Getting around Fiji is relatively easy, with many public transport options available. Expats should, however, note that public transport infrastructure is not always comprehensive or efficient, especially on the smaller islands. Driving in Fiji can also be difficult due to poor road conditions. Expats who purchase a car should consider enlisting the services of a local driver to assist them.
Public transport in Fiji
The main form of public transport in Fiji is buses, but travelling by bus in the island nation is an experience itself. Buses in Fiji tend to be noisy, crowded and a little uncomfortable; however, they're great for short journeys and are a fantastic way to interact with the friendly locals.
While they are cheap and service most areas, their frequency varies considerably depending on their destination and the day of the week. Expats will also find the bus networks on Fiji's larger islands are extensive and efficient.
Overcrowded minivans are a common sight throughout Fiji. These shared taxis are popular among 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 a comfortable ride, though – drivers tend to maximise their profits by transporting as many passengers as possible in a single load.
Small trucks with tarpaulin-covered frames on their backs are known as carriers in Fiji. These trucks run trips along popular routes in the country, such as between Nadi and Suva. They can be found on the main roads or central spots in Fiji’s main cities or towns. While travelling by carrier is often faster than by bus, they may not be the best option for time-strapped expats as the vehicles only leave when they are full.
Expats looking to travel between islands in Fiji can take the ferry. There are several operators offering a variety of destinations and departure times. The cost of travelling by ferry in Fiji is fairly reasonable.
Taxis in Fiji
Taxis are easily accessible in all of Fiji’s main cities, and there will always be a taxi rank close to the city’s bus station. Fijians rarely use private taxis, so there are often too many of them furiously competing for expats' business.
While some taxis are well maintained, most are in bad shape. If travelling in a city, ask the driver to put the meter on before beginning the journey. In the rural parts of Fiji, expats may find that drivers will not use a meter and should ensure they agree on a price with the driver before starting the trip. Uber is currently not operational in Fiji, but the country has several local ride-hailing apps available.
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 littered with potholes.
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 the urban areas.
Expats from countries that drive on the left side of the road are eligible to convert their overseas driving licence to a Fijian driving licence. They will need to submit an application form, identity documents and a translation letter (if their overseas licence is not in English), to Fiji's Land Transport Authority.
Domestic flights in Fiji
In addition to Fiji’s international airports in Nadi and Suva, the country has a few domestic airports. Flying is the fastest way to travel between the islands and the added advantage of taking a domestic flight in Fiji is the stunning views of the islands, lagoons and corals passengers will enjoy.
Cycling in Fiji
Bicycles are another popular way for locals and expats to travel in Fiji. That said, cycling alongside cars in Fiji can be difficult and dangerous, as the cycling infrastructure is undeveloped with no designated lanes.
Cycle shops are hard to come by in Fiji, so cyclists should always carry their own spares and supplies. There are only a few bicycle rental companies, and prices can be hefty, so expats planning to cycle regularly should invest in a bike.