The Must-Dos in the Lomaiviti Group, inc. Ovalau, Levuka and Beyond!
Encompassing a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a mix of tourist destinations and unspoilt islands, and beautiful underwater worlds, the Lomaiviti Islands is a getaway that would be a shame to overlook when exploring Fiji. Situated off the eastern coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, the Lomaiviti Islands are not all that difficult to get to but well worth discovering to uncover the cultural and historical sites of the area. Ovalau is on most visitors’ bucket lists, being the largest island in the Lomaiviti Group and being the island with Fiji’s first colonial capital. Beyond are paradise islands holding Fijian villages, beautiful sandy beaches, luxurious resorts and much more. Just take a look at this list of things to do in the Lomaiviti Islands and you’ll see what amazing experiences you are in for. And remember, if you thought Fiji on the mainland was laidback, wait until you experience “Fiji time” on the Lomaiviti Group.
1. Hike to Lovoni Village in a Volcanic Crater
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 are best told on a tour with Epi’s Midland Tour with a guide from the village itself. 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 to the chief before you enjoy lunch with Epi’s family. The village is now located along the side of the caldera for practical reasons, but still boasts dramatic scenery and an interesting cultural experience. Full-day hikes to Lovoni are also available with The Baystay in Rukuruku Village – see 7 Best Budget Accommodation on Ovalau for more information.
2. Explore the Historic Town of Levuka
The beautifully preserved Levuka town was once the capital of Fiji and a bustling metropolis 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 much more. Start your exploration of the town at The Morris Hedstrom building home to the Levuka Community Centre where you can pick up maps for a self-guided tour, join a guided tour, or check out the relics in the small Levuka Museum – see 5 Fascinating Museums in Fiji or point #13 in this list. Other historical points of interest in Levuka include the Church of the Sacred Heart (1858) located on Beach Street, and around Nasau Pak the Ovalau Club (1904), the Town Hall (1898) and the Navoka Methodist Church (1862). See more activities like this in 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in the Lomaiviti Islands.
3. Scuba Dive with Sharks, Turtles and Vibrant Coral Reefs
The Lomaiviti Islands are packed with exciting dive sites. The PADI dive centre at the Toberua Island Resort takes visitors to more than 10 dives sites – a highlight being Shark Reef with white-tip reef sharks among dramatic coral overhangs. Additionally, Sacred Reef offers something for all diver levels with caves home to sharks, turtles, groupers, eagle rays and more! Wakaya Club & Spa also makes an excellent base for diving with the figure-of-eight coral reef half wrapping around the island and protected as a marine reserve.
4. Meet the Farm Animals and Slide Down the Natural Waterslides at Bobo’s Farm
Bobo’s Farm, located on the north coast of Ovalau between the villages of Rukuruku and Taviya, not only does budget-friendly accommodation (see 9 Best Family Resorts on the Lomaiviti Islands) but the farm is also open for day trips. Visit the farm and the friendly Bobo for a tour of the farm, along with the dogs, cats, pigs and cows, as well as a short walk through the rainforest to a natural waterslide. It’s a great option if you’re travelling with kids. See 10 Things To Do in the Lomaiviti Islands with Kids for more suggestions.
5. Kayak Through Mangroves, Over Coral Reefs or in an Outrigger Canoe
Another great option for all ages, explore the azure waters of the Lomaivitis by paddling out in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. For a bit of structure, the kayak route through the mangroves from the Kauwai Guesthouse on Ovalau is a fun option. Or for something a little different, paddle out on one of Leleuvia Island Resort‘s outrigger canoes – the real Pacific Island way! The serenity of this activity also makes it one of the 7 Romantic Activities in the Lomaiviti Islands for Couples.
6. Drink Kava with the Locals
It’s likely that you will have heard about Fiji’s national drink “Kava” or “Yaqona”. This narcotic drink made with ground-up yaqona roots is used during welcoming ceremonies for new village visitors – known as kava ceremonies. This is how most tourists will experience kava in Fiji, but on the Lomaiviti Islands, you’ll get to experience the drink as the locals do – drinking casually while socialising. For instance, Leleuvia Island Resort does a weekly lovo and kava night where kava will be prepared for guests to enjoy throughout the night. At The Baystay on Ovalau, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to join your hosts and other locals for Kava nights if you wish to. See more foodie experiences like this in 8 Things to Do in the Lomaiviti Islands for Foodies.
7. Indulge in a Spa Treatment
While the beauty of the Lomaiviti Islands and balmy ocean breeze are relaxing enough, enhancing your state of mind with a spa treatment is sure to take you to another level. Indulge in a range of treatments combined with Pure Fiji products at the Wakaya Spa on Wakaya Island or in the massage bure (Fijian bungalow) of the Toberua Island Resort. You can also work on your wellness at one of the regular yoga retreats on Toberua Island or the Kauwai Guesthouse on Ovalau. For more activities like this, see 8 Luxury Activities in the Lomaiviti Islands.
