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Northern Viti Levu

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Sunshine Coast
Viti Levu, Fiji Islands

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Navala Village Resort
Bethams Cottages
Charlies Place
Safari Lodge

At first glance, the rolling sun burnt hills of North Viti Levu , with its endless patches of sugar cane fields and a succession of dusty inland towns would appear rather dreary. But delve a little deeper and you’ll discover some charming unexpected sites. The raw Ba Hinterland boasts Fiji ’s most spectacular traditional village, Navala, whilst further east and also inland is Fiji ’s highest mountain, Tomanivi, which can be conquered on a pleasant but arduous half day hike. Off the undulating coast of Rakiraki , the tranquil island of Nananu- i- Ra has fabulous diving and its beaches are a popular retreat with budget travellers. Further east, the most scenic roadside views in Fiji are around Viti Levu Bay with the high peaks of the Nakauvadra Range rising from the flat sugar cane fields.

Getting there and around
There is no airstrip along the north coast so the only public transport is by bus or mini van. Local buses from each town head along the dusty rural roads and some between the local towns, stopping frequently along the way - to hail one on the roadside simply put out your arm and flap your fingers. Otherwise, the best way to get around is by hiring a carrier van or taxi found adjacent to the town’s bus stand.

Ba Hinterland
The shoreline along most of the north coast is dominated by mangrove forests and of little interest, but the charming one- street Indian dominated Tavua Town is delightfully down to earth and a wonderful place to soak up the friendly rural atmosphere. Inland is the high plateau around Nadarivatu, base camp for exploring the 1,323 metre high Tomanivi as well as several other remote walking tracks criss- crossing between villages.

Ba Town
If driving from Nadi Airport on the Kings Road , Ba Town takes an hour to reach, but tucked off the highway on the Ba River it can easily be missed. Apart from stocking up on supplies, or visiting the market, it is probably best bypassed for the town has no instant appeal and is dominated by light industry and the Rarawai sugar mill. Ba has a population of around 15,000, mostly Indians, many being Muslims, making it the fifth largest town in Fiji and it’s football crazy. The only accommodation is at the slightly seedy Ba Hotel on Bank Street which doubles as a bar, nightclub (Fri and Sat 8- 1pm) and bottle shop, and has thirteen spartan rooms with bouncy beds, tiny bathrooms but air- conditioning.

Tavua
An uninspiring forty minute drive through sugarcane fields, heading east from Ba along the Kings Road, brings you to Tavua Town, a smaller more intimate market centre slightly inland from the coast. The Kings Road passes straight through town making it feel busier than it actually is and the roadside is lined with twenty or so small time traders whose tiny shops are packed with all sorts of goods along with the cramped town market at its eastern end. You can easily spend an idle day here chatting with the locals without being pressured to buy anything. But what really gives this town an edge over its neighbours is the charming Tavua Hotel a five minute stroll uphill on Nabuna Road . The white washed colonial style wooden building has eleven airy rooms with air- conditioning, ceiling fans, TV, small bathrooms and beds whose springs dig in a little too deeply. Around the swimming pool are three cottages sleeping five and each with a kitchen. The restaurant serves the best food in town. Eight kilometres inland at Vatukoula is Fiji ’s largest gold mine.

Rakiraki
Back on the Kings Road , the journey east from Tavua Town to Rakiraki passes through the barren wilderness of Yaqara, a cattle farm and home to Fiji Water, and the mystical mountain range of Nakauvadra. Beyond is the obscure market centre of Vaileka Town , known simply as Rakiraki, slightly inland from the main road. The town of around 1,500 residents remains dominated by sugar cane farming and apart from a small market and bus stand has little to entice tourists. The only accommodation is the colonial style Rakiraki Hotel three kilometres from the town centre in Rakiraki Village along the Kings Road .

Ten kilometers east of Rakiraki is Ellington Wharf where a ten minute boat ride takes you over to delightful Nananu- i- Ra. Nananu- i- Ra is a small hilly island surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches. Half of the island is privately owned with plans of luxury holiday homes and resort development managed by the Hilton Group. Thankfully this has yet to materialize and the island remains blissfully down to earth with a couple of budget holiday cottages and backpackers on the laid back south beach. Betham’s has five simply furnished beachfront cottages. At the eastern end of the beach, with two excellent value self contained cottages along the hillside, is Charlie’s. The east beach, on the other side of the hill has better swimming and deeper sands, but the wind is consistently blowing on this exposed windward side of the island which may not suit sunbathers - it’s probably the best spot in Fiji for windsurfing. Safari Lodge offers windsurfing lessons and kite surfing courses.



nananu-i-ra


nananu-i-ra


navala village


navala village



lautoka city


lautoka centre


lautoka market


ba town



abaca sunrise


abaca park


waterfall


nausori highland



navala village


nakauvudra


bukuya highlands


Mt. tomanivi




The placid hills of Volivoli mark the northern point of Viti Levu and look out on the offshore islands of Malake and Nananu-i-Ra. This is typical sugar cane farming land with tin shacks spread intermittently along the dirt road surrounded by small five hectare farm holdings - it’s truly under- utilized land with million dollar views of mountains, islands and ocean. Taking advantage of this serene landscape are two small resorts both with good scuba diving operators. Volivoli Beach Resort is aimed at backpackers, although the beach at high tide is non- existent with one side flanked by mangroves and the other by a rock wall. But as the tide retreats, so appears an eighty metre sand spit and small beach area for sunbathing and bonfires. The owners of Volivoli also operate Ra Divers for scuba diving. A more upmarket option to stay is Wananavu Beach Resort on a beautiful hillside setting. The restaurant here takes pride of place with sweeping views along the coast and serves excellent food. Although there’s no beachfront, a man- made beach with hammocks strung out between coconut trees and a deep water harbour with good snorkelling have been created. Diving at Wananavu is offered by Kai Viti Divers with fast jet boats reaching the seldom visited but raved about Vatu-i-Ra Passage in around 45- minutes.


rakiraki town


rock island


rakiraki bay


nakauvudra


North Coast Accommodation


Taxis and Buses on Viti Levu
Public buses travel between Lautoka and Rakiraki, and between Rakiraki and Suva. The Kings Highway follows the coast to Rakiraki and then cuts inland to Suva, with most of the route tar sealed.

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