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Information about Fiji

Fiji is ideally located in the tropics of the southern hemisphere. It lies on the 180 Meridian where the dawning of each new day occurs.

Fiji has over 300 islands in its archipelago, each fringed with coral reefs and lapped by warm azure waters - the diving and snorkelling are superb. Amid its wealth of natural beauty, Fiji's true magic lies in its people and the fascinating blend of their diverse cultures.Of the 300 islands, only a 100 or so islands are inhabited by humans and the rest are left as nature reserves.

Fiji is an interesting blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese and European influences. For nearly 50 years, until the military coup of 1987, the indigenous people of Fiji represented an ethnic minority in their own land.

Almost 80 percent of the population live on these two islands. Still the majority of the population live in the rural areas and the outer islands. Only about 40 percent of the population live in urban areas.The population of Fiji is currently around 780,000 in a ratio of about 50% native Fijian to 46% of Indian origin. The balance are Chinese, Europeans and other Pacific Islanders.

The two major islands in the group are known as Viti Levu and Vanua Levu and make up 85% of the total land mass.

From giant mountains to tiny atolls, Fiji's 300 islands in the tropical South Pacific are as richly varied as the friendly colourful people who inhabit them. Fiji is often referred to as the world's friendliest paradise. Its jewel-like islands beckon exploration, and the unique ancient culture and rich cultural heritage are yours to experience.

Take a cruise on the sparkling emerald and azure waters, dive on the virgin coral reefs with breathtaking underwater experiences. Be as busy as you feel inclined or simply relax and unwind. A magical island paradise waiting for you to Discover the Fiji you'll never forget.

More than anything else, Fiji is an exotic destination. It's the exhilaration of a dolphin arching high into the air beside your boat; the long gliding swoop of an orange dove through the rainforest; the smiles of excited children performing in unison to the beat of a hollow log drum.Fiji's tropical oceanic climate is tempered by prevailing south-east tradewinds. The hottest months are December through to April.

Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). A 1990 constitution favored native Melanesian control of Fiji, but led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. Amendments enacted in 1997 made the constitution more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government and gave a mandate to the government of Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE.

Where else can you swim with huge, harmless manta rays congregating by the shore, snorkel over giant rainbow gardens of soft coral, or scuba dive the White Wall and famous Astrolabe Reef? Fiji is where the Cloud Breaker, the incredible six-meter wave found offshore at Tavarua, draws surfers from around the world. It is also where you can float in the calm, quiet waters of a turquoise lagoon at sunset or walk alone through lush rainforest. It is where the sun shines almost every day and when it does rain, people rush outside for a rainbath in the warm, brief downpour of a tropical shower which ends as quickly as it began. This is where life is lived for the joy of it all, where rushing is rude, and the name of a new friend is never forgotten. Fiji is where people wear flowers tucked in their hair, not to impress visitors, but because they like to.

The Fiji archipelago is at the crossroads of the South Pacific. In the days of sailing ships it was known as The Cannibal Isles and carefully avoided by mariners because of its fierce warriors and treacherous waters. However, in the age of jumbo jets and global travel, Fiji has become the central hub of the exotic South Pacific. More than 85 flights land at Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu every week. From there it is only a quick seven minute hop to one of the offshore island resorts, or less than an hour of flying time to Vanua Levu or Taveuni, the second and third largest islands, where the outside world is quickly left behind.

For those who like to keep their feet on the ground once they arrive, the big island of Viti Levu offers a wealth of tropical scenery, from rushing mountain rivers and waterfalls in the depths of the rainforest, to palm-fringed beaches where time seems to stop. This is where you can fish from the reef in the morning, picnic at the edge of a waterfall plunging into a rocky jungle pool at midday, eat native food cooked in an earth oven in the evening, and then dance to the beat in a swinging discotheque until long after midnight. Along with its pristine tropical beauty, Viti Levu offers several large towns and the bustling capital of Suva, a shopper's paradise and you will never have to travel more than a few hours to get anywhere on the island.

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