Enhance your New Zealand Holiday with a Pacific Island Getaway

Fiji Stopover Holiday
Fiji Islands Holiday

These tiny specks on your world map may appear to be in the middle of nowhere, but with direct flights from Auckland, they are closer than you think. Don't just take our word for it. Let us introduce you to two of our favorite island escapes: Fiji and Rarotonga.

Fall In Love with Fiji

Palm trees swaying in the warm breeze, spectacular surf and the best soft-coral diving in the world: welcome to Fiji, where every traveller can find their perfect balance. Whether you're seeking family-friendly resorts, a relaxing hidden hideaway, buzzing beach nightlife, or even your own exclusive private island, you'll find it here.

A top Ecotourism destination, Fiji's archipelago of 333 islands are largely nature reserves, with marine conservation high on the priority list. There are 390 species of coral, and the nutrient-rich waters attract a spectacular array of sea-creatures to dine here.

Fijians adore children - they believe it takes a whole village to raise a child. Younger travellers will love it here - they'll get a very warm welcome, and there are lots of family-friendly activities and kids clubs to keep them entertained.

Fiji Holidays

Picking Your Perfect Fijian Island

With over 300 islands at your doorstep, where do you start? Our Travel Specialists love Fiji and will happily advise, but here's an overview of some popular destinations:

Viti Levu

Home to the nation's capital, Suva, Viti Levu is Fiji's most populated island. Nadi International airport is located here too.

Choose Denarau Island (connected to the mainland by a causeway) for high-end resorts and cocktail culture. For something a little more down to earth, the Coral Coast boasts family-friendly resorts and secluded coves.

Laid-back Pacific Harbour is Fiji's adventure capital, a major hub for snorkeling, scuba, jet-boating, and even shark diving!

The Mamanuca Islands

You might recognise the Mamanucas from their starring role in the Tom Hanks film "Castaway". Their seductive seclusion is popular with honeymooners, and they have provided the backdrop for many a barefoot beach wedding.

Surfers flock here for Fiji's iconic left-hand break: Cloudbreak is considered one of the world's top ten waves. The closest group of islands to Nadi Airport, the Mamanucas are a great option for a short stay.

The Yasawa Islands

North of the Mamanucas, the Yasawas have a more rustic vibe. Travellers weren't allowed on the islands until the 1950s, meaning they are less developed, with accommodation options aimed more at flashpackers and lower-budget honeymooners.

For an authentic unspoiled island getaway with resorts run by local people rather than big-budget luxury, the Yasawas are just a 30-minute seaplane ride from Nadi.

Sunbathing in Fiji

Things to do

1.    Snorkel or scuba the warm clear waters - a whole world of brightly-coloured coral and spectacular fish is begging to be explored.

2.    Turn your stay into a golfing getaway - with fourteen Fijian courses, including three 18-hole championship courses on Viti Levu alone, you're never far away from your favourite pastime.

3.    Visit a local village and take part in a kava ceremony if offered the opportunity - it's a central Fijian tradition for special occasions and for welcoming visitors.

4.    Head out to the ocean and try your hand at game fishing - If you've dreamed of snagging a monster marlin, or battling with a barracuda, Fiji is the place to be.

5.    There's adventure to be had inland as well as on the coast. Zipline through the treetops, raft through the rainforests, jet boat the Nadi river inlet, or hike through pristine national parks with beautiful birdsong as your soundtrack.


Feast like a Fijian

Fijian cuisine is based around fresh and plentiful local ingredients: sweet potato, coconut, rice, fish, taro (a root vegetable similar to yam), cassava and breadfruit all feature regularly in local dishes.

Migrant populations from India and Asia brought new styles of cooking to Fiji, creating exciting fusions of dishes such as curries with fresh local flavours and ingredients.

As in New Zealand and the Cook Islands, you can enjoy a traditional Pacific island feast cooked underground. Each of these regions has its own variations, and the Fijian Lovo feast features tender meats marinated in coconut cream, ginger, and lime. If you have already experienced a New Zealand Hangi, the flavors may be different but the welcoming hospitality is the same.

