As a tropical Pacific paradise, Fiji is the ideal destination to escape the winter blues. But what if your winter months coincide with Fiji’s wet season? Is it not the best time of year to visit Fiji? Is it still worth going?
I’ve ‘accidently’ visited Fiji twice during the wet season.
The first time, I was invited to go with friends while living in New Zealand. With Fiji being so relatively close, it seemed like a no brainer to go, even if it was the so-called ‘wet season.’
The second time, JR and I snapped up unbelievably cheap promo flights for Fiji Airways’ new direct route from Vancouver. Without much thought, we decided to go during our least favourite month in Canada (February), which, again, is during Fiji’s wet season.
With two wet season trips under my belt, I believe I can offer a good overview of what to expect when visiting Fiji during this time.
So whether you’re just considering a visit or already have your flights booked, I hope this post answers any questions you may have about Fiji’s wet season.
Published March 2023.
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When is the wet season in Fiji?
Fiji enjoys a tropical climate, with year round hot weather. Daily highs are 30°c to 32°c, with night time temperatures dropping to 18°c to 20°c.
Despite temperatures only varying a few degrees throughout the year, there are still two distinct seasons.
The wet season lasts from November to April. It features the hottest temperatures with high humidity and the majority of Fiji’s annual rainfall.
The dry season runs from May to October. During this time, some areas of Fiji receive very little to no rain at all. Fiji is less humid at this time.
Fiji’s wet season is also nicknamed storm season, as it is also the time of year when tropical cyclones (hurricanes) form. I’ll talk more about this later.
Some people refer to Fiji’s wet season as the rainy season or even monsoon season.
How rainy is the wet season really?
As mentioned above, the vast majority of Fiji’s annual rainfall arrives during the wet season. The actual amount of rain, however, varies between different regions of Fiji.
The northwest area of Fiji is considered to be the ‘dry zone,’ receiving the least amount of rainfall. The smaller islands are usually subject to less rain than the mainland as well.
The ‘dry zone’ typically receives less than 1700mm of rain during the wet season. The eastern ‘wet zone’ receives around 3000mm on the coast and more than 6000mm in the mountains. March is usually the wettest month.
In Fiji’s dry zone, rain doesn’t necessarily fall every day. Some days are completely dry.
The great thing about rain in Fiji is that it usually comes in short, intense bursts rather all day showers or drizzle. Sometimes, it will only fall at night.
Even during the days when we had a lot of rain (see our experience below), I didn’t really mind it as there were dry periods as well. It was still possible to do many activities, such as snorkeling. And personally, I love the sound of torrential rain.
How likely is a cyclone during Fiji’s storm season?
According to Fiji’s Meteorological Service, around seven tropical cyclones are expected to form in the Pacific region every storm season.
Of these, four cyclones would typically pass through the designated ‘western region,’ which includes Fiji as well as Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
Cyclones usually occur between November and April, with January and February having the highest frequency.
At the start of the season, the Meteorological Service makes a prediction of how many cyclones are likely to occur during the season.
For the 2022/3 season, for example, five to seven cyclones were predicted, with two or three of these passing through the Fiji region itself. Above average rainfall was also predicted.
During the latter half of our 2023 trip, two cyclones passed through Vanuatu in just three days. This was a very rare and devastating event for Vanuatu, though Fiji also received extraordinary high wind and flooding conditions as well.
Advantages of visiting Fiji in the wet season
- Fiji receives consistently hot weather (around 30°c) at this time of year, with similar ocean temperatures
- The wet season is winter in the Northern Hemisphere and is therefore an ideal getaway
- The vast majority of activities are possible most days throughout the storm season (diving, snorkeling, sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, guided tours etc)
- The rain usually falls hard and fast – it is an impressive sight to see and hear
- The occasional downpours also offer temporary relief from the heat (wind can do this too)
- With Fiji’s storm season also being considered the low season, prices are lower during this time*
- Resorts are less busy, offering a quieter and more personal experience*
- For the above reason, availability is better as well*
- To attract tourists, some resorts offer amazing deals (we received 30% off our 5+ night stay at Blue Lagoon Resort)
*Important exception! Fiji is a very popular destination for Australians and Kiwis. Even during storm season, the school holiday periods are very busy in Fiji (late December to end of Jan, mid April).
