Lautoka: Annual Events and Festivals
Annual Event: Vodafone Sugar Festival
Every September, residents and visitors of Lautoka City unite to commemorate the rich history and distinct ties that the community shares with the sugar industry. With a significant Hindu population in Lautoka, the influence of Indo-Fijian culture is prominent. Lautoka annually hosts its renowned event, the Vodafone Sugar Festival, which experienced a change in venue this year, relocating from Churchill Park to the current Lautoka Club setting. The week-long celebration features vibrant dance performances, live music, amusement rides, diverse stalls, and the ceremonial crowning of the Sugar Queen and King.
Beyond the festival, Lautoka is abuzz with a plethora of major sporting events happening throughout the city at various venues, alongside smaller localized social events occurring throughout the year. Be sure to check out the events section for all the happenings.
IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE: For more information on the annual Fiji events and festivals, be sure to check out the following article: Fiji Events and Festivals: Explore the Vibrant Celebrations
Monthly Event: Vuda Beach Market Day
Discover the vibrant essence of Vuda Beach Market Day, a monthly extravaganza held every second Saturday. This lively event presents a unique chance to champion local vendors and directly impact the livelihoods of Fijians. The market showcases the exceptional talents of local artisans, offering homemade decorations, exquisite jewelry, fresh farm produce, and unique handmade crafts. Your purchases not only yield exceptional items but also foster economic well-being for these hardworking individuals and their communities.
Wander through the diverse market stalls, adorned with a kaleidoscope of colors, scents, and flavors. Revel in beautifully crafted decorations, discover the rich cultural heritage reflected in locally made jewelry, and savor the flavors of Fiji’s fertile land with fresh farm produce. Additionally, explore an array of unique handmade crafts, from woven baskets to wood carvings, each embodying the skill and creativity of Fijian artisans. To stay updated on the latest news surrounding this event, you can visit their Facebook page.
Weekly Event: Open Air Flea Market
If you happen to be in Lautoka City on a Saturday, weather permitting, the flea market at Shirley Park is a delightful spot to explore. Situated at the city’s entrance, adjacent to the sea wall, this small park hosts a charming flea market. While not a major event, it provides a unique shopping experience. Take a leisurely stroll to discover hidden treasures and perhaps find yourself a bargain. The market size, indicated by the number of stalls, varies throughout the year. During seasonal festivities such as Easter, Christmas, and bank holidays, the market becomes more vibrant and lively.
Lautoka: Cinema Scene
Experience the magic of Hollywood and the beauty of Bollywood movies at the two multi-screen complexes in Lautoka City. (Life Cinema Lautoka and Village 4). Every week, typically on a Thursday, the latest international movies are released. Due to the Fiji time zone, these films premiere on the islands well before they are released in other countries. There are usually two or three Hollywood movies and one or two Bollywood movies released each week, with the latter becoming a very popular choice with tourists as most of them have subtitles.
Going to the movies is a favourite pastime of locals, and on the weekends, the cinemas are normally filled to capacity with friends and family spending quality time together while watching their favourite international stars perform on the state-of-the-art mega screens. Long-anticipated movies are usually accompanied by lots of local hype and promotions, including special premier nights with pre-show social gatherings and cocktail parties.
Life Cinema Level 1, Tappoo City Mall, Narara Parade (+679 666 6200) (2 screens) – is the newest entrant to the movie scene, opening its doors in early 2018 and instantly becoming a firm favourite to watch the latest blockbuster Hollywood and Bollywood hits. The Cinema is part of the huge Tappoo complex, which features many well-known retail outlets on the ground floor and a huge array of restaurants on the first floor. The entrance to the cinema is to the far left, passing the many smaller fast-food outlets as you exit the escalator on the first floor.
Life Cinema provides an additional, all-exclusive customer experience for moviegoers. with a VIP Gold Lounge and Bar where you are greeted with a food and beverage menu, where you can order from the small plates menu, enjoy nibbles pre-film in the exclusive lounge, or sit back and relax in a reclining cinema seat and have your order delivered while you watch the latest blockbuster and Bollywood hits.
