Lautoka Visitors Guide: Local Insights for a Rich Experience

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First Landing Resort Jetty

Discover the ultimate source for all things Lautoka with The Official Lautoka Visitors Guide—a comprehensive and current showcase of the area. Immerse yourself in a wealth of resources and invaluable local insights, ensuring a seamless and enriching experience as you explore this vibrant destination. Whether seeking recommendations, practical information, or hidden gems, this guide is your go-to companion for unlocking the full potential of Lautoka, curated with the expertise of locals who know the area best.

Table of Contents

Lautoka Visitors Guide:  What is there to do in Lautoka?

Explore the vibrant city of Lautoka by indulging in the top 7 tourist-favored activities. Whether it’s immersing yourself in cultural experiences, savoring local cuisine, or discovering hidden gems, Lautoka has something for everyone. Stay updated with the city’s dynamic atmosphere by checking out the daily-updated Events section, offering a chance to stumble upon exciting and enjoyable happenings throughout the city.

  1. Shopping
  2. A round of Golf at Lautoka Golf Course
  3. Beaches in Lautoka
  4. Visit the Krishna Kaliya Temple
  5. Explore the Central Food Market
  6. Visit Viseisei Village
  7. Lautoka Parks and Gardens

Shopping


Life Cinema Lautoka. - Lautoka Visitors Guide:
Tappoo City Lautoka

The central shopping hub in Lautoka is the impressive TappooCity located on Narara Parade, an establishment that opened its doors in 2018. This complex boasts a diverse range of offerings, including Life Cinema, a variety of restaurants, a supermarket, the Tappoo mega complex, and several smaller local establishments commonly found throughout the Fijian landscape.

On the opposite side of Vitogo Parade, facing TappooCity and adjacent to Churchill Park, a multitude of shops lines the bustling street. Naviti Street runs parallel behind, featuring an assortment of establishments, from small Chinese outlets and Indian restaurants to clothing stores and everything in between. Navigating this area can be a bit overwhelming at times, with the iconic Jacks of Fiji and Prouds stores serving as useful reference points for orienting oneself in this vibrant shopping district.

While Lautoka may not be renowned as a shopping destination, exploring the town reveals hidden treasures among its diverse stores. Venturing beyond the mainstream, you’ll discover unique and local gems tucked away in unexpected corners.

A round of Golf at Lautoka Golf Course


Right - Latuoka Golf Course Lower Half of the Golf Course Left - Lautoka Golf Club at Sunset, with Vomo Island in the background.
Left – Lautoka Golf Course Lower Half of the Golf Course Right – Lautoka Golf Club at Sunset, with Vomo Island in the background.

Nestled on the outskirts of Lautoka’s main city center, the Lautoka Golf Course in Fiji is a locally-run 9-hole haven. The Clubhouse, perched atop a gentle hill, provides a perfect vantage point for visitors to soak in breathtaking scenery with its panoramic views that stretch from the Lautoka harbor to the distant Mamanuca Islands, with Vomo Island prominently standing at the center stage. So, if you are in the city and you’re a golfer, consider contacting the club. The golf course is usually empty on weekdays, so you will have the whole course to yourself. Visit the Lautoka Golf Course Facebook page for more information.

IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE:  Golf Courses In Fiji | A ‘Slice’ Of Luxury In Paradise

Thumbnails: Lautoka Golf Course

Lautoka Golf Course Club House

Beaches in Lautoka


Tree lined Saweni Beach in Lautoka
Tree lined Beach at Saweni (Lautoka)

Lautoka boasts three distinct beaches, each offering unique qualities:  Belo Vula Resort, a family-run establishment, provides a laid-back atmosphere with the option for day trips. Saweni Beach, a vast expanse of natural shoreline, is open to all. Vuda Point Beaches, nestled along the resort’s coastline, add a touch of class for their guests. We’ll briefly discuss each of these below:

Belo Vula Resort Beach

Nestled on Bekana Island, just off the shores of Lautoka City, Belo Vula Island Resort is a quaint family-owned retreat. The resort boasts a slender, unspoiled sandy beach, embraced by 30 acres of thriving mangroves and tropical gardens. For a day excursion to this idyllic island getaway, visitors can embark on a charming small boat journey, with the cost typically around 15 FJD, departing from a jetty at Lautoka’s coastal wharf.

