As the possibility of international travel gradually reappears on the horizon, we’ve got Fiji on the brain. Check out our Fiji travel tips to see if it’s the right destination for you as you start planning for holidays in the future.
Travelling to a new destination can be daunting, so it’s always wise to have a few travel tips up your sleeve. Knowing what to expect helps pave the way for smoother travels and assists in determining if your accessibility needs can be met.
Fiji’s access is not easy for wheelchair users, but what the country lacks in accessible infrastructure it makes up for with locals offering an inclusive attitude and muscle power. For people travelling with a family member with autism, the calm environment and nanny programs offered at many resorts will help the whole family have time to relax. For travellers reliant on remaining in their wheelchair (such as those who cannot transfer without a hoist), it’s important to stay at a resort with good access. Denarau is one area where level concrete paths make getting around easier for people with mobility restrictions.
Nadi International Airport
Nadi International Airport provides modern facilities, including air-bridge access to get on and off planes. On arrival airport, staff are generally quick to assist people by expediting the immigration process. Standalone accessible bathroom facilities are available inside the airport’s arrival and departure terminals, however no adult change facilities are available.
The majority of travellers to Fiji are seeking a relaxing holiday, so an airport transfer fulfils their transport requirements. If this is the case, Tourist Transport Fiji can assist with its fully accessible van service. The vehicle allows passengers to remain in their wheelchair while being whisked to a hotel or resort. For travellers looking to explore further afield, standard vehicle hire-car rental is available.
Good accessible accommodation is available at many of the larger hotels and resorts. As always, it’s important to make enquiries and ensure the hotel’s facilities (not just the room) will meet your needs.
If you’re travelling with a family member who has dietary requirements or food preferences, take some food with you – but make sure you check that it can be brought into the country, and declare all food items to customs upon arrival.
A New World supermarket is not far from Nadi International Airport and is stocked with a large range of groceries, including many brands you’d find in Australia. Cereal, bread, fresh milk, biscuits and items for self-catering are all available. And don’t forget to visit the local farmers’ market or roadside stalls for fruit. If you, or someone you are travelling with, is a chocoholic, BYO chocolate – it’s super expensive in Fiji.
Tours charge up to 5 per cent for credit card transactions, so consider travelling with a pre-loaded travel money card and cash.
While staff will do everything possible to ensure guests with a disability are included, it’s important to note that physical access for wheelchair users is still emerging in Fiji; standalone accessible bathrooms, ramp access and beach wheelchairs are not common yet. However, it’s rare to be left stranded, with the locals’ positive can-do attitude kicking into gear and muscles deployed to assist wherever possible.
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to research your holiday well, ask questions and go as far as to ask for photos if you are still unsure. You’ll then know if Fiji is the right destination for you.
This story first appeared in Travel Without Limits magazine. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.