Photo Credit: Awesome Adventures Fiji.
Like many of the Pacific’s island nations, the Fiji Islands encompasses a vast area of the Pacific Ocean – over 1 million square miles to be exact! Viti Levu, being its centre of business and governance, is the largest of the islands with most of the other islands scattered to the east and the only islands to the west, are the Yasawa and the Mamanucas. Boat and air travel are mainly used to get from island to island, with boats being a more affordable means of travel for locals. Affordable travel is something all travellers look for and here’s a few tips about boat travel around the Fiji islands.
Mamanuca islands and the Yasawa group
The western islands are in the heart of Fiji’s tourism hub, with more resorts and tourists received compared to other parts of the country. Frequently travelled, these islands have cruises, local ferries and even small fibreglass boats operating to and from Viti Levu and in between these islands. The options are endless but for specific travel to the Mamanuca islands, you can choose between South Sea Cruises and Malolo cat if you’re departing from the Denarau marina. Mana Flyer docks and departs Wailoaloa beach while the Ratu Kini Cruiser departs Fantasy island jetty, 2 kilometres south of Wailoaloa beach.
Photo Credit: Interlink Shipping.
Beqa and Vatulele island
Beqa is famously known for the diverse marine life of its lagoon. Now there are a few accommodations on the island that can cater for your needs if the Coral Coast is a bit too much for you. These accommodations are the Beqa Lagoon Resort, Lalati Resort & Spa and Lawaki Beach House. Boat transfers can be arranged with your Beqa accommodations from the jetty’s of one of the Pacific Harbour resorts or from Navua wharf like locals do.
Vatulele’s only resort is currently closed but the island is rich in the cultural history of Masi (tapa) making and home to Vatulele’s legendary red prawns. Boats depart from the Korolevu jetty, located along the Sigatoka Coral Coral daily. For more tips on boat travel to Vatulele, check out and contact Great Fiji Doors on Facebook.
Kadavu island, Fiji’s southernmost province is also home to one of the world’s longest barrier reefs, making it a dive haven for divers from all over the world. The island has a few luxurious resorts and affordable accommodations like Kokomo, a 4-star private island resort located to the north of Kadavu, Papageno and Matava are located on mainland Kadavu. If you’re opting for cheaper travel from Viti-Levu (Suva) to Kadavu, you can travel with Goundar shipping or South Island Shipping Services. Local ferries dock in Vunisea and Kavala bay, with boat transfers easily arranged from any of the Kadavu accommodations.
Photo Credit: Captain Cook Cruises.
Travelling the Lau group, Fiji’s most eastern islands is as precarious as it is scenic, the only tourists daring to see these islands are those with their own yachts and through the Captain Cook Cruises– which if you ask me, is the best way to see these islands as there aren’t many accommodations and the islands are quite remote. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, and choose to travel like the locals do, then note that, (one) this is definitely not for the weak. Two, sailing might be a week-long affair as the ferries usually island-hop throughout the entire Lau group. However, these ferries (Goundar shipping and South Sea Island Shipping) also operate a lot of private or government runs to these islands and they usually notify via Facebook if they will be taking any passengers as well.
Lomaiviti group and Vanua Levu
The Lomaiviti islands are not all accessible by ferry, in fact most prefer to get to and from Suva/Nausori/Natovi in their little fibreglass boats. The only islands reachable by the local ferry is the island of Ovalau- home to Fiji’s old capital, Koro and at times the island of Gau. For more you can check with the Goundar shipping facebook page.
The Vanua Levu wharfs of Savusavu and Labasa are serviced twice or thrice weekly by Goundar shipping and Interlink shipping. These two ferry services also operate the Savusavu-Taveuni route
Even though ferry travel is the cheapest in Fiji, it can be quite crowded especially during the holiday season as many Fijians prefer to spend the holidays in their own villages. Their canteens may be quite costly and their restrooms are basic.
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