A 20-30 min drive north of Nadi, depending on traffic, is Fiji’s 2nd biggest city – Lautoka. While this is not really known as a tourist destination, I really like the place. It’s right on the coast, it has a massive fruit and vege market, and lots of interesting shops if you care to poke around the back streets. It can be very busy, even more so if there is a cruise ship docked at the wharf.
Some Of The Things To Look At In Lautoka
Tappos Mall: There is a new mall opened in the main street. On the ground floor, a large supermarket takes up the entire left side of the area. The rest is occupied by a Vodafone shop, travel centre, currency exchange, chemist and a few other small shop.The 2nd floor is all food courts.
Municipal Market and Fish Market: This is located on the seaward side of the main street, 2 blocks over. You wil smell the fish market before you see it, so let your nose be your guide. The market is huge, much bigger than the Nadi one. Produce prices are cheap here, a great place to pick up a bag of pawpaws or bananas for a couple of dollars. Not so sure about eating the fish though… no refrigeration, and lots of flies.
The main bus station is right next door. A shuttle is the cheapest way to get to Nadi (FJ$2)) but it can be difficult to track down where the shuttles are parked if you don’t know the area. So perhaps take a bus instead. They leave regularly, and a fare to Nadi (using the tourist prepay card) is FJ$2.76.
The Lautoka wharf is the departure point for the red Tavewa seabus. This is the cheapest way to get to the northern Yasawa islands, and it departs each morning at 8am (be there by 7.30am) and the trip takes a bit over 3 hours.
The return departs Tavewa at 1pm and gets back at around 4.30pm.
Fare (one way) is FJ$100pp, which is roughly half what you would pay to travel on the Yasawa Flyer from Denarau. I use this mode of transport to get to one of my Favourite Yasawa Islands destinations, the Coralview resort. See the youtube video below.