Lau Islands in eastern Fiji is a group of 60 tiny islands. Looking at the map, they look like spattered green paint on the Pacific Ocean’s blue stretch. Only about 30 islands are inhabited by friendly Fijian locals who make their living from the reefs. They get their basic living supplies from cargo boats coming from the capital city of Suva. Fiji’s other islands are much nearer the capital city and international airport and with luxury resorts to boast. The following, however, are reasons why Lau Islands should also be placed on everyone’s tourism map.
The first reason is clearly Vanau Balavu. Located north of Lau, the island of Vanau Balavu is very scenic and inviting. It has the only official accommodation in all the Lau Islands, the Moana’s Guesthouse. Situated near the traditional village of Lomaloma, the Guesthouse has two thatched bungalows on the beach. They are clean, safe from mosquitoes, with solar power capability, and only a few meters from the island’s amazing reef. The Guesthouse usually arranges exposure trips to the village to encourage cultural interaction. Other activities to look forward to are hiking trips, picnics, horseback riding and a boat ride to the Raviravi Lagoon and the Bay of Islands.
Located at the northernmost part of Lau, the trip to Bay of Islands itself on a motorboat or outrigger boat is very scenic already. Once there, tourists are treated to see intriguing land formations that include beach coves, indented bays, hidden caves, limestone lumps, and naturally protected lagoons. The clear waters here guarantee an unforgettable swimming and snorkeling experience.
Moana’s Guesthouse also offers a feast ala Tongan-style that comes with dancing, kava drinking and a suckling pig. Room rate is only F$95 per person per night, which covers three meals consisting of exotic fruits and local dishes.
The second reason is the Lakeba Island, the fertile and well watered provincial capital of Lau. This island is popular for its rare and exotic bird and plant species. It is the natural habitat for the White-rumped Swiftlet, Polynesian Starling and Slaty Monarch, to mention a few. The tiny island is only 22 square miles (57 square km) in land area. It is blessed with rich grasslands, coconut palms and a forest on the hills.
And finally, tourists should visit this often overlooked group of islands simply for its purity. If not for the cargo boats from Suva, Lau is practically untouched by the rest of the world. Its few inhabitants wear traditional garb and live in old “bures,” as they call their thatched bamboo homes. The islands remain untouched, undeveloped and rich. The people are as pure. They are very friendly, warm and welcoming.
To get to the Lau Islands, simply get on board one of the cargo ships that deliver goods from Savu. They do allow tourists to hop in for a little fee, as they visit three to eight islands in the Lau group. They have no fixed schedule, though. Interested tourists should get in touch with the Fiji Shipping Corporation for schedules and availability of cargo boats.