Vanua Levu & Taveuni Holidays
In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn:
— Rainbow Reef — Qamea & Matangi — Vanua Levu — Savusavu — Labasa & The North
Vanua Levu is Fiji's second largest island. The main commercial hub is around Labasa Town on the north coast of the island and this region is home to Fiji's largest tracts of sugar cane fields. As far as tourism is concerned though, the hub is sleepy Savusavu Town on the south coast, tucked into a beautiful deep water bay making it a popular anchorage for yachts visiting from overseas. The south coast has great fishing and scuba diving offshore although lacking decent beaches it plays second fiddle to its neighbouring island, Taveuni, which is the main tourist centre of the north.
Reasons to Visit Taveuni & Vanua
Scuba Diving Holidays
- Waterfalls of Bouma National Park
- Secluded Beach Wedding or Honeymoon
- Sleepy Savusavu Town
- Hiking in the Rainforest & Birding
Best North Fiji Resorts
Taveuni is referred to as the Garden Island of Fiji. Its rainforest is breathtaking with lots of waterfalls and walking trails. Taveuni Island is undoubtedly the most popular island to visit for eco-travellers. The most scenic area is Bouma National Heritage Park which encompasses over a third of the island and almost the entire east coast. The main attraction of the park is the Tavoro Falls (three lovely waterfalls between 10 minutes and an hour walk through virgin rainforest from the main road). At the end of the road is the attractive village of Lavena departure point for the 3 mile Lavena Coastal Walk along the forest edge, passing cove beaches and waterfalls. This coast can also be explored by kayak. The village operates the very basic Lavena Lodge for those wanting to stay overnight.
Offshore Islands - Qamea & Matangi
Off the north coast of Taveuni are three lovely islands all within 20 minutes boat ride. Qamea is the largest of these and is the twelfth largest in Fiji. It has lovely bays, lush rainforest and excellent bird life. Across from Qamea is the spectacular horseshoe shaped collapsed volcanic crater of Matangi Island. There's a beautiful beach in the horseshoe, and on the other side of the island is Matangi Island Resort which specialises in intimate weddings and has excellent diving around the reefs as well as great fishing.
Matangi Island Resort
F$ 1,400 - 2,000 per couple
Matangi Island Resort is a family owned private island resort with several beautiful white sand beaches and just fourteen traditional hand crafted bungalows. Renowned for its down-to-earth atmosphere Matangi offers the perfect tropical holiday atmosphere for honeymoons, nature lovers and diving enthusiasts.
Qamea Resort & Spa,
F$ 845 - 1,595 per couple
Located on a white sandy beach in a secluded tropical bay facing Taveuni, Qamea is an upmarket boutique resort aimed at honeymooners looking to wind down in a truly tropical and hidden environment. Qamea offers just fourteen finely crafted thatch bure to ensure a private and intimate atmosphere.
Matei is the main tourist centre located on the northern tip of Taveuni and home to the island's airstrip. It is a small settlement of expats and old European families who once owned large coconut plantations here during the colonial era. The coast has a few pretty beaches with decent snorkelling and there are a couple of small islets in the reef which are good for kayaking and also home to a black peral farm that can be visited on a tour. There's one restaurant in Matei, a store that stocks almost everything, and a handful of accommodations ranging from absolute luxury to budget, but bothing in between. Matei is about a 20-minute drive to the entrance of Bouma National Heritage Park making it a convenient base for exploring this stunning region.
Taveuni Palms, Matei
F$ 3,000 per couple
Taveuni Island Resort, Matei
F$ 1,950 per couple
Nakia Resort, Taveuni
F$ 440 - 480
Makaira by the Sea, Taveuni
F$ 330 - 430
Bibi Hideaway, Matei
F$ 80 - 110 per couple
Bibi's Hideaway is a family run plantation with six budget self contained cottages and with views looking across the gentle slopes of Taveuni's north west coast, five minutes from the airport. There's a beautiful white sand beach with excellent snorkelling across the coastal road.
West Coast & Rainbow Reef
The closest resort to the Rainbow Reef is Garden Island Resort or Paradise Taveuni (15 minutes by boat ). Other resorts on Taveuni also offer dive trips the reef which range from 30-minutes to 1-hour by boat. However, the north coast of Taveuni, which has a cluster of accommodation, has its own fantastic diving reefs to explore. The Rainbow Reef itself is 32km long with over 16 excellent dive sites ranging from intermediate to advanced. Highlights include the Great White Wall (soft corals) and Annies Bommie.
Paradise Taveuni, Taveuni
F$ 925 - 1,395 per couple
Paradise Taveuni is a secluded boutique retreat on the picturesque tropical outer island of Taveuni in Fiji's north. Paradise Taveuni sits on a rocky outcrop with excellent snorkelling and is the closest resort to the world famous Rainbow Reef (fifteen minutes by boat) and is naturally popular amongst scuba divers.
Garden Island Resort, Taveuni
F$ 645 - 775 per couple
Garden Island Resort is primarily a dive resort with close access to the world renowned Rainbow Reef and an on-site scuba diving operator with full service PADI courses. Also makes a convenient base for exploring Taveuni, notably the sliding rocks, blowholes and Lake Tagimaucia.
