Driving in Fiji Guide for Australian and New Zealand Drivers

If you’re over 21 and have a full Aussie or NZ license you can hire a car and drive around Fiji! Driving in Fiji offers a unique blend of tropical landscapes and cultural exploration, but understanding the local rules and conditions is crucial for a smooth journey. Here’s a guide for Australian and New Zealand drivers venturing onto Fiji’s roads:

1. Driving Side and License

  • Left-Hand Driving: Fiji follows left-hand driving, similar to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Valid License: An Australian or New Zealand driver’s license is valid for driving in Fiji, so don’t forget to carry it with you! You must be at least 18 years old and be in possession of the vehicle’s registration and insurance papers.
  • Insurance: Third-party insurance is mandatory and included when you hire a car from a reputable rental company.
Driving from Nadi to Denarau Island

2. Road Conditions

  • Varied Surfaces: Roads range from well-maintained highways to gravel and dirt tracks in remote areas. Less than a third of Fiji’s 7,500km of roads are sealed. Expect potholes and animal crossings if you venture outside of the main urban areas. If you plan on doing lots of rural driving, opt for a 4WD!
  • Fiji features a primary road encircling the main island, known as Kings Road in the North and Queens Road in the South. Renowned as the main arterial route, it offers a generally well-maintained driving experience. Recent upgrades have enhanced certain sections, ensuring smoother travel. Unless venturing into the interior via less-travelled paths, navigating the Queens/Kings Road is straightforward, minimizing the likelihood of getting lost.
  • Caution Advised: Exercise caution, especially on rural roads and during adverse weather conditions. If you run into trouble, look out for the blue and white Police Posts manned by helpful Fijian police on major roads.

3. Speed Limits

  • Urban Areas: Typically 50km/h (31mph).
  • Open Roads: Around 80km/h (50mph). Keep an eye out for the signs as the speed limit drops from 80 to 60km/h when approaching villages, and the Police Posts are equipped with speed cameras.

4. Traffic Rules

  • Roundabouts: Fiji has roundabouts; give way to the right.
  • Seatbelts: Mandatory for all occupants.
  • Drinking and Driving: Strictly prohibited; adhere to zero alcohol tolerance. The official blood alcohol limit is 0.08 and it is illegal to drink or eat whilst driving.
Driving from Suva to Nadi

5. Local Driving Habits

  • Courtesy: Fijian drivers are generally courteous; acknowledge with a wave for courtesy.
  • Animals on Roads: Watch out for animals, especially in rural areas.

6. Navigation and Signage

  • GPS Navigation: Useful for urban and rural routes. Fortunately, it is rare to get lost on Fijian roads for very long because there’s nearly always a friendly local nearby to guide you on your way if you ask for help.
  • Signage: Road signs are generally in English, but some may be in Fijian.

7. Fuel Stations

  • Availability: Fuel stations are widespread, but plan ahead for rural areas. The fuel station attendants will pump the gas, collect your payment (cash) and provide a receipt and change. Always fill up in town before driving to the rural areas to avoid running out of gas far from a refuelling station.
  • Fuel Types: Unleaded petrol is widely available. Expect to pay $2-3 Fiji dollars per litre of petrol.

8. Rural Driving

  • Prepare: Rural roads may be less maintained; plan for longer travel times. Expect to see local people sitting on the roadside in groups or walking on the road, so be careful and do not speed!
  • Local Advice: Seek local advice for specific routes and road conditions.

9. Public Transport

  • Options: Buses and taxis are available; consider them for longer journeys.
  • Local Bus Experience: Buses are a unique and budget-friendly way to experience local culture.

10. Emergency Numbers

  • Dial 917: Emergency services in Fiji.
  • Traffic Police: Dial 911 for traffic-related emergencies.

Tips for a Smooth Drive

  • Stay Informed: Check local traffic regulations and weather conditions.
  • Vehicle Rentals: Choose reputable rental companies for well-maintained vehicles.
  • Relax and Enjoy: Embrace the laid-back Fijian pace and scenic drives.

Driving in Fiji provides an opportunity to explore the islands at your pace, discover hidden gems, and interact with the local culture. Familiarize yourself with the rules, respect local customs, and embark on a memorable road journey in this South Pacific paradise.