Thumbnails: Belo Vula Resort Beach
Hammock on the Belo Vula Resort Beach
Looking-towards Belo Vula Resort Beach

Saweni Beach

A beloved seaside gem for those in the Lautoka area, is renowned for its stunning white sandy shores that set it apart from other beaches in the western cane belt. Saweni’s beach offers an ideal setting for swimming and relaxation. Even at the peak of a hot western day, the crystal-clear water remains inviting, attracting locals and visitors alike.

Getting to Saweni Beach

For those eager to explore Saweni Beach, getting there is a straightforward journey. Situated approximately nine kilometres from Lautoka towards Nadi, a signboard for the Saweni Beach Apartment Hotel and the Fiji Orchid Specialty lodgings guides the way off the highway.

The beach is accessible by vehicle, and with affordable taxi options from Lautoka, the beach can also be reached by bus. Buses serving Saweni Rd. offer a budget-friendly travel option, or travellers can catch a Lautoka to Nadi bus and flag down a taxi at the junction for the final stretch.

Accommodation: Saweni Beach (In Walking Distance)

Visitors have a couple of accommodation choices in Saweni, catering to different preferences:

The Saweni Beach Apartment Hotel provides villa-style apartments equipped with cooking facilities, a swimming pool, and an on-site restaurant, making it an ideal option for budget-conscious travelers.

For those seeking a more exclusive experience, The Fiji Orchid offers specialty lodges with an exceptional restaurant in Lautoka. Renowned for serving some of the finest local cuisine.  The Fiji Orchid Restaurant is open to the public.

Thumbnails: Saweni Beach

Saweni Beach Lautoka Fiji
Saweni Beach Lautoka Fiji
Saweni Beach Lautoka Fiji

Visitor Advisory: Saweni Beach is a casual, non-resort destination. It’s important to note that this is not an Instagram-worthy, meticulously maintained beach. Expect the natural presence of plastic bottles and utensils left by the tides. The charm of Saweni Beach lies in its unfiltered, authentic atmosphere, offering a genuine experience of a typical coastal setting. Enjoy the raw beauty and be mindful of the environment during your visit.

Vuda Point Resort Beaches

While the beaches at Vuda Point may not meet the pristine standards of world-class resorts on outer islands like the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, the resorts that line the coastline offer guests a perfect spot to relax during the day or wind down in the evening with a delightful cocktail. It’s an ideal place for activities such as swimming during high tide, sunbathing, and kayaking

Thumbnails: Vuda Point Beaches

First Landing Beach (Courtesy of Fiji Budget Vacations)

Visit the Krishna Kaliya Temple


Krishna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka, Fiji
Krishna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka, Fiji

The Krishna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka, Fiji, stands as a distinctive and spiritually enriching destination, offering visitors a unique insight into the Hare Krishna community and its practices. Affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the temple extends a warm welcome to guests at any time. Whether experienced in the early afternoon during the ongoing puja (worship) or at twilight when the setting sun casts a shimmering glow on the stones, the temple serves as a testament to the profound influence of Indian culture and religion in Fiji. Lautoka takes pride in having the highest per capita population of Hare Krishnas globally, making the Krishna Kaliya Temple a significant place of worship for this community.

A particularly intriguing opportunity to explore the temple arises during the noon puja on Sundays. Attendees can anticipate a vibrant and immersive experience, complete with distinct gender-specific seating arrangements. The atmosphere resonates with rhythmic drumming, resonant bell ringing, melodious conch blowing, and heartfelt chanting—a unique approach through which Krishnas connect with the divine and attain transcendental bliss. This captivating setting provides a deeper understanding of the Hare Krishna community’s devotion and enriches the spiritual journey of those seeking a profound connection with this unique aspect of Fijian culture.

THUMBNAILS: Interior View of Krishna Kaliya Temple

Interior View Krishna Kaliya Temple in Lautoka, Fiji.

Explore the Central Food Market


Lautoka Market
Lautoka Market

The heart of Lautoka’s City Centre beats with vitality as the lively Lautoka Food Market spills out from its main buildings onto public thoroughfares. Local vendors lay out their vibrant array of fruits and vegetables on wooden stalls and sheets, with small plastic plates underneath for easy selection. Opting for stalls with pre-labelled prices, typically inscribed on cardboard with a marker pen, is a savvy tip for visitors navigating the bustling market.

