Petrol Prices: 1 Jun 2016
Diesel: $1.24 ltr, Unleaded $1.61 ltr
One week after Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, prices of fruit and veges tripled. It was almost a month later that fruit started to creep
back into the local produce market here in Nadi. The word at the moment is, we
will have to wait at least four months for fruit and veges to retune to normal. Bananas shot up from $2 to for $10 a bunch; most of the
trees have been snapped off at ground level. We're only just started to get cheaper bananas in now (Jan 2017). Pineapple $4 for three now $10
and they are under size, by the time you trim the fruit you are left with an appetizer.
Pawpaw, $2 now $5 for sickly under size fruit. Tomatoes, $ 3 a plate now $5 each. As for mangos, the trees have been
badly damage, we could end up with a poor crop this season and again high
A partial list of current prices for food and basic essentials in Fiji in Fiji dollars. Fijian food can be broadly divided into two categories. Local and imported. As you would expect, imported goods are far more pricey than locally produced. A general rule of thumb is that imported produce is triple what you would pay back at home, maybe more. So if you pay 99c for a tin of baked beans (on special) at home, don't be surprised when you see that same brand for sale in a Fiji supermarket for about $2-3. However, the cheap prices of local produce makes up for it, and you can actually eat quite cheaply in Fiji, if you are prepared to buy local goods and keep away from the tourist areas, like Port Denarau.
Rothmans 20's $11.99 10's $6.40. Pall Mall 20's $9.89
Genuine fresh milk is almost impossible to buy in Fiji. There are only 230 dairy farms in Fiji and they are all in the Suva area. How can 230 dairy farms supply 658,000 (2013) tourists per year, let alone the locals, with fresh milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt - impossible. Rewa milk is a Fijian company, their fresh milk is made up from NZ powdered milk and Fijian tap water, the same goes for Rewa UHT milk, why buy Rewa powdered UHT milk when you can buy the real thing from NZ. Your best bet is to buy 1 Litre of NZ Anchor full cream or light for $3.90. Rice milk will cost you $8.70 and Soya milk $4.90. Milk Powder is sold under several brands here in Fiji. It will be from NZ and sell for around $5.95 to $7.95 for a 500g pack.
Tea and Coffee
Coffee is a similar price to what you would pay in NZ or Aust. I buy a 1kg bag whole roasted coffee beans from Italy for $50 FJD. Teabags are expensive, up to $7 per pack of 50 (imported). Loose tea on the other hand, is cheap, less than $1 a packet (if you buy the locally packaged brands). But I find it to be too strong for me, and this is locally packaged and imported.
Imported biscuits are 3-4 times what you would pay back home. Arnotts full cream biscuits $9.95, Fijian made full cream $3.45, Arnotts TimTam $8.95, Fijian made TimTam $2.95, they are good. The locally made biscuits are just as good if not better, try the local Ginger nuts and the coconut biscuits, twice the flavor and cheap as chips. You can pick up a packet of dry tasteless crackers for less than $1. So don't worry there will always be a biscuit around to have with your coffee, there are dozens of varieties to pick from.
If you are thinking pasta will be cheap, sorry, $7+ a packet. However, rice is cheap, a dollar or two per kilo, depending on the grade. Locally produced potato chips are also very cheap, $4.95 for a large packet. 50c a small packet, imported $8 large packet
Fijians live on white bread because its so cheap. Plain white bread is price fixed by the government at $0.75 per loaf, a large wholemeal loaf $2.55 to $3.65. There are fresh hot bread shops everywhere in Fiji, they open seven day a week from sunrise to sunset. Our favorite Hot bread shop in Namaka makes a fantastic kibble and mixed grain uncut loaf for $6.60 each but only on a Friday and Tuesday or was that Thursday, but maybe it was Wednesday because Thursday was a Fijian Day of rest?? The New World Super IGA close to the airport, 50m from the roundabout has the best selection of healthy rye, multi & mixed grain etc for $4.50 but the loaf is small. I always walk around to the bakery next door and pick a loaf that is still hot. At most of the hot bread shops you can buy cream buns, lamingtins, small iced cakes, pies and sausage roll. In the heart of Nadi town there is a full on cake shop were you can buy freshly made decorated cakes from $25 +. they will make up a birthday cake for you the same day if you get in early.
The Rewa brand, yes it is not Fijian butter but real, rich NZ Butter and sells for $8.95 per 500g pack. I did find Anchor Butter 445g - $10.95. Margarine will cost you $2.70 for Meadowlea 250g. Country soft spread, Golden and marigold are also available.
A full range of NZ Mainland 250g - $14.95. Philadelphia 250g - $11.95. Kraft cheddar 12 slices $12.95. Australian gold brie 125g - $12.95 and not forgetting Rewa 250g - $6.50. For fancy cheeses you'll find them in the little deli at Denarau or at the Italian Restaurant on Denarau Road.
Jam & Peanut Butter
There is a good range of imported and local spreads. If you have a craving for lemon butter on your mixed grain toast don't bother looking for it. The local Fijian jams can have less additives in them then the imported ones, But watch out for the product that is made in China. You'll have a very hard time looking for Peanut Butter without sugar and not made in China - bring your own, it's ok through customs. Craigs 375g - $5.05 the Fijian brand will sell at $3.95. Peanut Butter $6.45. Honey is another story, sugarcane honey is very dark and strong, buy the lighter coloured honey, 500g - $11.95.
