Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 25 September 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji overall.

Fiji overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Cyclone season is November to April. See Additional information.
  • Expatriates and tourists have been the victim of violent crimes and sexual assaults.
  • 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, loose-fitting clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
  • Australia is represented in Fiji by an Acting High Commissioner following the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner in 2009. The Australian High Commission in Suva continues to operate normally.
  • See our advice for business travellers.
  • 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.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your date of return to Australia and carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.

Suva: We advise you to exercise common sense, and look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other large capital city, particularly the downtown Suva area late in the evening.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Civil unrest/Political tension

Fiji held elections on 17 September 2014, and a new Government was sworn in on 22 September.

You should follow the advice of local authorities at all times and we suggest you avoid any demonstrations, street rallies or 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.

Australia is currently represented in Fiji by an Acting High Commissioner following expulsion of the High Commissioner in November 2009. The Australian High Commission in Suva continues to operate as normal.

Crime

Robbery, theft and violent assault occur in Fiji, including against tourists and expatriate residents. Incidents occur more frequently in urban areas and at night, but Australians should maintain a high degree of personal security awareness at all times. Although most crime is opportunistic, there have been incidents of violent crime such as assault, sexual assault and robbery in which expatriates and tourists have been victims. Home invasions, sometimes violent, also occur, affecting both locals and expatriates.

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. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe abroad.

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. Don’t be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements with tour operators beforehand and ensure your travel insurance policy covers your planned activities.

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

When you are in Fiji, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

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.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Possession of any quantity of illicit drugs may result in a prison sentence.

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.

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.

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.

There are two operational decompression chambers in Fiji and both are located in the capital, Suva. They are at Suva Private Hospital and the Colonial War Memorial Hospital. 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.

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 insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the police emergency number on 917. For Fire and ambulance emergencies, use 911.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, 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, website: www.bulafiji.com).

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.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

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.