© Ed Bierman on Flickr
© Ed Bierman on Flickr

How to Take the Ferry to Vanua Levu

© Ed Bierman on Flickr

The Guide to the Ferries to Vanua Levu

The large island in the north of Fiji is certainly enticing and the journey to get there by ferry is all the more alluring to the adventurous traveller. Vanua Levu might be Fiji’s second-largest island but it is far less-travelled making for an authentic experience of lush tropical rainforest, Fijian villages and small Indo-Fijian towns. The most affordable and local way to get to the “Friendly North” is via one of the ferries! We go over how to take the ferry to Vanua Levu in this complete guide.

For more advice on visiting the island, check out The Complete Guide to Vanua Levu and the 10 Best Resorts on Vanua Levu.

Quick Tips for Taking a Ferry to Vanua Levu

  • Boarding and sailing schedules for ferries to Vanua Levu can change with little notice, so we recommend double-checking ferry schedules on the Facebook Page or ticket office of your chosen company on the day of departure
  • The sea can get pretty rough on the journey to Vanua Levu, so this trip is not for the faint-hearted
  • Ferry trips also include bus travel between the main towns stated on the route. You can catch the buses for the ferries from the Suva bus station/carrier stand
  • The trip to Vanua Levu by ferry is long, so if you’re on limited time in Fiji, we recommend using one of the other 6 Ways to Get to Vanua Levu (& Get Around Vanua Levu).

For more tips, check out the 10 Tips for Taking the Ferry in Fiji.

How to Take the Ferry to Vanua Levu© FijiPocketGuide.com

The Vanua Levu Ferries

There are three main passenger ferries that travel between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Patterson Brothers Shipping Co., Goundar Shipping and Interlink Shipping Line. All of them provide bus and ferry services to get between the islands’ major towns. Ferries are by no means modern, often sharing with cargo, but it’s quite the adventure.

Patterson Brothers

Patterson Brothers operates daily sailings in their cargo, vehicle and passenger ferries between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Their ferry tickets also include bus services to the nearest major towns.

Goundar Shipping

Goundar Shipping, also operating cargo, vehicle and passenger ferries, has a series of ships known as the Lomaiviti Princess. They operate regular ferries between Suva and Vanua Levu. Some ships are more upgraded than others but depending on what ship you’re on, passengers are usually sprawled between the cushioned seating areas, the canteen with tables and chairs and the floor.

Interlink Shipping Line

Interlink Shipping Line has two vessels that serve Vanua Levu. The MV Ohana is a more modern and faster ship doing the daytime runs between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, while the older MV Westerland does slower nightly trips.

How to Take the Ferry to Vanua Levu© Pixabay

The Vanua Levu Ferry Routes and Durations

All of the ferries to Vanua Levu have very similar routes and services. The major difference is that some are faster than others. We recommend double-checking schedules even on the day of departure as schedules often change with little notice.

Patterson Brothers Routes and Durations

Patterson Brothers has daily sailings to Vanua Levu, including:

  • Suva – Natovi – Nabouwalu – Labasa
  • Suva – Natovi – Nabouwalu – Savusavu

They also offer bus transfers from Lautoka and Nadi to catch the above ferry services.

The ferry crossing between Natovi and Nabouwalu takes approximately 6 hours with a 2-hour bus journey and boarding between Suva and Natovi and a 1h30min to 2-hour bus journey between Nabouwalu and Savusavu/Labasa.

Goundar Shipping Routes and Durations

Gounder Shippings offers several routes through Fiji that include Vanua Levu, such as:

  • Suva – Natovi – Nabouwalu – Labasa/Savusavu (daily/sometimes twice daily)
  • Suva – Savusavu – Taveuni – Suva (Tuesdays and Fridays)
  • Natuvu – Taveuni (daily).

The ferry crossing including all bus transfers with Goundar Shipping is approximately 12 hours.

Interlink Shipping Line Routes and Durations

Interlink Shipping Line’s route to Vanua Levu is:

  • Suva – Natovi – Nabouwalu – Labasa/Savusavu.

The ferry crossing between Natovi and Nabouwalu takes approximately 3 to 4h30mins, while bus travel is an added 1-2 hours on either end of the ferry crossing.

How to Take the Ferry to Vanua Levu© FijiPocketGuide.com

The Cost of the Ferries to Vanua Levu and Where to Purchase Tickets

Taking a ferry to Vanua Levu is by far the cheapest way to get to the island. All of the shipping companies have very similar pricing to each other and include all bus transport too. While some ferries may allow you to buy a ticket onboard (except Patterson Brothers), we recommend buying a ticket in advance to get up-to-date boarding times.

Patterson Brothers

The approximate prices for the Patterson Brothers ferries and bus services are as follows:

Price Suva – Savusavu: Adult FJ$60 / Child FJ$35
Price Suva – Nabouwalu: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$35
Price Suva – Labasa: Adult FJ$60 / Child FJ$35
Price Natovi – Nabouwalu: Adult FJ$45 / Child FJ$30
Price Natovi – Labasa: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$35
Price Nadi – Nabouwalu: Adult FJ$65 / Child FJ$40
Price Nadi/Lautoka – Labasa: Adult FJ$70 / Child FJ$45
Price Lautoka – Nabouwalu: Adult FJ$65 / Child FJ$40
Price Lautoka – Savusavu: Adult FJ$70 / Child FJ$45

Tickets can be purchased from Suit I & II, Epworth House, Nina Street in Suva, 15 Tukani Street in Lautoka and from their two offices in Labasa: one on Nasekula Road (opposite St. Marys’ Primary School) and the other in the Telecom Building at the back of the Post Office.

Goundar Shipping

The approximate prices for the Goundar Shipping ferries and bus services are as follows:

Price Suva – Savusavu/Labasa: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$25

There are higher fares for a sleeper cabin and first-class, which are worth considering for the long journey between Suva and Vanua Levu. Tickets can be purchased from the Goundar Shipping ticket offices on Pier Street, Suva (opposite Jacks) and 22 Freeston Road, Walu Bay, Suva.

Interlink Shipping Line

The approximate prices for the Interlink Shipping Line ferries and bus services are as follows:

Price Suva – Savusavu: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$35
Price Suva – Nabouwalu: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$35
Price Natovi – Nabouwalu/Labasa: Adult FJ$45 / Child FJ$30
Price Suva – Labasa: Adult FJ$55 / Child FJ$35

Tickets can be purchased from the Interlink Shipping Line ticket stands at the Flea Market in Suva, the Lot 1 Grantham Road, Raiwaqa Buses Depot in Suva, and Lot 4 Wainikoro Dama Road, Volovi in Labasa.

For more ferry prices, check out How Much Do Water Taxis & Ferries Cost in Fiji?

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