The Fijian archipelago comprises approximately 330 islands and 500 islets spread across over 7,000 square miles in the South Pacific Ocean - the phrase 'getting away from it all' has never been more apt. Beneath the waves you'll see an abundance of soft coral, for which Fiji is renowned, as well as everything from sharks and dolphins to ghost pipefish, leaf scorpion fish and all manner of tropical reef fish. Above the waves the diversity doesn't end; the country's iconic clear waters and white sand beaches give way to jungle-covered mountains that rise abruptly from the shore. Add to that a population of the friendliest people on the planet and some lovely boutique hotels and you can see why Fiji remains such an Original Diving favourite. And as if you needed any more persuading, here's a few more reasons why we love Fiji so much...
The Great White Wall, Somosomo Strait
Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world thanks in no small part to the dive sites across the Somosomo Strait, which runs between the islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Here you will find the Great White Wall which, if you get the tides right, is one of the best dive experiences in the world. Covered in beautiful soft white coral, the Wall is also frequented by reef sharks and even the odd hammerhead, if you're lucky. Stay on Taveuni in one of the many world-class hotels on the island, which brings us nicely on to...
Bold statement alert: Laucala Island is the best private island resort in the world. Why? Well, there are 16 members of staff to every guest, the accommodation comprises 25 private villas called bures (pronounced boo-rays), each with a private pool, guests travel around the island in suped up golf buggies or blacked out Land Rovers, and there is no schedule - absolutely everything is done on-demand. This includes the diving, simply call the concierge and ten minutes later you'll be on the boat. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Shark Diving in Beqa Lagoon
Fiji's world-famous 'Shark Encounter' in Beqa Lagoon (pronounce Benga) allows divers to get up close to no less than eight species of shark, including reef sharks, bull sharks and the occasional tiger shark. And it's not just the number of species to be found, but the volume of marine life that you will encounter during the dive. Our very own Amy Cooper did this dive in 2015: "I have never seen such a blur of fish and sharks, they all came in such different colours, shapes and sizes - it was hard to know what to fix my eyes on!"
Unparalleled Relaxation Opportunities
We've already mentioned Laucala Island and Kokomo and, in that vein, one of the best things about Fiji is the fact that many of the best hotels occupy their own private island, offering guests unparalleled privacy and relaxation. Like we said, getting away from it all doesn't come much better than in Fiji. Another particular favourite of ours is Royal Davui which is ensconced in 10 acres of lush jungle. This adults-only resort has just 16 villas, all with private plunge pools and sun decks, and is perfectly placed for diving in Beqa Lagoon, enjoying some watersports or for simply doing nothing at all.
Fiji's beaches are regularly voted onto 'best in the world' lists so it's fair to say that wherever you go, you're likely to find a decent beach. The recently opened Kokomo resort is surrounded by the world's fourth largest barrier reef - The Great Astrolabe Reef - and is home to four private beaches, which are fringed by lush jungle and look out across crystal clear ocean. With so much space, the resort is perfect for couples and families alike. As for the diving - within this area you'll find Manta Reef which is home to, you guessed it, a population of manta rays that you can dive with all year round, as well as clown fish, dogtooth tuna and schooling surgeonfish.