Lau Islands Guide to Fiji’s Hidden Paradise

As a visitor to the Lau Islands in Fiji, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Remote Location: The Lau Islands are located in the eastern part of Fiji and are known for their remote and untouched beauty. Access to the islands is limited, and transportation options may be limited compared to more popular tourist destinations in Fiji.
  2. Cultural Richness: The Lau Islands are home to a rich and diverse culture, with traditional practices and customs still preserved by the local communities. Visitors can immerse themselves in authentic Fijian culture by participating in cultural ceremonies, traditional dances, and interacting with the local villagers.
  3. Natural Beauty: The Lau Islands are renowned for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coral reefs. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, diving, and exploring the underwater world teeming with marine life. The islands also offer opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and exploring lush rainforests.
  4. Limited Infrastructure: Due to their remote location, facilities and amenities in the Lau Islands may be limited. Visitors should be prepared for basic accommodations, limited dining options, and minimal tourist infrastructure. It’s advisable to bring essential supplies and plan ahead for transportation and accommodations.
  5. Respect Local Customs: As with any visit to Fiji, it’s essential to respect the local customs and traditions of the Lau Islands. Visitors should dress modestly, ask for permission before entering villages or sacred sites, and be mindful of local customs and etiquette.
  6. Transportation: Getting to the Lau Islands typically requires arranging transportation via boat or charter flight from other parts of Fiji. Visitors should check with local tour operators or transportation providers for options and availability.

You should visit the Lau Islands to experience the untouched beauty and rich culture of Fiji’s easternmost islands. Read on to understand how you can enjoy an unforgettable adventure in this remote and beautiful region.

Welcome to Lau Islands

The Lau Islands offer a glimpse of an untamed and remote part of Fiji, where you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of unspoiled natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Exploring the Archipelago

The Lau Islands are a picturesque array of more than sixty individual islands, each contributing to the patchwork of diverse environments that make up this corner of the Pacific Ocean. These islands are a treasure for travellers yearning to explore beyond the beaten path. In the north, the Northern Lau islands present volatile volcanic landscapes, while the Southern Lau group boasts more in the way of gentle rolling hills and hidden caves. Moala, Kadavu, and the Lomaiviti group of islands are also part of this grand archipelago. As you journey from isle to isle, don’t miss Yanuyanu—a standout for those in search of tranquillity and raw Fijian culture.

Lau Islands Map & Location

The Lau Islands are strewn across the far eastern waters of Fiji, with some islands located closer to Tonga than Fiji’s own main island, Viti Levu. To better understand their location, here’s a simplified map:

Northern LauSouthern LauNearby Major Islands
– Hunga– Ono-i-Lau– Viti Levu
– Tuvuca– Vatoa– Kadavu
– Vanua Balavu– Moce– Moala
– Cicia– Kabara– Lomaiviti

Situated well to the northeast of Viti Levu and east of the Lomaiviti group, the islands occupy a distinct position in the South Pacific Ocean. They are accessible via a mix of domestic flights and sea travel—adventures in themselves!

Accommodation and Stay

When planning your stay in the Lau Islands, you have a choice between charming local resorts and homestays or indulging in the sheer luxury offered by secluded retreats. Whichever you choose, you’re set to experience the unique culture and pristine nature of the islands.

Resorts and Homestays

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life, consider a homestay. Vanua Balavu, the third largest island in the Lau group, offers options like Moana’s Guesthouse. Here you experience daily life while exploring the island, which is conveniently accessible through a weekly flight from Suva.

  • Tubou: This is the main village and a great location to find homestays.
  • Lomaloma: Close to the Lau Provincial Council office, you can find accessible accommodation choices that give you a genuine taste of Lau’s hospitality.

Homestays often include meals, and it’s typical for hosts to guide you around the island. Just remember to budget for these additional services.

Luxurious Experiences

For a more opulent stay, the Lau Islands don’t disappoint. Vatuvara Private Islands offer ultra-luxurious villas on untouched landscapes, ensuring privacy and top-notch amenities.

  • 10 Luxury Activities: These can range from private beach picnics to diving excursions among Lau’s vibrant coral atolls.
  • Where to Stay: The choices for luxury are fewer but highly exclusive, ensuring a tranquil, unspoiled setting.

Remember to check whether the luxury resorts offer free cancellation, so you have flexibility if your plans change. Prices for these luxurious escapes are higher but come with an extensive range of amenities and privacy that’s hard to match.

Island Activities

The Lau Islands offer a splendid mix of aquatic and terrestrial adventures ready to enchant any traveller. With crystalline waters and lush landscapes, your escapades here will no doubt become cherished memories.

