The Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu temple in Nadi.  Photo: Alamy

PENNY PINCH

Breakfast with the locals and grab a hot chicken curry roti from the
smiling sellers outside Nadi’s covered market ($1.25) then dive inside
for papaya, bananas and mangos and kava drinking etiquette tips from the
kava traders (free). Nadi is a Fijian-Indian town, so pop into a
hairdresser to have your brows threaded or hands henna’d ($6.30). Lunch
is at the little vegetarian restaurant in the wildly ornate Sri Siva
Subramaniya temple. Dress modestly (no bare thighs) or borrow a sarong
at the gate (entrance $3.75, lunch $3.15-6.30). Cool off with a dip at
Wailoaloa Beach then head to Ed’s Bar, in the Martintar district, for a
cold, pre-dinner Fiji Lager ($3.15, 51 Queens Road). Nearby, Tu’s Place
is a staple for traditional Fijian food. Don’t expect lavish decor, do
order the kokoda and rourou ($14, 37 Queens Road, tusplace.webs.com)
and then bunker down in Nadi Downtown Hotel, the only hotel on Main
Street. The hotel is clean, with its own restaurant and bar and is a
good source of budget travel advice ($45 a double, fijidowntownhotel.com).
TOTAL $76.60

EASY DOES IT

Kick off with quality coffee, house-made brioche and honey from the farm of Bulaccino Cafe (Queen’s Road, $5.80, bulaccino.com).
If it’s Sunday, pop in to one of the town’s many churches for the
service and some spectacular singing (free). Flower admirers and small,
jumpy children should head to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, 15
minutes from Nadi. The late Raymond Burr (aka Perry Mason) retired here
to collect orchids, there are now more than2000 varieties ($10 adults/$5
children/$25families). Afterwards, lunch and people-watch at Port
Denarau: grab a wrap and a Lulu Mix juice (beetroot, ginger and carrot,
$14.80) from Lulu’s Cafe, beside the pier, then take a spin around
Denarau on the hop-on, hop-off Bula Bus ($5 all-day, kids under 10 free,
bulabuses.com.fj).
Pick up your souvenirs on Nadi’s Main Street, check the handicraft
market and cruise Jack’s, Tappoo or Prouds for glossy coloured
freshwater pearl earrings (about $22)and a bag of Bula Coffee beans,
grown in the highlands and roasted in Sigatoka ($16.30 for 200 grams).
Kick back on an evening barbeque cruise around Nadi Bay ($82/adults,
$56/kids, captaincook.com.fj) then bed down in a beachfront spa villa at First Landing ($140 a double with breakfast, firstlandingresort.com).
TOTAL $290.90

SPLASH OUT

Book out the whole day on the 64-foot catamaran Catatac for a
schmoozy island-hop around the Mamanuca. Wet a line, catch a wave,
snorkel the reefs and find the perfect beach: lunch and
cocktail-drinking included ($2260 a couple, charterboatsfiji.com).
If you’re staying on land and taking a bed at the Fiji Beach Resort
& Spa by Hilton, take their hobie cats out for a peaceful (ie,
non-motorised) glide over the calm waters (free to hotel guests), then
frock up for the Sofitel, a favourite with visiting royalty. Its
shopping gallery includes a Pure Fiji boutique: stock up on orange
blossom coconut sugar rub. It’s organic and won’t leave you smelling
like tinned fruit salad ($25, purefiji.com), then lunch poolside on grilled reef fish at its much lauded Salt restaurant ($31.40, sofitel.com).
While away the afternoon with a four-hand ayurvedic massage in Spa
Maya, at Denarau Marina ($122). Hungry? Dinner and sunset are at Peter
Kuruvita’s Flying Fish Fiji, in the Sheraton Fiji Resort. Go the
five-course degustation ($110, peterkuruvita.com) then soak up the silence of the tropical night at the Hilton’s one-bed beachfront terraces (from $255 , fijibeachresortbyhilton.com).
TOTAL $2260 or  $543.40

The writer was a guest of Nadi Downtown hotel.

This feature by Belinda Jackson was published in Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper’s Traveller section.