Transport and Driving in Fiji

Transport and driving in Fiji
Expats in Fiji will find several transport options available to them. However, public transport infrastructure is not always comprehensive and efficient – especially on smaller islands.
 
Driving in Fiji can be difficult because of poor road conditions. Expats who buy a car should consider hiring a local driver to assist them.  
 

Public transport in Fiji

 
The modes of public transport available to those in Fiji include buses, share taxis and private taxis. Public transport in Fiji is generally very cheap, especially for expats coming from Australia, New Zealand, Europe or North America.
 

Buses

Travelling by bus in Fiji can take some getting used to. While buses are cheap and service most areas, their frequency varies considerably depending on their destination and the day of the week.  
 
On Fiji’s larger islands, expats will find the bus networks are extensive and efficient. Travelling by bus is a great way to interact with the locals. Buses in Fiji tend to be noisy, crowded and a little uncomfortable; however, they are sufficient for short journeys.
 
For major national routes like that from Nadi to Suva, expats should opt to use air-conditioned express buses, which provide a far more comfortable travel experience. The main bus operators in Fiji are Sunbeam Transport and Pacific Transport. There are also a number of smaller companies that run bus services on each of the islands.
 
Generally, reservations are not needed for buses in Fiji. However, those who are short on time should buy their ticket in advance, especially for longer journeys, as queues for tickets at the bus station can often be lengthy.
 

Shared taxis

Overcrowded minivans are a common sight throughout Fiji. These shared taxis are popular with locals and are often the quickest way to get to a destination. They are cheaper than buses but more expensive than hiring a private taxi.
 
Passengers should not expect to have a comfortable ride though – drivers tend to load as many passengers on as possible.
 

Carriers

Small trucks with tarpaulin-covered frames on the back are known as carriers in Fiji. These trucks run trips along popular routes in Fiji, such as between Nadi and Suva. They can be found on the main roads or central spots in any of Fiji’s main cities or towns. While travelling by carrier is often faster than the equivalent bus journey, the vehicles only leave when they are full.
 

Taxis in Fiji

 
Taxis can easily be found in all of Fiji’s main cities such as Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Nadi, Tavenuni and Ovalau. There will always be a taxi depot close to the city’s bus station. These private taxis are rarely used by Fijians, and there are often too many of them, so expats will find taxi drivers competing furiously for business.
 
While some taxis are well maintained, most of them are in bad shape. If travelling in a city, ask the driver to put the meter on. In rural parts of Fiji, expats will find that drivers won’t use a meter, so make sure to agree on a price before starting the journey.
 

Inter-island ferries in Fiji

 
Expats travelling between islands in Fiji can travel by ferry. There are a number of operators available, including South Sea Cruises, one of the larger companies that runs daily inter-island ferry transfers.
 
The cost of travelling by ferry in Fiji is fairly reasonable. Larger ferry companies tend to have better safety standards and can accommodate cars and trucks. However, if expats plan on travelling between islands with a car, they should ensure that they own the car or have made the necessary arrangements.
 
Ferries usually have three classes and tickets are priced accordingly. Seating options range from regular seats to recliner chairs or dormitories with bunk beds.
 

Domestic flights in Fiji

 
In addition to Fiji’s international airports in Viti Levu, Nadi and Nausori, the country has a number of domestic airports. These include Savisavi and Labasa on Vanua Levu, Matel on Taveuni, Vunisea on Kadavu and Bureta on Ovalau. In addition, smaller islands have their own airstrips, most of which are rarely used.
 
In addition to being the fastest way to travel between the islands, the other major advantage of taking a domestic flight in Fiji is the stunning views passengers can expect to see of the islands, lagoons and coral reefs.
 

Cycling in Fiji

 
Bicycles are a popular way for both locals and expats to travel in Fiji. That said, cycling alongside motor vehicles in Fiji can be difficult and dangerous, as the infrastructure for cyclists is undeveloped and there are no designated cycle lanes.
 
Furthermore, cycle shops in Fiji are hard to find, so cyclists must always carry their own spares and supplies. There are only a few cycle rental companies and prices can be high, so expats planning to do regular cycle rides should invest in their own bike.
 

Driving in Fiji

 
While there isn’t much traffic on Fiji’s roads, many embassies still advise their nationals to avoid driving in the country. Many roads are poorly maintained and it’s common to find roads littered with potholes.
 
For expats who need a car for convenience, it’s worth hiring a local driver. Expats who want to drive should do so defensively and always be cautious on the roads. It’s also best to avoid driving at night, especially outside urban areas.

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