Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 29 July 2015.   This advice has been reviewed and updated. The level of the advice has not changed. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji.

Fiji overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Cyclone season is November to April. For information on cyclones, including links to local meteorological services and advice on what to do in the event of a cyclone. See Additional information.
  • Driving, particularly at night, can be dangerous due to insufficient street lighting, stray animals and poor quality roads. See Local travel.
  • Expatriates and tourists have been the victim of violent crimes and sexual assaults. See Safety and security.
  • Outbreaks of endemic mosquito-borne illnesses (including dengue fever) are common. See Health .
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
  • See Travelling with Children
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Fiji for the most up to date information.

Australians do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to Fiji for tourism. For more information, see the Fiji High Commission in Australia website.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Crime

Robbery, theft, violent assault, including sexual assault, and home invasions occur in Fiji. Most crime is opportunistic, and incidents occur more frequently in urban areas and at night. Expatriates and tourists have been victims. Be particularly careful in the downtown Suva area at night. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t wear or carry valuable items that could make you a target for criminals.

Civil unrest/Political tension

Avoid demonstrations, street rallies and areas of military activity.

Check points and road closures are occasionally put in place by local authorities. You should follow the instructions of local authorities at these checkpoints.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.

Money and valuables

Credit card fraud and the use of card skimming devices occurs in Fiji. Remember to shield your PIN from sight, including from potential hidden cameras, when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

Inclement weather sometimes affects air and tourist services. Take care when driving, particularly at night, because of insufficient street lighting, stray animals and the poor quality of roads. For further advice, see our road travel page.

The safety standards you might expect of tour operators are not always met, especially for adventure sports (including diving) or on boats in rivers, coastal waters and between islands. There are sometimes insufficient life jackets for boats, rafts and kayaks. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if the locals don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or air routes. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for more information on aviation safety in Fiji.

Please also refer to our air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You are subject to the local laws of Fiji, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Court proceedings can be lengthy and the Australian Government is unable to influence the time a case takes to go through the normal court procedures. The police and military retain extensive powers of detention, arrest and search and there are limitations on judicial redress for decisions made by authorities.

Possession of any quantity of illicit drugs may result in a prison sentence. See our Drugs page.

It is illegal in Fiji to be under the influence of alcohol while at an airport or when on an aeroplane. Airline travellers who are intoxicated may be detained by police, even on arrival.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

Outside resorts, the dress code in Fiji is conservative. You should take care not to offend.

Homosexual acts between adults are not illegal in Fiji, but you should be aware of local sensitivities. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Open displays of affection could offend, particularly in rural communities.

Information for dual nationals

While Fiji recognises dual nationality, we recommend dual nationals travel on their Australian passport. Dual Australian/Fijian citizens should ensure they ask officials for consular assistance from the Australian High Commission if they are arrested or detained.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities

Public hospitals and medical facilities in Fiji are generally not as well-equipped as hospitals in Australia in terms of services, specialist equipment (including neo-natal) and pharmaceuticals. Travellers should note that hotels and resorts rely on public health facilities during medical emergencies. Many regional hospitals provide only basic services. Hospitals usually require a confirmation of payment guarantee from medical insurers or the payment of a deposit before admitting patients. In the case of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to Australia is usually necessary. Medical evacuation costs are very high.

There is one operational decompression chamber in Fiji,located at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Many of the popular dive sites are located away from Suva and divers needing emergency treatment are medically evacuated to the chambers. Rescue and emergency services are not as comprehensive as in Australia.

Health risks

You should be aware of the potential health risks associated with the traditional drink kava. Kava can react dangerously with alcohol and prescription medications, including anti-depressants. For more information, see the Victorian government kava factsheet.

Outbreaks of endemic mosquito-borne illnesses (including dengue fever) are common. We recommend you take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using insect repellent, wearing long light coloured and loose-fitting clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. Seek medical advice if you have a fever. For further information see the World Health Organization's dengue fever factsheet.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, measles and mumps) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. To minimise the risk of food poisoning or water-borne disease, we recommend boiling all drinking water and avoid ice cubes, raw and undercooked food. Bottled water is safe to drink. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

You should also be aware that illness caused by naturally occurring seafood toxins such as ciguatera, as well as scombroid (histamine fish poisoning) and toxins in shellfish can be a hazard (for more information see Queensland Health’s factsheet). Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the police emergency number on 917. For Fire and ambulance emergencies, use 911.

To complain about tourism services, contact the service provider directly. You may also be able to lodge a complaint with the Consumer Council of Fiji or the Fiji Tourist Police. Both are located at the Fiji Visitors Bureau in Suva (email: infodesk@fijifvb.gov.fj).

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian High Commission, Suva

37 Princes Road
Tamavua
Suva, Fiji
Telephone: +679 338 2211
Facsimile: +679 338 2065
Website: www.fiji.highcommission.gov.au

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Fiji, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Cyclone season in Fiji is November to April and may result in flooding, landslides and disruptions to infrastructure and essential services.

The Fiji Meteorological Service provides up to date information about the weather conditions in Fiji, including cyclone information. The Fiji Ministry of Information also provides regular updates on cyclones via their website and Facebook page

In the event of an approaching cyclone, you should identify your local shelter, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor media and weather reports for the latest developments. Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The cyclone could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who may choose to stay. You should review and follow hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. You should carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. For further information, see our Severe Weather page.

The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning. Information can also be obtained from the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre or the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.

Flooding is common in Fiji, particularly in the areas of downtown Nadi and the Coral Coast, and can sometimes result in road access being cut, including to the airport. Ensure you follow the advice of local authorities at all times.

Fiji is subject to earthquakes.

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness brochure.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the instructions provided by local authorities on radio and television.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.