Buses run regularly around Viti Levu. It's cheap and quite fun way to travel around. Often the turn on loud music or screen a film during the ride. The buses stop everywhere as long as you tell them or wave along the road. Nadi-Suva costs around 11 FJD and takes 4 hours.
This is THE way for backpackers and other budget travellers to get to and between the Yasawa Islands and the mainland. And to be honest, it's a pretty good service, and it's very well run. They offer a variety of packages to get you around the Yasawas during your stay, including all inclusive deals taking you to set islands and set accomodation; 7, 14 or 21 day unlimited island hopping passes; one-way tickets between the mainland and a single island; and accomodation passes so that you don't have to carry too much cash. There is a boat that you can stay on if you fancy a cruise style holiday, and they also offer diving packages. Basically, the options are endless! This is the only company I came across that doesn't operate on Fiji time, so you need to make sure that you're outside you're hotel on time or you'll miss your free transfer to the ferry terminal! Most hotels in the Nadi area have travel desks and will book packages and passes for you. They also have an Adventure Centre in Nadi at 2/534 Queen's Road - look for the yellow and purple building! Or you can make reservations online at the web address below.
To get to Ovalau by ferry buy a ticket at Patterson Shipping Company at Nina Street in Suva.
If you take the express bus of 08.00 am in Nadi, you will be in Suva at 11.30am. Then you have enough time to go to the office of Patterson Shipping company and buy a ticket for the ferry. It is a combined ticket for the bus-ferry-bus costs FJD 19.
The bus (light brown/dark brown) leaves at 14.00 pm (be there at 13.30pm) from the busstation in Suva (at the end where you see the big mango tree).
The busride to the very takes approx. 2 hrs and is a nice ride. The ferry to Ovalau is approx. 45 minutes. When you come off the ferry a bus is already waiting to bring you to Levuka. A very nice busride from approx. 1,5 hrs.
Arrival at Levuka approx. 18.30 hrs.
So its possible to go from Nadi to Levuka on Ovalau on one day. Its a bit of a travel but a very nice day of travelling, you get to see so much of the main island whilst travelling by local bus and of Ovalau.
Although the Yasawas are very touristy it is very nice to choose one or more islands to stay on.
The best way to travel to the Yasawas (and Mamanucas) is by Yasawa Flyer from Awesome Adventures.
When you stay at Nadi Bay Hotel and several other hostels in Nadi there is also a free pick up from the Awesome Adventure Bus to drive you to Denarau Marina (and back to you hostel) to be on time for the boat.
The big yellow catamaran is very comfortable and good organised. The staff on the boat is friendly too.
You bag is tagged to you destination. On arrival on you destination the catamaran stays in deep water, a little boat from the resort comes up to the catamaren and picks everybody up with their luggage to go to the resort. When you go back the little boat brings you back to the catamaran. Be aware when you arrive at your resort you have to walk from the little boat through the water to get on the beach ! But dont worry its part of the Fiji adventure and so much fun. The people from the boat will take care of your luggage.
When you go north / up the drop offs and pick ups are in the morning. When you go south/down the drop offs and pick ups are in the afternoon.
An example of the travelling times.
From Denaurau Marina to Nacula (Oarsmans Bay) is 4 hrs by boat.
From Nacula to Waya (Octopus) is 2,5 by boat. And from Waya to Denarau Marina is 1,5 hrs by boat.
There are several options to get from Nadi to Suva. You can go buy taxi. Or by local bus.
When you go buy bus you can choose two options.
The Coral Sun Express bus is an airconditioned coachbus. A good bus. This bus must be booked in advance. If you stay at Nadi Bay Hotel they pick up from that hotel in the morning. FJD 19.
The Pacific Express. Is a local bus. Just buy your ticket at the departure stand. FJD 18.
The busride to Suva is a nice ride.
And is 3,5 hrs.
Flying is by far the most convienient way, but I also met people that had arrived by boat.
On the main island itself, the taxis seem to be reasonably priced and are probably the best for getting around Nadi. Fiji also has its own local airline, that you can fly to some of the larger islands in the group. But for reaching the outer, smaller islands, the only real way is by boat.
