alright heres the deal, i'm heading out to New Zealand for two months (mid may to mid july) and am thiking of taking a side trip to Fiji....good idea? If so when do you think i should head over in this epic 60 day journey. for those travel vetrans out there this is an excellent oppurtunity for you to flaunt your endless knowledge in the form of advice(that stuff your kids hate hearing). without guidance I'll be forced to turn to the magic 8 ball, which has been less then reliable as of late.
any advice is welcome
If you're looking for the basic South Pacific experience, then Fiji is perfectly acceptable. However from personal experience, I recommend Vanuatu.
The main downside to Fiji is that in urban areas particularly, you will get a lot of hassle from hawkers, and the towns/cities are pretty charmless. Of course there are some beautiful rural and seaside spots.
If you're going on a short trip there, you could do a lot worse than hire a car and do a road trip around the loop road on Vitu Levu. You could start in Nadi and take in lots of seaside, a couple of detours into the interior, and the capital Suva, which does have some interesting sightseeing options even if it's not a picturesque place. An interesting "whistlestop" tour.
But for a more authentic South Pacific experience, it's got to be Vanuatu. It's poorer than Fiji but despite this you don't get hassled because you are a "rich" westerner/tourist. Everybody is laid back there in a typical "island time" style. Also, Vanuatu on average is also more beautiful than Fiji, with much fewer tourists, too. The capital Port Vila is very charming and surprisingly developed, and within easy reach of Vila are some lovely beaches, islands and inland attractions. A short plane hop takes you to Espiritu Santo island, which includes Champagne Beach, the most beautiful beach I've ever seen and which I had all to myself for the three hours I was there.
Port Vila has regular flights to and from Auckland - and also Fiji! So it would be easy enough to see both!
In conclusion, Fiji is indeed very nice as an introduction to the South Pacific, but is a little disappointing if you've been elsewhere in the region before. I can't recommend Vanuatu highly enough, and if you want any more info about it, please ask me.