Fijian Feast

Fiji Climate and Weather

Fiji's climate is balmy all year round, with May to October being slightly drier (and more popular with visitors) while November to April can be wetter and more humid. The average daily high temperature is around 30C, and the average low around 21C.

Getting to Fiji

There are daily flights from Auckland to Fiji all year round. During high season (May to October) there are direct flights available from Wellington and Christchurch too.

Just imagine: if you're planning a South Island ski holiday during the New Zealand winter, you can go from snowy mountains to tropical bliss in under four hours!

Fiji's international airport has direct flights to major hubs such as Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne, so continuing your journey home is easy.


Rarotonga - Remote and Rustic

Fly three hours from Auckland, cross the International Date Line, and you'll arrive at one of the South Pacific's best-kept secrets: the Cook Islands.

Only 18,000 people call these fifteen islands home. Even the largest island, Rarotonga, can be driven around in under an hour. Edged with white sand beaches, coral reefs and the bluest of lagoons, Rarotonga is almost impossibly beautiful. Inland, you can follow rainforest tracks to glistening waterfalls and trek to volcanic mountaintops with unbeatable views across the isles.

Formed by volcanic activity, the Cook Islands were inhabited in the sixth century by Polynesian settlers from Tahiti. The islands are rich in Maori heritage and tradition, graciously shared with visitors by the welcoming locals.

On such a small island, getting around is a cinch. The island's bus service follows the coast road right the way around, both clockwise and anti-clockwise. No driving, and no long journeys eating into your free time.

And with New Zealand Dollars accepted on the island, you can spend any of your leftover Kiwi travel money.


Things To Do

•    Hires bike or scooters, pack a picnic and beach-hop your way around the softest white-sand beaches you could hope for.

•    Hike Cross-Island Track from the north coast to the south, to enjoy Rarotonga's Jurassic-Park-like landscapes at their best.

•    See Cook Island Maori heritage and culture come alive at a cultural evening filled with dancing, drumming, warrior demonstrations, rounded off with a traditional Umukai (feast).

•    Cruise Muri Lagoon on a glass-bottomed boat tour, stopping to snorkel with giant clams and colourful fish.

•    Soar over paradise on a scenic flight over jungles and mountains, reefs and plantations, ringed by the deep blue ocean.

Cook Islands Cuisine

Local fishermen depart before dawn and return with freshly-caught tuna and swordfish ready for your plate - seafood doesn't get better than this. The Muri Night Market's colourful family-run stalls are a great place to taste Cook Island cuisine. Delve into local delicacies such as Ike Mata: raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with cold coconut cream.

For younger eaters craving something familiar, don't worry - it's easy to find steak, wood-fired pizza and burgers at the island's restaurants and cafes.

Snorkelling Raro

Rarotonga Climate and Weather

With Rarotonga's year-round sunshine there's never a bad time to visit, but the climate is hotter and wetter from December to March. The average temperature in the drier months (April to November) is around 26C.
Peak tourist season is around June to August, during the Australian and New Zealand winter. Even then, it's unlikely to feel overcrowded.

Getting to Rarotonga

With direct flights every day from Auckland, adding Rarotonga to your itinerary couldn't be easier.
The island's international airport offers direct flights to Los Angeles and Sydney, so it's the perfect stopover on your way home.
Luxury Raro
Fiji or Rarotonga - how to choose?

We hope we've convinced you to embrace the opportunity to meet our South Pacific neighbors while visiting this part of the world.

Fiji and Rarotonga are both stunningly beautiful, warm all year round, rich in culture and wonderfully friendly. They offer excellent options for families, couples, and anyone looking for the ultimate island escape.

Fiji is a bigger touristic centre, with a greater number of large luxury resorts and hotel options. For a five star luxury holiday or an easy family holiday with great amenities and organised activities for the kids, you can't go wrong. There are stunning remote hideaways too if you have time to travel a little further from the main island of Viti Levu.

For pure relaxation, it's hard to beat Rarotonga. You can set your watch to "Island time", kick back, disconnect, and feel the world melt away. If you can't decide between the two, chat to our Travel Specialists - they'll listen to your dream-trip must-do's and build an itinerary that's tailor-made to your desires.

Marianne Davies
: 14 Feb 2022 (Last updated: 15 Feb 2022)

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