Heroes of the Fiji Rugby Sevens team share their top local tips for visiting their homeland.

1. South Sea Island

Vilimoni Botitu says "South Sea Island is relaxing, peaceful and fun", which is why it's his favourite place in Fiji to visit. The island is an easy 30-minute ferry ride from Port Denarau and offers plenty to keep you occupied, including snorkelling, diving, kayaking, sailing and, of course, lazing on the beach. The island is popular with day-trippers, though it does boast limited accommodation for those who want to stay a little longer.

2. Sigatoka River Safari

Located on the Coral Coast, the Sigatoka River Safari is Apenisa Cakaubalavu's top pick when he has the chance to take some time out. This half-day experience will see you travel up the Sigatoka River on a jet boat, before visiting an authentic village for lunch and the chance to experience life like a local.

3. Savusavu

Jerry Tuwai recommends visiting Savusavu, on Fiji's second largest island, Vanua Levu. An hour's flight from Nadi Airport, Savusavu is a hidden paradise which boasts stunning ocean views and is backdropped by lush mountains. There's plenty to see and do in Savusavu, including exploring some of Fiji's best soft coral dive sites, hiking through the Wasali Rainforest Reserve, visiting the local farmers' market or touring J. Hunter Pearls' underwater pearl farm.

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4. Sawa-i-Lau Caves

The Sawa-i-Lau Caves in the Yasawa Islands are Aminiasi Tuimaba's top spot. Made famous from their inclusion in the film Blue Lagoon, the caves are hidden beneath a dramatic volcanic peak. Local guides will take you into the main cave, with the option to swim through an underwater tunnel into a secondary and more secretive cave if you're feeling adventurous!

Snorkeling in the Sawa-I-Lau Caves, Fiji. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Snorkeling in the Sawa-I-Lau Caves, Fiji. Photo / Peter de Graaf

5. The highlands

Nothing beats home for Paula Dranisinukula, who loves to visit his family farm in the highlands of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. Dranisinukula says the farm is "remote and peaceful, the perfect place to truly be at peace with your friends and family". Talanoa Treks offer a range of hikes through Viti Levu's interior, so you too can experience the serenity of Fiji's rolling hills, dramatic peaks and secluded villages.

6. Malolo Island

Mesulame Kunavula favours Malolo Island, the largest in the Mamanuca Island group, which is just an hour's boat ride from the mainland. The island is home to a range of resorts, including the luxurious Six Senses Fiji, the family-friendly Malolo Island Resort and the adults-only Tropica Island Resort.

Malolo Island, in Fiji's Mamanuca Island group. Photo / Supplied
Malolo Island, in Fiji's Mamanuca Island group. Photo / Supplied

7. Village visits

Nukuilau Village, alongside the Sigatoka River, is Sevuloni Mocenacagi's favourite place to visit. Village visits are a popular choice for many travellers, as they provide the opportunity to meet local people and experience their way of life. There are cultural customs you need to adhere to when visiting villages, so we recommend going on an organised tour with a guide who will look after the formalities for you.

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GETTING THERE

Fiji Airways

flies direct from Auckland to Nadi with return Economy Class fares from $549.

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