Coral cays and tropical beaches surrounded by limpid seas teeming with marine life are the appeal of Fiji's enticing outer islands. Some of these are deserted spots that can be visited on island-hopping cruises, while other islands contain world-class resorts where guests can live out their Pacific island dreams in comfort and style.
Situated beneath the Yasawas and visible from Nadi on the mainland, the Mamanucas are a hugely popular cluster of islands.
Several of the islands in the group are submerged at high tide; others are high enough above sea level to sustain villages and holiday resorts - it was in this area that resort tourism was first established in Fiji.
The surrounding reefs are home to pelagic and reef fish that feed on nutrients swept in by strong currents. They're joined by schools of barracuda and trevally, clown fish, eagle rays, bronze whale sharks and countless other marine species, all of which can be seen among the corals in the clear, warm waters.
Another of Fiji's island gems, Taveuni has been dubbed ‘The Garden Island'. A thousand-metre-high volcanic ridge is an imposing feature on this mountainous island, much of which is protected within the Bouma National Heritage Park.
This swathe of lush rainforest is home to an immense variety of native birdlife - from wild chickens to more exotic species such as kula lorikeets, red-breasted musk parrots, honeyeaters, silktails, goshawks, ferntails and orange- breasted doves. There is unique flora, too, with the rare Tagimaucia flower - which blooms between October and January - growing in fertile soils around the island's crater lake.
The wildlife out to sea is just as impressive, with some of the world's best reefs close by providing superb opportunities for snorkelling and diving.
In the northern part of the Fijian archipelago is its second largest island, Vanua Levu. Often overlooked, it is a destination for the adventurous, with a hilly rural hinterland characterized by sugar cane fields, pine trees, rainforests and copra plantations, plus sandy beaches and bays around its coast.
One of only two towns on the entire island is the picturesque sailing town of Savusavu on the south coast, which is the main tourism centre. Its yacht club is the focal hub, which, along with the neighbouring restaurants and bars around the Copra Shed Marina, affords fine views across the bay towards distant blue-tinted mountains.
Sailing is a great pleasure here. The Great Sea Reef - the world's third-longest coral reef system - can be explored off the island's north shore; while in the channel between Vanua Levu and Taveuni, the world-famous Rainbow Reef supports schools of tropical fish, marlin, swordfish and white-tip reef sharks.