Fiji’s Lau Island Group and Bay of Islands for part of a remote archipelago strung like a bejewelled necklace of treasures east of the International Date Line. There are no Fiji tourist brochures that cover the Lau Group of Islands. A couple of resorts, even fewer airstrips and with no tourism infrastructure, in the Lau Group locals go about their business oblivious to the speed boats full of giggling tourists sipping Pina Colada’s on the other side of the country.
This is where you’ll find the real Fiji.
The island of Vanua Balavu is in the Northern Lau Group, with its main attraction the striking Bay of Islands. Weathered mushroom-like islands are scalloped at sea level from the tide and rise from a turquoise sea. With a small airstrip serviced by Fiji Airways and three small villages, the main visitors to Vanua Balavu are cruising yachties. Sheltered anchorages in all weather, clear waters filled with coral outcrops and interesting seascapes make it the sort of far-flung destination many aspire to visit.
Ships Sound is a popular anchorage as it’s an almost land-locked cove with a number of limestone pinnacles standing sentinel on one side. It’s a wonderful spot if you’re lucky enough to have it all to yourself, as we did in some of the photos above. Though we’ve also seen as many as five yachts moored fairly tightly together. There are actually plenty of anchorages throughout the northern bays, creating amply opportunity to have a bay entirely to yourself.
In the Southern Lau Group is Fulaga Island (also spelt Vulaga), which is actually a lagoon surrounded by fringing reef dotted with islands. Inside the lagoon the water is the colour of turquoise, the beach sand’s a dazzling white and coconut palms line the shore. Three villages are home to approx 100 residents whose uncomplicated lives revolve around the rising tide and setting sun. Food is harvested from the sea and the land depending upon the seasons. Cruising boat owners are welcomed into Mauna-thaki village through a shared hosting system which sees each yacht crew assigned a host family.
Captain Cook Cruises visit the Lau Group three times a year, which is where we first tasted these wonderful islands. Three years after cruising in on their second Lau Cruise we’re thrilled to return to the Lau and can’t wait to explore further!
Travel Boating Lifestyle sailed into the Lau Group in 2017 and returned again in 2018. This little known archipelago remains one of the world’s treasures. For boaties, its sheltered waters dotted with limestone islets make it the kind of place that tropical sailing dreams are made of.