MAIN STREET, NADI, FIJI
IT PROBABLY won't win any beauty awards but the commercial hub of Nadi does have a certain rustic charm. On Saturday, traffic pauses at noon for the Fijian national military band to march tunefully down the middle of the street, while at most times you'll be greeted with warm smiles and a hearty "Bula!" Maybe not beautiful but certainly authentic.
SRI SIVA SUBRAMANIYA TEMPLE
AS THE largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, Sri Siva Subramaniya is almost impossible to miss on a walk or drive around town. Decked out in pastel Easter egg hues, with swirling turrets and statues of smiling deities hanging from the eaves, it looks straight out of a fairytale. Dedicated to the deity Murugan, it's an important house of worship for Fiji's Hindu population (about 40 per cent at last count). Visitors are welcome; they are asked to dress respectfully and "be sober". Perhaps a good idea to visit the temple before the kava shop, then.
At the southern end of Main Street, where Main Street joins Queens Road; +679 670 0016.
TANISHA’S KAVA WORLD
THINK of it as popping into the local for a cold beer on the way home from work. Nadi residents file into this bare-bones shop at all hours for a cup or two of what is said to be the tastiest kava in town. They unwind with the semi-narcotic effect of the drink and tell tall tales to anyone who will listen. Open 24/7, Tanisha's offers a drink-in or take-home service. Heaped piles of kava powder are measured into brown paper bags and sold for $F25 ($14) a kilogram.
68 Main Street; +679 945 6147.
JACKS OF FIJI
TO SAY it's the David Jones of Fiji might be stretching the truth. However, Jack's of Fiji is a trusted department store in the islands, stocking all manner of lovely things, albeit on a smaller scale. For visitors, it's an affordable one-stop shop for souvenir hunting: choose from a bright range of bula shirts, pretty sarongs, voluminous muu-muus, jewellery and trinkets. Standouts are the popular Pure Fiji and Reniu bath and body products, made in the islands from virgin coconut oil. They sell here for about one-third of the price you'll pay in Sydney.
401-403 Main Street; +679 670 0744; www.jacksfiji.com.
IF YOU weren't in holiday mode, would you feel the need to buy souvenir shell ashtrays and decorative wood carvings for every member of your family? Probably not. But you are, so you will and there's a terrific selection at the open-air Fijian Market. A collection of a dozen or so stalls, the market caters mainly to tourists, with handicrafts made in surrounding villages.
Main Street, opposite Westpac.
OWNER Dinesh Pillay proudly tells the story of how he started his fast-food empire with a couple of tables under a corrugated tin roof by the side of the road. Today, he owns three Tata's restaurants and serves up some of the best South Indian curry in Fiji to hungry hordes. With nothing more than $FJ8 ($5), you can afford to try them all: fresh prawn curry, duck curry, spicy goat curry and more. Indian snack foods are also popular here, with samosas, curry spring rolls and cassava chips doing a roaring trade.
3 Main Street; +679 992 5353.