North of Nadi through sugarcane plantations and past the Sabeto Mountains is Lautoka, nicknamed the Sugar City for the local agriculture and its big processing mill. With a population of around 50,000, it's the only city besides Suva and, like the capital, has a pleasant waterfront. It's the sailing point for Blue Lagoon and Beachcomber Cruises but is otherwise unremarkable for tourists, itself having few hotels and fewer good restaurants. Locals recommend the city as a less-expensive place to shop for clothing, but note that it can take as long as 45 minutes to drive here. Legend has it that Lautoka acquired its name when two chiefs engaged in combat and one hit the other with a spear. He proclaimed "lau toka" (spear hit) and thus the future town was named.
Great Wall of China
Both the chef and owner come from the Canton region and it appears that they brought their recipe books with them. Locally supplied seafood is whipped into the likes of steamed fish in soy sauce and steamed crab with glass noodles. Imported king prawns are put to good use in a garlic-ginger sauce. Rotating platforms at the tables make it easier to share the family-style portions amid the tasteful Asian decor. On some afternoons, there's not a seat to be had as locals pack in for the lunch specials.
One of the largest sugar mills in the southern hemisphere, this one was founded in 1903 and employs around 1,300 people. While tours are not offered, a good view of the operation is available from the main gate, under a prominent black smoke stack. Sugar is the country's largest industry after tourism and some 370 km (595 mi) of narrow-gauge rail serve the mills in Lautoka and Ba.
Set amid mountains and on a river, this charming authentic village includes more than 200 thatch bures aligned in the shape of a cross around a rara, or village green. Beside the village is a rural school and a Catholic church. Visitors are required to present a sevusevu (literally "presentation," a ceremonial gift), traditionally a bundle of yaqona or kava, to the village chief. They might then have the chance to take part in a traditional kava ceremony before being led on a village tour. The village is in the Navala Valley roughly 26 km inland from the town of Ba, a winding hour's drive away (buses run daily).
South Pacific Distilleries
This large distillery uses molasses from the local sugar mill to produce the country's ubiquitous Bounty Rum. It also makes whisky, vodka, and gin and offers free plant tours.