Village 4 Cinema
Village 4 Cinema Namoli Avenue, Lautoka (+679 666 3555) – as its name states, has four state-of-the-art screens. This is a purposely built cinema complex, with all the snacks and drinks available at the entrance. Although this is an older-style cinema, it has over the last few years undergone some major interior and exterior refurbishments. The old building has immense charm and is our firm favourite, as the experience starts as soon as you purchase your ticket from the booth outside, similar to the old-style English and American cinemas of the past.
There may be one smaller, less well-known movie being shown at either of the cinemas, but the main blockbusters are shown across the two complexes around the same time.
IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE: Be sure to check out the Latest Movies now showing
Lautoka: Sports & Social Clubs
There are three social clubs in Lautoka: the Northern Club, the South Seas Club, and the Lautoka Club, each within a mile of each other. They offer the perfect opportunity to intermingle and network with the locals in a safe and relaxed environment. With most of the clubs holding some form of entertainment and activity each night of the week, and with live music on most weekends, you will have a guaranteed night out. The drinks and meals are normally considerably cheaper than their counterparts on the main street and equally refreshing and mouthwatering.
The Northern Club is one of Fiji’s leading sports and social clubs, situated in the heart of Sugar City, Lautoka. There are not many places you can go where, the minute you arrive, you will have hundreds of new friends. But that is ‘exactly’ the case at The Northern Club. The club’s facilities include a family restaurant, bar, and bistro, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and squash courts. with weekly events that include live bands, large-screen TV, weekly raffles, snooker, tennis, squash, swimming competitions, and much more.
The South Seas Club
The South Seas Club has just recently turned 60 years old as of 2023, with the club being established in early 1963. Initially formed by a small group of friends on the ideal of multiracialism, which has continued to this day, it has become a very popular social gathering point and watering hole for locals and visitors from across the main island of Viti Levu when in Lautoka, with visits from distinguished honourable patrons over the years, from the previous Prime Ministers Timoci Bavadra and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara to the most recent Voreqe Bainimarama.
The club is located on Nede St. and Waterfront Road. The club houses a large courtyard, a bowling green, a swimming pool with snooker tables, squash courts, and a small but perfectly formed South Seas Restaurant that churns out mouth-watering delights for its patrons. This is an ideal place to gather and relax in the evening with a cold beverage. With the cool sea breeze and stunning views of Bekana Island, you can watch the fishermen return with their catch as the sun sets on another day in paradise.
Situated on the Lautoka foreshore, the Lautoka Club, reminiscent of the South Seas Club, offers breathtaking views of the bay. Despite its rugged appearance and basic amenities, this venue has become a prominent choice for hosting events due to its spacious layout, serving as a versatile canvas for various occasions. With a no-frills atmosphere, it is the perfect spot for enjoying a refreshing cold beer with friends in the evening. Primarily catering to the local crowd, the Lautoka Club exudes a laid-back charm, making it an inviting destination for both social gatherings and casual get-togethers.
IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE: For more information and a full list of all the social clubs in Fiji and the benefits of joining a club, be sure to check out the following article: 15 Sports and Social Clubs in Fiji | Expat’s Guide
Lautoka: Sporting Facilities
The city of Lautoka and its surrounding areas are emerging as a vibrant hub for sporting events, fostering community engagement during evenings and weekends. Residents gather to actively participate in sports or witness the burgeoning talent emerging from Fiji. Highlighting the major venues, the iconic multi-purpose Churchill Park takes centre stage, offering a dynamic space for various sports and festivals. In addition, the city boasts world-class tennis facilities, and there is eager anticipation surrounding the completion of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. These venues collectively contribute to Lautoka’s growing reputation as a central location for sports enthusiasts and a platform for nurturing athletic talent in the region.
