McCarthy’s Bar* says this is the best bar in the world. Outside it looks like my old cub-hut, inside the floorboards are bare. The pictures tell the stories: a young Queen Elizabeth II; framed WWI dreadnoughts; and, still arousing, a fifties-era Vargas pin-up girl in a negligee. Noël Coward, Kipling and King George V drank here. No longer a colonial capital, Levuka is quiet now; offshore is Wakaya, the hideaway island where the unfortunate Keith Richards fell out of a tree.
Royal Hotel. Sensational! Genuinely unchanged since colonial days. Fiji's oldest hotel. In the snooker room you can easily imagine the joking and laughter of long-departed flying-boat crews - their pictures are still on the walls. Real value - a few £s a night.
Good local dishes. Try breadfruit here, it’s good.
Ovalau Club, Totogo Lane, Levuka, Ovalau, Fiji.
(No findable phone number, or website, or email - it's that kind of place!)
Robbies Lane, Levuka
Phone: + 679 344 00 24
Beach St. Centre of town.
Phone: + 679 344 0235
Don't be put off by the simple accommodation units along the beach, the open air eating area or the simple lifestyle. Relax and enjoy - you will soon get used to it.
It's a Fiji tour (mainly for backpackers) that gives you more than just sand, sea and snorkelling. We visited villages and schools, learned about the culture and went trekking in the bush. What we liked about it is that you can get off and spend time in any place and then get back on the tour when you want to continue.
Pronounced "thung-gulie", a 14 acre coral island (off the east coast of mainland) which you can walk around in just 20 minutes. A small selection of beach huts - from around £20pppn - are all a stone's throw from the sea. Perfect location for snorkelling/diving and if you're really lucky (like us!), a Humpback whale or two might just swim past the island.
All meals (incl. in price, plus an afternoon cuppa!) served in the communal dining room - also right by the water's edge.
Island run by members of the Methodist Church of Fiji, some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.
For more information and bookings:
Tel: (+679) 344 0166,
Caqalai Island, Box 149, Levuka, Fiji Islands
I stayed here this year, and had a wonderful four days meeting people, swimming in the sea, sunbathing on the beautiful sandy beach. The resort is run by Fijians and is laid back, the accommodation is good, and it's quiet (if you want peaceful).
The root of the kava plant is the root of Fijian culture. When ground up and steeped in water the resulting muddy mixture known as yaqona serves as the foundation for social life in Fiji. A complicated series of ancient traditions surrounds the drinking of the grog and the wooden kava bowl is so fundamental that the Parliament has a ceremonial bowl around which members meet. Business deals are cemented with yaqona, as are social events.
The bitter root has mild drug-like qualities. Numbing of the tongue, dizziness and nausea are side-effects while a lethargic buzz is the primary sensation.
It is important to take small bundles of the root as gifts when visiting Fijians. You can buy yaqona at the Municipal Market in Suva or try a bowl at one of the yaqona saloons nearby. The taste takes getting used to, to say the least.
A new blog that I have set up aimed at promoting Suva, the capital of Fiji, as a tourist destination. The blog has snippets on what to do/see/enjoy in Suva including messages from past visitors and residents, both current and past.
It also has links to cheap alternative accommodation in Suva.
You haven’t been to Suva unless you’ve been to Lucky Eddie’s bar. It also goes under the name Urban Jungle and it is a time-honoured institution. A throbbing, sultry nightclub populated by the multi-ethnic Suvan crowd, it offers insight into the soul of the city, not to mention live music or DJs that do what they can to egg the dance-happy crowd on.
On Victoria Parade, across from the old Town Hall.
Fiji is a must on any round-the-world sailing jaunt. The harbour is crowded with yachts as seafarers take a break and stock up. At the end of October/beginning of November there is an unwritten now-or-never date for setting sail before the cyclone season begins. One day the harbour is a forest of swaying masts and two days later it is deserted. It is not that difficult to catch a ride to New Zealand or Australia on a yacht if you hang out at the harbour, check the bulletin boards and chat with people. Many yachtsmen are willing to have an extra hand on board.
I caught a lift to Auckland with two aging German nudists and a Swiss librarian – and it wasn’t at all as bad as it sounds. Three cosy weeks sailing the Pacific.
The Royal Suva Yacht Club is located in Korovou, on the northern edge of town. A short walk from downtown Suva.
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