Ovalau Island
Lomaiviti, Fiji

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The Lomaiviti Islands

Ovalau Island is a mountainous tropical island with a central crater and boasting historical Levuka Town , the old capital of Fiji which attracts most visitors to the island

The coastline around Ovalau is quite rugged and mostly without beaches, dotted here and there with small villages. The drier coastline of North Ovalau has rolling grassy hills overlooking the island of Naigani with a small resort and several large hill forts. Off the south coast are a handful of beautiful small islands including the revitalized backpacker resorts of Caqalai and Leleuvia, both on tiny coral islands.

Levuka Town sits on the east coast of Ovalau and acts as a good base for exploring the islands sites, most of which lie along the north coast. Seven kilometers north of Levuka is the large Catholic Mission and boarding school at Cawaci. The mausoleum styled Bishop’s Tomb sits on a bluff overlooking the sea and along the coast with the impressive twin tower church of St John’s College with its thick whitewashed coral stone walls standing out against the green mountains. From Cawaci, the road climbs over a series of undulating hills with pleasant views towards Wakaya Island .

At the northern point of Ovalau, fourteen kilometres from Levuka, is the beautiful white sandy beach alongside Arovudi Village . There’s an impressive rock foundation between the beach and village on which once stood a bure kalou or priest’s temple. To visit the village, you can take a half day tour from Levuka but it’s well worth the while staying a hundred metres along the beach at Selano Village Stay. You can also hike to a large hillfort on top of Tomuna Peak where the old village was protected by a series of rock walls three feet deep and six feet high.

Four kilometres further along the coast, past Taviya Village, is Bobo’s Farm, a wonderful five hundred acre private farm stay full of every imaginable local fruit tree. A five minute trail alongside a stream leads to an unusual black sand beach with good snorkelling and all tide swimming, but you’ll need to bring your own snorkel and mask. Another trail heads inland to a waterfall and natural jacuzzi pool. Bobo can also organize fishing trips, snorkelling to a sand bank or a three hour hike to Lovoni Crater.

Lovoni Crater in the heart of Ovalau is one of Ovalau’s iconic attractions, made famous by the feared tribe living behind an impregnable hillfort in the centre of the crater. The easiest way to visit the crater is by road with Epi’s Tours , but the most enjoyable is to walk with a guide from either Levuka or Bobo’s Farm.

Caqalai & Leleuvia
Thirty minutes by boat from Levuka, and about the same distance to mainland Viti Levu , are two small backpacker resorts on tiny uninhabited coral islands. The pick is Caqalai Island Resort with ten bures on the edge of the beachfront. It takes fifteen minutes to walk around the white sandy beach which surrounds this tiny coral island, and you can wade out to Snake Island at low tide with good snorkelling and the chance to spot the black and white poisonous sea snakes. Even better snorkelling is at Honeymoon Island , a sand spit five kilometres to the east where you’ll likely spot small grey tip reef sharks hiding amongst the coral reefs. Two kilometres south of Caqalai is its close rival, Leleuvia Island Resort. Slightly larger than Caqalai and with an equally stunning beach setting, there are eight thatch bures.

Getting there and around
The small airstrip at Bureta is on the south west side of Ovalau. A minibus shuttles passengers between the airstrip and Levuka Town for $5. Two large passenger ferries cross over from Viti Levu direct to Levuka Port: Venu Shipping (2hrs 15mins) is the easiest, with two weekly departures from Walu Bay in Suva but no fixed schedule; Patterson Brothers (5hrs) depart around 3pm from Natovi Landing, a rather isolated spot about mid way up the east coast of Viti Levu four times a week.

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