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Nadi (NAN)

Nadi (pronounced Nandi, thus explaining the apparently odd IATA code) is by far the largest and most important airport in the South Pacific area. Situated on the west side of the main island of Viti Levu, Nadi is not in fact the Fijian capital, although you could be forgiven for thinking so, especially since most of the tourist infrastructure is concentrated in this area. The town of Nadi has actually grown to its present size almost entirely due to the presence of the airport. Almost all international flights to/from Fiji use Nadi, together with quite a few domestic services.However, this doesn't mean that the airport is busy, with an average of probably only two or three movements per hour at most. Luckily for the enthusiast, most hotels and guest houses in the area seem to have a listing of all the scheduled international passenger flights due in, thus allowing a reasonable chance of seeing something interesting without wasting too much time just hanging around hoping something will happen.

Nadi may not have a huge number of movements, to say the least, but there is certainly no shortage of places to view and photograph them from. The only real problem with this is that these spots are spread out all around the airport perimeter, with few 'straightforward' ways of moving between them, a situation not helped by the extreme heat. There doesn't seem to be any major problems with actually taking photographs here, as long as you're sensible and ask first where possible. Most people were more than happy to help, anyway.

a) The main (international) terminal doesn't seem to have any real opportunities for decent photographs from the terminal itself (except for some so-so shots airside from the departure lounge). The apron on the north side of the terminal has a few gates, however, and this is also where biz-jets and other smaller visitors seem to park. This area is visible from the main road, so if anything is present here you might be able to get a shot through the fence if you're lucky.

N74RP
N74RP
Gulfstream 4

b) The south side of the terminal is the base for helicopter operations from Nadi. Although these are not photographable from the outside, a polite request in the office here should hopefully allow access.

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DQ-FGH
Island Hoppers  AS355
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Island Hoppers  AS350

c) The domestic terminal seems to be located almost in the middle of the actual airport, well away from any public areas that I could find, so photos here would seem to be impossible unless you're actually flying (although how you actually get to it in order to take a flight is a bit of a mystery!). Luckily almost all these flights appear to use the much shorter cross-runway, with the approach to Runway 27 being right over the main road from the airport to Nadi town, not too far from the international terminal.

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Sunflower Airlines  BN-2
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Sunflower Airlines  BN-2
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Sunflower Airlines  DHC-6

d) Much further round the airport is the small local flying club, with a couple of Cessnas used mainly for skydiving. Just next to the flying club is an apron that is used for parking of any long-term visitors (a couple of days or more). You might be able to get a photo through the fence here if anything's parked up, although you're facing into the sun pretty much all day. A better bet would be to ask nicely at the flying club office for permission to go airside.
This area is reached via a turn-off from the main airport-Nadi road (Queens Road), but is not visible from the road itself (and I don't remember it being signposted), so you might have to try a few turn-offs in the right general direction here until you find the right one.

NZ7271
NZ7271
RNZAF  Boeing 727

e) A short distance further around the airport (and reached via the same turn-off as to the flying club above) is Sunflower Airlines' base and hangar. Due to the layout here it's not really possible to get any decent shots through the fence (and some aircraft are completely hidden anyway), but again, a polite request at the office should hopefully result in permission being given to take a look around.

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Sunflower Airlines  Riley Heron
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Sunflower Airlines
Excalibur Queenaire
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Sunflower Airlines  SD3-30
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Air Katafanga  PA-31
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Heron

f) The airport fire station is just a little bit further round from Sunflower Airlines, although I can't remember whether direct access between the two is possible - you may have to go back to the main road and then find the next side road towards the airport. The perimeter fence is pretty close to the runway here, although, being the standard 'chicken-wire' style, action shots will be difficult. There are a few places where the ground rises enough to allow decent unobstructed runway shots, however, although you might find yourself a bit far away for shots of the smaller aircraft, depending on what size lens you have. The light will be best here until around late morning.

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Air Pacific  Boeing 747
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Air Fiji  Y-12
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Air New Zealand  Boeing 767
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Air Marshall Islands
Saab 2000
HL7468
Korean Air  Boeing 747

g) The perimeter fence beside the runway loses its usefulness as a photographic point as you head south, but right at the southern end of the airport Wailoaloa Road heads off from the main road towards the beach, passing right under the final approach to Runway 02 (just past the Nadi Bay Hotel). Luckily this is the preferred runway for all landings (with take-offs generally using the reciprocal Rwy 20), due mainly to the presence of some rather uninviting mountains to the north of the airport. Again, the light is good here until around late morning.
NOTE: Muggings have apparently started to occur in certain places around Nadi (even in daylight), with Wailoaloa Road being one of the 'danger spots'. Your chances of becoming a victim here are probably very small, but care is obviously advisable in this area, particularly if you're on your own (keep your camera hidden unless actually using it, for example).

G-BOAD
G-BOAD
British Airways  Concorde

h) Follow Wailoaloa Road past the end of the runway and turn right onto Nadi Bay Road, towards Newtown Beach. A short distance along this road there were one or two paths leading off towards the airport, past a couple of houses (these seemed to be 'public' paths rather than private property belonging to the houses - I never encountered any problems here, but this is not to say that they AREN'T private). Assuming these are still accessible, they should take you up to the airport perimeter fence, from where great final approach shots can be taken. The light on this side of the runway is good from late morning onwards, although, like anywhere in this part of the world, photography in the middle of the day can cause problems due to the very strong sun being directly overhead.

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DQ-FJB
Air Pacific  Boeing 737
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Air Pacific  Boeing 767
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Air New Zealand  Boeing 747
F-ODGX
Air Caledonie  Boeing 737
 
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Last visited on 3 October 1995 Top of page
 
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Maps

Click on the icons below to see maps relating to Nadi airport. Note that these are all external links to other sites, and will open in a new window.

Area Map
General map of the Nadi area

Courtesy of:
Maps by Expedia.com Travel
maps.expedia.com

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