Viti Levu’s northern coastline offers a pleasant climate, beautiful scenery, water sports and the chance to relax away from the crowds in a wide choice of accommodation.
Recently christened Fiji’s Sun Coast, because it receives less rain than the rest of Fiji, northern Viti Levu on Fiji’s main island, provides a peaceful and authentic alternative to the resorts of Fiji’s Coral Coast. Unlike other parts of Viti Levu where a coastal plain separates mountains from sea, mountains in the north meet directly with the sea. The result is a spectacular view around every corner. Northern Viti Levu is a just a three hour drive from Nadi or Suva on sealed roads.
The stretch of ocean between northern Viti Levu and Fiji’s next major island, Vanua Levu, is called Bligh Water. It was named after the British naval commander William Bligh who passed through these waters in 1789 after the famous mutiny on the Bounty forced him to make a 3,618 nautical mile (6,700 km) journey to Timor in a 23 foot (7m) open boat, a journey which took him 6 weeks.
These days, between April and October, Bligh Water is one of the best places in Fiji for kite surfing and windsurfing. With a number of coral reefs with drop-offs, Bligh Water also offers great diving and snorkelling.
Nananu i Ra Island
Just a 10 minute boat ride off the coast of northern Viti Levu, in Bligh Water, is Nananu i Ra Island. With palm-fringed white sand beaches and calm waters, this really is an island paradise, perfect for taking advantage of water sports opportunities or just relaxing in a hammock by the beach.
On the island’s western side, accommodation is available in self-catering, mainly cold water only, beachside cottages managed by MacDonald’s (tel. 669 4633), Betham’s (tel. 669 4132) or Charlie’s (tel. 669 4676). Here you can drop into the sea off the end of the jetty and find yourself surrounded by a rainbow assortment of tropical fish.
On the eastern side of the island, accommodation is available at Morrison’s Cottages (tel. 669 4516), Lomanisue Beach Bungalows (tel. 669 3755) and Safari Island Lodge (tel. 669 3333) which also arranges water sports activities for guests.
Boats for Nananu i Ra Island leave from Ellington Wharf. If you book accommodation on Nananu i Ra Island beforehand a boat will be sent to pick you up here. Snorkelling gear can be hired at Ellington Wharf.
Rakiraki is the nearest town to Bligh Water. It is essentially a large Fijian village. The only accommodation here is the Rakiraki Hotel (tel. 669 4101) which was built as a guesthouse for American servicemen during World War II. The reception, lounge and dining areas are of traditional South Pacific colonial design while accommodation is in modern motel style units set in lush tropical gardens.
Located between Rakiraki and Ellington Wharf is the beautiful Volivoli Peninsula, the northernmost point of Viti Levu. Here can be found Volivoli Beach Resort (tel. 669 4511), a backpackers establishment, and Wanunavu Beach Resort (tel. 669 4433), a midrange beachside resort where accommodation consists of individual modern bures, free of television and radio. Wanunavu Beach Resort also manages Dreamview Villas, situated at the very peak of the peninsula, with panoramic views over the ocean.
Even if you do not stay at Wanunavu Beach Resort, it is worth visiting to enjoy lunch or dinner at reasonable prices on the balcony of its restaurant which has a glorious view of Bligh Water. Both Volivoli Beach Resort and Wanunavu Beach Resort have a wide range of water activities available for guests.
Just inland from Rakiraki, Vaileka is the commercial centre of northern Viti Levu. Here service stations, banks and supermarkets are available.