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Lautoka, Fiji Islands

Lautoka is the second largest city of Fiji. It is in the west of the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometers north of Nadi, and is the second port of entry in Fiji, after Suva. Lying in the heart of Fiji's sugar cane growing region, it is known as the Sugar City.

Economic activities

Lautoka is known as the Sugar City because of its sugar cane belt areas. The main Lautoka Sugar Mill was founded in 1903 and is the city's biggest employer by far. Built for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (Fiji) (CSR) by workers from India and the Solomon Islands between 1899 and 1903, it hires some 1,300 employees today. Other industries include timber milling, garment manufacturing, distillery, brewery, jewelry, blending, steelworks, fishing, hatchery, domestic items, paints, and construction. In 2012, Lautoka was announced as the... Read more

Lautoka, Fiji Islands

Destination:

Lautoka is the second largest city of Fiji. It is in the west of the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometers north of Nadi, and is the second port of entry in Fiji, after Suva. Lying in the heart of Fiji's sugar cane growing region, it is known as the Sugar City.

Economic activities

Lautoka is known as the Sugar City because of its sugar cane belt areas. The main Lautoka Sugar Mill was founded in 1903 and is the city's biggest employer by far. Built for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (Fiji) (CSR) by workers from India and the Solomon Islands between 1899 and 1903, it hires some 1,300 employees today. Other industries include timber milling, garment manufacturing, distillery, brewery, jewelry, blending, steelworks, fishing, hatchery, domestic items, paints, and construction. In 2012, Lautoka was announced as the administrative capital of the western division.

History

The name of the city is derived from two Fijian words meaning "spear hit." According to an oral tradition, the name arose following a duel between two chiefs. As one speared the other, he was reported to have cried "Lau-toka!" The first known European sighting of the Lautoka area took place on 7 May 1789. Captain William Bligh spotted and roughly charted the coasts of Lautoka while making his epic voyage to Timor, in the wake of the mutiny on the Bounty in which he and a few sailors loyal to him were thrown overboard and cast adrift on a lifeboat.


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Lautoka, Fiji Islands: Port Information


Cruise liners dock at the pier. It is about a 20-minute walk to the center. Taxis and buses are available.

Get around Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Lautoka has a robust public bus transport network operated by private companies and the service is run on scheduled timetables from the central bus station.

Local buses are cheap and reliable. You'll probably be the only non-Fijian person on the bus but don't let this deter you. It can get very crowded: men usually take vacant seats next to other men, and the same for women.

Yellow local buses are quite cheap (some pay when you get on, others pay when you get off!). Air-conditioned coaches are a little more expensive.

There is also taxi and carrier service available which is useful for those in a hurry. Although costs are based on stages traveled and set by the government fares should be agreed to before travel to avoid later disputes.

What to see in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Lautoka feels very far from the ultra-touristy island life. If you're sick of everyone yelling 'Bula!' and want to observe some locals and eat some cheap Indian food, check out this town about 20km from Nadi. It has a significant industrial and administrative element - there is a large sugar cane factory just south of town and lots of banks. 

The Hare Krishna temple is a friendly place. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, then pop in and they may invite you to stay for lunch.

Lautoka's Sugar Mill is also a great place to see. People there are very friendly and will help you to get to the main gate in case you've never been there before. There are 4 or 5 gates and it is necessary to get to the main one in order to be let in. It's necessary to make an appointment before your visit and take proper shoes (boots). The Sugar Mill trip does not cost anything and is really worth seeing.
 

What to do in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Visit the Botanical Gardens. The gardens have a large variety of tropical plants most of them labeled with the botanic and common names. If you visit around midday on a working day you may see the horticulturist Shri on site who has a wealth of information on the plants. The park opposite the gardens is a favorite playground for children and has toilet facilities. 

What to eat and drink in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Note: Chinese in Fiji is actually more spicy than Thai in Fiji.

Shopping in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Locally produced body oils and soaps, handicrafts, perfumes, jewelry, accessories, fruits - you'll find a lively market and souvenir stalls to buy nice presents and gifts in Lautoka.

Safety in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Fiji is relatively free of disease compared to most of the tropics. Avoid mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and even elephantiasis by covering up thoroughly or using repellents while outdoors at dawn or dusk. Local water is generally safe, though filtering or boiling is advisable when unsure. Urban tap water is treated and nearly always safe. When exceptions occasionally arise, there are public warnings or radio and print media warnings. Contaminated food is uncommon, though, on occasion, mature reef fish can contain mild neurotoxins they accumulate in their bodies from freshwater algae that wash into the ocean. The effects of such "fish-poisoning" are usually intense for only a day or two, but tingling lips and unusual sensitivities to hot and cold can linger for a long time.

Drownings are common, and automobile and other motor vehicle accidents (often involving animals or pedestrians) are very common. Local emergency medical care is very good on the basics in urban areas. Expect long waits in government-run clinics and hospitals. Treatment for serious conditions often requires evacuation to New Zealand or Australia. Even the most basic medical care is usually not available outside of urban areas.

Fiji, like most of the South Pacific, can have intense solar radiation that can cause severe skin-burns in a short amount of time. Be sure to use hats, sunglasses and liberal amounts of high-SPF value sunblock on ALL exposed skin (including ears, noses, and tops-of-feet) when out in the sun. On top of that tropical boils are a common inconvenience in Fiji, this can be avoided by giving those sweaty sections of the body a soapy scrub more than once a day.

Language spoken in Lautoka, Fiji Islands


Fiji has three official languages, namely English, Fijian and Hindi

Fijian is the first language of the native Melanesian population, while a local variant of Hindi is mainly spoken by those of Indian descent. English is the lingua franca and medium of instruction in Fijian schools and is widely spoken in the major cities and main tourist areas. Residents of some remote islands may not be fluent in English, so learning some Fijian phrases will come in handy when traveling to those areas.

A small number of other indigenous East Fijian and West Fijian regional languages (including Rotuman, a language spoken by the Rotuman people of Rotuma) are spoken on the islands, standard Fijian belonging to the East Fijian group.

LOCAL TIME

7:31 pm
November 21, 2019
Pacific/Fiji

CURRENT WEATHER

26.17 °C / 79.106 °F
moderate rain
Thu

26.28 °C/79 °F
light rain
Fri

25.62 °C/78 °F
overcast clouds
Sat

22.12 °C/72 °F
heavy intensity rain
Sun

22.51 °C/73 °F
very heavy rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

FJD

1 USD = 0 FJD
1 EUR = 0 FJD
1 GBP = 0 FJD
1 AUD = 0 FJD
1 CAD = 0 FJD

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