The Must-Dos in the Lau Group
Those really looking to get off the beaten track can’t get any further off it than the Lau Islands of Fiji! This large group of very tiny islands is home to some of Fiji’s most remote islands where getting there is all part of the adventure. Untouched reefs with an abundance of marine life, remote villages with a unique Fijian and Tongan culture, uninhabited islands, limestone cathedral caves… Need we go on? Check out some of the experiences the Lau Group has to offer in this list of the best things to do in the Lau Islands.
Remember, the Lau Islands are certainly not touristy. You won’t find any restaurants or shops and only three of the islands have tourist accommodation. Nevertheless, we’ll list those in our 5 Hotels in the Lau Islands so you know all your options. Plus, check out our Guide to the Lau Islands for more advice.
1. Sail Around the Islands
To get to such an isolated part of Fiji, your best option is to charter a sailing vessel and start your adventure from there. That way, everything will be organised for you on stopping off at the Lau Islands. Sailing Fiji offers private charters on their catamaran yacht, Looping, departing from Taveuni. (Check Looping out on Airbnb and don’t forget to get your FREE $50 Airbnb credit on us!) Otherwise, if you have your own boat, make sure to head to the port of entry, Suva on Viti Levu (main island) before making your way back to the Lau Islands. You will need to seek permission before mooring on the Lau Islands. Learn more about how to sail to the Lau Group in The Complete Travel Guide to the Lau Islands.
2. Cruise to the Lau Islands
Your alternative option to visit the Lau Islands is on an 11-day cruise with Captain Cook Cruises that runs just three times per year! Sure, it might be hard to match that with your travel dates, but those who do a bit of organising will benefit from a magical experience to these remote islands, stopping regularly to snorkel, kayak, enjoy cultural experiences, see the underwater world through a glass-bottom boat and enjoy Fijian cuisine. Book your voyage to the Lau Islands with Captain Cook Cruises on Viator and Tripadvisor. And for those on a budget, cargo boats leave at least once a week from Suva stopping by up to eight islands for several hours each across six to seven days. Find out more about transport to the Lau Islands in 5 Ways to Get to the Lau Islands.
3. Scuba Dive in Fiji’s Most Pristine Reefs
Not many people can say they have dived in the untouched reefs of the Lau Islands… Vatuvara Private Islands, the Lau Group’s only resort, has fringing reefs to explore awash with soft and hard coral. They offer PADI instruction so you can gain your Open Water certification during your stay or simply enjoy one of the beginner dives with your guide. There’s also a choice of up to seven dives on the 11-Night Lau Islands Cruise with Captain Cook Cruises, including a wreck dive in the Yasawas, among coral gardens near Taveuni, and in the famous Bay of Islands in the Lau Group. PADI dive courses are also available during the cruise. Find out more about Captain Cook Cruises on Viator and Tripadvisor.
4. Snorkel and Explore Limestone Caves in the Bay of Islands
The Lau Islands’ unmissable attraction, the Bay of Islands, is a bay dotted with islands, islets and a beautiful limestone cave. It’s located on the northern tip of Vanua Balavu and holds a cathedral cave towering 40m/131ft high with a ceiling full of stalactites. The snorkelling here is sensational, being in a Qilaqila Marine Reserve. While a popular anchorage for yachties (contact the government station in Lomaloma on VHF channel 16 for permission to anchor), the Bay of Islands is also included on the itinerary with Captain Cook Cruises (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Sailing Fiji and guided hikes and boat trips are available from Lomaloma, easily organised from Moana’s Guesthouse – see 5 Best Accommodation in the Lau Islands. Day trips from Nadi can also be organised with Pacific Island Air with transport via seaplane.
5. Kayak Among the Mushroom Rocks of Fulaga
Located in the distant southern reaches of the Lau Islands, Fulaga is home to some spectacular diving and unusual rock formations. The island with a flooded basin is peppered with mushroom-shaped islands, making it a fun area to explore by kayak. As there is no accommodation on Fulaga, the island is only accessible by cargo ship and is included on the itinerary of the 11-Night Lau & Kadavu Cruise with Captain Cook Cruises where the use of kayaks is free. Find out more about the cruise on Viator and Tripadvisor.
