Travel Guide to the Lau Group
Hardcore Fiji travel enthusiasts, this is the island group for you. It’s the true final frontier, the least-visited islands in the archipelago of Fiji: the Lau Islands. Sixty or so small islands are sparsely scattered across the eastern borders of Fiji, some islands closer to Tonga than Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. With that, the culture of the islands is a hybrid of Fijian and Tongan seen through the rounded thatched bures and woven mats wrapped as skirts. Those with either an open mind or a fair bit of money can surely make a trip to the Lau Islands work and will be welcomed by true Fijian hospitality and some of the most pristine islands and clearest waters you’re ever likely to see. We’ll guide you through the logistics with this complete travel guide to the Lau Islands.
As for inspiration on what to do there, start with the 10 Must-Dos in the Lau Islands.
Fast Facts About the Lau Islands
Location: Eastern Fiji (see map below)
Climate: Daily average temperature – 25°C/77°F, yearly average rainfall – 2,000mm/79″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in Fiji?
Time Zone: FJT / GMT+12/+13
Find out more in What is the Fiji Time Zone?
How to get to the Lau Islands: Direct international flights from the South Pacific islands, Australia, New Zealand and Korea land at Nadi International Airport on the island Viti Levu. Travellers will need to make their way to Suva, on the eastern coast of Viti Levu, to take weekly flights or cargo boats to the Lau Islands. Alternatively, a cruise departs three times a year from Port Denarau and charter flights depart from both Nadi and Suva. See 5 Ways to Get to the Lau Islands for more information.
Budget Holidays to the Lau Islands
Being on a budget is the way to have the biggest adventure in the Lau Islands. This might look like getting on a cargo boat in Suva, equipped with yaqona roots for village homestays, some cash to get you by, and having an open mind for whatever adventures come your way. The hospitality on the Lau Islands is generous and providing, so if you plan a homestay or a stay in one of the guesthouses (see below) then hosts are usually very eager to show you around and offer plenty of things to do. However, be prepared to pay your way for guides, accommodation (meals will certainly be included) and possible boat trips. The former two will cost you FJ$50-$100 each time, while boat trips with locals will be your biggest expense of up to FJ$400 in cash or around FJ$50 an hour.
Things to Do on the Lau Islands on a Budget
- Remarkable snorkelling can be found just about anywhere, but you will need your own snorkelling gear
- Immerse in the unique Fijian-meets-Tongan culture in a village homestay, experiencing a kava ceremony soon after arrival (see Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village for advice)
- Explore Vanua Balavu – one of the largest and easiest islands to get to – with a guided 5km (3.1-mile) walk from Lomaloma to the southern tip of the island, hot springs and burial caves from Namaka Village, and boat trips to the Bay of Islands in the north
- Go island-hopping on a cargo boat from Suva. The six to seven-day excursion has you stopping by up to eight islands, each for a few hours at a time – find out more in 5 Ways to Get to the Lau Islands
- Explore Lakeba which has homestays in the village of Tubou, impressive limestone caves and a scattering of islands to explore by boat – hire a guide from Nukunuku Village.
Where to Stay in the Lau Islands on a Budget
With only three official accommodations on the Lau Islands, budget travellers are in luck with the majority of them being budget. Moana’s Guesthouse is on Vanua Balavu and includes board and meals for around FJ$100 a night. A similar deal can be found at the Lakeba Guesthouse on Lakeba. Alternatively, homestays with Fijian families provide an insightful cultural experience in basic accommodation staying with families. These are best organised with the Lau Provincial Council Office in Suva. Expect to pay around FJ$50 per night which includes meals.
Luxury Holidays to the Lau Islands
Perhaps the most straightforward way of exploring the Lau Islands is to travel in luxury. Charter flights, sailing charters and cruise ships make it easy to stay, travel and see the sights of the Lau Islands. Additionally, the Lau Islands’ only resort is the five-star Vatuvara Private Islands. Start planning your luxury getaway with The Luxury Guide to the Lau Islands.
5 Luxury Activities in the Lau Islands
- Play golf on a private island
- Scuba dive among some of Fiji’s untouched reefs
- Visit the Bay of Islands by seaplane
- Treat yourself to some deep-sea game fishing
- Experience true serenity with a private beach picnic.
