Suva is the capital of Fiji and is a beautiful harbour city built on a peninsula reaching out into the sea.
The city is perched on a hilly peninsula between Laucala Bay and Suva Harbour in the southeast corner of Viti Levu. The mountains north and west catch the southeast trade winds, producing moist conditions year round.
An exciting multi-racial city, Suva began as a late Victorian village with frame houses and stores along the beachfront. Much of its past still survives, for there are many small, quaint wooden bungalows in the old section that sit in juxtaposition to the modern offices and shopping plazas.
On Sundays it’s well worth attending church to hear the choral singing that is magnificent. Most churches have services in English, but none compare with the 1000 strong Fijian service at Centenary Methodist Church on Stewart Street. A vital centre, Suva offers a great selection of restaurants including Chinese, Indian, traditional Fijian and European cuisine.
There are tours to landmarks such as the Thurston Gardens next to Government House, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Fiji.
The Fiji Museum is recognised as one of the best of its type in the South Pacific which holds a remarkable collection of archaeological material dating back 3,700 years and cultural objects representing both Fiji’s indigenous inhabitants and the other communities that have settled in the island group over the past 200 years.
Not to be missed is the sprawling complex of municipal markets near the waterfront that comes to life on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you’ll find an assortment of artifacts and handicrafts for sale, made by Fijians throughout the Island group.
For those who like history, there’s Albert Park where Charles Kingsford-Smith landed his plane Southern Cross on his trans- Pacific flight in 1928.
Activities in Suva
Local rugby matches can be a lot of fun, so try to catch one when you visit. Participating, however, might not be a good idea because you could get hurt unless you know what you are doing. If you want something less rough, you can head to the golf course for a round, or one of the many swimming pools for a relaxing swim.
You can catch local, Bollywood and Hollywood movies at the Damodar Theater at a very low cost and enjoy air conditioning if you want to get away from warm afternoons on the street. Beach and beachside activities are not very common and easily available.
For shopping, you can check out either the municipal market or visit one of the many flea markets around the city. They offer interesting and beautiful good at great prices, but you will have to bargain a lot before buying to ensure you are not being overcharged.
Suva’s local cuisines
The local cuisines has strong Indian and Chinese influences that are evident from the cuisines and the number of restaurants with these cuisines on their menu. A good chuck of the population in the city is India, and their influence on the restaurant culture does not go unnoticed. From street and small food places like Singh’s Curry House, to more upscale restaurants like Ashiyana and Maya Dhaba, there are a lot of places to get authentic and tasty Indian food.
Scott’s is known for its steaks, which are considered to be the best in all of Suva. It serves high end European cuisine. There are places where you can buy excellent fish and chips, bistros with all day breakfast menus, and coffee shops with great snacks and finger foods. If you are looking for something less expensive, head to the food courts at Tapoo and MHCC. They have a good variety in cuisines and are very affordable. McDonalds also makes its presence felt in the city with two outlets.
Suva is a very vibrant and interesting city that seamlessly blends local culture with modernisation. Some of the major attractions that you cannot afford to miss while in Suva:
Fiji Museum is a well-appointed museum with a detailed history of the city and the country for history buffs. The building also has artifacts collected over the years from all over the South Pacific region.
Nabalesere Waterfalls is just a short hike away from the city and can be a welcome break from the tropical heat. There are professional guides who can take you there and back.
Colo-I-Suva Forest Park is a little green haven in the city. You have to move inland to see this beauty. Hiking and walking trails crisscross the park and you will be able to hear and spot a number of tropical birds. There are natural pools where you can go for a swim.
You can also visit the Parliament Building and the Sacred Heart Cathedral which are known for their majesty and beauty.