Denarau is a resort in the Nadi region of Fiji.

. . . Denarau . . .

Beach on Denarau: note the gap between the resort’s edge and the water

Denarau juts out of a peninsula like an angry pimple, some 10 km south of Nadi International Airport and 5 km northwest of the town of Nadi. It was molded into its present form in the 1980s by rapacious Japanese developer Harunori Takahashi, who bulldozed its 850 acres of swamps and mangroves and replaced them with high-end resorts, golf courses, marinas and gated housing. The only mosquito in the ointment is that mangroves grow in mud, meaning that despite decades of landscaping, including a few truckloads of imported white sand in strategic spots, both the beaches around Denarau and the water lapping at them are expanses of impenetrable slate grey muck.

The resorts thus expend much effort to distract tourists from this rather basic failing. They’re all suspended well above the surf on concrete plates, angled so that you can Instagram the infinity edge pool and have it blend seamlessly into the palm-fringed Mamanuca Islands in the background, conveniently ignoring all that squelchy mud in the middle. The roads and gardens are manicured, the fancy housing complexes with names like Paradise Point and Sovereign Quays are behind tall, sturdy fences with more security out front, and the Port Denarau shopping mall has a Hard Rock Cafe, duty free retailers and a shoppe (sic) dedicated to Fiji Bitter couture. It’s all very artificial and generic, and to ensure that the real Fiji doesn’t intrude, the resort is separated from the mainland by a short bridge with a 24/7 manned checkpoint armed by private security at the entrance.

Denarau is a 15 minute drive from Nadi town and up to a 25 minute drive from Nadi International Airport.

The only form of public transport is the Westbus service, which shuttles hotel workers and the occasional tourist and to and from Nadi for a flat $1. You’re supposed to pay with a special smart card, but despite printed signs to the contrary, cash is happily accepted.

Map of Denarau

  • Bula Bus, +679 675 0010, A shuttle bus service that goes around the resort, taking you to all of Denarau’s major hotels and attractions. It’s the most convenient way to get from one part of the resort to another if it is too far to walk. $8 per adult for a day pass, free for children under 12. (updated Jun 2017)

. . . Denarau . . .

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. . . Denarau . . .