We met the van and driver at the Nadi airport,
drove to Lautoka Hotel in Lautoka.
There we picked up more people, then we were taken out to the pier to get on the boat that took us to Waya Lailai eco Haven.
Easy to get sea weary so the odd flight to/from the islands is well warranted. Small planes so get in the front seats and get a pilots eye view. We only flew at 400 feet so got some million dollar views.
Contact me as I have loads more details at home here.
Some people say to rent a car and to drive around Fiji yourself. Others say its suicide. I dont know either way, but I can tell you it is a peculiar driving system. The public buses are good and reliable, and if you are unsure about driving yourself, they are a cheap and safe alternative.
Many people have asked about the specifics of the Bula Pass so I thought I should create a tip about it. The Bula pass can be bought for 7 or 21 days. It is good for as much travel in the Yasawas as you can fit in. Here are the specifics and rules:
1.) The boat is the Yasawa flier, it leaves form the marina in Denarau just outside Nadi at 9am every morning and returns at 6pm .
2)You may NOTtravel from Nadi to Beachcomber. But you may travel from another island to Beachcomber.
3) You may Not travel from Beahcomber to Nadi. But you may travel from Beachcomber to another island.
4) The site asys that youi must make reservations for each leg of you journey. This is just Not true. From the tiny resorts just get in the water taxi out to the Flyer and tell them where you want to go. No problem.
5) You can only leave the Marina 1 time with the pass, once you are back to the marina your pass is invalid.
I hope this helps clear things up. The web site is really confusing.
When I was staying in a budget hotel near the Nadi Airport on Viti Levu I’d wait for the local bus to take me into town and be repeatedly pestered by all manner of minibuses and taxis on the main road sharking for my business to take me into town. However ignore this lot and take wait for the bus. a) It’s cheaper ($5 for the taxi, which considering exchange rates is still peanuts, but still…) and b) It’s a lot more of an interesting and atmospheric experience to ride with the locals. They’re used to wide-eyed backpackers anyway and won’t blink a bit. Granted some services will sometime run by the rules of the notorious ‘Fiji Time’ (i.e. Turning up haphazardly any time) so maybe go for a taxi/minibus anyway if you’re on a tight schedule!
There are two ways to get to the island where Musket Cove and Plantation Resort are. On one trip, we flew - which offers great views of the reefs and turquoise water. The other, slower way is to take the boat.
Boats leave from Denarau, a modern harbour in the swanky new resort area of the same name.
I did about 11 flights with Air Fiji. I found the airline a breath of fresh air. And there is just something funny about getting into a plane that looks like Cheech and Chongs van!
No redtape no hassel. You tell the ticket agent where you want to go they write a ticket and you go...or if you change your mind they are really flexible. You can change times, destinations, passengers anything you like...and if they give you problems have a local call and talk in fijian they just cant help but comply.
The Yasawa flyer is a boat ran by Awsome Adventures. If you are going out to one of the islands chances are you will ride it. The trick is to get your monies worth. Most trips cost at $F40 oneway. So if you plan to stay in the islands and hop around a BULA PASS may be the way to go. It costs 199$F for 7 days or 265 for 21 days.
The boat is really nice with and air conditioned cabin and sun deck. Oh yeah, this may not sound important but they sell ice cream on the boat! You stay on the islands for 3 weeks and you will be looking for ice cream too! It takes about 5 hours from Nadi to the furthest point, but it is an enjoyable ride.
While in Fiji, I did have access to cars and drivers, however we often took taxi's which I found pretty affordable and easy to get. They're often in filthy shape with no working seatbelts, but they get you to and fro. :) I'm thinking the average price was around $2USD to get from the village I was staying in to downtown Suva, I'm sorry I can't give mileage as I don't remember. Most of the locals take the buses which you can see in the photo. Natural air-conditioning.
We also found a bus that took us the 3 hours from Suva towards Nadi when we were wanting to go stay at a resort out there. I think the trip was only about 10$ USD and it was a nice bus, however it stops at a few other tourist accommodations on the way. We left from the Holiday Inn in Suva so if you're interested in learning more, you could probably contact them if you're there.
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