Disadvantages of visiting Fiji during storm season
- On windy or rainy days, conditions may not be ideal to go diving, snorkelling, kayaking or swimming due to reduced visibility and/or high waves
- Transport services and guided tours may be limited or cancelled on very stormy days
- The rain can arrive very quickly – you may get a surprise downpour while hanging out on the beach or on a boat
- Localised flooding is possible after extended periods of rain and may prevent access to certain areas or activities
- The weather is very humid during the storm season, as well as being hot
- Two to four cyclones are usually predicted each wet season, with one typically being severe
- For some people, the hot and wet climate could be too oppressive
- Storm season can still be busy at times, such as during the Australian school holiday periods (late December to end of Jan, mid April)
- Mosquitoes can be prevalent after rain (location dependent)
Our experience – 3+ weeks in Fiji during the wet season
I stayed on Fiji’s mainland Coral Coast during my first trip to Fiji. It was early April and the weather was hot and humid with consistent short (15 to 30 minute) downpours around 4pm each day.
On that trip, there were no zero issues with activities or transportation. It was a little muddy on a waterfall like but that was it. Besides the daily 4pm downpour, I didn’t really register it was the so-called ‘storm’ season.
Our recent February/March trip was a little different. We spent one night in the Nadi area before travelling to the Yasawa Islands, located to the northwestof the mainland. The first day was sunny until 4pm, when torrential rain set in.
Unlike my last trip, however, it did not stop within the hour. It was raining on the Yasawa Flyer the next morning and continued to pour for another two days. It would typically rain for an hour straight, stop for an hour or two and then start again.
We didn’t really mind, however as it was still possible to snorkel (one of our main reasons for going). The water was a little cool at times but we still had a ton of fun.
On our fourth day in Fiji, the rain cleared up and we had eight days of perfect weather. Think deep blue skies and plenty of sun. It still rained occasionally overnight.
And then a low pressure system moved in. The strong winds whipped up the ocean waves and visibility. Snorkeling and diving was still feasible for the first few days before conditions really deteriorated.
On our last full day, the resort warned us that the next Yasawa Flyer service may not run. Two cyclones were approaching Vanuatu (1200km to the west).
We considered leaving early as the ferry cancellation would mean missing our night flight back to Vancouver. But our insurance wouldn’t cover the early departure without the ferry being cancelled.
In the end, the Ferry crossing did run, but the following two services were cancelled. We were almost stuck in the Yasawas!
Should you still visit Fiji in wet season?
That is a personal decision but I can say that I firmly enjoyed both of my visits to Fiji in storm season. I can also confidently say that I would go to Fiji again at this time of year.
Given the choice, though, I would avoid booking a trip for late December or January, since I know that is a busy time. I would also stick to the western side of Fiji, since this is the driest side of the country.
If you are considering visiting Fiji during the wet season, I would suggest that a little flexibility and positivity goes a long way.
Expect random downpours (especially in the afternoon) and anticipate that you may not be able to do all activities every day. Stormy weather may roll in…but then again, it may not. Think about it this way – while it’s not uncommon, storm weather isn’t the day-to-day norm.
As mentioned, we had eight days of perfect weather during our most recent Fiji trip. We also had three days of rain and five days of strong winds. Even with the latter, we were able to enjoy great food, fun activities, hot weather and plenty of relaxation!
Thinking about visiting Far North Queensland as well as Fiji? Read our thoughts about how much it rains in Queensland during the wet season
Essential items to bring when visiting Fiji during storm season
If you do choose to visit Fiji during storm season, I would recommend bringing the following items:
If the wind is too strong to comfortably or safely swim, sunbathe, snorkel or dive, you’ll be looking for other things to do.
This is also true for longer periods of torrential rain. Some resorts have more ‘rainy day’ activities than others (weaving, cooking classes etc).