The following sporting bodies and facilities are present in the city:
- Golf: Lautoka Golf Club
- Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey: Facilities provided by Lautoka City Council at Churchill Park (3 grounds), Nadovu Park (3 grounds), and numerous other grounds throughout the city.
- Netball, Volleyball, Basketball, and Tennis: Lautoka City Council’s Multipurpose Courts (Located alongside Churchill Park)
Churchill Park, an iconic multi-purpose venue and the cherished home ground of Lautoka Football Club, is renowned for hosting a spectrum of international events, including the prestigious Pacific Nations Cup and Pacific Rugby Cup, as well as local rugby tournaments like the Colonial Cup and Sanyo Cup. This versatile sports arena not only accommodates various sporting events but also transforms into a vibrant space for occasional festivals. In a notable development, the Lautoka Council is in the early stages of selling the naming rights to the stadium, aiming to generate funds that will be strategically invested in enhancing facilities, upgrading changing rooms, and ensuring the maintenance of this beloved sporting hub.
Churchill Park thoughtfully caters to a diverse audience with a range of seating options. The grandstand offers space for 1393 spectators, while Pavilion B provides a more extensive capacity of 2144. For those seeking more affordable options, the North Embankment is available, though it’s worth noting that this section lacks protection from the elements. Despite being a budget-friendly choice, it offers the best unobstructed views.
Churchill Park’s overall seating capacity is an impressive 6,000, complemented by 2144 standing spaces. The Tappoo’s Corporates Booth adds an element of exclusivity to the experience, boasting a total seating capacity of 100 and enhancing the overall enjoyment for a select audience attending events at this prominent multi-purpose venue in Lautoka, Fiji.
Lautoka Regional Tennis Courts
Lautoka, Fiji, stands as the proud home of Fiji Tennis, boasting top-notch facilities and supportive infrastructure. The Lautoka Regional Tennis Courts serve as the nucleus of tennis activities in the city, offering private coaching for players of all levels and hosting week-long training camps during the summer school holidays. The 32nd Pacific Oceania Junior Tennis Championship recently took place in the city, coinciding with the announcement that the Fiji Sports Council has acquired the facility, previously owned by Tennis Fiji and the Oceans Tennis Foundation.
Lautoka’s vibrant tennis scene reflects a commitment to nurturing talent and providing ample opportunities for players to develop their skills. With a focus on both local and international competitions, the city remains a dynamic hub for tennis enthusiasts, fostering a sense of community and contributing to the overall growth and popularity of tennis in the Pacific Islands.
Other Tennis Events held across the nation
The Fiji Open Tennis Championships, a prestigious event held annually in May at the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club, has deep historical roots dating back to 1907. Growing into one of the largest tennis events in the Pacific Islands, it attracts nearly 200 players each year, including international participants from 10 countries. Additionally, Tennis Fiji facilitates various competitions and tournaments throughout the calendar year, such as the Easter Open, the Nadi Open, and the Suva Open, contributing to the rich and diverse tennis landscape in Fiji.
Lautoka Swimming Pool
The highly anticipated Olympic swimming pool in Lautoka is slated to finally open its doors by the end of 2024 or early 2025, marking the culmination of a tumultuous three-year journey filled with alterations and financial challenges since the initial groundbreaking ceremony. The genesis of this project dates back to discussions in 2015.
This upcoming sporting facility is poised to make a substantial impact on the city, presenting the potential to attract major competitions and sporting events to the region. Adjacent to the pool, a new coffee shop named Botanical Garden will also be unveiled, offering patrons a delightful array of cool refreshments and light lunch options.
The swimming pool is designed to boast a range of state-of-the-art facilities, including a 10-lane competition pool, an 8-lane warm-up pool, and a dedicated children’s pool. Additional amenities encompass essential features such as a medical room, two sets of public conveniences, two sets of change rooms, a pool attendant’s room, a storage room, a ticket booth, and two pump rooms. An observation stand will provide spectators with a prime vantage point to witness the aquatic events. Overall, the completion of this project promises to enhance the city’s recreational landscape and foster a thriving sports community.
