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The Best Day Tours from Nadi and Denarau

June 24, 2024 No Comments

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I’ve been living in Fiji for over seven years, so I’ve been on quite a few Nadi and Denarau day trips. Some are a bit gimmicky and some are overpriced, but some are well worth your precious vacation time (and money). From party barges to private islands to surf trips and more, these are the Nadi day tours I take family members and friends on whenever they come to visit.

With most international flights arriving early in the morning and departing late evening, it’s worth venturing on a Nadi day trip even if you’re only in Nadi for a layover.

Malamala Beach Club

Malamala Beach Club is one of my favorite day trips from Denarau. A 45-minute ferry ride departs from Denarau at 10am or 12pm, returning at 4:15pm or 5:15pm. It’s Fiji in a bite sized package — a polkadot island with white sand and palm trees, a vibrant coral reef for snorkeling, great cocktails, fresh food, and plenty of space to lounge in the shade. Rent a kayak and lap the island, search for giant clams hiding between coral crags, or wade in their infinity pool. My main qualm? The all-day thrum of club music can be a bit obnoxious (though it’s escapable if you venture to the quiet side of the island).

A few tips: My favorite part of the island to hang out on is near the infinity pool. You can rent private umbrellas or cabanas, but really there’s enough free space to find if you’re in a small group. Most people will get their beach towels before staking out a spot. Grab your spot first and circle back for towels after. The best snorkeling spot is found near the end of the pier.

If you’re wondering how to fill the awkward gap between hotel checkout and a late flight, Malamala has hot water showers. Board your plane feeling fresh.

Book your trip to Malamala Beach Club

Sabre Sailing Catamaran Cruise

Cruise around the Mamanuca Islands with Sabre, a 78-foot sailing catamaran owned by South Sea Cruises. I honestly didn’t expect this trip to be as fun as it was! The day begins with a sail from Denarau to a sliver of sand near Malolo Island. Morning mimosas and snacks are served once the sailboat starts moving.

While most people choose to hang out onboard, it’s worth slipping down the slide into the water below. Snorkel around the sandbank and search for clownfish, trumpetfish, pufferfish, sea turtles, reef sharks, and rays. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head back to the boat for two hours of all-you-can-drink beer and win, plus lunch. After the two hours are up, there tends to be a definite party vibe onboard. The music cranks up and people start grooving.

Book a Nadi day tour with Sabre

Surf trip

No matter if you’ve never caught a wave in your life or if you’re a keen barrel chaser, it’s worth going on a surf trip. Experienced surfers, set your sights on Cloudbreak, Restaurants, or Wilkes. New surfers, paddle out at Namotu Lefts or Swimming Pools. Surf tour companies tend to lump surfers together based on ability. There are multiple surf tour companies departing from the Nadi area, some with airport pickup included. Dream Surf Fiji, Surf Brothers, and Fiji Surf Co all offer trips.

Cloud 9 or Seventh Heaven

If enjoying cold beers and wood-fired pizzas on a floating wooden platform is your scene, you’ll like Cloud 9. Cloud 9 is Fiji’s first floating bar, and you’ll find it moored near the edge of Malolo’s outer reef. The snorkeling here isn’t amazing, but you’ll have a nice time lounging, swimming in turquoise waters, and mingling with fellow sun-crisped tourists. If you’ve done Cloud 9 and want a similar vibe, there’s Seventh Heaven which has similar offerings plus an opportunity to spend the night.

Book a trip to Cloud 9 and Seventh Heaven

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is one of my favorite things to do in Nadi if you’re short on time. If you have a full day, it’s worth cruising out on Fiji’s blues. But if you have just a short layover in Nadi before your flight, go to Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Manicured gardens with orchids, tropical fruit trees, gigantic monstera plants, and a short walk to a lookout point await. The full walk around the gardens takes about an hour. Entry tickets include a glass of juice.

Guided trips to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant often include a stop at Sabato Hot Springs, where you’ll lather up in a layer of mud and soak in supposedly healing waters.

Book a trip to Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Nadi and Denarau Travel Tips

If you’re staying in Denarau, many hotels are within walking distance to Denarau. If yours isn’t, catch the Bula Bus to the marina. Many day tours offer pick-up from your hotel within Denarau and Nadi, saving you a taxi or bus fare.

Make sure you get to the marina on time for your boat departure–ferries and day trips won’t usually wait for you.

Bring sun protection. A rashguard, leggings, hat, sunglasses, and reef-safe sunscreen are essential. Don’t make the mistake of sitting in the sunshine on the boat ride to your destination without sunscreen. It takes just 15 minutes to burn.

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Chantae Reden

Chantae is the Coconut in Chief at Tropical Go. She is the author of Moon Bali & Lombok and lives in Suva, Fiji. She is a freediver, scuba diver, and surfer who loves surfing without a wetsuit. Her drink of choice is a margarita.

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