6. Experience True Serenity with a Private Beach Picnic
Imagine being in your own private corner of the South Pacific for the day… With Vatuvara Private Islands, you and your loved one have the opportunity to be transported to an uninhabited island along with an umbrella, pillows, beach towels, water toys, snorkelling gear and a gourmet picnic. As for the days sailing on the catamaran yacht with Sailing Fiji, almost every day on the charter involves discovering secluded beaches and indulging in divine meals prepared by your onboard chef.
7. Explore Lakeba’s Caves, Hillforts and Fijian-Tongan Villages
Apart from Vanua Balavu, Lakeba is the Lau Islands’ most accessible island. Plus, with a weekly flight to the island, a guesthouse and the possibility of homestays, it’s an island worth staying on for a while. The main village, Tobou, is a fascinating place to see with a strong Tongan influence from the rounded thatched bures to the woven mats called ta’avala that the locals wear around their waists. Exploring the island on foot is easy thanks to a dirt road following the coastline. Local guides can show you some of the island’s caves with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as the largest hillfort in Fiji located on Ketekete Peak (360m). The east coast of Lakeba also holds a collection of small islands that are interesting to explore by boat, if you hire a boatman for the day.
8. Work on Your Wellness
The breathtaking beauty and tranquillity of the Lau Group make the perfect setting to work on your mind, body and soul. Spa treatments and private yoga tuition on your villa’s deck are all included with your stay on the luxurious Vatuvara Private Islands. Alternatively, indulge in a spa treatment or make use of the gym onboard the M.V. Reef Endeavour with Captain Cook Cruises (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
9. Surf Fiji’s Least-Crowded Breaks
If you’re a keen surfer then don’t miss the awesome breaks off Matuku Island. This island located in the Moala Group, south of Lomaiviti and east of Kadavu, experiences incredible swell that surfers in the know die to get to. Of course, the surf breaks are hard to reach and are only available to tourists through Surf Lau Fiji which offers surf charters organised from Nadi. Find out more about surfing The Complete Guide to Surfing in Fiji.
10. Stay With the Locals
Unless you have FJ$10,000 to spare for a night on the Vatuvara Private Island, your best affordable option is to make some connections and stay with the locals through a homestay. Check out our advice in How to Pick the Best Village Stay for You in Fiji. If you can, however, afford a night of absolute luxury on Vatuvara Private Islands, it would sure make for the most memorable experience in Fiji and support the island’s foundation protecting valuable marine life in the Lau Islands.
11. Embrace a Simpler Life
Escape modern-day hassles and enjoy the simpler life on the Lau Islands. The inhabitants live on simpler things, gather their own food and live on Fiji time. Experiencing this way of life might just make you discover another meaning to the word “rich”.
12. Experience a Sunday Church Service
Almost all the Lau Island villages have a church that comes alive with heartwarming singing every Sunday. Wear your Sunday best and join in on this cultural experience. Learn more about church services in our Guide to the Religions in Fiji.
13. Relax on the Beach
One of the most stunning features of the Lau Islands is the pristine sandy white beaches. There’s no way you’re not going to spend some time soaking in the sun, go for a swim or taking a stroll to feel the sand between your toes. Spot the black-tip shark fins swimming by and enjoy the serenity of being on an island in paradise.
14. Embark On an Island Excursion
Accommodations and villages all have their own boats and are often more than happy to take you island hopping to the very closest neighbouring islands. You’ll visit other villages, where you’ll need to bring kava, a local root crop used for crushing and making into an earthy traditional drink, so they can perform a kava ceremony for the island visitors. (Find out more about visiting villages in our Guide to Fijian Village Etiquette).
15. Do Some Game Fishing
There sure is some exciting fishing on offer in the Lau Islands, especially off Vatuvara Island. Vatuvara Private Islands takes guests out in their 11m/36ft Naiad boat for trolling, popping, jigging and/or deep-sea game fishing, catching some of the world’s most targeted game fish. We’re talking mahimahi, yellowfin tuna, giant trevally, sailfish and much more (see What Types of Fish Can You Fish For in Fiji?) The resort promotes sustainable fishing so operates on a catch and release policy.