ALL meat in the supermarket is frozen. They cut all the meat paper thin through a band saw. If you can make it down to the New world super IGA market early in the morning you can watch the three band saws working flat out. There are three butcher shops in Nadi, two of the shops do not have A/C. So you can imagine what happens to the meat left inside the band saw and on the chopping block after a couple of hours. But don't worry you will only take two steps into these shops and the heat and smell will turn you around. The only butcher shop we buy fresh meat from is the South Pacific Butchery on Denarau road. NZ scotch fillet cost me $49kg. Beef sausages $19kg. Mince $21kg. A whole smoked chicken $20 each. Their bacon is totally excellent. The shop is fully A/C and the display cases are refrigerated. Staff are very friendly, they are always busy and supply a lot of the resorts.
Again, all the fish in the supermarket is frozen and put through the band saw. The local produce market is the best place to go. There is no refrigeration and the smell will surprise you, so get in very early, 0600 hours.
The boys will only be to happy to fillet the fish for an extra $5.00. The last large red snapper we brought cost us $35, it lasted us two nights. You can also buy fresh fish from road side stalls, only buy your fish early morning, 0600 hours and late in the afternoon, 1600 hours. Do not but your fish around midday.
Beer & Wine
The local beer "Fiji Gold" and "Fiji Bitter" are both excellent beers, in fact we like them better than a lot of NZ beers. Cheap too at $2.95 for a stubbie and $5.50 for a 750ml bottle. There is no local wine made in Fiji, it's all imported. Not a lot of variety and can be expensive.
For more details take a look at the supermarket prices for 2015.
No matter where you go in Fiji, you will see the locals with their roadside stalls selling fresh produce. Prices are extremely cheap. Every town has a produce market, which is a hub for the local community. While these markets are not often frequented by tourists, the locals will make you feel very welcome and are usually more than happy to tell you about some of the unfamiliar fruits and veges. Most of the produce is sold on a bread and butter plate for $1-2. Out of season the tomatoes rocket up to $5, depending on the size you might get eight tomatoes to a plate.
In Nadi and Lautoka and some of the larger produce markets you will be buying off the middle man. They do not grow any produce at all, they buy in bulk from the same large market gardeners, they are always expensive and the produce is old compared to the produce grown buy the local villages. The middle man will put the old fruit on the bottom of the plate and the fresh ones on top, when I ask then to swap the old for the new they will refuse to do that so I tell them do it or i will go to the man next door, I always win. You will have no problem with the villages, they will be sitting out the back or down the sides of the market, go there first. I look for the Fijian villagers who have walked miles to the market and I do mean miles to just sell a couple of freshly picked veges for $1. As a last option I will buy off the Fijian Indian middle man who will be at the front of the market just waiting for you with his hand outstretched.
Lettuce $2, Mangos (in season from late September to March) 3 for $2, same price for paw paws and cucumbers. A handful of the small (but fiery) local chillies $1. Coconuts 3 for $2. Bananas from $1 to $5 a bunch. Guavas finish around May at $2 a tray. $1-$2 for a Pineapple, though supermarkets will charge more than that. 8-10 small Tomatoes for $1 - but only in season, out of season tomatoes will go up to $5. You will see bunches of Taro and Cassava ranging from $15 upwards, and of course kava is available almost everywhere. Bok Choy $1-2 a bunch, though the NZ cabbages and lettuces tend to be a bit pricey.
If you want to grab a quick lunch, then there are Indian and Chinese places everywhere. They don't sell only curries of course, but also traditional Fijian fare that generally has rice, taro, or cassava as a side dish. A typical plate of chicken curry with rice in Nadi town will cost you about $6.90, and a mug of tea to go with it, another $1, a can of coca cola $1.60, a bottle of Fiji water $2.90. You can add on another $20-$30 if you are in Port Denarau with the tourists. Or try the Sheraton Resorts, Flying Fish restaurant for dinner and order Glazed Lamb shoulder, with caramelized corn, oyster, mushrooms & brioche croutons for as little as $97 or Wagyu sirloin, with crispy polenta, caramelised onion puree & chimmichurri for $99.
See a list of cafes and restaurants in Fiji
To get some idea of the rental prices in Fiji, take a look at the classified section on The Fiji Times or Fiji Sun newspapers. Generally per month, $600, unfurnished to over $3000, depending on quality and location. Lower then $600 p/m will be very uncomfortable. Our rent per month for 2015 is $1,100 furnished, we live in a block of four flats fully fenced in, twenty minutes from Nadi. There is no free rubbish collection in parts of Nadi so be careful were you rent. The house/ section next door could be the local rubbish dump, plus around 1700 Hours, Fijian favorite past time is burn off your rubbish before dinner commences and lets see if we can smoke out the people next door, plastic bags & bottles burn well.
If you are living in Suva, I strongly suggest looking for a place in one of the more upmarket areas, such as Namadi Heights in Suva. Yes, it will cost a lot more. But you will have peace of mind knowing the chances of returning home one day to find all your valuables gone a lot lower. Just one quick tip: when checking the classified, make sure you see "H+C" in the advert. Hot water is not always included in rental properties, so if the advert doesn't specify it, then chances are that it's not available. Speaking for myself, I don't care how tropical the climate - I like a hot shower at the end of the day.
For more information on buying & renting property in Fiji click here
White ware and tools are a ripoff. One 2 ltr stainless steel pot with a glass lid was
going to set me back $245. The same pot in Brisbane $85. I did buy a hand held Kambrook
food mixer for $135, again in Brisbane $28. And one more important issue to remember, in
Nadi there is NO warranty at all with my food mixer.