8. Fish for Some of the World’s Most Exciting Game Species
Fishing is a way of life in Fiji and something visitors can easily enjoy themselves. Make it a relaxing trip fishing for small reef fish with Caqalai Island Resort, Bobo’s Farm and Kauwai Guesthouse. Alternatively, amp up the experience by targeting large game fish like mahimahi, giant trevally, yellowfin tuna and much more on a sports fishing charter available with Toberua Island Resort or Wakaya Club & Spa.
9. Play Golf or Tennis at a Private Island Resort
Even on a secluded island in the South Pacific, you can find modern joys in life like golf courses only accessible at low tide and tennis courts… At the Toberua Island Resort, the 9-hole golf course offers fun challenges including a hole that is only playable at low tide. The golf course on Wakaya Island is also a 9-hole course meandering through a colonial coconut plantation. In addition, Wakaya Club & Spa also has a fully lite tennis court for guests to take advantage of.
10. Visit Naigani Island
About 10km/6miles off the north coast of Ovalau, Naigani Island is a fascinating place to visit or even stay the night with an Airbnb host (and here’s some FREE $50 Airbnb credit to put toward your stay)! During the reign of a Fijian king, Cakabau, Naigani’s villagers were aligned with his enemy, Verata, which lead to a famous invasion of the island in 1860. All but two villagers were killed (and taken to Bau to be eaten). Today, the island has a small population, some of which are the descendants of the survivors. You may be able to get a tour of the original village and an old hillfort on the northernmost peak of the island. Bobo from Bobo’s Farms (see above) also offers a boat trip to the island.
11. Take Part in a Turtle Calling Ritual
Culture and nature come together in this unique activity only available on the Lomaiviti Islands. Local guides and resorts will organise a visit to the Nacamaki Village on Koro Island. Not only is the volcanic island of Koro a stunning sight to see, but calling the ancestral gods of the local village people is an experience like no other.
12. Visit Gun Rock
Another historical site, mixed with some incredible scenery, is Gun Rock nearby Levuka. The high hill was once used by the British to practice shooting, hence the name. The “rock” was often shot by the British army as a way to intimidate the local villages. Nowadays, the rock is a special place where you will need to ask permission of the local chief or his family before climbing the rock.
13. Check Out the Levuka Museum
“Scavenge” your way through the Levuka Museum (yes, we chose our words carefully) and discover the fascinating history of the Lomaiviti Group. While the exhibition feels more like a jumble sale store, it makes for a fun alternative to a polished curated museum. Check it out for one of the most unique museums you’ll ever go to! (And check out more museums in Fiji with our list of 5 Best Museums in Fiji).
14. Do Some Night Snorkelling
Sure, you can snorkel almost anywhere in Fiji, but there are not many places where night snorkelling is an option! Those who jump into the water after dark gets to see a unique array of marine life that becomes more active after dark, such as hammerhead sharks and lionfish alongside beautiful coral. Liveaboard boats are your best option for doing this activity. Find out more in our How to pick the best boat stay in for you Fiji and the 5 Best Liveaboards in Fiji.
15. Experience Culture and History at Moturiki Island
Not only is Moturiki Island home to 10 different villages where you’ll get to see the lives of day-to-day Fijians in action, but the island also holds the site of one of the earliest Lapita settlements. Lapita was a civilisation of people living in the South Pacific during prehistoric times. In fact, there is also a site on the island where the oldest skeleton in Fiji was found dating back 3,000 years! There are many fascinating stories from this island and a village visit there will definitely be one to remember. Speaking of remembering, remember to abide by the Fiji village rules, which you can learn more about in our Guide to Fiji Village Etiquette.
16. Relax on the Beach
This might not be the most unique activity you can do in the Lomaiviti Islands (or the whole of Fiji for that matter) but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great thing to do! The Lomaiviti Islands are scattered with white sandy beaches that are ideal for long walks or just plain old relaxing. Many of the Lomaiviti Island resorts have their own beaches where you’ll be able to kick back with a cocktail, soak in the sun and experience “Fiji time“.
17. Do Some Bird Watching
On islands full of lush native forest, the Lomaiviti Islands are a great place to watch birds found nowhere else in the world. With so few people around, the birds are active and plentiful, from the super colourful parrots and doves found in the forest to seabirds gliding across the ocean. Keen twitchers should definitely add Gau Island to their itinerary, one of only two bird sanctuaries in Fiji. Find out more in the 10 Best Places to See Birds in Fiji.