A wide bank of coral offshore gives this stretch of coast between Korotogo and Pacific Harbour its name. Flanked by waves of richly vegetated hills and a fringing reef that drops off dramatically into the deep blue of the South Pacific Ocean, it’s the most scenic slice of the Queens Road and resorts of all standards exploit the views.
According to legend, Fiji’s second-largest city derives its name from a battle cry that means ‘spear-hit’. The story goes that when an argument erupted between two local chiefs, one cried out the words lau toka as he killed the other by spearing him through the chest, simultaneously stating the obvious and naming the location.
Leaving the glorious vegetation and hilly passes of Korolevu in its wake, the Queens Road sweeps across a small bridge into Pacific Harbour, the self-labelled ‘Adventure Capital of Fiji’. A range of unique activities, guaranteed to have hearts racing and knees knocking, backs up the claim. Pacific Harbour began in the 1970s as a canal development.
Sigatoka (sing-a-to-ka) is the largest town on the Coral Coast and serves as the commercial hub for the farming communities that grow sugar cane and vegetables upriver in the fertile swathe of the Sigatoka Valley. Because of its pretty riverside location and accessibility, Sigatoka is a popular day trip from Nadi and the nearby Coral Coast resorts.
Proving that money loves company, this small island (2.55 sq km) is laden with fancy resorts manicured to perfection with heavenly pools and designer suites. Although it’s only 6km west of Nadi town, the disparity couldn’t be starker and staying here offers little insight into everyday Fijian life.
Korotogo & Around
The start of the Coral Coast begins in earnest at this condensed group of hotels flanking the water on Sunset Strip. Korotogo is the best area to lodge when exploring the sights around Sigatoka. Korotogo itself is a small village, but travellers will find themselves outside of its confines.
Rakiraki & Around
The scenery continues to be stunning along the Kings Road, winding past Viti Levu Bay and into the beautiful region of Rakiraki, Viti Levu’s northernmost tip. The climate on the northern side of the Nakauvadra Range is similar to that of western Viti Levu – drier and suited to growing sugar cane – but far windier.
Korolevu & Around
Further east, the section of the Queens Road between Korotogo and Korolevu is the most beautiful. The road winds along the shore, affording views of scenic bays, beaches, coral reefs and mountains. Photo opportunities beg around every bend: it’s an especially spectacular trip at sunrise or sunset.
Navua & the Namosi Highlands
The steamy Namosi Highlands north of Pacific Harbour have some of Fiji’s most spectacular mountain scenery, including dense lush rainforests, steep ranges, deep river canyons and tall waterfalls. If you have your own wheels (preferably 4WD and in dry weather), take a detour as far inland as you can from Nabukavesi, east of Navua.