The kaleidoscope of colours captivates the eyes, creating a visually stunning experience. Its energetic atmosphere, characterised by friendly vendors and a dynamic hustle and bustle, makes it a standout adventure in the capital. The market not only offers a rich variety of fruits and vegetables but also introduces visitors to unfamiliar spices, kava roots, and other intriguing products, creating an unforgettable assault on the senses.

IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE: For more information on the The Various Food Markets of Fiji  be sure to check out the following article: Main Food Markets | Satellite Markets

Visit Viseisei Village and Vuda Point


Viseisei Village Chief's Hut.
Viseisei Village Chief’s Hut.

Viseisei Vilage is located at Vuda Point on the side of Lautoka, the village steeped in tradition and history. According to local lore, it holds the distinction of being the oldest settlement in Fiji, founded by Lutunasobasoba when the initial Melanesian canoes landed at Vuda Point. Positioned near the main road connecting Nadi and Lautoka, Viseisei is recognized as one of the oldest settlements in Fiji, dating back to the 16th century when Melanesian explorers first arrived. The village boasts well-preserved Fijian traditional houses known as bures, among them a ceremonial bure utilized for significant events, including visits by dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. Additionally, Viseisei showcases the intricate art of weaving Fijian traditional mats from pandanus leaves, a meticulous process carried out by women, and these mats are traditionally given as wedding presents.

Visiting the Viseisei Village Museum offers a comprehensive understanding of the village’s history. The museum is a repository of artifacts, photographs, and various items that narrate the rich story of Viseisei. Furthermore, taking a guided tour of the village provides an immersive experience into its culture and history. Visitors explore traditional homes, gain insights into ancient customs, and partake in the Fijian way of life, creating a meaningful connection with the village’s heritage. Overall, Viseisei stands as a living testament to Fiji’s cultural legacy, inviting visitors to appreciate its ancient roots, traditional practices, and the enduring craftsmanship of its residents.

Lautoka Parks & Gardens: Botanical Gardens


Lautoka Botanical Gardens Aerial Views
Lautoka Botanical Gardens Aerial Views

The Lautoka Botanical Gardens feature an impressive array of tropical plants, meticulously labeled with both botanical and common names, thanks to the skilled on-site horticulturist. Situated on Thomson Crescent Road, accessible from Drasa Avenue, the gardens are conveniently located just down from the Lautoka Hospital. The park, spanning 15 acres, is thoughtfully landscaped on a gentle slope, creating a harmonious blend of greenery and tranquility.

Visitors to the garden are treated to a natural beauty exhibition showcasing the diverse flora in an aesthetically pleasing manner. With free entry, the Lautoka Botanical Gardens provide an ideal destination for those seeking a serene environment to unwind and appreciate the rich botanical diversity on display.

Continuous upkeep and maintenance of the botanical garden, including a turf nursery, fish pond, and potted plant nursery, are diligently carried out. Approximately 10,000 potted plants from the nursery were used in the beautification works within the city.  Admission to the Botanical Gardens is at no cost.

For bird enthusiasts, the park is recognized as a premier location to observe a diverse array of avian species in Lautoka. Be sure to explore the list of bird sightings at the Gardens and Lautoka Waterfront in the following article: Lautoka: Physical Geography

Lautoka Parks & Gardens: Koroyanitu National Heritage Park


Hiker enjoying the view at Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

Established in 1989 through collaboration among the New Zealand Official Development Assistance Programme (NZODA), the Japan National Official Committee of the Pacific Economic Co-operation (JANPEC), and six local villages, the Koroyanitu National Park, also known as Abaca National Heritage Park, holds a unique position in the early stages of ecotourism development. Encompassing 17,000 hectares between Nadi and Lautoka, the park is managed by the resident communities, serving as custodians for future generations. By engaging in self-promoted ecotourism initiatives, these villages have created a sustainable income source, drawing visitors ranging from locals and school field trips to tourists from Denarau Island and cruise liners docking in Lautoka.

Situated amidst Fiji’s western division, the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park has evolved into a central attraction for enthusiasts of nature and hiking. Boasting diverse ecosystems inhabited by the Shy Ground Dove and the Masked Shining Parrot, the park offers an array of guided trails suitable for both novice and experienced hikers. Renowned for its challenging ancient trails leading to inviting waterholes, traditional villages, and the majestic Mt. Batilamu, also known as the Sleeping Giant, the park appeals to hikers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers alike.