Other Accommodation on Taveuni
Vanua Levu is Fiji's second largest island and takes around an hour to fly to from Nadi Airport. The main centre for tourism is Savusavu with tropical rainforest, old European influenced coconut plantations and exceptional scuba diving. The main business centre is Labasa Town in the north coast of Vanua Levu, surrounded by sugar cane fields and with good off the beaten track exploring opportunities.
Savusavu Town & Bay
The main tourist region is along the tropical southern coast around Savusavu Town which is very scenic with beautiful hills for walking and several nice beaches along the point, a few kilometres south of the town. Savusavu Town has a picturesque harbour setting and several excellent waterfront bars and restaurants. It is a favourite destination for sailors, game fishing enthusiasts and scuba diving with excellent coral reefs all along the coast with day cruises and charter boats available for fishing and diving excursions. The rainforest around Savusavu is very accessible with several frequented trails to some excellent waterfalls and lookouts.
Savusavu Town is a popular base for long-stay holidays and here you can find holiday cottages with self-catering as well as several exclusive resorts offering stay / pay all inclusive deals.
Cousteau Fiji Resort, Vanua Levu
F$ 1,320 - 1,995 per couple
Daku Resort, Vanua Levu
F$ 245 - 480 per couple
Daku Resort is a small retreat on the outskirts of Savusavu Town on Vanua Levu set on a hill overlooking the ocean. Rooms and cottages are built around a central swimming pool and the small beach across the road has a swimming lagoon and reasonable snorkelling.
Naveria Heights, Savusavu
F$ 240 - 410 per couple
This intimate B&B is located in a quiet residential area in the hills overlooking Savusavu Bay, a fifteen minute walk into town. With classically styled rooms, a small swimming pool and breathtaking tranquil views, Naveria is a beautiful base for exploring the friendly north.
Savusavu Hotsprings Hotel, Vanua Levu
F$ 135 - 215 per couple
Set overlooking picturesque Savusavu Bay, Hotsprings Hotel is the ideal location for those looking to explore the vibrant rainforest and friendly villages of Vanua Levu. Excellent dining in Savusavu Town, yacht club and water activities including world renowned game fishing and scuba diving.
The Hibiscus Coast & Natewa Bay
Extending east from Savusavu heading towards Taveuni Island is the beautiful Hibiscus Highway with its timeless coconul plantations. There are some fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling reefs along the Hibiscus Coast, with Namena Island being a particular favourite for dive entusiasts. Unfortunately the beaches along the coast are very mediocre
which is why tourism hasn't really thrived here. Natewa Bay is a beautiful deep water bay, the largest in the South Pacific, and a great spot for kayaking - dolphin pods are commonly spotted here.
Namale Resort, Vanua Levu
F$ 1,850 per couple
Koro Sun Resort, Hibiscus Coast
F$ 920 - 1,600 per couple
Koro Sun is a luxury tropical escape hidden amongst tropical rainforest on the southern coast of Vanua Levu. Facing a bountiful coral reef with exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling, and backed by rainforest with waterfalls and hiking, Koro Sun is a popular destination for adventurous holiday-makers.
Lomalagi Resort, Savusavu
F$ 950 - 1,020 per couple
Lomalagi Resort is a romantic getaway with six large and very private villas aimed at couples only, with either self-catering or private dining options. This is a therapeutic retreat with dreamy views, peaceful forest walks and dolphin spotting and snorkelling in the bay.
Labasa & North Vanua Levu
An hour north of Savusavu the countryside becomes more arid and sugar cane farms take over the scenery. Labasa Town is the main town of the "Friendly North" and surrounded by picturesque hills which are great for exploring and meeting the locals cane farmers and exploring authentic Fijian villages.
Grand Eastern Hotel, Labasa Town
F$ 126 - 194 per couple
The Grand Eastern Hotel is the preferred accommodation in Labasa Town located just a minute walk from the bustling bus stand and market making it a great place for exploring the countryside. Set in an ambient courtyard off the main street, Grand Eastern has simple, clean rooms overlooking the swimming pool and river.
Labasa Town is the administrative centre of Vanua Levu with a purposeful bustle to its daytime affairs. The dusty main street of Nasekula Road is lined by colourful Indian trader stores and between May and December you’ll see trucks and tractors overloaded with sugar-cane filing through the town centre making a beeline for the sugar mill, four kilometres east of the river.
The finest scenery around Labasa is east of the Labasa Sugar Mill where the countryside opens up to a sharp ridge like mountain range to the north with sweeping views southwards towards the cluster peak of the three sisters. Along the scenic Wainikoro-Dama Road is the Hindu shrine of Naag Mandir, better known as the snake temple. Seventy years ago, the cobra shaped rock which devotees pray to apparently was only a metre high. Over time the rock has grown, the roof covering it has been raised three times, and at almost four metres high the shrine is quite an impressive formation, garlanded in fantastically colourful plastic flowers and showered in turmeric powder.
Nukubati Island Resort, Vanua Levu
F$ 1,350 per couple