As Fiji's main transportation hub, Nadi is a great base from which to explore the country's islands. It's a lively multicultural city filled with excellent eateries serving Fijian, Chinese, Indian and western dishes, and you'll also find upmarket restaurants by the gleaming marina. There are some great beaches in Nadi where you can make the most of the tropical climate, and it's a boat trip away from some incredible surf spots.
Hostels in Nadi are mini paradises, often with their own swimming pool and chilled-out terraces. Water sports enthusiasts can choose a friendly surf hostel that takes guests to all the best spots by boat, with private rooms and a games room. There's also a laid-back Nadi hostel that has an on-site beach bar with a double happy hour and live Fiji-style music. For a more luxurious option, you'll also find a mansion-style hostel set right on the beach with 180-degree ocean views.
The northern side of Nadi is the place to pick up handicrafts from small boutiques, and there are also good restaurants here, especially for Indian food. Denarau Island is the upscale area of Nadi, and at Denarau Marina you'll find high-end shops and eateries – this is also where to catch the boat to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. Nadi's bustling Main Street is packed with shops and has a vibrant market nearby offering local produce.
For some real adventure, head to Cloudbreak, which is regularly voted one of the top 10 surfing reef passes in the world. To explore the area's culture, there's the multi-coloured Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, where you can admire the carved wooden gods and ceiling frescoes. Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is a 50-minute drive away, where you can trek through swathes of natural forest and discover waterfalls and swimming holes.
Nadi International Airport is about 9km away from downtown Nadi. There are lots of local buses into the city that you can catch outside the airport. If you opt for a taxi, make sure the meter is on. The bus journey to Nadi from Pacific Harbour takes three hours, and from Coral Coast it's 90 minutes – the stop is along the Queen's Road. To get around Nadi, you can catch a ride from one of the minivan services. Alternatively, some locals have small trucks (carriers) that pick up passengers.