WHERE TRADITION, CULTURE & NATURE MEET
Coral Coast is an 80km (50 miles) stretch of beaches and bays along the Ocean Road between Nadi and Suva. As a well-established tourist destination, the Coast offers both the full resort experience and a chance to visit the real Fiji in the many villages along the way. Golf, beach life, and diving are there for the taking, but for travelers who seek a more authentic experience, many villages operate homestays. From a fisherman selling his day’s catch on the roadside, to bargaining with a local at the Sigatoka Market, true island life is here.
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There are three main ways of getting to and from the coral coast, catering to everyone’s needs, the First option is to hire a car for a few days, this will allow you to explore the whole of the coral coast at your own pace, we have written an in-depth step-by-step guide providing you with all the companies and requirements. The second option is to take a Pacific Transport or Sunbeam Air Conditioned Coaches run continuously every day – the ‘stopping bus’ does exactly what it says, picking up whoever waves them down from the side of the road, although there are also express services available, these stop at the major towns and Tourism hubs only, allowing them to keep to a tight schedule. (Coach Travel Step by Step Guide) And the final option is if you like adventure then give the Viti Mini Buses a whirl. A fast and furious ride from Sigatoka to Suva will cost you between $15.00 & $20.00 FJD one way or the trip to Nadi is around $10 FJD. You can flag these down at the roadside if they have space left and they always seem to manage to jam another person in.
Distances to Major Fijian Towns and Cities
The table below displays the distances in Kilometers from Coral Coast and major towns and cities distributed around Viti Levu, Fiji. (1 mile is equivalent to 1.6 kilometers)
|Coral Coast: (Sigatoka)||Coral Coast: (Sigatoka)|
|Korotoga – 7 km||Sanasana – 15 km|
|Pacific harbour – 73 km||Denarau – 55 km|
|Suva – 118 km||Nadi – 64 km|
|Nausori – 121 km||Lautoka – 90 km|
|Ba – 126 km|
|Rakiraki – 197 km|
Lapita Pottery Sherds at Sigatoka Sand DunesThe Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is rightly famous for its rich archaeological history. The first significant clues to man’s arrival in Fiji were discovered at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park in the late 1980s when a team of archaeologists discovered an ancient burial site. So far over 50 individual skeletons have been excavated and their arrival in Fiji has been dated to approximately 2600 years ago. Scatters of pottery shards and other cultural materials found within the dunes have led experts to believe that these early inhabitants are of Lapita origin. Lapita takes its name from an archaeological site in New Caledonia where similar pottery was first discovered. The Sand Dunes have produced the largest collection of complete and near-complete Lapita pots from the Pacific region. Today evidence of the past is clearly visible throughout the dunes system as stone tools; human remains and pottery continue to be uncovered by natural processes. Many unearthed artifacts are on display at the Fiji Museum in Suva. | Source: Link
Myths and Legends of the Sigatoka Sand DunesAnother myth from the village of Volivoli is about a small valley in the sand dunes that they call Nadrio which means “darkness”. They believe that this certain valley is a doorway to the underworld and that if a falling star falls into the valley, it is a sign that a villager is about to die. These stories were garnered from personal interviews by Tessa Miller with villagers especially C. Saimoni, Volivoli Villager. The villagers of Kulukulu also claim to hear and see the spirits of the villagers that were buried alive in the sand dunes. Legend has it that the Snake God, Degei was angered by the villagers and sent a huge tidal wave that hit the beach and buried the village in the sand, killing all its inhabitants. In Fijian mythology, Degei (pronounced Ndengei), enshrined as a serpent, is the supreme god of Fiji. He is the creator of the (Fijian) world, of fruits, and of men. He judges newly-dead souls after they pass through the doorway to the underworld. A few of these he sends to the Fijian paradise, Burotu. Most others are thrown into a lake, where they will sink to the bottom (Murimuria) to be appropriately rewarded or punished. Degei is said to have at first moved about freely, but then in the form of a snake to have grown into the earth with his ringed tail. Since then he has become the god of earthquakes, storms, and the seasons. Whenever Ndengei shakes himself fertilizing rain will fall, delicious fruits hang on the trees, and the yam fields yield an excellent crop. But dengei is also a god of wrath who declares himself in terrible fashion. He punishes and chastens his people by destroying the crops or by floods; he could indeed easily wipe out mankind from the earth, for since he has lived in the bowels of the earth he has been tormented with so insatiable hunger that he would like to take in and swallow the whole world. Degei hatched an egg from which the first humans came to Earth. He is prominent in the kalou-vu, the Fijian pantheon. The Kulukulu have reverence for the dunes and do not make lots of noise when visiting them, especially at night. The children of nearby villages love listening to the myths and legends of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. It is part of their culture and upbringing. They do not necessarily have to believe all of them, just the fact that they are passed down from generation to generation is enough to keep the legends alive.
