[the sailboat house]
Suva is the vibrant capital of Fiji and the hub of the South Pacific. It is located on the southeastern coast of the island of Viti Levu and is situated over a hilly peninsula that juts out to create one of the most naturally protected harbors in the South Seas. The shores of Suva, the Laucala and Walu Bays, are also enclosed by a fine coral reef. Unfortunately, the weather in Suva is not the best. It is often wet and damp. With mountains north of the city rising 4000 feet high, moisture is often condensed when trade winds pass through creating frequent showers and downpours. At the same time, the precipitation keeps the city’s foliage lush and ever green.
Suva’s rise onto the world stage began in 1877 when the colonial capital was moved from Levuka to Suva shortly after the United Kingdom annexed Fiji in 1874. Prior to this transformation from a small Fijian village into an administrative municipality, Suva belonged to the Australians who had purchased it from the Americans with the intention of growing cotton and sugar. They found out soon enough that it was unsuitable for such endeavors. Today, this capital has become a cauldron of different cultures and ethnicities that include the indigenous Fijians, Indo-Fijians, Chinese, Samoans, Tongans, Solomon Islanders, Micronesians, Europeans, and the Rotumans.
Many of Suva’s attractions are found at the heart of the city near Nubukalou Creek at Victoria Parade. Nicknamed the “main drag”, this area extends from the post office to Thurston Gardens. You’ll find many shops, restaurants, bars, and popular nightclubs in this drag. And Thurston Gardens at the end of Victoria Parade is worth checking out. It has an impressive collection of flora from all over the South Pacific, the work of botanist Sir John Thurston. The Fiji Museum is located in the gardens as well and displays a collection of Fijian relics and artifacts such as war clubs, cannibal forks, necklaces, and canoes. Near Victoria Parade is the Triangle, considered by some to be the true center of Suva. It used to be a home of a small lagoon but is now occupied instead by a mini park with rows of benches. The Municipal Market is another sight of Suva. It is a grand market of fish, meats, seafood, fruits, oils, and spices. At the end of the market is a saloon where you can pick a Fijian “Yagona” or “Kava”. The Handicraft Center, however, is more catered to shopping for tourists. You can pick up souvenirs, carvings, Tongan clothing, necklaces, carvings, seashells, and cannibal forks. Jack’s, just off of Victoria Parade, is probably the most popular shopping dig in town – you’ll find Fijian jewelry, carvings, and clothes.
For some beach fun, the Pacific Harbor just 20 minutes outside of town is the place to go. You can picnic, surf, swim, mountain bike, hike, raft, or kayak at or around the harbor. There is also a championship golf course and an Arts Village where you’ll the Pacific Harbour’s Cultural Centre and Marketplace – a complex of boutiques, stores, outlets, and eateries. You can also hit up a traditional fire walking show performed by the natives. With the beach apartments and hotel resorts in and around the harbor, this area definitely has a Disney feel to it.