See more indulgent activities in our list of 10 Luxury Activities in the Lau Islands.
Where to Stay in Luxury in the Lau Island
The Lau Group’s only official resort is the luxurious private island resort, Vatuvara Private Islands. Other accommodation can be found in the cabins of the M.V. Reef Endeavour with Captian Cook Cruises on their 11-Night Lau & Kadavu Cruise (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), or in one of the staterooms of the sailing catamaran, LOOPING, with Sailing Fiji. Check Looping out on Airbnb and don’t forget to get your FREE $50 Airbnb credit on us!
Family Holidays to the Lau Islands
Needless to say, there are no kids’ clubs or babysitting services in the Lau Islands. Due to the lack of tourist infrastructure on the Lau Islands, travelling this island group with young children can be a challenge. However, here are some suggestions.
How to Travel with a Family in the Lau Group
The best options for families travelling with kids is on the M.V. Reef Endeavour with Captain Cook Cruises or by hiring a private sailing charter with Sailing Fiji. Captain Cook Cruises has cabins suitable for families and offers a range of family-friendly activities, while Sailing Fiji has three staterooms onboard, offering plenty of rooms comfortable for a family of four. Find out more about the cruises on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Are the Accommodations Suitable for Families?
The resort in the Lau Islands, Vatuvara Private Islands, is for guests over 16 years old, therefore is not suitable for families. Homestays and guesthouses are an option, but best left for families with older kids, as there may be a concern with have safe drinking water for the little ones and a lack of life jackets available on local boats.
Alternative, Family Holidays in Fiji
If you want the adventure and off-the-beaten-track holiday that the Lau Islands provide, take a look at similar options by following these guides:
Adult-Only Holidays to the Lau Islands
Those looking for paradise without kids are in luck, as the Lau Group’s only resort is, in fact, an adult-only resort. With a policy of guests being over 16 years old, the resort achieves effortless tranquillity and the right tone for a romantic getaway.
Other options for an adult-only experience in the Lau Islands is embarking on a private sailing charter with Sailing Fiji where you get to choose who you share this exclusive experience with. Find out more in our 5 Ways to Get to the Lau Islands.
For inspiration on what to do while you’re in the Lau Islands, see 10 Must-Dos in the Lau Islands.
Foodie Holidays to the Lau Islands
Food is going to be a fundamental part of your trip to the Lau Group, so here’s a quick rundown on what to expect.
Meals in Guesthouses and Homestays
Guesthouses and homestays offer the real deal, where food is authentically Fijian using fish fresh from the sea (bones and all), root crops straight from the gardens such as cassava, fruit from the trees such as breadfruit, and more. Be sure to have a few bottles of water with you, as many outer islands in Fiji use rainwater storage in barrels that may or may not have traces of waterborne viruses that our foreign stomachs may not be used to. See 6 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Fiji.
Meals on Vatuvara Private Islands
This island resort is where you’ll find the Lau Group’s only restaurants – two restaurants, in fact. Dining here is a gourmet experience using ingredients from the resort’s garden and fish from the surrounding waters. Find out more in The Luxury Guide to the Lau Islands.
Meals on Cruises
Those on a sailing cruise with Sailing Fiji will have an onboard chef to prepare European-style meals using local ingredients. On Captain Cook Cruises (Viator/Tripadvisor), meals are served buffet style with Fijian and international dishes, from barbecues to lovo feasts. Finally, the cargo ships to the Lau Islands also serve basic meals to passengers but this is more so sustenance than a “foodie” experience.
Weddings and Honeymoons in the Lau Islands
Finally, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway to some of the most pristine islands in the South Pacific, then the Lau Islands are pretty tempting. You won’t find any wedding services like what is available in the resorts around other Fiji island groups. The Lau Group can, however, be an ultra-special honeymoon destination, especially at the Vatuvara Private Islands or onboard the private sailing yacht with Sailing Fiji.
Romantic Things to Do in the Lau Islands
Couples can indulge in private island picnics, private yoga classes, breathtaking scenic flights and more. See our The Luxury Guide to the Lau Islands, which is the best resource to plan your honeymoon in the Lau Group.