Things to Do in the Lomaiviti Islands on a Budget
The Lomaiviti Islands are a backpackers dream, especially on the island of Ovalau where every few steps bring you to another fascinating historical site that you can revel in for free. Plus, with backpacker accommodation and resorts offering free ways to explore the azure waters and cheap guided hikes to stunning lookouts, authentic Fijian villages and historical places of interest, you can hardly spend “too much” in the Lomaiviti Islands. Take a look at this list of free and cheap things to do on the Lomaiviti Islands for examples!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to Lomaiviti Islands on a Budget.
1. Explore Historic Levuka
The beautifully preserved Levuka town was once the capital of Fiji. The town was a bustling metropolis of the South Pacific between 1871 and 1881 before the capital moved to Suva. The town is home to a lot of Fiji’s “firsts”, such as the first hotel, first bank, Methodist church, school and more. Start your exploration of the town at The Morris Hedstrom building, now home to the Levuka Community Centre where you can pick up maps for a self-guided tour of the town, book a guided tour, or check out the relics in the small Levuka Museum, as featured in 5 Fascinating Museums in Fiji. Other historical points of interest in Levuka include the Church of the Sacred Heart (1858) located on Beach Street, the Ovalau Club (1904), the Town Hall (1898) and the Navoka Methodist Church (1862) – the latter three located around Nasau Park.
2. Soak in the Views from Mission Hill
If you only have a short time in Levuka, then we recommend revelling in the views from Mission Hill. Climb the 199 steps leading from the Navoka Methodist Church to the top of Mission Hill. Enjoy views of Levuka, and the outer islands of Makogai, Batiki and Wakaya. It’s also possible to spot pilot whales throughout the year or even humpback whales between May and October. From the top of Mission Hill, you have the option to return a different way to the northern end of Beech Street (main street of Levuka) via a dirt track and beside a village.
3. Hike or Ride to the Volcanic Crater Village of Lovoni
The village of Lovoni was once home to a feared tribe living in the centre of the impenetrable volcanic crater. The stories of this tribe, believed to be the only village not conquered by Cakobau, the King of Fiji during the 1870s, are best told (in detail) on a tour with Epi’s Midland Tour – a longstanding local tour guide offering affordable tours for around FJ$50. The tour starts with a bumpy ride up the dirt road from Levuka leading to Lovoni where Epi will present a sevuesvu (gift) on your behalf before you enjoy lunch with Epi’s family in the village. The village is now located along the side of the crater for practical reasons, but still boasts dramatic scenery and an interesting cultural experience. Hikes to Lovoni are also available with The Baystay in Rukuruku Village – see 7 Best Budget Accommodation on Ovalau – but expect a full-day adventure. It’s one of The Best Day Trips from the Lomaiviti Islands!
4. Snorkel Among Colourful Reef Fish
Like in many parts of Fiji, the underwater world of the Lomaiviti Islands is simply awesome. Some of the best snorkelling can be found off the coasts of the affordable Leleuvia Island Resort with a reef just 10m/33ft away from the beach. At low tide, you can wade out from the backpacker resort, Caqalai Island Resort, to Snake Island which also provides beautiful snorkelling among black-and-white sea snakes (venomous but timid and harmless… unless you give them a reason to bite). Some budget accommodations also offer snorkelling boat trips to take you to outer reefs, for instance at Kauwai Guesthouse snorkelling trips are around a reasonable FJ$40. Finally, good snorkelling can be found at a fringing reef on Ovalau about 1km (0.6 miles) past Wagadaci Village, as well as on the beach at the Ovalau Holiday Resort, but you will need your own snorkel gear.
5. Paddle in a Kayak, SUP or Outrigger Canoe
Getting out on the water is a free activity when staying at budget accommodations, like The Baystay, Caqalai Island Resort or Leleuvia Island Resort. Leleuvia Island Resort also has the unique option of paddling out on outrigger canoes, a traditional style of canoe used by Pacific Islanders for thousands of years. Another excellent base for kayaking is at Kauwai Guesthouse on Ovalau where you can enjoy half-day paddles through mangrove forests, to Lando Rock, Nukuvula Sandbank, Lando Yalewa (Pirate Island) and over to Moturiki Island.
6. Trek to the Ovalau Waterslide with Bobo
Staying on Bobo’s Farm on Ovalau is an experience in itself, but an exciting activity that is free for house guests (or a small fee for day-trippers) is the walk to the Na Vu Wai waterfall. Bobo will take you on a 20-minute walk through beautiful forest to a fun set of waterslides to play in until your heart’s content! More activities from Bobo are coming up on this list!
7. Indulge in Authentic Fijian Cuisine
Eating in the Lomaiviti Islands is an affordable and authentic experience. Meal plans at many of the accommodations that we list in 9 Best Budget Accommodation in the Lomaiviti Islands range between FJ$25 and FJ$40 per day (or more than double that on Leleuvia Island). But wherever you stay on the Lomaiviti Islands, hosts are keen to share the food that they eat every day: fresh fish from their surrounding waters usually marinated in coconut milk combined with root crops like taro and the interesting breadfruit. Unlike the “resort experience” elsewhere in Fiji, what you get on the Lomaiviti Islands is the real deal!
8. Visit Naigani Island
About 10km/6miles off the north coast of Ovalau, Naigani Island is a fascinating place to visit or even stay with an Airbnb host (don’t forget your FREE $50 Airbnb credit on us)! During the reign of Cakabau, Naigani’s villagers were aligned with his enemy, Verata, where a famous invasion of the island in 1860 left all but two villagers dead (and taken to Bau to be eaten). Today, the island has a small population living in villages, some of which are the descendants of the survivors. You may be able to get a tour of the original village on the northernmost peak of the island as well as an old hillfort. Bobo from Bobo’s Farm also offers a boat trip to the island, which needs a minimum of two people to run but only costs around FJ$45 each.
9. Check Out Niukaubi Hill, Levuka Village and Gun Rock
If you have time to explore a little further in Levuka, then head to the north of the town where you will eventually reach Niukaubi Hill. This small bluff is where the Supreme Court and parliament were located when Levuka was Fiji’s capital. Now stands a war memorial. Continue 300m/984ft over the hill and you will enter Levuka Village, which is backed by a large rockface known as Gun Rock. The rock is named after being used as a target to fire cannons during the colonial era to intimidate the islands’ chief and Cakobau.
10. Hike to Ovalau’s Highest Peaks
If, after all that, you have more energy to burn, exciting inland hiking trails await leading to Ovalau’s highest peaks, Tumuna and Vuniasi. Once again, Bobo from Bobo’s Farm provides a guided 2-hour hike to either one of the peaks for only around FJ$25 per person. Alternatively, another well-established local tour guide on Ovalau, Nox based at the Levuka Homestay, offers the Peak Walk. This 2-hour hike takes you through lush forest to an epic lookout from a prominent mountain behind Levuka. The guided walk costs around FJ$25 per person also.