Savusavu was once a caldera, and the area still has lots of geothermal activity, with hot springs near the wharf and vents of steam along the water’s edge. These hot springs have put Savusavu on the world’s tourist map. The main attraction for most travellers to Savusavu is its reefs. There are good dive sites at the entrance, within Savusavu Bay, and along the coast towards Taveuni.
The Hibiscus Highway is scenic, running from Savusavu town to the road’s end at Darigala, passing sprawling copra estates, colonial-style homesteads, villages, and forests. Towards the end of the Hibiscus Highway is the Tunuloa or Natewa Peninsula. This area is renowned for bird-watching, hiking, or exploration by bus or 4WD. The silktail, a rare bird listed as one of the world’s endangered species, is found only on this peninsula and on Taveuni.
South of Buca Bay, at the south-eastern end of Vanua Levu, is Dakuniba Village, where petroglyphs on boulders can be found in a creek bed nearby. Similar alphabetic rock inscriptions are also found in the Sawa-i-lau Caves in the Yasawas. Nukubolu Forest and Archaeological Park and Waisali Forest Park are tourist attractions managed by the community.
Getting to and around the Vanua Levu (Savusavu/Labasa)
It’s easy to get to Vanua Levu from either Nadi or Suva, by air or by sea. So, no matter where you are in Fiji, you can get to ‘the Friendly North’ easily and comfortably. Like the main island of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu has a major road network spanning the full breadth of the island. An established transport network of local buses, taxis, coaches, and minibusses allows you to easily navigate the island at your own pace.
Getting to Vanua Levu Domestic Flights
Fiji Link (originally known as Pacific Sun) is the official domestic carrier of Fiji Airways, offering daily domestic flights to Savusauv Airport. This fixed-wing aircraft has a firm timetable, enabling you to plan your adventures in advance. With limited seats available, we recommend purchasing them as soon as you have a bare-bones plan to avoid disappointment. Official Website. Fiji Link, a month prior to the quiet months of the year (offseason), has several different promotions, that drastically reduce the one-way fares to the many destinations around the Fiji group.
Fiji Link has a new Branded Fares programme that provides guests with the flexibility to tailor their flying experience to their preferences. Guests may opt to travel LITE with a carry-on bag only; purchase a VALUE fare and get a checked bag as well. Upgrade to COMFORT and get two checked bags and seat selection to ensure the entire family is comfortable. Alternatively, you may opt for PLUS to enjoy additional perks.
Northern Air, a private Charter Company based in Suva, connects with Labasa and Savusavu most days of the week (Flight Schedule).
Fiji Journal Top Tip #1
If you have plenty of time on your hands and wish to explore more of Vanua Levu upon arrival, Flights to Labasa, situated on the northern side of the island, are typically a lot cheaper than a direct flight to Savusavu; at certain times of the year, they can be as much as 40–50 percent cheaper. Upon arriving in Labasa, you can easily take a Coach or rent a car and navigate down the picturesque internal highway to Savusavu.
Domestic Airports | Vanua Levu Group
- Bua | NFNU | BVF | Dama Airport
- Labasa | NFNL | LBS | Labasa Airport
- Savusavu | NFNS | SVU | Savusavu Airport
- Matei | Taveuni |NFNM | TVU | Matei Airport
- Rabi | NFFR | RBI | Rabi Airport
Getting to Vanua Levu (By Sea)
Grounder Shipping has a regular ferry service between Suva and Savusavu several times a week. This is a Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro), enabling you to take your car or simply go as a foot passenger (If you are renting a car in Fiji, always check with the car rental company to clarify if you are fully insured before going on the vessel). Grounder shipping normally travels through the night and reaches the wharf of Savusavu in the early morning hours. There are many ticketing options available, from a standard seat in the main area to first-class and private cabins.
In 1643 Abel Tasman sights Vanua Levu, then known as Sandalwood Island. He sailed on past without landing.
On May 6, 1789, Captain Bligh and his men sailed south of Vanua Levu on their voyage from Tofua to Timor in the Bounty’s lifeboat.
Vanua Levu, as with other Fiji islands was inundated with Europeans, a motley mixture of sailors, and escaped criminals from Australia. Sandalwood traders put in at Bua Bay. The sandalwood trade flourished for years until over-exploitation saw its demise. The subsequent years saw the copra industry flourish and fail in the 1930s and it wasn’t until sugar cane was eventually planted with the Labasa Sugar Mill opening in 1894 that Vanua Levu had an industry that looked long-term. In front of the Copra Shed Marina is a stone dated 1880 which is said to be from Fiji’s first Copra mill.