Other Swimming Pools in Lautoka
In Lautoka, there are two other enticing options for those seeking smaller swimming venues. The Northern Club presents a 5-lane, 25-meter pool, seamlessly integrated with its social club; however, access may be primarily reserved for members throughout the year, with sporadic open days. On the other hand, the South Seas Club boasts a year-round, public-accessible pool, complemented by family-friendly amenities such as a water slide and a grass play area. Enhancing the experience, a delightful Indian food café nearby provides the ideal setting to indulge in a post-swim nibble.
IN DEPTH SUPPORTING ARTICLE: For more information and a full list of all the Sports and Entertainment Venus across Fiji,, be sure to check out the following article: Sports & Entertainment Venues In Fiji | Expat’s Guide
Lautoka: Nightclubs and Bars
For those seeking a vibrant nightlife experience, the premier destination remains Suva, the capital. However, Lautoka has witnessed significant growth over the past five years, emerging as a contender with a diverse range of nightclubs catering to various clienteles. Among the recent additions are The Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill, Bar One, and Spartan Bar and Nightlife, complementing the already established venues like the Hunters Inn Nightclub and Ashiqi Nightclub at the Lautoka Hotel.
Bar One Lautoka City
Bar One, established in late 2022, stands as one of the freshest additions to Fiji’s nightlife scene. With locations in Nadi and Suva, the latest addition in Lautoka completes the trio. The nightclub features a conventional layout, boasting an open floor, a side bar, and sizable disco-themed balls that scatter lights across the dance floor. It serves as an ideal spot for individuals to gather with their friends on a Friday or Saturday evening, enjoy a few drinks, and revel in a night of dancing. Facebook
The Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill
The Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill has recently opened its doors at The Hub in Waiyavi, Lautoka, which is swiftly emerging as one of the city’s hotspots. This newly constructed three-story complex is strategically positioned on the outskirts of the City Center and is within close proximity to the residential area, providing the residents of Lautoka with a welcoming retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Central Business District.
The Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill extends a warm invitation to patrons seeking relaxation and enjoyable evenings with friends and family. With its inviting ambiance, diverse selection of cold beverages, tempting cocktails, and a menu that has rapidly gained favor among locals, it has become a cherished option for safe and entertaining gatherings, complete with a lineup of weekly events. Facebook
Lautoka Hotel Nightclubs
The Lautoka Hotel, situated at the beginning of Vitogo Parade, houses two nightclubs – Hunters Inn Nightclub, which has been a local favorite for over 30 years, and Ashiqi Night Club, a relatively newer addition with a decade of presence. Both nightclubs have solidified their place in the local social scene, becoming established fixtures in Lautoka’s nightlife. Facebook Page
Having opened its doors in the early 1980s, Hunters Inn Nightclub maintains its status as one of Lautoka’s prominent nightclubs. It stands out not only for its well-known party nights and events but also for its unique cave-like structure. The establishment has skillfully utilized this exceptional rock formation, creating one of Fiji’s most personalized and exclusive clubs. Hunters Inn operates from 7 pm to 1:30 am, Monday through Saturday.
Established in the early 2014, Ashiqi Night Club invites patrons to immerse themselves in the pulsating rhythms of Bollywood music, offering a distinctive experience as the only Indian night club in Lautoka. With free entry, the club operates from 8 pm to 1:30 am, exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays, catering to those seeking a vibrant nightlife destination. Facebook Page
Other Nightclubs and Bars in Fiji
Spartan Bar & Nightlife – A recently opened nightlife hotspot, the Spartan Bar & Nightclub, is now located just behind the Village 4 Cinema, at the concluding stretch of Vitogo Parade before reconnecting with the main Kings Road leading to the Suncoast. This new establishment promises a vibrant and exciting atmosphere for those seeking entertainment in the heart of town. Facebook Page