Travel Guide to Lautoka, Fiji Islands

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Koronayitu National Park

One of only two National Parks in Fiji, the other being Bouma in Taveuni, Koronayitu National Park was created in 1992 to preserve the surrounding forests from clearing. Access to the park is from Lautoka City - it takes 30-minutes by 4WD up a steep unsealed road past dramatic Castle Rock to reach Abaca Village, headquarters of the park.

From the visitor centre there are two walking tracks. The Batilamu Track heads uphill through forest for two hours to the summit of Mt. Batilamu which forms the belly of the Sleeping Giant with sweeping views of waterfalls tumbling down the steep mountains and out over Lautoka City to the Yasawa Islands. There’s a hut at the top where you can spend the night, arranging this through Abaca Village. Alternatively, an easy two hour loop trial follows a grassy ridge to Savuione Falls which tumbles 80 metres in two tiers to a deep swimming pool. From the falls, the trail descends into thick dakua forests back to Vereni Falls and rock pools close to Abaca Village. You can stay overnight in the remote wilderness setting at Nase Lodge with two large bunk rooms, communal lounge and kitchen - you’re likely to be the only guest staying unless there’s a school group here.

rural village scene outside nadi

Lautoka City

Lautoka, Fiji’s second largest city, only thirty minutes drive north of Nadi International Airport is startlingly low key. Dominated by Indian store sellers serving the sugar cane hinterland, and a second home for the people of the Yasawas, this light industrial city makes an interesting shopping detour away from the tourist souvenir shops of Nadi.

The city centre is a neat grid pattern flanked by the two main streets of Vitogo Parade and parallel Naviti Street. A walk around this square kilometre centre takes in the majority of shops, the best of which are on the north end of Vitogo Parade, the friendly municipal market bursting with food produce, and an impressive mosque. Facing Vitogo Parade is Churchill Park, home venue for Lautoka’s passionate football team and site of the annual Sugar Festival, usually held in September.

On the west side of downtown is the tranquil lawn setting of Shirley Park overlooking the ocean and with the confusing Elizabeth Square roundabout on its north side splitting the traffic into a one way system. For a walking detour, head north of Elizabeth Square along Tavewa Avenue calling in for a swim or a beer at the colonial style Northern Club and then past the government offices and elegant Hari Krishna Temple to the best kept botanical gardens in Fiji.

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