Fiji’s tropical climate, clear, warm water and pristine coral reefs attract scuba divers from all over the world.

It is especially famous for the vibrant soft corals to be found on the islands’ many reefs; in fact, it’s known as the soft coral capital of the world. It’s also world-famous for shark diving. The Fijians have a way with sharks, and it’s one of the few places in the world where you can dive with bull sharks and tiger sharks with nothing between you except clear water.

Here is our pick of the best scuba dives in Fiji, all within easy access of nearby resorts.

1. Great White Wall, Rainbow Reef

Image: Heather Sutton

There are dozens of beautiful dive sites on the Rainbow Reef, but this one is a stand-out. The entry point is a small depression on a coral wall, with the top of the reef around 10m deep. The top of the reef is covered in soft corals every colour of the rainbow, with even more colourful fish flitting in and around them. In the overhangs and swim-throughs there are schools of bigeyes, and then when you peek over the edge – a wall of white soft coral that looks for all the world like a snow scene. It’s beautiful.

2. The Bistro Shark Dive, Beqa Lagoon

Possibly Fiji’s most famous shark dive, it was established by Brendan Paige, a South African ex-pat who was the first to establish a shark-feed dive in Fiji many years ago. Sitting behind a low wall made of coral rubble, at a depth of around 22m, you’ll find yourself being buzzed by silvertip sharks, sicklefin lemon sharks, grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, bull sharks and tawny nurse sharks. The Fijian shark feeders are very experienced and have a great way of making you feel completely safe while you watch these incredible apex predators. There are two other shark-feed dives in Beqa Lagoon, ‘The Arena’ and ‘The Cathedral’, and another called ‘The Awakening’ at Barefoot Kuata Island in the lower Yasawas.

3. Instant Replay, Bligh Water, Raki Raki

It’s hard to pick the best dive site in Bligh Water – they are all good, with names to prove it: Black Magic, Breathtaker and Yellow Mellow. Wheat Fields is another beauty here, with coral bommies topped in fields of vibrant yellow soft coral that looks like … a field of wheat. Instant Replay is ablaze with colour and is a fun drift dive with a twist – towards the end, you can duck into a gap in the reef wall, swim back and enjoy the drift again!

4. Fantasy, Beqa Lagoon

Think giant sea fans – everywhere. Enormous fans made up of intricate lacework in all different colours: red, orange, yellow, green and purple. It’s like swimming through a world created by Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame. The coral gardens are great fun to explore, with gullies and swim-throughs that will make you feel like a kid again exploring them.

5. Manta Reef, Kadavu

Image: Matava Resort

Kadavu Island is the closest jump-off point to Fiji’s Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef, the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef. There are many stunning dive sites here, including Naiqoro Passage with its wall of purple soft corals, huge sea fans and huge coral trees, Seafan Alley and Yellow Wall. At Manta Reef you have a unique opportunity (if you’re very lucky) to dive with both reef manta rays and giant oceanic manta rays – one of very few places in the world you can do this.