Travel Guide to Ovalau & Levuka Town, Fiji Islands
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's just the one hotel in Levuka, the Royal Hotel, Fiji's first hotel built in the heyday of the mid 1800's. There are also a couple of bed and breakfasts / inns but little else. Levuka has decent restaurants and shops and makes a convenient base to explore the region.
Historical Levuka Town - The Old Capital of Fiji
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.
Around Ovalau Island
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 hill-fort 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.