GEOGRAPHY OF FIJI

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Geography


The Republic of the Fiji Islands is known for its lush vegetation. It is a tropical paradise made of approximately 330 tiny islands of which around 100 are inhibited. Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Fiji is sited to the north of New Zealand and North West of Australia with a land mass of 18, 376 square kilometers.

Fiji covers about 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji's total land area is 18,333 square kilometers. There are two major islands - Viti Levu which is 10,429 square kilometers and Vanua Levu 5.556 square kilometers. Other main islands are Taveuni (470 sq km), Kadavu (411 sq km), Gau (140 sq km) and Koro (104 sq km). 87.9% of land is owned by indigenous Fijians while 3.9% is State land. Freehold land comprises 7.9% and Rotuman land is 0.3%.

The capital is Suva and it is one of the two cities in Fiji. The other city is Lautoka and both are located on the island of Viti Levu. The islands are surrounded by sandy beaches and reefs with mountains covering the centre of most of the islands.

The Island nation of Fiji is located in the South Western Pacific in the Tropics of the Southern Hemisphere. ( About 3000 km North-East of Australia) Midway between Vanuatu and Tonga, Fiji's 320 Islands are scattered between the Latitudes of 12 and 21 degrees South of the Equator and Longitude of 177 degrees East to 178 degrees west. This results in the 180 degrees Meridian cutting directly through the middle of the Islands. To eliminate having two time zones, the International Date Line detours to the East so all of Fiji's Islands are on one time zone and 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Most of Fiji's Islands were formed by volcanic events starting around 150 million years ago and there is still some geothermal activity on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. The main island of Viti Levu is the largest and oldest island in the group with the major proportion of Fiji's 826,000 people living here.(as of 2002) Much of Viti Levu's interior consists of highlands and mountain ranges which includes Mt Tomanivi - Fiji's highest peak at 1300 metres high. These ranges separate Eastern Viti Levu and the Capital City of Suva from the Western side where Nadi, The International Airport and most of the Island Resorts are located.

Avoiding the mountainous Interior, the main highway transport routes of Queens and Kings Road follow the coastline (which is flatter) and together, the two completely encircle the Island.

Vanua Levu and Taveuni (The Garden island) are Fiji's second and third largest islands respectively. Both also have mountain ranges dividing them and like Viti Levu, both are covered in lush rainforest and rivers, beautiful waterfalls, reef lagoons and beaches of all types. The beaches on these major islands can be very nice but as a rule, the very best beaches and clear lagoons are found on the offshore islands which make up the remainder of Fiji's islands.

We have only just scratched the surface of Fiji's spectacular and exciting landscape, there is much more to be explored, and it's all there waiting for you.