Viti Levu, the heart of Fiji's 333 islands, is home to 75% of the country's population and Fiji's only two cities: Suva, its cosmopolitan capital, and quirky Nadi, Fiji's tourism hub and entry point for virtually every traveler. The 4,020-square-mile island, known by locals as the "mainland," has developed an à la carte approach to creating the perfect vacation: select one or two resorts that suit your budget and style and then do as much or as little activity as you please among the verdant mountainsides, volcanic peaks, lush river valleys, and barrier reefs. The major resorts each has a Tours Desk that can arrange day trips that range from aqua-tours in mud pools and waterfalls or wildlife tours of Kula Eco Resort's zoological gardens, to activities like horseback riding, golf, scuba diving, or spa treatments.
You won't find Fiji's best beaches on Viti Levu, but excursions to the Mamanuca group's lovely sands leave daily from Port Denarau, near Nadi, returning you back in time for Fiji's best restaurants and five-star hotels. Other easy trips are possible to one of the surrounding uninhabited islands, where you'll experience the tranquil simplicity of secluded white sands and the Pacific's warm, clear waters.
If you want to explore on your own, just rent a car at the airport and follow your nose. The island's southern half is full of magnificent natural wonders, each within a few hours' drive of every hotel, and practically everything is either on or just off the highway that circumnavigates the island. You can visit the old colonial capital of Suva; the sugar cane town of Lautoka; or dive the Vatu-I-Ra, which is off the northern branch of the King Highway, halfway between Suva and Nadi. You can climb millennia-old sand dunes or kayak through a prehistoric setting capped by 300-foot black volcanic rock walls, and swim with sharks as they're fed within one of the world's largest barrier reefs, in Pacific Harbour. You can recount the experience by one of the multiple bars or pools at a huge resort on the Coral Coast. On the urban side, you can have your pick of handicrafts in Nadi, fine-dine on a bevy of cuisines in Suva, feel the local Indo-Fijian vibe by the waterfront in Lautoka, and discover the Melanesian lifestyle around a kava bowl in a village anywhere along the way.