Lautoka is Fiji’s second biggest island, and probably one of the most laidback as well. The island itself is small enough to stroll around in. In fact, getting around by foot is a pleasant experience, thanks to its wide streets that are lined with lush trees, and the majestic view of Mt. Evans, locally called the Koroyanitu Range, humming in the background. All around, the island looks like one big park. One can spend endless afternoons drinking in the local colours, ogling at the yachts and cruise ships docked on the waterfront, or shopping for trinkets and souvenirs in the shops. If you need help getting around, the locals are sure to help.
Lautoka as a destination lies 33 kilometres north of the town of Nadi, and only 24 kilometres north of the Nadi airport. Tourists who are interested in doing as the Fijians do can take any of the local buses to and from Nadi and Lautoka. There is a bus that leaves every 15 minutes or so, so you don’t have to wait too long. The fare is only about $2, so it won’t have to make a dent in your pockets as well.
Because there is not much happening in Lautoka, tourists who go there for the action usually use Lautoka as a jump-off point to other Fiji destinations. For example, you can take a regular express bus, or ride a small truck or minibus to Suva, from the Kings and Queens Roads. Or you can go from Lautoka to Saweni beach via a 45-minute bus ride that costs a dollar. Or you can also ride any bus bound for Nadi, and have the driver drop you off before the turn to Nadi. From there, you can take a light stroll for the last two kilometres to Saweni Beach. There are, of course, taxi services available at the airport for those who would rather get there faster.
Within Lautoka, island-hopping is also a favorite tourist activity. You can hop on any of the cruise ships to check out Beachbomber Island and Treasure Island, or get a ticket to an interisland ferry that will take you to Vanua Levu.
Money is, of course, a big factor in your ability to enjoy Fiji to the hilt. In Lautoka, you will be delighted to know that there are a number of banks in downtown Lautoka where you can have your money or travellers checks changed.