When you look at a map of Fiji, it can be hard to believe the country is spread over 330 beautiful islands. That’s partly because two of the islands dwarf their neighbours. Viti Levu is home both to Fiji’s capital, Suva, and the country’s main international air and cruise hub, Nadi (pronounced Nan-dee). To its northeast, Vanua Levu is home to almost 136,000 Fijians, but sees relatively few tourists compared to its southern neighbour, or small, popular honeymoon islands such as the Mamanucas or Yasawas.
That makes Vanua Levu an ideal destination for those looking to discover a Fiji away from a curated tourist image. Where the laid back ‘Fiji time’ lifestyle lends itself to the everyday and invites you to take your time discovering what makes Fiji’s second island unique. Fijians are famously friendly, all the more so on less hectic Vanua Levu.
Where to Stay on Vanua Levu
Don’t mistake a lack of tourist crowds for a lack of tourist infrastructure. Vanua Levu is well equipped with luxurious resorts to suit a variety of budgets, and like Viti Levu, its largest city, Labasa, isn’t its major hospitality and transport hub. The centre of Vanua Levu’s tourism industry is the relatively small settlement of Savusavu. The town is situated on Savusavu Bay, one of the most beautiful in Fiji, which is perfectly located for reef diving and snorkeling, visits to the island’s hinterland and local villages, and more. The town’s shoreline on the bay even home to its own series of hot springs, where locals sometimes come to cook meals. In addition, the resorts here tend to be smaller, boutique properties, creating a far more relaxed, secluded feel than the larger players on Viti Levu. If you’re looking to stay near the ‘real’ Fiji without compromising that luxurious resort experience, Vanua Levu is an ideal destination.
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Top Things to Do on Vanua Levu
No matter how luxurious or welcoming your resort is, if you’re coming all the way to Fiji, you’ll want to get out and experience some of what the real Fiji has to offer! Here are some sights and experiences unique to Vanua Levu.
Dive or Snorkel Fiji’s Rainbow Reef
Arguably Fiji’s most renowned snorkeling and diving spot, the Rainbow Reef lies just off to Vanua Levu’s southeast, and features a dazzling variety of corals and over 2,000 species of tropical fish. Amid such a colourful display, you might not expect one of the top attractions to be ‘The Great White Wall,’ but the soft white corals on this popular dive site shelter most of the many species that live on the reef, in addition to being a striking formation in their own right.
Get the Inside Story on Fiji’s Pearls
The reputation of Fiji’s pearls has grown on the basis of their rarity, natural beauty, and simplicity. J. Hunter Pearls invites visitors to their pearl farm in Savusavu Bay with a chance to tour the facility and learn why Fiji’s pearls are so coveted around the world.
Take in the View from Flora Tropica Gardens
Arguably the best way to see Savusavu Bay, taking in the view from Flora Tropica Gardens. Be sure to take some time to wander the wide range of exotic plant life as well, including over 300 palm species. Nakawaga Waterfall is another local landmark that showcases the natural beauty of Vanua Levu.
Bargain at the Local Market
Even on a luxury trip, a destination like Fiji comes alive when you rub shoulders with the locals at the local food markets. Even if you’re just here to graze on the delicious range of island fruits and snap a few photos in between exploring Savusavu, a stop at the market is a valuable insight into local Fiji, even more so if you can visit one of the towns further inland. Most resorts will organize day trips that bring you closer to the local Fijians, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Why Vanua Levu is Where to Go on a Fiji Honeymoon
Traditional vacation spots like Denarau Island or the Mamanucas tend to take the spotlight when we talk about honeymoon destinations in Fiji. But Vanua Levu offers a more reclusive, local alternative, without compromising luxury. Just be ready for the adventure of mostly dirt tracks in between stops, as the island is not so developed as Viti Levu. The quick flight from Nadi to Savusavu makes it easy to reach as well. If you are celebrating your honeymoon, be sure to let your booking agent know, as many resorts frequently offer special gifts to honeymooners.
10 Mar 2020, 3:10 p.m.