South Pacific Specialists

Pacific Harbour -The Adventure Capital of Fiji

Pacific Harbour was begun in the early 1970s as a recreation-oriented, luxury residential community and resort (translated: a real-estate development). A number of expatriates have built homes here. Given the heat, humidity, and amount of rain it gets, Pacific Harbour is not the place to come for a typical beach vacation, although you can swim at all tides off 3km (2 miles) of deep, grayish sand. On the other hand, it does have an excellent golf course, fine deep-sea fishing, fabulous scuba diving both out in the Beqa Lagoon and along the coast (this is one place in Fiji where you can go on shark-feeding dives), and outstanding white-water rafting trips on the nearby Navua River. Local promoters aren’t far wrong when they describe Pacific Harbour as “The Adventure Capital of Fiji.”

It’s also a favorite place to experience Fijian culture without visiting a village. Formerly known as the Pacific Harbour Cultural Centre & Market Place but now called the Arts Village, this shopping center on the Queen’s Road serves both tourists and residents of the housing development. Although still troubled financially, it consists of colonial-style clapboard buildings joined by covered walkways leading to restaurants, a grocery store, boutiques, handicraft shops, a fancy swimming pool complex, and a fine cultural center.

Offshore, rugged Beqa Island is nearly cut in two by Malumu Bay, making it one of Fiji’s more scenic spots. Most of Fiji’s famous fire walkers come from Dakuibeqa, Naceva, and Ruka villages on Beqa. The island is surrounded by the beautiful Beqa Lagoon, where more than a dozen dive sites feature both soft and hard corals. Among them is Frigate Passage, which has a 48m (158-ft.) wall for divers but is even better known for its powerful left-handed surf break over a relatively smooth coral reef.

Active Pursuits

Fishing — The waters off southern Viti Levu are renowned for their big game fish, especially when the tuna and mahimahi are running from January to May, and when big wahoos pass by in June and July. The women’s world records for wahoo and trevally were set here.

Golf — Robert Trent Jones, Jr., designed the scenic 18-hole, par-72 Pearl Championship Fiji Golf Course, on the north side of the Queen’s Road, at the Pearl South Pacific hotel. Some of its fairways cross lakes; others cut their way through narrow valleys surrounded by jungle-clad hills. Greens fees are F$40 (US$26/£13), and the pro shop has equipment for rent. The clubhouse restaurant is open daily from 7am to 7pm.

Jet Skiing — An adventurous way to see Beqa lagoon is on a 60km (37-mile) Depending on weather conditions, you will speed across Beqa Passage and explore Beqa Island’s picturesque Malumu Bay. The boats also stop for snorkeling on a tiny sand islet in the lagoon.

Jungle Canopy Rides – get strapped into a harness and ride from platform to platform high up in the jungle canopy, sometimes as fast as 50kph (30 mph). Some wires are 200m (650 ft.) long and 30m (98 ft.) up in the trees.

River Rafting & Kayaking — Videos and brochures often feature tourists lazily floating down a Fijian river on a raft made of bamboo poles lashed together. In the old days, mountain-dwelling Fijians really did use bilibilis — flimsy bamboo rafts — to float their crops downriver to market. They would discard the rafts and walk home.

The Navua River is a scenic delight as it cuts its way through the foothills. Depending on how much it has rained recently, you’ll have a few gentle rapids to negotiate, and you’ll stop for dips in waterfalls that tumble right into the river. Wear swimsuits and sandals, but bring a sarong to wear in the Fijian village, where you’ll be welcomed at a yaqona (kava) ceremony.

Scuba Diving — Pacific Harbour is famous for its shark-feeding dives, especially over the nearby Shark Reef Marine Reserve. You’re almost guaranteed to come close to large bull and tiger sharks as well as six reef species. You watch from behind a man-made coral wall while the dive master does the feeding. Only experienced divers need apply for these exciting excursions.

source: Frommers 2013
photo credit: Fiji Tourism

 

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