with a blend of contemporary architecture and splashes of Fijian design. Close to Denarau golf course and tennis courts.
Sheraton Fiji, Denarau Island
F$ 495 - 695 per couple
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picture of Sheraton Fiji beach
The Sheraton Fiji Resort is the largest hotel on Denarau Island fronting a mediocre beach and boasts a huge landscaped swimming pool, three restaurants, a nightclub and is located across the road from the tennis centre and golf clubhouse.
Radisson Hotel, Denarau Island
F$ 495 - 595 per couple
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picture of Radisson Hotel beach
Radisson Resort Denarau is a courtyard style setting with all rooms overlooking the large central swimming pool which meanders through several areas including a kid's water slide, a beach area and an adults only section. The poolside restaurant and bar overlooks the ocean.
Westin Resort, Denarau Island
F$ 495 - 595 per couple
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picture of Tui Tai Cruise beach
The Westin Denarau Resort is the grandest of the Denarau resorts with an affluent atmosphere and exceptional service. Unfortunately the resort fronts a grey sand beachfront but does have lovely views across the bay towards the mountains of Nadi.

Denarau does have an excellent collection of independent restaurants at the modern but rather tacky looking Port Denarau shopping centre all dressed in corrugated iron. Here you can eat everything from local Indian to Fijian food, plus Italian, Chinese and even kebabs, burgers and pizzas. The waterfront dining tables offer tourists an ambient environment to enjoy their evenings and there are a couple of lively bars serving great local beers, one being the Hard Rock Cafe, the other run by local boy Cardo which is by far the best of the two. Most of the day cruises to the offshore islands as well as island resort transfers depart from the Port Denarau marina.

port denarau marina

Vuda Point & Marina - Nadi North

Ten minutes drive north of the airport is Vuda Point and Marina with its stunning views over the bay and of the surrounding mountains. Vuda has an picturesque sandy beach although the lagoon is too shallow for swimming or snorkelling. There are two resorts here which make a pleasant base: First Landing Resort is next to the marina and has the convenience of both day cruises and dive excursions: Anchorage Beach Resort has exquisite mountain views.

First Landing Resort, Vuda
F$ 395 - 560 per couple
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picture of First Landing Resort beach
First Landing Resort is located fifteen minutes north of Nadi Airport on a quiet point overlooking the offshore islands and adjacent to the Vuda Marina. This is a secluded spot set in tropical landscaped gardens alongside a picturesque coarse sandy beach (no snorkelling) with day cruises and scuba diving to the offshore islands.
Anchorage Beach Resort, Vuda
F$ 200 - 435 per couple
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picture of Anchorage Beach Resort beach
Anchorage Beach Resort is built on a hillside amongst seven acres of landscaped gardens with stunning views of the ocean and the Sabeto Mountain Range. The hotel has a lovely swimming pool and fronts a coarse sand tidal beach (no snorkelling) making it a peaceful base just fifteen minutes from Nadi Airport.

Sonaisali Island & Momi Bay - Nadi South

Ten minutes drive south of Nadi Town, past sugar cane fields and Indian settlements, is Sonaisali Island with its popular resort. A further 10 minutes south is the turn-off for Momi Bay where a small surf resort is located as well as the abandoned multi-million dollar Momi Resort development.

Sonaisali Island Resort, Nadi South
F$ 655 - 960 per couple
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picture of Sonaisali Island Resort beach
Sonaisali Island Resort is situated on a small 105-acre private island just 2-minutes by boat from the mainland and 30-minutes south of Nadi International Airport. . Sonaisali offers hotel rooms and bungalows along a man-made beach area and offers plenty of activities including sightseeing, cruises and scuba diving.
Seashell at Momi, Nadi Rural
F$ 95 - 225 per couple / $ 35 dorm
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picture of Seashell at Momi beach
Tucked on a mangrove covered oceanfront in a quiet bay is Seashell Resort with daily access to the surfing and scuba diving reefs along the exceptional Malolo Barrier Reef. This rural retreat offers affordable dorms, bungalows and apartments for the surfing and diving fraternity.
beach on denarau island fiji

Natadola Beach

From Momi Bay its a twenty minute drive through pine forests to beautiful Natadola Beach, by far the nicest beach on Viti Levu and with good body surfing and some surfing breaks off the beach. Natadola is a 40-minute drive south of Nadi Town so makes an easy day trip but you can only get there on an organised tour, by rental car or taxi. There’s a large resort here, the magnificent Intercontinental Resort aimed at both families and couples with access to the stunning Natadola Golf Course which is by far the most scenic and challenging golf course in Fiji and the only serious location for a golf holiday. The beach has decent shade and parking beside the beach front and is popular amongst locals at weekends. Locals from the nearby village offer horse-riding along the beach-front which stretches over two kilometres in a pleasant curve shape.

Intercontinental Resort, Natadola
F$ 575 - 1,337 per couple - inc. breakfast
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picture of Intercontinental Resort beach
The majestic Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort is a large resort with beautifully appointed contemporary styled rooms and suites aimed at both couples and families. With direct access to the fantastic white sands of Natadola Beach, the Intercontinental offers a private golf course, three swimming pools and a spa centre.
Natadola Beach Resort, Natadola
F$ 335 - 430 per couple
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picture of Natadola Beach Resort beach
Natadola Beach Resort offers a Mediterranean style small resort atmosphere in lush surroundings adjacent to the Intercontinental Resort on gorgeous Natadola Beach. Set 20 metres back from the beach-front across a small track, Natadola offers excellent all tide swimming, body surf and some surfing breaks.
Robinson Crusoe Island, off Natadola
F$ 195 - 245 per couple / $ 50 dorm
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picture of accommodation beach
Robinson Crusoe island is a lively backpacker island on a small private island about a ten minute boat ride off Natadola Beach. With theme evenings, large dorm rooms and plenty of activities centred, this is a good choice for those looking to meet other party-minded travellers.

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