Beautiful Pacific offers a wide range of kadavu resorts and holidays on Beqa and Ovalau including the old capital Levuka Town. We offer great deals and holiday packages from our hand picked accommodation selections.
The Fiji Holidays Specialist
Ovalau Island & Lomaiviti - Fiji Islands
In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn:
Ovalau Island & Levuka Town
— Small Islands off Ovalau — Koro & Gau
Ovalau and its surrounding islands offer tourists some excellent scuba diving reefs, few of which have been properly explored, as well as good hiking trails in tropical rainforest rich in endemic bird life, the historic town of Levuka and a strong village culture. Ovalau Island is a mountainous tropical island with a central crater and boasting historical Levuka Town, the old capital of Fiji which attracts most visitors to the island
What is surprising is that the Lomaiviti Group is the least visited region in Fiji by tourists even though it is relatively easy to reach by both plane and boat. Go back in time a hundred years or so and these were the busiest and historically most important islands in Fiji. Ovalau is home to the old capital of Fiji, the heritage town of Levuka and the surrounding islands are rich in history, especially with the arrival of European whalers and traders in what became Fiji's explosive colonial era. There are several large islands inm this group supporting large Fijian village communities, especially on Gau and Koro, both of which have an airstrip albeit rudimentary.
Reasons to Visit Ovalau
- Travel Off the Beaten Track
- Small Uninhabited Islands
- Rich in History & Legends
- Excellent Scuba Diving & Snorkelling
- Explore Fijian Villages
Best Ovalau Resorts
Ovalau Island & Levuka Town
The highlight of Ovalau is the sleepy historical town of Levuka set around a harbour at the foot of some magnificent tropical hills and with a very slow pace of life. Levuka was once the capital of Fiji in the early era of European settlement. The heritage of the town is keenly preserved and there are some interesting historical sights, colonial architecture and a small museum. There are several hotels in Levuka including the Royal, Fiji's first hotel built in the heyday of the mid 1800's. There are also several bed and breakfasts. Levuka is a good base to explore the region and there are several tour operators to help you get by.
Levuka Town sits on the east coast of Ovalau and acts as a good base for exploring the islands sites, most of which lie along the north coast. Seven kilometers north of Levuka is the large Catholic Mission and boarding school at Cawaci. The mausoleum styled Bishop’s Tomb sits on a bluff overlooking the sea and along the coast with the impressive twin tower church of St John’s College with its thick whitewashed coral stone walls standing out against the green mountains. From Cawaci, the road climbs over a series of undulating hills with pleasant views towards Wakaya Island.
Levuka Homestay, Ovalau Region
F$ 175 per couple
Levuka Homestay is the most upmarket accommodation in the charming historical town of Levuka. Run by an Australian couple, the homestay has four delightfully presented rooms with guests entertained with a massive home cooked breakfast.
Although there are few beaches on Ovalau, the mountains behind Levuka are truly spectacular and there are several nearby trails into the rainforest and to swimming pools and waterfalls. The best hike on the island explores the central volcanic crater and the ancient village of Lovoni. Organised kayaking trips can also be made from Ovalau to explore the small surrounding islands.
At the northern point of Ovalau, fourteen kilometres from Levuka, is the beautiful white sandy beach alongside Arovudi Village. There’s an impressive rock foundation between the beach and village on which once stood a bure kalou or priest’s temple. To visit the village, you can take a half day tour from Levuka but it’s well worth the while staying a hundred metres along the beach at Selano Village Stay. You can also hike to a large hillfort on top of Tomuna Peak where the old village was protected by a series of rock walls three feet deep and six feet high.
Four kilometres further along the coast, past Taviya Village, is Bobo’s Farm, a wonderful five hundred acre private farm stay full of every imaginable local fruit tree. A five minute trail alongside a stream leads to an unusual black sand beach with good snorkelling and all tide swimming, but you’ll need to bring your own snorkel and mask. Another trail heads inland to a waterfall and natural jacuzzi pool. Bobo can also organise fishing trips, snorkelling to a sand bank or a three hour hike to Lovoni Crater.
Lovoni Crater in the heart of Ovalau is one of Ovalau’s iconic attractions, made famous by the feared tribe living behind an impregnable hillfort in the centre of the crater. The easiest way to visit the crater is by road with Epi’s Tours, but the most enjoyable is to walk with a guide from either Levuka or Bobo’s Farm.
Islands around Ovalau
The coastline around Ovalau is quite rugged and mostly without beaches, dotted here and there with small villages. The drier coastline of North Ovalau has rolling grassy hills overlooking the island of Naigani with a small resort and several large hill forts. Off the south coast are a handful of beautiful small islands including the revitalised backpacker resorts of Caqalai and Leleuvia, both on tiny coral islands.
Naigani Island and Wakaya Island to the north and east of Ovalau are both fascinating islands for exploring and have rough roads across the island for easy access. Both islands have resorts with private golf courses. Wakaya Club is one of the most exclusive in the country.
Naigani Island, Ovalau Region
F$ 220 - 385 per couple
Naigani Island Resort is a small resort off the tourist track ideal for adventurous families. With a sandy beach backed by palm trees, great snorkelling and kayaking, hill walks, a 4-hole golf course and spacious affordable villas, Naigani offers a charming down to earth atmosphere.