Legend of the Loka and the Disappearing IslesThe legend of the loka (an unusually high tide that occurs on the coral coast) and the disappearing islands, where forces of a Tongan sea deity in the form of huge waves wash over the coast to reclaim the souls of early Tongan settlers whom have perished on our shores. However, the purpose of the loka was not fulfilled and many of the returning souls were lost at sea forever. The loved ones of those lost souls were distressed by this loss and petitioned the sea deity to find these souls and return them to their homeland. Failing to do so, the sea deity decided to make up for his shortcomings by forming the legendary Disappearing Isles. These islets were to be the resting place of the lost Tongan souls and the surrounding reefs are said to be encrusted with jewels such as jade, amethyst, aquamarine, and gardens of pearls in the hope of appeasing the Tongans’ grief. There is much dispute as to the exact location of these bejeweled atolls, particularly within the Lau Group, each island claiming closeness with the legend. It has been foretold that the Disappearing Isles are only visible to a select few, it is particularly during the loka on the Coral Coast that the islands rise.
The Ancient Art of Lalava and MagimagiThe ancient art of lalava is the use of decorative coconut sinnet lashings (Magimagi) in the construction of canoes and houses. Magimagi is made from coconut husks in black or natural. (The black color is achieved through soaking in mangrove mud). The husks are boiled and soaked in water for several days, then pounded and dried in the sun. The fibers are then spun by rolling on the thigh, and the resulting string is braided. The art of Lalava was a result of the lack of building supplies (nails and screws). Magimagi was used in place of nails and screws to connect the beams. Talitali is the weaving done on horizontal beams. Lalava is weaving that was done on the vertical beams. Malo/Lairo is the woven design insert. Lalava is an art form practiced only by Kai-Lau- people from Lau islands, the group of Fiji islands closest to Tonga. The origins of Lalava can be traced back to Tonga. There are two settlements of Kai-Lau along the Coral Coast. Jafau, Korolevu, and Wesei, a local settlement near Maui Bay
The Formation of Vatulele Island and the Sigatoka Sand DunesOne of the best-known legends on the Coral Coast is about the formation of Vatulele Island and the Sigatoka Sand dunes. The legend is that two spirit gods, Tamaku and Vodovata from the island of Kadavu came to Votua, famous for its rich clay soil and peaceful people. Tamaku bought with him a basket, and upon leaving Votua, filled the basket with clay and quickly took flight ahead of Vodovata. Vodovata ordered him to bring back the clay he had stolen, Tamaku, fearing the wrath of the more powerful god, dropped his basket into the ocean. The clay fell into the sea and formed what is now Vatulele island. Sulking, Tamaku then flew onto land at kulukulu and started throwing sandstone rocks towards Vodovata, which fell all along the coral coast, this very rock is believed to be one of them. Tamaku threw a gigantic rock, that would have caused grave damage to the coastal lands, and Vodovata, with his mighty powers, stopped the rock mid-air, sent it back, and crumbled it over Kulukulu coastline forming the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. Rock carvings by Felipe Rogoruwai can be seen at Outrigger On The Lagoon, and limited editions artwork by Felipe can be purchased from The Art Cart. Vatulele Island is re-known for its masi making and Tapa Printing Masi/Tapa used throughout Coral Coast is from Vatulele Island- situated about 25 Km off the Coral Coast. Rock carving is based on the local legend about the formation of Vatulele Island and the Sigatoka Sand dunes.
Sigatoka situated at the mouth of the Sigatoka River, 69 km from Nadi Airport, is the main community on the Coral Coast. It lies in close proximity to rich farmland and a number of hotels. With a population of just over 8000 the town is hardly a metropolis, but instead provides the visitor with a combination of tourist facilities and a genuine ‘local’ farm-town atmosphere. Sigatoka is a quiet community marked by a gorgeous mosque and a lengthy bridge that crosses the river. Duty-free stores are abundant here. Korolevu, on the Coral Coast, is the birthplace of Fiji tourism. A brilliant stretch of white beach dotted by copious lush vegetation, popular back-packers, hotels, and resorts still line its beautiful shore.