The Fiji Islands are located in the Southern Hemisphere, surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji lies 5,100 km (3,169 miles) southwest of Hawaii and 3,150 km (1,957 miles) northeast of Sydney, Australia. Its exact geographic location is at latitude 15-22 degrees south and 177 degrees west to 175 degrees east.
What is unique about Fiji's location is that even though the 180th degree meridian line cuts right through the Fijian archipelago, the International Date Line goes around it to the east, so that all islands can share the same date. Fiji is one of the first countries to experience a new calendar day.
The archipelago encompasses 1,290,000 square km (498,072 square miles) of the South Pacific Ocean. Less than 1.5 percent of this is dry land, or about 18,272 square km (7,054 square miles). Fiji's two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, make up 87% of Fiji's total landmass. About 75% of the population lives on Viti Levu, and about 18% live on Vanua Levu.
Viti Levu is the largest of the Fiji Islands, spreading out over 10,388 square km (4,011 square miles). It is also the most populated and developed island. The other main island, Vanua Levu, is the second largest in Fiji, encompassing 5,587.1 square km (2,157.2 square miles).
If one counted every single island that belongs to the Fijian archipelago, this number would be in the thousands. However, only about 322 are seen as big enough to support human habitation. Of these 322 islands, only 106 are inhabited. The other islands are either just too isolated or lack freshwater.
Most of Fiji's terrain is mountainous. The majority of these mountains are dormant or extinct volcanoes, though some were also formed from limestone and coral islets. The highest point in Fiji is Mt. Tomanivi, located on the main island of Viti Levu. It rises 1,324 meters (4,344 feet) above sea level.
Fiji has 50 groups of hot springs and the innermost areas of many islands feature lush rainforests with an abundance of tree species, plants and wildlife.
Major areas and industries in Fiji
The capital of Fiji is Suva, located in the southeast of Viti Levu. The majority of tourist infrastructure, including various hotel chains, is located here. Suva is considered a key city for industrial development.
Both Viti Levu and Vanua Levu contain mountainous terrain and tropical rainforests (Vanua Levu is home to coconut plantations as well). There are also some roads and trails in these areas that lead to remote villages. Other significant parts of Fiji are the town of Nadi, where the international airport is located, and another town, Lautoka, which is home to a seaport. Fijiís major natural resources include gold, copper, hydropower, offshore oil and timber.