Experiences and Sites to See if You Want to Learn the History of Fiji
With a colourful history of island explorers, tribal settlers, Tongan invasions, colonialism, military coups and more, Fiji is a fascinating nation to explore the history of. Many of the historic sites in Fiji can still be visited today, as well as experiences to see centuries-old traditions still being played out. Seeing the historical sites of Fiji will take you far and wide across the island nation, but even just seeing a few will open your eyes to how things used to be and how they influence Fiji today.
1. Udre Udre’s Grave
Also known a the Tomb Of Udre Udre, this location offers a great insight into the history behind the Fijian culture. Udre Udre was a feared chief during Fiji’s cannibal period and is said to have killed and eaten over 800 victims. Located in Rakiraki, Viti Levu, Udre Udre’s Grave is surrounded by 800 stones representing each of his victims as a testament to one of the world’s most prolific cannibal.
Check out more things to do around Rakiraki in our 15 Super Things to Do on the Suncoast.
2. Levuka, Fiji’s Former Capital
Located on the small island of Ovalau, Levuka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as Fiji’s former capital until 1877. The town is probably one of the most important historical spots in the country for Fiji’s colonial history.
Levuka is located in the Lomaiviti Island group. Check out more things to do in the area in our 10 Amazing Things to Do in the Lomaiviti Islands.
3. Savusavu Hot Springs
A prime example of the geological history of volcanic Fiji, the hot springs of Savusavu, Vanua Levu, are a powerful reminder of what created Fiji in the first place. Bursting out of the ground and the sea below, the steam vents are unmissable. The boiling water holes will burn bathers, so the locals often use them to cook food. Multiple options are available to experience the bliss of those hot springs with hot pools in hotels and spa around. Find out more in Where to Find Hot Springs in Fiji.
Plus, check out 12 Amazing Things to Do on Vanua Levu.
4. Sacred Cobra Rock
Housed within the Naag Mandir Temple that was built around it, the sacred rock cures the sick and improves sexual prowesses according to the locals. The rock, which is surrounded by offerings, is a great place to embrace local legends and learn about local beliefs. Plus with so many colours, the temple is a perfect photo stop during your trip around Vanua Levu.
5. Naihehe Caves
Bathed in history from tribal wars to cannibalism, the Naihehe Caves are literally the whole history of Fiji from geology to today’s tourism impact. The tour is quite adventurous but travellers are rewarded with memorable stories and views of the stunning limestone caves. You will truly feel like you’re in the heart of Fiji.
Find the Naihehe Caves on the Coral Coast, Viti Levu, as well as all these other amazing things to do! Visits to the caves are available with Off Road Cave Safari (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
6. Momi Bay and the Momi Guns
The Momi Battery Historic Park is one of the most modern historical features of Fiji. Back during World War II Fiji had to protect itself from an invasion that would likely happen over the Navula Passage. So the Fijian government built an impressive battery of guns to protect the area. Fortunately, they were never used. Better to be safe than sorry! Tours are running regularly to visit the historic park that also offers stunning sea views (check out tours on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Find Momi Bay in Nadi, as well as these 12 Awesome Things to Do in Nadi.
7. Join a Kava Ceremony
Quite addictive, kava is the traditional Fijian drink made of Yaqona roots ground into a powder and then mixed with water. A kava ceremony comprises of the kava presentation and then drink with the village elders. Show ceremonies are organised nightly by the largest resorts and traditional ones happen in the evenings when visitors stay in a Fijian village. Each kava ceremony helps keep traditions alive in Fiji.
8. Tavuni Hill Fort
Set atop a hill in the Upper Sigatoka Valley, Viti Levu, Tavuni Hill Fort is a national archaeological site. The fort has been partially restored and is well worth visiting for those seeking a better understanding of what Fijian life was before colonisation. Seek access and blessing from the people of the Naroro Village nearby that are tasked with protecting the area.
9. Vatulele Island
For those lucky enough to get to Vatulele Island, just below Viti Levu, visitors might get a chance to see the petroglyphs, which are traditional Fijian rock art. The 3,000-year-old drawings feature a face and other items and are only visible if staying in the local (and currently closed) resort. The island itself is an extremely traditional Fijian island well worth visiting if you get the opportunity.
10. Village Visits and Village Stays
One of the best ways to see what the Fiji past and future is is to visit one of the villages of the 333 islands that makes up Fiji. There, you will be able to see for yourself the real Fijian way of life, join the locals for a spot of fishing, help them cook traditional Fijian food, and even follow them to church. The kids are super friendly and the living conditions are humbling making it a real human experience.