Saturday, November 3, 2018

Denarau Island as Jump Off Point to Paradise (Viti Levu, Fiji)


Denarau Island is a multi-use facility for Fiji's tourists located west of Viti Levu, Fiji's main island. Attached to the main land by a short causeway, the island is the home of Port Denarau, the jump off point for travels to the islands of the Mamanucas and the Yasawas further north. 

It has Port Denarau Shopping Center, cafes and restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe, a bakery; a pizza parlor; an Indian, Chinese, Fijian and Italian restaurant; a New Zealand ice creamery; a jewelry shop; several spas and hair/nail salon; an apparel shop (Harrisons); a car rental shop; foreign exchange; a medical and diagnostic center; a Westpac Bank and even a law firm, if you require representation in Fiji - Heaven forbid. 

It is home to posh 5-star hotels like Radisson Blu, Westin, Hilton, Sheraton, Wyndham and Sofitel. Simply put, it's the most non-Fijian place in all of Fiji. It also has a beautiful 18-hole golf course you'll see on your way to the port and shopping center.

A taxi from Wailoaloa Beach or Nadi to Denarau will cost you around F$15-20 one-way. It takes about 10-15 minutes covering 9.4 kilometers. 

I haven't really explored much of Denarau. Most tourists are always on a rush to either catch their chartered boats or hop into their Sea Cruise buses back to their hotels and guesthouses in Nadi or Wailoaloa. 

I didn't want to miss my bus because it's free service when you book for an island visit or head to one of the islands for a few days via the Yasawa Flyer

Port Denarau has a small building littered with many travel booths where you can buy tours. You can exchange your Bula Pass vouchers here for your boarding formality. For my visit to Castaway Island (from that Tom Hanks movie), I worried about my passport because I forgot to take it with me. But it wasn't necessary as long as you have your tour voucher or Bula Pass with you. I think, though, it is safer to have your passport with you. 

There is no waiting hall inside the building. You just stand near the jetty outside and wait for your yacht to board. Like most of Fiji, the dynamics of boarding your ride are relaxed. 

If you love shopping, Denarau is the place for you, although the airport has several shops that are surprisingly cheaper than the ones I saw in Wailoaloa or Nadi. Airport shops are usually more expensive. Not in Fiji.

I am not sure if it's a good idea to hike from Denarau to Nadi, particularly if you have heavy luggage with you. Remember that Denarau is considered private property (supposedly) with commercial activity. You're there to dine or shop; board a boat, check in at one of the posh hotels, or play golf. In short, paying guests are welcome.

Rent an electric bike at F$9/hour or F$38/day.





The port's check-in counter. has friendly staff.

After check-in, you go outside and wait for calls to your ship's boarding. No benches here.












Directory of Shops, Services and Offices in Port Denarau Shopping Center:











This photo only courtesy of www.fiji.travel/us


#denarauisland   #fiji   #melanesia   #southpacific   #port

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