Why go to Port Denarau?
Modern, convenient facilities and great tour options
Passengers must tender ashore from large ships
An easy place to while away the hours on a lazy port day
Port Denarau Cruise Port Facilities?
The big cruise ships visiting Port Denarau will anchor in the bay and bring you ashore to the wharf by tender. The jetties are modern and solid, so there are no worries about wobbly planks.
If you are joining one of the local operators such as Captain Cook Cruises or Blue Lagoon Cruises -- whose offices are right there at the marina -- your vessel will be tied up to the wharf and you can walk straight onboard.
There is a quite comprehensive and modern shopping area right at the marina where you can get staple items, snacks, clothing, a spa treatment, souvenirs and other essentials. There is also a range of quality restaurants, cafes and bars there as well as at various points around the island and in the numerous resorts.
Good to Know?
Denarau Island is prone to flooding during cyclone season, sometimes cutting it off from Nadi town and the airport. Pay attention to weather reports, especially during the wet season (cyclone season is November to April in Fiji.) Daily average temperature is 25.5 degrees Celsius with high humidity.
There have been instances of card skimming in Fiji; don't let your credit card out of sight.
Fiji enjoys a very relaxed pace of life. Don't be upset if things don't happen at the pace you might expect at home. Kick back and go with the flow.
On Foot: It's perfectly easy to get around Denarau on foot using the flat footpaths or to take a shortcut across the various well-kept grassy areas. In fact, the Denarau precinct is a delightful area to just stroll around as you can stop at the various shops and boutiques along the way. A lap of the developed part of the island is just over 2 kilometres and would take about an hour, not counting coffee stops. It's not a good idea to walk the eight kilometres into Nadi town as it's likely to be hot and there are no proper paths.
By Shuttle: A popular mode of transport is the local inter-resort shuttle, known widely as the 'Bula Bus', which is basically an open-air truck with seating installed. It's quite safe, shaded and comfortable, but can get busy at peak times. It was once a free service, but has been charging FJ$9pp (AUD$6) for the day for the last few years. Multi-day passes are available and it stops at all the resorts and the marina complex
By Bus: Westbus is the local service: it's cheap and cheerful and runs locally and on a loose timetable (roughly 15 minutes) to and from Nadi town for just a couple of dollars. You'll need loose change or small notes for the driver and you won't have room for luggage, just a daypack. Around the port, it's a cheap alternative to the Bula Bus, just not as regular.
By Taxi: Taxis are reliable and reasonably priced all around Nadi. Catch one at your resort concierge desk or from the rank at the marina. As a guide, a fare to the airport is about FJ$25 AUD$16).
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The national currency is the Fiji dollar (FJD) but USD and AUD can be tendered without too much objection with local traders. The use of credit cards is increasing and they can be used with confidence at all the major hotels and with the traders at Port Denarau. Note: You will still find cash useful for taxis and when shopping at the local markets for souvenirs and snacks.
Port Denarau's marina complex is the main trading point. It's where you will find the Westpac Bank and ANZ ATM.
While several languages are spoken in Fiji, English is widely understood by tourism operators and staff at local businesses. Learn a few key words and phrases as Fijians will encourage you to engage with them; be prepared to roll out the universal 'bula', which is used as an ebullient greeting or welcome. 'Vinaka' means thank you.
When pronouncing Fijian words, some unusual rules apply. Nadi, for example, is pronounced Nan-di. Denarau is pronounced Den-a-row (as in 'ow')
It's important to know that agitation and impatience are seen as bad manners and the more urgently you request something, the less likely it is to be delivered quickly. Respect, too, is an important factor when communicating, so have your best manners and biggest smile ready and things will fall into place.