Travel Guide to Savusavu, Fiji Islands
This article was researched by our local South Pacific travel experts:
Savusavu Town — Hibiscus Highway — Natewa Bay & Buca
Savusavu is Vanua Levu’s tourist centre, a small town hemmed in by steep hills and overlooking silvery Savusavu Bay towards moody mountains. In the town centre, hot springs bubble away behind the main street which has several excellent restaurants and bars, and three natural marinas which host over a hundred yachts at any one time during the sailing season from May to October. With beautiful walks in the wooded hills surrounding Savusavu Town, fabulous snorkelling at Lesiaceva Point about 5km south of the town and a wacky old world atmosphere, Savusavu makes a pleasant short stay.
Savusavu Town is essentially just one road which meanders alongside the bay and harbour. There's a small local produce market which is at its best on Saturday morning and a parade of modern shops alongside the waterfront with boutique shops, a couple of restaurants and the famous Copra Shed, a bar that is usually pretty lively in the Sailing season from May to October. There's not much else in town but there are game fishing and scuba diving charters to explore the fantastic reefs offshore from Savusavu, most notably around Namena Island some 40-minutes boat ride away.
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The Hibiscus Highway
The pretty Hibiscus Coast meanders east from Savusavu all the way to Buca Bay and passes through large tracts of coconut plantations. This region was the heart for the early European planters who purchased massive tracts of land here in the late 19th Century. Today, most of the "copra" farms are idle and many purchased by a new breed of explorer - North Americans seeking a retirement retreat.. There are no specific attractions here but there is generally good snorkelling off the coast, especially around the mushroom islets of Maravu Point and there’s a decent public sandy beach at Sigasiga. There are several upmarket resorts along this stretch of road mostly aimed at scuba divers with access to both Namena Island reefs and the Rainbow Reef.
Natewa Peninsula & Buca Bay
Twenty seven kilometres east of Savusavu Town is the turn off to Salt Lake where the Natewa Peninsula is almost severed from Vanua Levu, being connected by a kilometre wide strip of land connecting the lake to Natewa Bay. You can stay and explore the lake at Salt Lake Lodge which sits overlooking the mangrove lined Qaloqalo River. Fishing from the pontoon is excellent and kayaks are available for drifting up and down the river. Being in the mangroves, it’s also a pretty good spot for bird watching. The eastern side of the bay is covered in high forest teeming with endemic bird-life - it’s one of the few places in Fiji to spot the rare and tiny silk-tail. 4WD is needed to explore the region properly and if you end up at Dakuniba Village at the end of the road on the south coast, ask to see the petroglyphs etched into stone boulders alongside the creek bed.
At the far eastern end of the Hibiscus Highway is Buca Bay, a popular spot for anchoring yachts and has a winding coastline and many inlets and bays making it a pleasant spot for exploring if you hire a car. Buca Bay is the closest spot to the colourful corals of world famous Rainbow Reef, but there is no tourist accommodation here with access instead from the resorts on Taveuni Island, just 30-minutes by small boat across the bay.