Welcome to Vanua Balavu
Arguably the most scenic of Lau’s islands, Vanua Balavu averages about 2km wide and resides with eight other smaller islands inside a barrier reef. The islands curl their way around the surrounding water, creating sheltered bays and corridors of calm sea. The interior of Vanua Balavu is scattered with rugged hills and pristine, sandy beaches ring the group’s perimeter. The celebrated Bay of Islands, also known as Qilaqila, sits in the northwest pocket and is a spectacular site for snorkelling, kayaking and swimming. It’s also a lovely place for yachties to draw anchor and is a known hurricane shelter. Within the rugged limestone hills is Vale Ni Bose (literally, the 'Meeting House of the Gods'), a gaping cave with limestone walls and a pool of crystalline water.
Vanua Balavu’s largest village is Lomaloma on the southeast coast. In the mid-19th century Tonga conquered the island, and the village of Sawana was built next to Lomaloma. Fifth-generation Tongan descendants still live in Sawana, and the houses with rounded ends show the influence of Tongan architecture.
At one time, ships trading in the Pacific regularly visited Lomaloma and it had the first port in Fiji. In its heyday Lomaloma had many hotels and shops, as well as Fiji’s first botanical gardens, though little remains of its past grandeur.
One week after the full moon in November, the people of Vanua Balavu witness the annual rising of the balolo (tiny green and brown sea worms). At sunrise the Susui villagers collect worms by the thousands. The fishy-tasting baked worms are considered a delicacy.