Tips for Using the Hop-on Hop-off Ferry in Fiji
So you’ve got your island-hopping ferry pass to travel between the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands in Fiji? Something you probably realised was that ferry travel around Fiji’s most popular islands isn’t cheap, so we thought we’d pool together some tips for using your Fiji island-hopping pass, so you can at least make the most of it.
Not sure what the island-hopping ferry passes are? Check out What are the Ferry Passes to Travel Around Fiji?
1. Use the Free Bus to Connect with the Ferry
Not everyone realises this, but any ferry pass that is booked with the Awesome Adventures products, including the standard Bula Pass, gets to make use of the courtesy coach to connect you to and from your ferry on the mainland. South Sea Cruises/Awesome Adventures offers daily complimentary coaches to and from Nadi, Wailoaloa and Denarau in time to check-in for your ferry, as well as when you return from your ferry. If you want to use this service, however, make sure to book it ahead. Otherwise, you can make your own way to and from Port Denarau using the tips in the 5 Ways to Get to Denarau Island.
2. Your Pass Includes Accommodation? Make Sure You Pick the Right Style of Accommodation for You
If choosing a ferry pass like the Awesome Pass with accommodation included, make sure you pick the right grade of accommodation for you. The Simple Stays are often very basic accommodations for the budgeting backpacker, with simple yet filling meals and are sometimes based in Fijian villages. You will need to bring your own towel and toiletries to these accommodations. Relaxed Resorts have a higher standard of accommodation and are more “resort-style”. They might have fans or air-conditioning and more varied meals.
3. Remember to Check-in at Least 24 Hours Before You Intend to Take Your First Ferry
Just because you’ve bought a ferry pass online, doesn’t mean you automatically have a place on the boat. On arrival to Fiji, check-in for your first ferry journey from Port Denarau either at Nadi International Airport in the Customs Hall or at the check-in desk at Port Denarau. Bring your booking reference number. For hopping back on the ferry in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, you don’t need to book your place on the ferry – just catch it at a scheduled time.
4. Book Your Chosen Resort Early if Travelling in the High Season, or at Least Before Disembarking in the Low Season
Some of the resorts in the Mamanucas and the Yasawas are small with limited rooms, so we recommend booking a room as soon as possible if travelling in the busy high season – April to November. If you have prepaid for accommodation through your ferry pass, then you can book accommodation with Awesome Adventures online, over the phone or through the ferry’s onboard Travel Desk. If travelling in the low season, mid-January to March, then you need to at least book your accommodation before you leave the ferry for the accommodation. If you don’t have accommodation included in your ferry pass, then you can book accommodation in whichever way you choose, i.e. directly or with Booking.com, for example.
5. You Can Use Your Pass on the South Sea Cruises Ferries and the Yasawa Flyer
Awesome Adventures and South Sea Cruises are the same company, so your island-hopping pass allows you to use both the South Sea Cruises ferry that travels around the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Flyer which travels to some of the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands. Learn more about the ferries and where they go to in The Guide to Travelling in Fiji by Ferry.
6. Understand the Sunday Customs
Sunday is a day of rest in the Fijian culture, which is certainly the case for Fijians in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. For this reason, don’t expect to be able to do any paid activities on Sunday. Instead, you can do independent activities, like island walks and snorkelling at the beach, for example. Alternatively, you could attend a village church service to listen to the beautiful singing of the church choir. Learn more about the local customs in Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village.
7. Don’t Return to Port Denarau Until the Last Day of Your Pass
Your island-hopping ferry pass is valid until the last stated day of your pass (included) or until you return to Port Denarau. So you can’t return to Port Denarau then head back out to the islands on the same pass.
8. Don’t Know Where to Go? Consider an Awesome Package
Passes like the Bula Pass and the Awesome Pass allow you to be flexible with where you travel to, but if you have no idea which island to visit or what resort to stay in, you can choose of the Awesome Packages with Awesome Adventures. Find out more about Awesome Adventures on Viator and Tripadvisor. Packages like the 5-Night Island Time Package and the 6-Night Coconut Cruiser Package have scheduled itineraries, so you don’t have to do any planning yourself. Learn more about these packages in What are the Ferry Passes to Travel Around Fiji?
9. Spend Some Time on the Outer Decks
The ferry in the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands is more than just a mode of transport but is also a scenic cruise through the stunning landscape of archipelago islands. Get your camera ready as you stop off at various islands on your way up north! There’s seating on the upper deck, as well as on the back and front of the boat. It’s a high-speed catamaran ferry, though, so make sure you have some layers to wrap up warm as the wind can get a little chilly!
10. Listen Carefully to the Onboard Announcements
The onboard announcements of the islands/resorts that the ferry is stopping at next can be hard to hear through sometimes muffled speakers or when you’re sat outside. We recommend having an idea of what number stop your island is (and keeping count), as well as listening carefully to the onboard announcements and double-checking the stop with staff to make sure you’re getting off at the right place.