What to Do on Vanua Levu
Looking to explore the real Fiji away from the tourist crowds? Then head to Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu! Far less populated than the main island of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu provides adventurous travellers with a great mix of land and water activities. Forest parks of tropical jungles, hidden waterfalls, quaint villages and characterful towns: Vanua Levu has it all for some on-land adventures. Of course, there’s always plenty of reasons to get on the water whereever you are in Fiji, and Vanua Levu has it’s own special reasons, whether it’s to scuba dive in the fantastic Namena Marine Reserve or swim in a beautiful swimming hole under a waterfall. Check out what you could be getting up to on the island with this list of things to do on Vanua Levu.
1. Go Diving in the Namena Marine Park
Who doesn’t want to go diving in Fiji? If you’re looking for a particularly beautiful place to scuba dive, then tour with Vanua Levu dive operators to the Namena Marine Park. What was once an overfished corner of the ocean is now thriving with tropical fish, eels, seahorses, sharks and a colourful array of coral thanks to the establishment of a marine reserve. Fishing is now forbidden in the area, making it a spectacular place to dive just off the small island of Namena Lala lying 25km (15.5miles) off Vanua Levu’s southeastern shore.
2. Visit Savusavu
It’s unlikely that you would miss the largest hub of Vanua Levu, but just in case, make sure you take a trip to Savusavu. This picturesque harbourside town is packed with authentic restaurants, eclectic watering holes and busy markets. It’s a great place to mingle with the locals and observe the life of a “large” town in Fiji. While there’s a lot going on in the town, with its busy marina, Savusavu somehow always feels peaceful. See why they call it the “Hidden Paradise of Fiji”.
3. Immerse in Nature at the Waisali Rainforest Reserve
Spanning 120ha (300 acres), the Waisali Rainforest Reserve is where you’ll find some of Fiji’s best flora and fauna. Take a walk through the forest looking out for colourful birds and even the native Fiji ground frog. A ranger at the entrance to the park will tell you information on the walks and what you can see in the park before you set off on the short but worthwhile hike through the forest. Good walking shoes and insect repellent are a must! Check out our 5 Best Insect Repellent for Fiji.
4. Visit Labasa
Vanua Levu’s second largest town, Labasa provides a very different town experience on the island with the population predominately being Indo-Fijian. For this reason, you’ll find a great array of curry houses, shops selling interesting souvenirs and saris, and characterful shops. The town has a couple of interesting features to check out, such as the sugar mill and the sugar cane trains that run through the town.
5. Go Swimming at the Nakawaga Waterfall
One of the most popular waterfalls on the island is the impressive Nakawaga Waterfall! After a short but steep climb through the jungle, you will emerge at this powerful waterfall and fun swimming hole. Just a 10-minute drive north of Savusavu, the waterfall is best accessed with a guide from the local village or as part of a tour with your resort. You should only swim to the waterfall is you are a strong swimmer.
6. Take a Tour Around a Pearl Farm
One of the more unique activities on Vanua Levu is the JH Hunter Pearl Farm Tour in Savusavu Bay. Learn how fine elegant jewellery is made at this underwater pearl farm where you’ll see black-lipped oysters from a glass bottom boat. Learn about how these fascinating sea creatures create their rare pearls with distinctive earthly colours. JH Hunter also has a showroom in Savusavu where you can purchase some pearl jewellery for yourself.
7. Enjoy Culture and Relaxation at the Savusavu Hot Springs
The town of Savusavu is scattered with hot springs, most of which are on the shoreline best seen at low tide. The inland hot springs are the best place to go for the Savusavu Hot Springs experience. You’ll see how the locals use the hot springs to cook food. Alternatively, unwind in the hot spring water yourself with hot spring baths organised for visitors.
8. Go Scuba Diving at the Rainbow Reef
Located in the Somosomo Strait between Vanua Levu and Taveuni, the Rainbow Reef is another one of Fiji’s great diving locations. Aptly-named, the Rainbow Reef has a vast array of colours within the coral reef which is fed by warm currents passing through the Strait bringing rich nutrients for marine life in the area. The reef is known for holding almost all of the types of marine species found in Fiji.
9. Visit the Flora Tropica Gardens
This small garden in the hills overlooking Savusavu is a great place to get a beautiful vantage point of Savusavu Bay. A short walk taking about 20 minutes takes you through tropical gardens awash with colours flowers. There’s also an impressive display of more than 300 palm species from all over the world.
10. Do a Fishing Trip
There is no lack of fishing trips on Vanua Levu. Inquire at your resort reception and you’re sure to be on a fishing boat in no time. Try the traditional method of Fijian handline fishing or go big game fishing for Blue Marlin, Yellow Fin Tuna, Giant Trevally and more (just check out What Types of Fish Can You Fish For in Fiji). Some fishing tours will take you to some great snorkelling and scenic spots around the island too.
11. Snorkel at Split Rock
Tours and resorts can take you to one of Vanua Levu’s best snorkelling spots known as Split Rock. Named due to a deep underwater chasm splitting a huge rock in half, Split Rock provides an amazing underwater eco-system for all sorts of tropical fish. The snorkelling spot can be found just off the coast of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort outside of Savusavu.
12. Take a Road Trip
Rent a car and hit the Hibiscus Highway and/or the Cross Island Road to discover the stunning island scenery and Fijian villages that this island has to offer. Drive to La Dolca Vita to see the largest bay in the South Pacific, discover more hot springs near the village of Daria, or watch the sunset from the end of the Hibiscus Highway at Buca Bay.