Vanua Levu, or “great land of the people,” is the second largest of the Fiji Islands. Although far fewer people visit this island (compared to neighboring Viti Levu), there is still much to do and see here, plus you can get away from the crowds. Vanua Levu is home to around 20% of Fiji's population (about 130,000 people).
A few sights you can see here are lush tropical rainforests, mountain ranges and a rich coral reef ecosystem and other various forms of marine life. The majority of the population on Vanua Levu is centered around the towns of Savusavu and Labasa. The northwestern portion of the island is drier than the region around Savusavu. The island is home to numerous rivers, including the Wailevu, Labasa and Qawa.
Savusavu is one of Fiji's most scenic towns located along gorgeous Savusavu Bay, featuring white sands and a nice waterfront promenade. It is the most popular area among visitors to the island. The bay is world-renowned for its diving because of its rich marine life. Besides diving, it is also a great area for snorkeling, sailing and fishing. The bay is a main transit point for ferries to other islands, such as Taveuni and Koro, so this town is a great location if you would like to explore even more remote islands in Fiji. Savusavu was long known as the main hub of Fiji's copra trade.
Labasa is the largest city on Vanua Levu and a main hub for Fiji's sugar industry. It is a lovely countryside town covered with rolling hills and sugarcane. The Wasavula Ceremonial Site is the main tourist attraction in Labasa, located in the southern part of the town.
Why visit Vanua Levu?
Vanua Levu is the second main island in the Fijian archipelago size-wise, but it is a lot less busy than neighboring Viti Levu. Here you can experience traditional Fijian village life. The island is ideal if you're looking for wide open spaces and plenty of hiking opportunities. In the same time, the island also has beautiful bays and beaches, scenic towns and good transportation. Vanua Levu's north shore is home to one of the world's longest barrier reefs, which is a magnet to divers.
Vanua Levu facts
Area: 5,587 km² (2,157 sq mi)
Length: 180 km (112 mi)
Width: 50 km (31 mi)
Population density: 23.27/km² (60.3/sq mi)
Highest mountain: Mount Nasorolevu - 1,032 m (3,385 ft)
Largest city: Labasa - population 27,949 (2007 census)