There are several small coral islands to the south-east of Ovalau not that far from Suva that have accommodation. Toberua island has a charming small resort and although it is in the upper price range it has an unpretentious atmosphere and offers village tours, visits to uninhabited Mabualau Island (home of thousands of nesting red-footed boobies birds) and mangrove river trips as well as the luxury of golf at low tide. Caqalai has the most basic accommodation in the group with simple thatch bures and communal cold showers from a bucket. Provisions can be sparse. The beach is good and you really get the feeling of being away from it all although the island can be suffocating as it only takes fifteen minutes to walk around. Nearby Leluvia is a little larger and a more commercialised backpacker hangout with PADI diving and some organised activities.
Accessed from Nakelo Landing along the Qaraniki River, lined with mangroves and bamboo fish traps, and three kilometres into the ocean beyond Kaba Point, is the sandy coral cay of Toberua Island. Boasting one of Fiji’s original boutique resorts, Toberua Island Resort is an incredibly friendly home where staff have lived and worked for thirty years and life-long guests return time and again, some clocking up as many as thirty visits. There are fantastic colourful coral formations and reef sharks at Toberua Passage which are excellent for both snorkelling and scuba diving. Mabualau, a limestone islet five kilometres to the east, is a tiny nature reserve inundated with large white fluffy Boobies.
Toberua Island Resort, Ovalau Region
F$ 648 - 996 per couple
Toberua is a small coral island off the east coast of Viti Levu in an unspoiled and very secluded location. The resort offers just 15 bures and has renowned hospitality, some excellent scuba diving offshore and several excellent nature tours including a protected island for sea birds and visiting nearby traditional fishing villages.
Thirty minutes by boat from Levuka, and about the same distance to mainland Viti Levu, are two small backpacker resorts on tiny uninhabited coral islands. The pick is Caqalai Island Resort with ten bures on the edge of the beachfront. It takes fifteen minutes to walk around the white sandy beach which surrounds this tiny coral island, and you can wade out to Snake Island at low tide with good snorkelling and the chance to spot the black and white poisonous sea snakes. Even better snorkelling is at Honeymoon Island, a sand spit five kilometres to the east where you’ll likely spot small grey tip reef sharks hiding amongst the coral reefs.
Caqalai Island, Ovalau Region
F$ 150 per couple / F$ 65 dorm inc. meals
Caqalai is a small coral island off Ovalau surrounded by a beautiful lagoon with fantastic snorkelling. The beachfront is sandy and backed by coconut palms making this an exceptional place for budget travellers away from the more commercial Yasawa Islands.
The larger islands of Gau and Koro in the east have excellent exploring potential although accommodation is limited (Gau has an expensive artists retreat). The plus for these islands is that although they have no tourism, they are easy to get to with several flights each week and both islands have roads and local transport connecting the islands' many local villages. For those who really want to explore, Koro and Gau are ideal - you will not run into other tourists and the local people are friendly and very helpful. Plan ahead to make accommodation arrangements.
Seven kilometres north of Kaba Point is the chiefly island of Bau. To visit the tiny island, accessible by punt from Bau Landing, you should contact the Turaga-ni-Koro on Bau Island. If you do manage to receive an invitation, take yaqona roots and dress respectably. The island is small in size, but with a fascinating history. The mound in the centre of the island is where the chiefly families live, and around the parameter are sub clans: craftsmen from Lau warriors from Botoni and fishermen from Kadavu. Here stands the first church in Fiji, built from thick limestone walls. The baptismal font beside the alter was Cakobau’s killing stone where skulls of his captives were smashed before being eaten.
Koro & Gau
Seventy kilometres north east of Ovalau and less than fifty kilometres south of Vanua Levu is the triangular shaped island of Koro. Rising to a peak of 560 metres, this volcanic island has splendid views from its inland road with bush tracks and waterfalls amongst its tropical forests. The largest village is Nasau, mid way along the east coast about five kilometres north of the airstrip and has a hospital, post office, a cooperative store and government headquarters. The women of Koro are renowned for their finely woven handicrafts, particularly mats and fans. There is currently no accommodation on Koro so the only way to visit is by receiving an invite from a local family.
The substantial 140 square kilometre island of Gau lies sixty kilometres south of Koro and is characterized by dense rainforest on its high ridges, grasslands in the lower hills, sandy beaches along the south coast and mangroves in the north from where the islands of Nairai and Batiki can be seen. The largest village is Qarani, home to internationally acclaimed rugby superstar Waisale Serevi, with the safest anchorage for yachts and the island’s only doctor. The road around Gau has long been overgrown and dysfunctional so travel between villages is by small boat or bush track.
Lomaiviti Travel Info
Daily flights to Ovalau depart daily from Nadi taking about 40-minutes, or its a 15-minute hop from Nausori Airport. Open top fibreglass boats shuttle locals back and forth between Viti Levu and most islands with most boats departing from wither Waidalice Landing or Natovi Landing (both north of Nausori) or from Nausori Town itself. A large passenger ferry departs most days from Natovi Landing to Ovalau and takes about 60-minutes.
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