- I loved having a choice of books on my Kindle to read. The battery lasts a really long time too (and I read a lot)
- For games, we brought a pack of cards and a travel version of Scrabble. This smaller sized Scrabble board has a raised letter grid to push the tiles into
- Like to write and draw? Don’t forget to bring a notepad and pens! An alternative idea would be an adult colouring book
- Wanting to switch off from work and regular life, I didn’t want to use my phone too much while in Fiji. But you could load your phone (or other mobile device) with movies and television shows in case of bad weather
Ferries and boats are used to travel between Fiji’s many small islands.
The Yasawa Islands, for example, are serviced by the Yasawa Flyer, a 27m (88 ft) high speed catamaran boat. Resort staff pick up passengers from the Flyer with small boats.
As a catamaran, the Yasawa Flyer is more stable in rough water than other boats. Having said that, some rolling and rocking is inevitable on windy days. Our return journey to the mainland utilised the most sheltered route possible but there were still exposed sections.
I would highly recommend bringing some seasickness medication with you when travelling Fiji in storm season. Anti-nausea bands may be helpful too.
The weather is hot and humid during Fiji’s wet season. Most resorts will utilise fans to keep guest areas cool. Air conditioning is also available in the more expensive accommodation units.
If you feel that the heat may be a bit oppressive for you, consider bringing a small, personal fan.
Some resorts offer weaving activities (free or additional charge). JR weaved a handheld fan from a palm leaf at Naqalia Lodge. We used it almost every day after that!
If you have the opportunity to weave a fan, I’d highly recommend it. We were also allowed to bring the fan back to Canada with us (confirmed by customs on arrival).
Snorkel mask and tube
If you plan snorkeling to be a priority for your trip to Fiji, I would consider bringing your own gear. At least the snorkel mask and tube anyway.
While most resorts will offer complimentary snorkel gear (or charge a small rental fee), it’s a bit of pain to organise a rental every time you want to go out. To give you some context, we went snorkeling at least once or twice a day on our trip (on non-stormy days).
The reason I mention bringing snorkel gear to Fiji specifically during the wet season? Some snorkel tubes allow you to snorkel better in windy weather.
Before leaving for Fiji, I purchased a Decathlon snorkel tube with something called a ‘dry-top-release system.’ This means that ocean water cannot enter the tube from the top.
JR is a dive master and thought the whole thing was a gimmick. I can confirm it definitely is not! He was amazed when he tried it for himself.
I took a snorkel tour on one particularly rough day and I was the only snorkeler who had zero issues. I didn’t even notice that the waves were quite strong and therefore filling everyone else’s snorkels with water.
Travel insurance is not mandatory for visitors to Fiji but it is recommended. Personally, I was very thankful that we had purchased travel insurance when we started to hear about the possibility of the ferry being cancelled.
Our travel insurance policy covered two days of accommodation costs, food and transportation expenses (up to $300/per person/per day) in the event of a weather caused interruption to our trip. It also covered up to $1000/per person for replacement flights.
Had the Yasawa Flyer not run on our departure day, we would have been able to stay at the resort for two more days, with the expenses refunded by the insurance company. Our replacement flight cost would also have been refunded.
Knowing what I know now about travelling to Fiji in storm season, however, I would have purchased a travel insurance policy with extended interruption coverage. Two days isn’t actually a long period of time when cyclones are possible.
When purchasing travel insurance for Fiji, be sure to read the policy wording to make sure it covers weather conditions related to cyclones.
Fiji packing list
As well as the above items, I would also recommend bringing the following items with you to Fiji:
- Comprehensive medical kit including antibiotic (antiseptic) cream, congestion relief, antihistamines and other common medications
- Peg-free washing line for drying swimwear and clothes
- Insect repellent and anti-itch cream
- High SPF sunscreen and after-sun cream
- Rash guard top for snorkeling and/or diving
- Reusable water bottle, preferably insulated to keep water cold
- Waterproof sandals/shoes for getting on and off boats (I love these)
- Clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for visiting villages (a sarong is fine for both men and women to wear)
- Two sets of swimwear, one to wear and one to dry
- Type I plug adaptor (same as Australia and New Zealand)
Upon arrival, buy a few bottles of duty-free liquor and/or wine at the airport (if desired). Most resorts will allow ‘outside’ drinks in your bure.
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada