Fiji Vacation: 5 Things to Do on a Long Layover at Nadi International Airport

Are you looking at a layover at Nadi International Airport? For many travelers, this is an excellent time to grab a coffee, change clothes, and brush teeth. Maybe you want to use the hours to finish a magazine, make final notes in your guidebook, or even take a nap in the lounge. But what if your layover at Nadi International Airport isn’t just a couple hours?

There are several New Zealand to the States flight itineraries that include a 10, 15, or 18-hour layover in Fiji. These travelers end up with an unexpected Fiji vacation, but are unsure how to use the time. On the other hand, visitors traveling onward throughout Fiji may purposely plan an extended layover in Nadi International Airport to refresh and overcome some jet lag before arriving at your “real” Fiji vacation.

Both groups of travelers have the opportunity to ditch their bags (there is luggage storage at the airport!), grab their sense of adventure, and exit the airport. Once you’ve agreed to make the most of your long layover at Nadi, here are five things we recommend you do.

#1: Go on a Half-Day City Tour

A long layover is all about balance. You don’t want to waste these hours, but you also don’t want a jam-packed itinerary to ruin the rest of your Fiji vacation. A great compromise is going for a half-day city tour, even if you have the time for a full day trip.

There are several tour operators with desks or information right in Nadi International Airport, so there is no need to book in advance. You can simply show up and talk with the guides or their representatives until you find a company you like. Most of the half-day city tours follow a similar itinerary that includes a stop at Nadi’s local markets, the city’s main Hindu temple, and Garden of the Sleeping Giant.

All the guides will have great English skills and several have been running these tours for many years. Feel free to ask questions or request a stop for souvenirs, as the schedule for these tours is often on island time.

#2: Head Out to the Chiefly Village of Viseisei

History buffs and the culturally curious will love a trip to the nearby Chiefly Village of Viseisei. The village sits along Viti Levu’s west coast, not too far from Nadi International Airport, and is recognized as the initial settlement in Fiji. Before you go, you’ll want to ensure a few things.

First, there are several city tours that include a stop in the Chiefly Village of Viseisei, so that might be a better and cheaper way to work this fascinating stop into your day. Second, if heading out via taxi, you need some assurance that you’ll have permission to enter the village. There are locals still living in the Chiefly Village of Viseisei, and while they are accustomed to daily visitors, you need permission from the village chief to enter. This is mostly a formality, but you’re taxi driver may need to approach the chief on your behalf.

#3: Dive into the Island Life on Denarau Island

There are several smaller islands clustered around the cost of Viti Levu, the Fijian island where Nadi International Airport is located. The closest island to the airport is a manicured and resort-styled island called Denarau Island.

You could take a long layover before your Fiji vacation to rent a room at one of the five resorts on Denarau Island, but that isn’t necessary to enjoy your time there. You can make use of the beaches, including the excursions and activities marketed along the water, and enjoy lunch in one of the hotel restaurants before catching your onward flight.

#4: Stretch Your Legs on the Sigatoka Sand Dunes

Overlooked by many visitors to Fiji’s biggest island, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes are an excellent option for you long layover. The dunes are located in one of Fiji’s national parks, and accessible between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.

The sand dunes are located roughly 40 minutes from the airport and reachable by booking a guide in advance or grabbing a taxi. If you opt for a do-it-yourself taxi trip, the local rangers at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park have plenty of information and knowledge about the area. The rangers can also explain the one and two-hour walking options around the dunes, and how you can participate in Going Native, a program operated in the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park that partners visitors with the local community to plant trees in the park.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore the dunes, which are very beautiful, and still shower, nap, and eat a meal before the next part of your journey.

#5: Opt to Relax Right Outside the Airport

Long layovers are nothing new in Nadi, and local businesses have started to design ways to help visitors ease into island life or make a smooth transition back to life at home. The newer Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center is a perfect example. This facility, located right outside the airport, is specifically designed and built for travelers in transit.

At the Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center, you’ll find everything from a movie room and yoga classes to a café, kids play center, and rooftop bar. You can even rent a private room for a day or by the hour, which is an excellent opportunity to shower, change clothes, and take a nap.

Onward from the Airport

Already booked your flight to Fiji, but uncertain of your final destination? There is no perfect place to escape the airport than to Taveuni’s idyllic boutique property, Raiwasa Private Resort. You can learn more about traveling to Taveuni, our private villa at Raiwasa, and what to do on your Fiji vacation by heading to our website at