Getting to Korovanitu National Park

To reach Koroyanitu National Park, visitors must secure a 4WD taxi or arrange for 4WD car hire, as public transportation is unavailable. The focal point is Abaca village, overseeing hiking trails and featuring the visitors center. The journey from Nadi takes slightly over an hour, and about 35 minutes from Lautoka City, the journey involving a dirt/gravel track and a creek crossing, necessitating a 4WD vehicle. Taxi quotes from Nadi were approximately 180FJD one way or 200FJD for a round trip, but opting for car hire provides more flexibility. 

Admission Costs

National park admission costs 25FJD, and an additional charge of 35FJD per person applies for staying overnight in the hikers hut, although these prices may vary. 

Hikers Hut

The hut, positioned atop Mount Batilamu, lacks electricity but is equipped with mattresses, bedding, and basic cooking facilities. Rainwater tanks provide water, and a nearby drop toilet serves sanitation needs. While booking the hut may pose challenges, there is usually ample space available.   The hike to Mount Batilamu, spanning approximately 6.9km with an elevation of 800m, proves challenging yet rewarding. Directions from the visitors center may be vague, prompting the use of the AllTrails app or provided instructions to navigate the trail through grassland and jungle/rainforest.  Adequate water, sunscreen, and a hat are essential for this demanding hike.

We recommend contacting Talanoa Treks for a guided tour, they are the leading professionals in the country, you can contact them here

VIDEO: Abaca Heritage Park | Fiji Hike

THUMBNAILS: Interior and Exterior Views of Korovanitu Hikers Hut

Side interior Wall opposite the bunkbeds in the Hikers Hut in the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Overnight Hikers Hut at Koroyanitu National Heritage Park Exterior View
Interior view of the bunkbeds in the Hikers Hut Koroyanitu National Heritage Park

Lautoka Visitors Guide: Where should I stay in Lautoka?


First Landing Resort Aerial View at Vuda Point Lautoka - Lautoka Visitors Guide:
First Landing Resort Aerial View at Vuda Point Lautoka

As the second largest city in Fiji, Lautoka faces limited accommodation choices compared to the capital, Suva. Our team has categorized the Lautoka area into four sections for your convenience:

Lautoka City Center: Hotels and resorts within walking distance of the city center.

City Outskirts: Accommodations that may require a short bus, boat, or taxi ride to access city amenities, providing a balance between convenience and a more secluded environment.

Saweni Beach: Celebrated among locals, this picturesque coastal gem offers a pristine white sandy shore, creating an idyllic setting for swimming and relaxation. It is just a 14-minute drive (9 km) from Lautoka City via Queens Rd. 

Vuda Point: A prominent headland strategically located on the edge of Lautoka, encompassing the charming village of Viseisei, the Vuda Marina yacht harbor, and quaint resort complexes. The distance from Lautoka City is a 20-minute drive (12.8 km) via Queens Rd.

Be sure to explore the directory link below to find the most appropriate venue based on your preferences and desired proximity to Lautoka City’s amenities – Lautoka Accommodation: Comfort in Fiji’s Sugar City

Lautoka Visitors Guide:  What are the best places to eat in Lautoka?


Lautoka Wharf Restaurant Fish Restaurants - Lautoka Visitors Guide:
Lautoka Wharf Restaurant Fish Restaurants

Embark on a culinary journey through the vibrant flavors of Lautokian cuisine, where every bite tells a story of tradition, innovation, and local abundance. Lautoka, the 2nd largest city in Fiji, boasts a diverse and rich culinary tapestry that reflects the region’s cultural amalgamation. From bustling street markets to charming eateries tucked away in narrow lanes, the city offers an array of delightful escapes for those eager to savor the essence of Lautokian gastronomy.  For more information, be sure to check out the following directory:  Taste of Lautoka: Top Restaurants for Memorable Dining

References

  • Ebird (2023, September 19). Lautoka Botanical Garden. Ebird. Retrieved September 19, 2023, from Link
  • Ebird (2023, September 19). Lautoka–Waterfront. Ebird. Retrieved September 19, 2023, from Link
  • LCC (2019). Botanical Garden [Photograph]. Lautoka City Council. Link
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