dabs of grue banner
Lautoka City Council building
Set amongst the giant trees of Lautoka, the City Council
Civic Centre is a hive of activity and polite officialdom


LAUTOKA!

LAUTOKA!


all about Fiji's remarkable
Sugar City of


LAUTOKA!

  PHOTOS     MAPS     FIJI pages     CONTACT  

  LANGUAGE TIPS     HOME  

Includes handy maps of city and suburbs
plus 580 original medium-resolution photos


(Photos and travellers accommodation revised May 2010)


TOP SERVICE

Local buses and drivers

BEST VALUE ACCOMMODATION

Cathay Hotel

Tanoa Waterfront Hotel

Out of town:   First Landing Resort

Saweni Beach Apartment Hotel

Nadi:   Capricorn International Hotel
(featured here)

BEST TRAVEL AGENCY

Ateca's Travel Services (Lautoka Hotel)

BEST VALUE DAYTIME EATING

Small Indian cafes

BEST VALUE RESTAURANTS

Lautoka Hotel Restaurant

Ganga Vegetarian Restaurant

DEDICATED, TALENTED COMMUNITY SERVICE

Red Cross, Lautoka Branch

PATHETIC ATTITUDE

Most travel agencies, hospital
nursing staff & check-out operators


     Contents

     Introduction
     Historical notes
     People and housing
     Port facilities
     Industries
     Merchants and trading companies
     Banks and money handling issues
     Services and media
     Recreation
     Climate, attractions & tourism industry
          (including travellers accommodation)

     Snippets
     Acknowledgements
     Disclaimer and requests


LOCAL BUS SERVICES & BUS DRIVERS ARE THE CITY'S BEST SOCIAL ASSET

Buses rule the roads


Lautoka has Fiji's largest market. On Saturday mornings, the market place is buzzing with trade. Yet many Lautokans have little appreciation of the variety, healthiness and fresh, flavoursome quality of their produce, envied by city dwellers in other countries.


Lautoka market



Keep up with events in Fiji, and much more, at Hemant Kumar’s Queensland Indian Community website
Australia-wide Indian radio programs at indiaoz
Tip: to look up a subject or name go to page 2 and use your browser's "Find" feature (in the "Edit" menu)


Introduction

Lautoka!  The name conjures up a beguiling picture of the mysterious South Pacific, with its sultry climate and warm seas, friendly faces and scrumptious fare, waving palms and lush rainforest. It speaks of sugar and spices, of thriving commerce, of brooding mountains, enchanted islands and coral reefs and of endless magical days in the tropical sun. But how does the reality match up to the image?

Lautoka, capital of Fiji's Western Division and Fiji's second largest city with a core population of around 50,000, is splendidly situated between the Koroyanitu mountain range and the ocean, in the north-west corner of the main island, Viti Levu, close to the airport town of Nadi. Its geographical coordinates are 17-60 S, 177-45 E and approximately 0-50 metres above sea level. It falls in the same time zone as New Zealand, 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 2 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in Australia.

For the tourist, it is a convenient departure point for the Yasawas, Treasure Island, Beachcomber, Mana and other islands in the Mamanuca group, as well as for Rakiraki and the sea connections to the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Otherwise, sadly to say, Lautoka tends to be overlooked by tourists, despite a number of attractions, a huge scope for economical shopping and the best climate in Fiji. The relative dearth of tourists may be partly due to the fact that the city has only one hotel with more than a 2-star rating and that Lautokans, in particular the Council, have not done enough to entice visitors to their unique town. Budget-minded tourists might take note that Lautoka has what I consider to be some of the best-value budget accommodation in Fiji and seemingly enough shops and cheap cafes to serve a city twice its size. In view of the fact that many experienced travellers now believe Suva to be one of the least attractive destinations in the South Pacific region, with the right guidance Lautoka has the chance to quickly forge a reputable place for itself in the tourist world. Funds from tourism (and perhaps from revamped sugar, timber and garment manufacturing industries) are badly needed to help to finance the Council's ambitious plans for the future development of the city.

While these pages might contain a smattering of information helpful to the casual tourist, their chief purpose is to entertain (or possibly annoy!) the beautiful people of Lautoka - those who are lucky enough to be able to use the internet - and to assist visitors who want to spend more than a couple of weeks in this diverse, if not slightly crazy, metropolis. What the reader will find here, apart from a few facts and figures, is a picture of Lautoka as seen through the eyes of an Australian citizen, one who is widely travelled but inevitably molded by thoroughly "western" standards and conventions. I hope my remarks will be as enlightening to some as they are infuriating to others. In this "first edition", please forgive the inevitable errors and absurdities (see Disclaimer and requests at foot of article).

All monetary figures in this article are in Fiji dollars. At the time of writing the initial draft, 1 FJD was worth about 0.58 USD, 0.78 AUD or 0.84 NZD. When accommodation information was revised in May 2010, 1 FJD = 0.50 USD = 0.56 AUD = 0.69 NZD (approx.)

next.....