Water Adventures

Snorkelling and Diving: Your underwater exploration can unveil untouched coral reefs teeming with marine life. Snorkelling or diving in these pristine waters offers you an intimate glimpse of Fiji’s submarine beauty.

  • Cruise Ships and Sailing: Journey across the Lau Group with offerings such as Captain Cook Cruises and Sailing Fiji. These cruises provide unique vantage points of the islands and allow access to secluded beaches.
  • Fishing: Whether you’re experienced or a novice, the fishing activities in Lau will provide you with a thrilling challenge and the chance to catch a variety of Pacific game fish.

Land Based Excursions

Golf: Imagine playing golf on your very own private island. Vatuvara Private Islands offers this exclusive experience with a four-hole course suitable for any level of golfer.

  • Hikes: For an immersive experience on land, you can take guided hikes that unravel the island’s natural beauty. Walk from Lomaloma to the southern tip of Vanua Balavu for splendid views and cultural insights.

When planning your activities, consider checking Viator or TripAdvisor for reviews and additional options. Whatever your preference, the Lau Islands’ blend of seafaring and land activities are sure to offer something remarkable.

Culture and Community

As you explore the Lau Islands, you’ll witness a vibrant tapestry of culture where Fijian heritage meets Tongan influence. This unique blend is a cornerstone of the island group’s identity, taking form in its traditions, arts, and social structure.

Fijian Heritage and Tongan Influence

The Lau Group of Islands is a prime example of cultural intersection. These islands, east of Fiji’s mainland, serve as a unique crossroad where Polynesian and Melanesian influences converge. While the official language is English, you’ll find that Fijian and Fijian Hindi are widely spoken amongst the islands’ population. This remarkable mixture is especially evident on islands like Lakeba and Vanua Balavu, where traditional Fijian ceremonies such as the kava drinking ritual are integral parts of local life.

  • Population: The islands are sparsely populated, which means that your cultural experience will be intimate and personal.
  • Local Governance: The Lau Provincial Council Office, located in Suva, is a hub for administrative affairs affecting the islands.
  • Lakeba: This island, in particular, has historical significance as it served as a meeting place between Fijians and Tongans, which has shaped the local customs and communal interactions you’ll see today.
  • Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara: One of Fiji’s most prominent figures, hailing from the Lau Islands, played a significant role in Fiji’s independence and its subsequent development.

If you venture to Cicia, you’ll notice the artisanal skill in wood carving and ‘masi’ painting, crafts that are highly regarded and deeply rooted in Lauan culture. The Lau Islands, especially lesser-visited ones like the islets near Taveuni, offer you an unfiltered glimpse into traditional lifestyles that have remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Keep your ears open for the melodic blend of Fijian and Tongan music, and don’t be surprised if you’re invited to join in a local dance. These experiences are not just for show; they’re authentic displays of a proud heritage shared openly with visitors.

While Tonga itself is not part of the Lau Islands, its cultural resonance is felt strongly here due to historical interactions and geographical proximity. This influence is perhaps most lovingly preserved in the Lauan community spirit, where a handshake is as warm as the tropical climate, and a communal way of life still thrives.

Travel Essentials

Before you embark on your adventure to the Lau Islands, understanding the local climate and knowing the best times to visit can greatly enhance your experience. Be sure to pack accordingly, keeping in mind the region’s weather patterns, and prepare for a serene journey to one of Fiji’s most unspoilt and secluded island groups.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

The Lau Islands exhibit a tropical climate with two distinct seasons. The dry season, running from May to October, offers cooler temperatures and less rainfall, making it an ideal time for visitors looking to explore the outdoors without the inconvenience of frequent rains. This season coincides with the Fijian “winter,” providing a comfortable climate for various activities, such as exploring the pristine environments of Northern Lau and Southern Lau, or participating in local sports and cultural events.

November to April is the wet season, marked by higher temperatures and increased humidity, which can lead to heavy downpours and tropical cyclones. Travel during this time can be more challenging, as the heavy rains may affect transportation, including the availability of cargo boats and flights to the limited number of airstrips in the region.

When planning your visit, consider beginning your journey from Nadi, which is a familiar starting point for many adventurers heading to the Lau Islands. The travel guide might suggest that this period is less ideal for tourism, but if you’re looking for a more secluded, truly remote experience, this could be the perfect time. However, always ensure to check the weather forecasts and seek local advice on travelling during the wet season.

Remember that services to the Lau Islands are less frequent than in other parts of Fiji, with cargo boat trips being infrequent and reliant on weather conditions. A travel schedule can often be determined by the president of the local shipping company, so it’s important to remain flexible with your plans.

The mystical charm of the Lau Islands is more accessible during the dry season when transport options are more reliable, so plan accordingly to make the most out of your idyllic escape to one of Fiji’s remotest corners.