Getting Off the Beaten Path on Fiji Second-Largest Island: Vanua Levu

September 26, 2016

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Captain Cook Cruises Fiji | Blog

The more undeveloped and rugged sibling to Viti Levu, Fiji’s second largest island of Vanua Levu boasts a plethora of natural beauty that has as of yet remained mostly untouched by tourism. Reminiscent of Hawaii half a century ago, Vanua Levu is the perfect spot for more adventurous spirits or those simply seeking some pristine Fijian beauty.

Should you find your way to one of the tropical Pacific’s best-kept secrets, here’s the inside scoop on some of the activities on Vanua Levu that will have you exploring the more rural side of Fiji like a local.


Simply one of the prettiest and most scenic drives in the South Pacific, with the ocean to one side and brilliant flowers and green foliage to the other, you’ll find yourself treated to sights of vast coconut plantations, virgin rainforest, and old homesteads.

If you’re brave enough to attempt the increasingly rugged road as you ascend from sea level, you’ll be rewarded at the end with stunning views across the island and reefs far below. If you time it just right, you might be able to catch the sun as it descends, bathing the landscape in a myriad of colors.


A lush, tropical rainforest that has remained practically untouched from its natural state, the Wasali Nature Reserve invites you to explore its primal bounties via numerous hiking trails, some of which will lead to waterfalls or hot springs while others will treat you to stunning views across the rainforest and island.


Getting in touch with our favorite water-dwelling cousins is easy with a trip to Vanua Levu’s Natewa Bay. You’re almost guaranteed to spot either a bottlenose or spinner dolphin, as both are quite common visitors to the bay.

A bonus, Natewa bay also offers fantastic diving and snorkeling, changing your excursion from pure sightseeing into participatory. In fact, the island of Vanua Levu also plays host to its very own Shark Alley and a pinnacle section of the reef adorned in large coral-and-sponge called Magic Mountain.


Located about 20 kilometers outside of Labasa, the Nagigi Naag Mandir Temple, which is popularly referred to as The Snake Temple, is home to the Naag Baba Mandir, a sacred growing stone of the Hindu religion that is shaped like a snake. The growing stone has legends concerning its untouchability and indestructibility, drawing plenty of devotees at any given time with its lore.

And just what is a growing stone? It is a stone that actually grows. The stone was recorded to have a height of around six feet in 1969. The stone continued to grow, reaching 8.5 feet by 1972 and 12 feet by 1975. Concerned about having to dismantle the temple, a religious ceremony was performed by the temple’s committee members to reduce the growth rate. Currently the stone is growing at least half an inch each year.


If you’d like to visit Vanua Levu, consider taking our 4 Cultures Discovery Cruise, where you will circumnavigate the whole island. You’ll also get to travel by tender up the Labasa River to visit Labasa itself, an Indian sugar town that qualifies as the major town on the north side of the island. There you can experience the busiest natural produce market and a Bollywood show from Labasa’s biggest ethnic group. Or, you could take our Colonial Fiji Discovery Cruise, where you’ll visit Savusavu, the second town on Vanua Levu. You can visit the hot springs, pearl farm, or markets, and swim in Savusavu Bay.

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